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Picasso Triggerfish

(Rhinecanthus aculeatus)

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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, KH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4 sg 1.020-1.026
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Indo-Pacific
• Family: Balistidae   • Species: Triggerfish   • Aquarium Type: Fish Only

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

The Picasso Triggerfish or as it is also commonly referred to as the Humu-Humu, Lagoon, Pig-Nosed (rough translation of its Hawaiian name) or Blackbar Triggerfish is found from the Hawaiian islands southward to Polynesia and Australia, westward through Micronesia and Melanesia, through the East Indies including the Philippines, across the Indian Ocean, to the coast of Africa and the Red Sea.

This species enjoys shallower waters near reef structures where there are lots of rocks and crevice structures present to both hide in and search for food. The Picasso Triggerfish behaves in the typical aggressive manor of other Triggerfish; however, it may be housed with members of the same genus if they are added at the same time and/or if ample space is provided. The Picasso Trigger is best kept in an aquarium with other similar temperament aggressive species of the same size or larger, as it may opportunistically eat smaller less aggressive fish.

Picasso Triggerfish are easily distinguished by their angular body, distinctive color pattern (resembling a painters color palette), fin arrangement, and characteristic dorsal spine. This forward spine on the dorsal fin lies slightly above and behind the eye. It is very strong and rigid, serving as defense adaptation, that when raised can lock the trigger in a protective position within a rock crevice or cave, giving the Triggerfish its name.

This is a sturdy well-built species, that reaches a maximum length of about 12 inches. It has a small but powerful jaw, equipped with sharp, cutting teeth, which it uses to crack through shells. The eyes of the Picasso Triggerfish are set atop its head, and can move independently, which allows it to scan the reef for possible prey items.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Picasso Triggerfish in the home aquarium.

Picasso Triggerfish spend much of their time swimming about the reef looking for crustaceans, invertebrates and small fish to prey on. In the home aquarium, they will appreciate an aquarium that will allow them both plenty of swimming room and lots of rock or coral to swim about and hide in if threatened. They prefer to have rock caves or crevices to sleep in at night, in which they can lock their dorsal fin in place to securely lock them into place.

While Picasso Triggerfish are not nearly as aggressive as some other Triggerfish (undulate and queen Triggerfish), they are still an aggressive carnivore that should only be kept with other large aggressive fish species. In the aquarium it is important to provide plenty of rock or aquascaping to help to reduce aggression towards other tank mates, by providing ample room and shelter to allow this fish to establish an adequate sized territory of its own.

While this species can be successfully housed with other Triggerfish, groupers, large tangs and angelfish, it should not be kept with most smaller reef sharks as it may pick at the sharks fins. Picasso Triggerfish should also not be kept with most invertebrates or crustaceans, unless they are intended as a food item. Overall an excellent addition to large fish only semi-aggressive to aggressive aquariums with plenty of live rock or aquascaping and large areas in which to swim.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Picasso Triggerfish.

Picasso Triggerfish consume a wide variety of meaty items ranging from invertebrates and crustaceans to fish and coral. In the wild the Picasso Triggerfish will consume small crustaceans, starfish, worms, urchins, crabs, snails and less commonly fish, corals and tunicates. They are very versatile feeders that hunt around reef rocks and sand looking to prey upon crustaceans, mollusk and small fish. In the aquarium, they should be fed a mixed diet of meaty foods including live, frozen and flake carnivore preparations.

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