What can I stock with a trigger and puffer?

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Expert Jeremy advises one of our readers on what fish would be suitable to add to her tank which is already home to a trigger and a puffer…

Q) I've seen a rather pretty fish called a Porkfish on sale at my local marine dealer’s. It's about 6cm in size and I'd like to add it to my 450 l fish-only marine tank alongside a 7-8cm Clown trigger and an 8cm Dogface puffer. The tank has been set up for five months and has a skimmer and an external filter, plus lots of rockwork. Would this fish work with my current stock or am I asking for trouble with the trigger? Any advice on keeping the Porkfish would be welcome. If it won't work, could you suggest an alternative please?

JADE, VIA EMAIL

A) Jeremy advises: Porkfish, Anisotremus virginicus, are striking fish which are popular with public aquaria. Juveniles don't do well with very boisterous fish like Clown triggers, however, so you could do with a larger specimen and one which you can see feeding before purchase. But there is still a problem in that these fish can reach 40cm in length — way too large even for a 450 l fish-only tank, and a good reason why they're usually only seen in public aquaria.

Instead, I would recommend a Snowflake moray, Racoon butterfly or a large Bannerfish, or maybe even a Foxface if you like facial stripes. Or maybe consider some adult Humbug or Domino damsels, or an adult pair of Tomato clowns? All of these last three are super tough, and while too rough for reefs, they are perfect for fish-only tanks with big triggers and puffers.