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Hawaiian Black Triggerfish

(Melichthys indicus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 12"
• Minimum Tank Size: 90 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-79° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Indo-Pacific
• Family: Balistidae   • Species: Triggerfish   • Aquarium Type: Fish Only

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Hawaiian Black Triggerfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Hawaiian Black Triggerfish can be found living in a variety of locations from Hawaii and central Polynesia westward through Micronesia and Melanasia, East Indies, and the Indian Ocean to the coast of Africa, there are also similar species found in the tropical Western Atlantic Ocean. This species of Triggerfish is easy to care for if provided a large aquarium (100 gallons or larger) with plenty of room to swim, which makes it a good species for the beginning marine aquarists with a larger aquarium.

The Hawaiian Black Triggerfish is a very active swimmer that will swim all about the aquarium from one part of the rock work to the other. While not as aggressive as some other Triggerfish (Undulate Trigger & Clown Trigger) the Hawaiian Black Triggerfish is still considered an aggressive species, thus it should only be kept with other larger fish species in a fish-only environment in the home aquarium.

Hawaiian Black Triggerfish have oval that appear to be black in color from a distance, but on closer inspection under bright lighting their body is actually has very tightly interlaced dark blue and blue-green areas. The face has light blue accents on the forehead and around the eyes, with two bold white lines at the base of both the dorsal and anal fins. This species grows to about 10 inches and length and has a body that is a little bit more oblique than many other trigger species.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Hawaiian Black Triggerfish in the home aquarium.

Hawaiian Black Triggerfish require large aquariums (100 gallons plus) with both plenty of live rock or other rock work and large open areas for swimming. Similar to other Triggerfish, this species requires rock caves and crevices to swim in and out of and retreat to when feeling threatened, but unlike many other Triggerfish species kept in the aquarium environment, the Hawaiian Black Triggerfish also needs plenty of open room for swimming. In the wild they tend to live right on the outer edge of the reef, where they can sleep and retreat for safety in the coral and rocks, but also have easy access to open water on the edge and above the reef.

If kept in smaller aquariums, this species tends to be more aggressive and less tolerant of other similar species. However, if kept in large aquariums with lots of reef or aqua scaping, this species does very well with other aggressive, semi-aggressive or larger community fish species. Hawaiian Black Triggerfish are not recommended for reef aquariums as they can be destructive to some coral species and will often feed on ornamental crabs and shrimps living in the aquarium.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Hawaiian Black Triggerfish.

Hawaiian Black Triggerfish are omnivores that will appreciate a varied diet of both meaty food items and frozen or flaked herbivore preparations that contain marine algae and are vitamin-enriched. While this species will consume both frozen and flaked preparations, it is best to provide it a varied diet that also includes shrimp, squid, clams, chopped fish and other similar marine based fresh or frozen meaty foods. It is best to feed this species 2 to 3 times per day, what it will consume within 5 minutes. Like many other Triggerfish species, the Hawaiian Black Triggerfish can be trained to hand feed at the surface of the aquarium and is considered a bold feeder.

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