Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Taking Risks...and Being Rewarded--Pedro, our Bluejaw Triggerfish!

I had been sooo careful. Carefully researching every move I made before trying it out on our aquarium. Reading, looking on-line, talking to my aquarium expert friends. Everything was going swimmingly. But I started getting aquarium envy upon gazing at other people's aquariums. Everywhere I looked, people were taking risks. Fish that are supposed to eat coral in a reef aquarium that peacefully went about their business and left the coral alone. Coral beauties, Flame Angels, Copperband Butterflies minding their own business in a reef tank. I spotted fragile fish, coral and invertebrates that are "difficult" in beginner tanks left alone with little attention, such as starfish and sea anemones. Finally when I spotted a Coral beauty angelfish licking the algae off a friend's aquarium, something inside me snapped. I'd had it playing safe!

Triggerfish are probably one of the most unsafe fish you could add to a peaceful reef tank. They have voracious appetites, eat everything from shrimp to fish to coral, and are extremely aggressive (as in: you-may-lose-your-fingers-when-hand-feeding aggressive). So why would you want one? They are extremely intelligent, loaded with personality, friendly towards people (I've heard of them coming to the surface and "barking", begging to be fed), brilliantly colored/shaped/patterned, and just about the coolest fish you could possibly have.

I decided to add one to our tank. Am I crazy? Maybe. Or maybe I was just tired of Greg calling our present fish "fresh-water minnows". Regardless, I took the bait and fell for the dare. Upon hearing that the Bluejaw Triggerfish was one of the most reef-safe triggerfish you could have, I purchased a cute, juvenile male. Is the term "reef-safe triggerfish" an oxymoron? Well, we're going to find out.

The Bluejaw trigger feeds on plankton, unlike his other more carnivorous trigger cousins. They are smaller than other triggers (which are normally gi-normous). Smaller here means up to 12". If ours grows up to be that big, we'll sadly have to trade him out or get a bigger tank. He'll be too cramped in our measly 75 gallons! In addition, this trigger is actually very shy! If I move too quickly, he dives into his favorite cave in the live rock.

I have quickly fallen in love with our Bluejaw. His name is Pedro. After getting rid of Kujo, our crazy Midas Blenny, Pedro came out of his shell. (The Midas Blenny was terrorizing poor Pedro! Ever heard of a blenny picking on a triggerfish? Me either!) His eyes are my favorite; they are a soft brown and have the ability to move independently of his body, much like a human's. He eats pretty much everything I feed him and has become quite chubby! A fat fish is a happy fish. If I sit still, he swims in front of me, undulating his gorgeous yellow fins. I love the white dots on his sides! When he gets excited (like when he's feeding or showing off), the blue around his jaw brightens, almost like he's blushing. He hasn't bothered any of his tankmates (they were pretty terrified of him at first); Pedro doesn't take any of their gruff either. He's very mellow and easygoing. In fact, Mr. Roper, who keeps getting picked on by Mrs. Roper (our Banggai cardinalfish, actually 2 males, unfortunately), hides behind Pedro to keep from getting chased! I've seen Phillip take refuge behind Pedro as well to ward off Mrs. Roper. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he continues behaving this way. He is quickly becoming a tank favorite!

Pedro, what a cutie!

Bluejaw Trigger Links:

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