How to Keep Triggerfish in Your Aquarium

Picasso trigger fish
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Most Triggerfish are difficult to keep in a saltwater aquarium with other fish. There are some exceptions, however. Triggerfish, once acclimated into an aquarium, are fairly robust and will do well. Learn about different types of triggerfish and how to care for them.

  • 01 of 07

    Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides Conspicillum)

    Clown Trigger Fish in the Aquarium of the Biodomo of the Sciences Park in Granada, Spain

    Victor Ovies Arenas / Getty Images

    The Clown Triggerfish is one of the most sought after triggerfish in the ocean due to their gaudy colors and "personality". While larger juveniles and adults of the Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum) species will do quite well, the very small juveniles (often sold as "tiny") do not fare so well in an aquarium. This may be due to the frequent feeding requirements of the very small juveniles not being met. When their nutritional and environmental requirements are met, they do quite well in a marine aquarium.

  • 02 of 07

    Crosshatch Triggerfish (Xanthichthys Mento)

    Red tail triggerfish Xanthichthys mento
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    The Crosshatch is one of the few Triggers that can actually be a pleasure to keep. It is rarely aggressive towards its tank mates unless they are much smaller or introduced to the tank after the Crosshatch. If more than one is to be kept in the same tank, it is best to add a male and up to several females at the same time. The Crosshatch Trigger is one of the few triggerfish which you can actually watch go through a sex change, from female to male.

  • 03 of 07

    Gray Triggerfish (Sufflamen Bursa)

    Grey triggerfish (Balistes capriscus).
    wrangel / Getty Images

    Also known as Bursa Triggerfish, Lei Triggerfish, Green & White Triggerfish, White Lined Triggerfish, Scimitar Triggerfish, Scythe Triggerfish, and in Australia the Pallid Triggerfish, this is a Trigger that remains fairly small compared to the other species. Like most other Family Balistidae members, it is a fish that prefers to live a solitary life and does not do well with others of the same or similar species.

  • 04 of 07

    Hawaiian Black Triggerfish (Melichthys Niger)

    Coral reef fish Black Triggerfish or Melichthys indicus, seawater aquarium.
    Grigorev_Vladimir / Getty Images

    Hawaiian Black Triggerfish (Melichthys niger) is an omnivore that can be fed a mixed diet of shrimp, squid, clams, fish, and other meaty fares suitable for carnivores, as well as marine algae and vitamin-enriched herbivore foods. This triggerfish will normally do well in an aquarium with other fish of the same species. It recommended that multiple Black Triggerfish be introduced to the tank at the same time.

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  • 05 of 07

    Picasso Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus Aculeatus)

    Picasso trigger fish
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    The Picasso Triggerfish is not recommended for a reef tank. This fish eats a wide variety of crustaceans and other invertebrates, with the exception of stinging anemones such as the Stichodactyla or Carpet species for example.

  • 06 of 07

    Pinktail Triggerfish (Melichthys Vidua)

    Pinktail Durgon Triggerfish (Melichthys vidua)

    Jenna Szerlag / Getty Images

    While Triggerfish can be difficult to keep in an aquarium, the Pinktail Triggerfish is an exception. It may be a bit difficult to get them to eat when first introduced to the aquarium, but once they figure out that handfed foods are actually food, they adapt well. This fish enjoys the shallower waters outside the reef that has very rocky, stony or coral terrain where it can hide. Provide it with plenty of shelter and ample room to roam around.

  • 07 of 07

    Rectangular Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus Rectangulus)

    Fish Painted Triggerfish Rhinecanthus aculeatus
    Coldmoon_photo / Getty Images

    This fish is also known as Humu-Humu, Black-Wedgetail, Wedge-Tail, Pig-Nosed, Reef, and Painted Triggerfish. To help to reduce aggression towards other tankmates, provide ample room and shelter that will allow this fish to establish an adequate sized territory of its own.