Saltwater Fish: Saltwater Aquarium Trigger Fish

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Saltwater Aquarium Trigger Fish

 
   

Most Triggerfishes are brightly colored and marked with patterns of lines and spots. They are easily recognized by their deep flat bodies, small pectoral fins, small eyes placed high upon the head, and rough rhomboid-shaped scales that form a tough covering on their body. Near the area in front of the tail they have some prickly, spike-like rows of spines. Even though quite small, these tail spines can scratch and cause injury to a person or other fishes. Also because of the rough, spike-like texture of these fish's bodies, they can easily get caught in an aquarium net, and once snagged it can be difficult to remove them from the material without some scale damage occurring.

Triggerfishes are easily recognized and named for, you got it, their flexible trigger spines. As you can see in the photo, this fish has a top dorsal spike that can be put into an up or down position at will. At the bottom of the body there is another smaller, permanently extended type trigger that can be flexed as well. When these fish feels threatened, is ready for sleep at night, or wants to secure itself against strong surge-zone wave action, it will go into a hole and stick up its top trigger, flex the bottom one, and then lock them both into place. The force of the two triggers used in conjunction with one other firmly wedges the fish into place. Once a Triggerfish has "trigged in", it is next to impossible to remove it from its hiding place. If at some point you see a Triggerfish laying on the bottom of the tank or propped up against a tank wall, don't worry, it is how these fish sleep when there is no shelter available to take cover in. Triggerfishes are capable of making a noise much like that of a pig grunting when disturbed or agitated.

Triggers are extremely territorial and seem to be on the move most of the time. In general they do get along with most other fish. They need plenty of room to move around, as well as establish a territory of their own with as little infringement from other tank mates as possible. With a tendency to be aggressive towards other Triggerfishes, especially those of the same species and sex, usually putting them together is not a good idea. Their nature can be unpredictable. Sometimes they can harass and pick on other fishes, and other times they may get long just fine. When keeping other fish with a Trigger, the closer the other fishes are to the same size as the Trigger, the less chance harassment will occur. It is best to place Triggers in an aggressive fish-only tank community along with other larger non-related species such as Groupers, Lionfishes, Snappers, Eels, Hawkfishes, Tangs and Surgeonfishes.

Triggerfishes are one of the easiest of all marine fishes to care for. Most all species adapt quickly to aquarium life, are very hardy, and will eat just about anything you offer them as food, including fingers.

Triggerfish are carnivores that spend their days nibbling on a wide variety of echinoderms and crustaceans like crabs, shrimps, sea urchins, worms, and other invertebrates. They are not coral eaters, but they may have a tendency to pick at clams and other animals that may be attached to corals or live rock.
When looking for food in the sand, some Triggers will tip up on their nose and "blow" the sand to uncover a potential meal. It is interesting to watch them eat a sea urchin. They will pick off all the spines, turn the urchin over to expose the more vulnerable area of the urchin, and with their front two bonded teeth and strong jaws, they break it open. Triggers do not attack other fish for the purpose of eating them, but they are opportunistic and will feed on the flesh of dead fish. Triggers are messy eaters which can contribute to high aquarium maintenance requirements, as well as result in water quality issues, particularly in small water volume aquariums. By setting up a good regular tank cleaning routine and removing larger excess pieces of food that are not eaten in a reasonable amount of time, these problems are less likely to occur.

Triggerfishes can be fed frozen vitamin-enriched preparations suitable for carnivores, as well as herbivore rations with marine algae for a balanced diet. Fresh meaty foods such as chopped shrimp, squid, clams, and fish can be offered, and soaked in a liquid vitamin such as Selcon to supplement their dietary requirements.

Reef Tank Compatibility: Because these fish eat a wide variety of crustaceans and invertebrates, they are not considered suitable in live rock or reef aquariums that may have these types of marine life present.

