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Kiri Triggerfish

(Xanthichthys kiritimati)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 10"
• Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, KH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4 sg 1.020-1.026
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Christmas Island, Indo-Pacific
• Family: Balistidae   • Species: Triggerfish   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

The Kiri Triggerfish (Xanthichthys kiritimati) is a recently discovered species of Triggerfish found living in and around the deep water reefs of the Christmas Islands. They exhibit a deep white, silver and blue body with brilliant neon blue stripes on their face and a neon blue and orange tail fin. However, the Kiri Triggerfish is not only an attractive Triggerfish species, but also a reef safe species that will not harm corals or sessile invertebrates.

Like most reef safe Triggerfish, the Kiri Trigger is capable of consuming small fish species and cleaning crew members like crabs and snails. However, well fed specimens have shown not to be aggressive towards either fish or cleaning crew tank mates. Unlike many Triggerfish species, adult Kiri Triggerfish (Xanthichthys kiritimati) maintain a good disposition and do not tend to become more aggressive with age.

Thus the Kiri Trigger is one of the few Triggerfish that are suitable for reef aquariums and FOWLR aquariums containing peaceful community fish species. Due to their very limited availability and high demand, the Kiri Triggerfish is currently a very expensive and difficult to obtain species.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Kiri Triggerfish in the home aquarium.

Kiri Triggerfish require an aquarium of at least 125 gallons with a sand substrate and plenty of live rock for refuge (they enjoy caves) and territory. They greatly appreciate unobstructed swimming space where they can swim about freely. They should be provided with high quality biological and mechanical filtration as well as efficient protein skimming to ensure pristine water conditions, proper oxygenation, and a moderate amount of water movement.

Care should be taken if a need should arise to collect a specimen from the aquarium; they should not be collected with a net as their dorsal spine can shred it to pieces and they may also cause injury to themselves or others in the process. They should be collected by coaxing them into a collection container with a flattened net, that can then be used to cover the container to prevent escape and injury for all parties involved.

Although they are not aggressive, they will sometimes get into arguments with other Triggerfish and should be housed as the only Triggerfish in their aquarium (mainly for their own safety). They will usually get along with most semi-aggressive or even peaceful tank mates of a relatively similar size. They do well in reef aquariums, but may prey on crustaceans, mollusks and tiny fish if not well fed. They are ideal candidates for a peaceful to semi-aggressive, large FOWLR systems.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Kiri Triggerfish.

Kiri Triggerfish are carnivores that eat mainly crustaceans and small fish in their natural habitat. In the aquarium they should be offered a wide variety of fresh or frozen marine based meaty foods like shrimp, clams, squid, mussels, krill and other meaty seafood items. They can also be fed high quality marine carnivore commercial pellet and freeze-dried foods. Feed them 2 to 3 times a day and only what they will eat within a few minutes.

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