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Golden Heart Triggerfish

(Balistes punctatus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 24"
• Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-82° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Tropical Eastern Atlantic
• Family: Balistidae   • Species: Triggerfish   • Aquarium Type: Fish Only

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Golden Heart Triggerfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Golden Heart Triggerfish can be found all along the tropical western coast of Africa, where they live in and around shallow coastal reefs. They are an apex predator for their environment, where at 2 feet in length they have very few natural enemies and plenty of food sources to choose from. Utilizing their extremely powerful jaws and unique "Trigger" shape, they are adept at getting into rocky crevices and extracting small crustaceans and bivalves on which to feed. They generally maintain a relatively small patch of reef as their territory and will aggressively defend this area against similarly sized and shaped competitors.

They can live with other fish species within a marine aquarium, but they must be very large in size and ideally having a different shape and feeding habits. As with most predatory marine species, it is very important to provide adequate territory, plenty of food and tank mates that do not present themselves as direct competitors in order to mitigate aggression within the aquarium.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Golden Heart Triggerfish in the home aquarium.

Golden Heart Triggerfish live along the West Coast of Africa where they inhabit rocky coastal reefs usually at depths of just a few feet down to about 150 feet. They spend the majority of their time patrolling the rocky reefs in search of crustaceans and small fish on which to feed. An aquarium housing the Golden Heart Triggerfish should have a sandy substrate and plenty of rock, live rock or coral rubble for the Trigger to swim about. The large size of the Golden Heart Triggerfish should be taken into consideration in regards to swimming room and tank mates.

In order to provide enough rock work and open swimming areas, nothing smaller than a 180 gallon aquarium should be considered, with a 300 gallon or larger aquarium making a more ideal setup. Also the large size and aggressiveness of the Golden Heart Triggerfish should be taken into consideration when selecting tank mates, with only other larger aggressive species like groupers, large wrasse, gruntfish, etc. being considered as suitable tank mates.

Providing plenty of swimming room, a large rocky reef providing plenty of territory and plenty of quality marine meaty foods will go along way in mitigating the very aggressive nature of the Golden Heart Triggerfish and should help with easing its aggression towards its tank mates.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Golden Heart Triggerfish.

In the wild, Balistes punctatus feeds primarily on crabs, bivalves and other similar crustaceans found in and amongst rocky coastal areas. However, Golden Heart Triggerfish are not picky eaters and will readily consume a wide variety of meaty marine foods including: shrimp, clams, scallops, fish flesh, squid, krill and other similar fair. It is important to provide them with quality marine based meaty foods in order to provide them all the vitamins and minerals that they need to maintain a healthy immune system.

It is not recommended to feed them non-marine based meaty foods like goldfish or other freshwater feeder fish as they do not provide much nutrition the Golden Heart Triggerfish, thus leading to a weakened immune system.

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