Clown Triggerfish
Balistoides conspicillum

Description:One of the most popular of all aquarium fish! This is a gorgeous triggerfish that like many of its cousins has a variable personality. Although some individuals will ignore similar-sized tankmates, others will behave aggressively towards them. If you want to house them with other fish, select equally sized, or preferably larger, equally aggressive tankmates. Also, place them in a large tank with lots of hiding places. Do not keep more than one clown triggerfish per aquarium.
Recommended Tank size: 125 gallons
Food and diet:Clown Triggers should be fed a varied diet consisting of many different types of meaty foods including: chopped shrimp, squid, clams or fish. It is also good to provide frozen foods that contain marine algae and are enhanced with vitamins and minerals. This species should be fed at least 3 times a day to provide it with adequate nutrition and to decrease its aggressiveness towards its tankmates.
Reef Compatability: Not suitable for a reef aquarium as it feeds on a wide-range of invertebrates.
Level of Care: Easy
Approximate Purchase Size:
Small: 1" to 2"; Small/Medium 2" to 3" Medium: 3" to 4 1/4"; Medium/Large 4 1/4" to 5" Large: 5" to 6" X Large 6" to 7" XX Large 7" to 8" Show 8" to 9"

Small $99.99 Small/Medium $119.99 Medium $129.99
Medium/Large $159.99 Large $199.99 XLarge $349.99
XXLarge $499.99 Show Size $599.99
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 Bluelined Triggerfish
Pseudobalistes fuscus
Description:The Blueline Trigger is highly sought after for its unique coloration and impressive adult size along with its ease of care when kept in a proper aquarium environment. Bluelined Triggers are a very hardy fish species that if kept in large aquarium with excellent mechanical and biological filtration will do very well in the aquarium environment. This species is also known for rearranging aquariums by blowing sand and substrate looking for invertebrates to eat and for undermining the foundations of rocks and coral.Bluelined Triggerfish begin life with very bright juvenile colors, which tend to fade a bit as they become adults. Juvenile specimens have a bright yellow or yellowish-tan body with bright blue lines all over its body, along with yellow markings on blue fins. As they grow the contrast between the yellow body and blue lines begins to lesson, and as mature adults they will have a tan body with less distinct blue markings throughout their body.
Recommended Tank size: Blueline Triggerfish are a large fairly aggressive species that are best suited for very large aquariums with other large aggressive fish species. They are a very hardy species that can tolerate less than perfect water conditions, but do require adequate swimming room, and thus should be kept in a large aquarium of at least 220 gallons or more.
Food and diet:Bluelined Triggerfish should be fed a varied diet consisting of many different types of meaty foods including: chopped shrimp, squid, clams or fish. It is also good to provide frozen foods that contain marine algae and are enhanced with vitamins and minerals. This species should be fed at least 3 times a day to provide it with adequate nutrition and to decrease its aggressiveness towards its tankmates.
Reef Compatability: Not suitable for a reef aquarium as it feeds on a wide-range of invertebrates.
Level of Care: Easy
Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1" to 2"; Medium: 2" to 3-1/2"; Large: 3-1/2" to 5"; XLarge: 5" to 7"
Small $69.99 Medium $89.99 Large $159.99 XLarge $239.99
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 Bursa Triggerfish
Rhinecanthus verrucosus
Description: The Bursa Trigger fish is a beautiful and popular fish in the aquarium hobby. The fish has a yellow body with markings that make it look like a work of abstract art. This species is highly aggressive and will readily eat smaller fish. It should only be kept with other aggressive fish.In the wild, Bursa Trigger fish are most commonly found in shallow reef edge areas with sandy bottoms. They are found both in seaward and lagoon reef areas, where they feed on tunicates, mollusks, crustaceans, corals, fish, and sea urchins. As with all trigger fish, they are not reef safe. This is because they are destructive toward other fish and invertebrates in their aquariums.. Bursa Trigger fish are considered to be fairly hardy. They have strong teeth and jaws and may chew through items in their aquariums. Any inanimate object in the aquarium should be sturdy and well anchored. Often trigger fish will rearrange objects in the aquarium.
Recommended Tank size: A 70 gallon or larger aquarium with rocks and caves provides a good habitat. It will rearrange the landscaping and rocks as it wanders in and out of the caves. It vocalizes using a "grunting" sound.
Food and diet:Bursa Triggerfish should be fed a varied diet consisting of many different types of meaty foods including: chopped shrimp, squid, clams or fish. It is also good to provide frozen foods that contain marine algae and are enhanced with vitamins and minerals. This species should be fed at least 3 times a day to provide it with adequate nutrition and to decrease its aggressiveness towards its tankmates.
Reef Compatability: Not suitable for a reef aquarium as it feeds on a wide-range of invertebrates.
Level of Care: Easy
Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1" to 2"; Medium: 2" to 3-1/2"; Large: 3-1/2" to 5"

