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Crosshatch Triggerfish

(Xanthichthys mento)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 12"
• Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-79° F; dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Indo-Pacific
• Family: Balistidae   • Species: Triggerfish   • Aquarium Type: Fish Only

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Crosshatch Triggerfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Triggerfish swim by rippling their soft dorsal and anal fins, which allows them to swim backwards as well as forward, which can be advantageous when moving in and out of rock crevices. Triggerfish generally make good aquarium inhabitants because they are hardy, disease-resistant and easy to feed. Many possess a certain "personality," which further endears them to aquarists. 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."

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Crosshatch Triggerfish in the home aquarium.

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.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Crosshatch Triggerfish.

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 silver sides, 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.

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