Small $17.99 Medium $22.99 Large $39.99
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 Niger Triggerfish
Odonus niger
Description: The Niger triggerfish originates from the Indo Pacific Ocean. They are found from the African east coast to Marquesas and Society islands. You can find them as far north as southern Japan and as far south as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and New Caledonia. The Niger triggerfish aka Redtooth (ed) triggerfish is a popular aquarium fish and one of the few triggers that can be found in schools and that you can keep more than one of in the same aquarium. The Niger triggerfish will look a little different depending on mood. Usually the Niger triggerfish has a completely blue body. The further back on the body you look the softer blue it becomes. This fish can however sometimes display green color as well. The edges of the fins are bright blue. When they fish get excited, it can vocalize a grunting sound. The Niger triggerfish is usually not aggressive towards other fish species but can become aggressive with age. They are tolerant towards other Niger triggerfish and it is possible to keep several in the same aquarium as long as all of them are introduced to the aquarium at the same time. They can be kept in community aquariums with other larger fish that are not too timid. They should never be kept with small fish as they may eat it.
Recommended Tank size: In the wild, Niger triggerfish live on coral reefs. You should decorate the aquarium in such a way that a lot of hiding places like caves and overhangs are formed. It is important to always have caves of suitable size for the Niger triggerfish in the tank, otherwise it will not feel secure and at home in your aquarium.
Food and diet:They usually accept flake food and pellets. They should be fed a good varied diet. A good diet might be centered on flake food that is complemented with frozen food, chopped up sea food and vegetables. The Niger triggerfish is an omnivorous species and it is important to include vegetables in their diet.
Level of Care: Easy
Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1" to 2"; Medium: 2" to 3-1/2"; Large: 3-1/2" to 5"

Small $29.99 Medium $39.99 Large $79.99 XLarge $139.99
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  Crosshatch Triggerfish

Shown Crosshtch Trigger Male
Description: Crosshatch triggerfish are distributed throughout the tropical and sub-tropical Eastern and Western Pacific Oceans. They can be found in large schools in open water, usually at depths of 90 feet and greater. They feed on passing zooplankton, which partially explains their relative rarity and expensive cost in the aquarium trade. They will however quickly adjust to more normal meaty aquarium foods and like most Triggerfish will readily consume meaty foods.
Adult Crosshatch Triggerfish usually reach about 12 inches in length in the aquarium environment. The Crosshatch Triggerfish has the typical triangular shape of other Triggerfish when its fins are erect, most similar to other members of the genus Xanthichthys. The male has a more intense yellow background color on the body and has a red-rimmed tail, as opposed to the female, which has a yellow-fringed caudal fin, making them easily distinguished. Both sexes have blue radiating lines on the face and black lines that criss-cross along the body, giving them their name "crosshatch."
Recommended Tank size: In the aquarium environment Crosshatch Triggerfish can be kept singly, in pairs, or in groups of one male and two or more females in the aquarium. Two males should not be kept unless you have a very large aquarium with many other inhabitants. Crosshatch triggers are active fish that grow to a fairly large size (12"), therefore a minimum of a 70 gallon aquarium for a single specimen should be provided 90 gallons or more for a pair. They require areas of open swimming space as well as places to hide at night or when frightened. Areas of reef rock set up along side an open expanse of sand will suit the Crosshatch Triggerfish well, providing them with hiding places and plenty of open swimming area, which is important for this species. With their anatomical structure, it is near impossible for the Crosshatch Triggerfish to feed on benthic invertebrates, thus making them suitable for inclusion with live rock. Also unlike most Triggerfish the Crosshatch has a mild disposition and is unlikely to bother other aquarium inhabitants unless overcrowded. It will mix well with most other reef fish, although small Pseudochromis, or other bite sized fish should not be kept with it. Existing small damsels, wrasses and basslets are generally ignored
Food and diet:. Similar to most mid-water plankton eating species, the Crosshatch Triggerfish are not finicky eaters and will consume most meaty aquarium fare. Their diet should consist of predominantly meaty foods, such as chopped whole shrimp, squid, larval silversides, and mysis shrimp. Chopped krill is a particularly good food item because it provides beneficial carotenoids that help maintain the bright pigmentation in these fish. Similar to other reef fish that feed from the water column, crosshatch triggers should be fed a few times a day in order to maintain proper body weight.
Reef Compatability: Not suitable for a reef aquarium as it feeds on a wide-range of invertebrates.
Level of Care: Easy
Approximate Purchase Size:Large: 7" - 9", X Large 9" - 11"

Female
Large $549.99 XL $999.99

Male
Large $699.99 XL $1199.99

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 Huma Picasso Triggerfish
Rhinecanthus aculeatus
Description: The Picasso triggerfish is a very beautiful fish that truly deserves the popularity it has gained. The Picasso triggerfish is less aggressive than most other triggerfish but that doesn't mean that it isn't aggressive. It can be kept in community aquariums with other aggressive fish species. It should never be kept with small species as it will likely eat them. Only keep one Picasso triggerfish in the aquarium.The Picasso triggerfish is like most triggers a hardy species and if it weren't for its size and temperament it would be an ideal beginner fish. Picasso triggerfish can be recommended to beginners that have a large enough aquarium and don't mind the fact that it is aggressive and only can be kept with other large aggressive species. The Picasso triggerfish have a very large native range and can be found in the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic. In the Atlantic, it can be found along the west coast of Africa from Senegal to South Africa. In the Indo Pacific Ocean they can be found from the east coast of Africa to the Hawaiian, Marquesan, and Tuamoto islands. The northern distribution limit is the coast of southern Japan and the southern limit is Lord Howe Island.
Recommended Tank size: The Picasso triggerfish is a large fish and should not be kept in aquariums smaller than 75 gallon / 300 L and an even bigger aquarium is to be preferred. They become very aggressive in too small aquariums. The aquarium should be decorated so as to provide the Picasso triggerfish with plenty of hiding places and plenty of things to explore. Arrange live rock in such a way that caves and overhangs are created. This fish will not feel safe and at home if not provided with enough caves. Fixate the rocks well as Picasso triggerfish like to rearrange things.This species is best kept in "fish only" and "FOWLR" aquariums. It is not suitable for reef aquariums.
Food and diet:The Picasso triggerfish should be fed a varied diet. Many, but not all, specimens accept flake food and pellets. A good diet should consist of a variety of different food sources such as different types of chopped up sea food, frozen food, preparations for omnivorous fish, live food and (if your Picasso triggerfish accepts it) flake food. They should be fed little but often. Feed them at least 2-3 times a day.
Reef Compatability: Not suitable for a reef aquarium as it feeds on a wide-range of invertebrates.
Level of Care: Easy
Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1" to 2"; Medium: 2" to 3"; Large: 3-1/2" to 5"
Small $29.99 Medium $39.99 Large $69.99
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Blue Throat Triggerfish
Xanthicthys auromarginatus

Description: One of the more desirable species of triggerfish is the Blue throat also called blue cheeked trigger. It originates from the western tropical Indo-Pacific including South Africa, and Indonesia where it is found in relatively deep water.
The male of this species is larger than the female and can be distinguished by the prominent blue throat and yellow margins to the dorsal, ventral and caudal fins.

The temperament of this species is amongst the most placid of all triggerfish and thus it is highly prized by aquarists. It is possible to house a male specimen with at least one female given an aquarium of suitable size.
Recommended Tank size: A 70 gallon or larger aquarium with rocks and caves provides a good habitat. The Blue Throat will rearrange the landscaping and rocks. It is said to "talk," which is actually a grunting.
Food and diet:Feed a varied diet of meaty foods. including; squid, krill, clams, small fish and hard shelled shrimp to help wear down their ever growing teeth. Feed young individuals several times a day.
Reef Compatability: Not suitable for a reef aquarium as it feeds on a wide-range of invertebrates.
Level of Care: Easy
Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1" to 2"; Medium: 2" to 3-3/4"; Large: 4" to 6"

Female - Small $59.99 Medium $69.99 Lrg $119.99
Male - Small $69.99 Medium $89.99 Lrg $139.99
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Pink Tail Triggerfish
Melichthys vidua
Description: This beautiful triggerfish is one of the most sociable and peaceful of the clan. The Pink Tail Triggerfish, obviously named for its “pink tail” averages about 3-4 inches. The larges specimens can grow up to 15 inches! The body is so dark it looks black, but in reality it is a very deep forest green color. The dorsal and anal fins have a translucent pinkish-white appearance marked with dark bands at the outside edges, and the pectoral fins have a yellowish color to them. They are distributed through out the Indo-Pacific and any of the Hawiian Reefs.
Recommended Tank size: A 70 gallon or larger aquarium with rocks and caves provides a good habitat. The Blue Throat will rearrange the landscaping and rocks. It is said to "talk," which is actually a grunting.
Food and diet:Feed a varied diet of meaty foods. including; squid, krill, clams, small fish and hard shelled shrimp to help wear down their ever growing teeth. Feed young individuals several times a day.
Reef Compatability: Not suitable for a reef aquarium as it feeds on a wide-range of invertebrates.
Level of Care: Easy
Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1" to 2"; Medium: 2" to 3-1/2"; Large: 3-1/2" to 5"

Small $49.99 Medium $69.99 Large $89.99
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Rectangle Triggerfish
Rhinecanthus rectangulus
Description: Also known as the Rectangular Triggerfish, Rectangulus Trigger, Wedge Tail Trigger, V Line Triggerfish, or its Hawaiian name of Humuhumunukunukuapuaa. It is also recognized by the black V-pattern outlined in yellow that highlights the posterior section of the body. It is striking with a pearly white face and two blue and black stripes across the eyes. Known to rearrange the landscaping and tanks rocks. It vocalizes using a "grunting" sound.
Recommended Tank size: A 70 gallon or larger aquarium with rocks and caves provides a good habitat. It will rearrange the landscaping and rocks as it wanders in and out of the caves. It vocalizes using a "grunting" sound.
Food and diet:Feed a varied diet of meaty foods. including; squid, krill, clams, small fish and hard shelled shrimp to help wear down their ever growing teeth. Feed young individuals several times a day.
Reef Compatability: Not suitable for a reef aquarium as it feeds on a wide-range of invertebrates.
Level of Care: Easy
Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1" to 2"; Medium: 2" to 3-1/2"; Large: 3-1/2" to 5"

Small $29.99 Medium $39.99 Large $79.99
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 Undulate Triggerfish
Balistapus undulatus
Description:The Undulate Triggerfish or Orangelined Triggerfish is an attractive fish, with a unique emerald-green body with yellow-orange vertical stripes. The Undulate Triggerfish is a very aggressive species, even compared to other aggressive species, including other triggerfish, groupers, lionfish or even sharks. Typically it is best to keep this species as a single specimen in the home aquarium, but it is possible to keep with other large aggressive species in a large aquarium. The Undulate Triggerfish is a very hardy species, that can be kept by beginning hobbyists, assuming they have a large aquarium (min 55 to 70 gallons) and are aware that of the extremely aggressive nature of this fish towards other tank mates.
Recommended Tank size: The Undulate Triggerfish requires a 55 gallon or larger aquarium with extensive rock and caves for it to swim about and explore. It will without a doubt rearrange the aquarium landscaping and will excavate the substrate to its own desired layout. The Undulate Triggerfish may also bite or chew on pieces of rock or coral in order to keep its ever growing front teeth worn down.
Food and diet:The Undulate Triggerfish needs a varied diet of meaty foods including; squid, krill, clams, small fish and hard shelled shrimp. Hard shelled shrimp of similar items are more than just a food source, as they help wear down the ever growing teeth of the Undulate Triggerfish. It is also possible to hand feed the Undulate Trigger as they will quickly learn where their food comes from and will eagerly await each feeding.
Reef Compatability: Not suitable for a reef aquarium as it feeds on a wide-range of invertebrates.
Level of Care: Easy
Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1" to 2"; Medium: 2" to 3-1/2"; Large: 3-1/2" to 5"

Small $24.99 Medium $34.99 Large $49.99
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Photos are representative of each species. Each animal is unique and variations should be expected.
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