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Pinktail Triggerfish

(Melichthys vidua)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 14"
• Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-79° F, KH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4 sg 1.020-1.026
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Hawaii, Indo-Pacific
• Family: Balistidae   • Species: Triggerfish   • Aquarium Type: Fish Only

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

Pinktail Triggerfish (Melichthys vidua) originate from the coral reefs and rocky reef outcrops of the Indo-Pacific from the eastern coast of India to Hawaii. In their native habitat they have become quite popular with divers as they are very inquisitive and very willing to exhibit their strong personalities. These personality traits carry over to the aquarium environment as well, as Pinktail Triggerfish are well known within the hobby as being one of the more inquisitive and interactive species of Triggerfish.

Due to their need to explore and entertain themselves coupled with their large adult size of about 14 inches, Pinktail Triggerfish need to be housed in larger aquariums with plenty of live rock or other reef structure. Like other larger Triggerfish species, they do become increasing more aggressive as they grow in size.

Attaining a large adult size and being a fast growing species, hobbyists should put careful consideration into tank mates in order to avoid compatibility problems. Pinktail Triggerfish do best in FOWLR aquariums of 180 gallons or more, with plenty of live rock and tank mates that consist of other larger fish species capable of handling their aggressive nature.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Pinktail Triggerfish in the home aquarium.

Pinktail Triggers are often purchased at just 2 to 3 inches in length, at which time they can be adequately housed in aquariums as small as 55 gallons. However, they are a fast growing species that will within just 1 years time require an aquarium closer to 180 gallons in size.

In addition to physical space, they will ultimately put a lot of biological pressure on the filtration system as they are messy eaters with big appetites. Aquarium size and amount of live rock or reef structure is critical to successfully housing Pinktail Triggerfish with other large tank mates.

The larger the aquarium and the more territory created by live rock formations, the more content and docile the Pinktail Triggerfish will be. In smaller aquariums with less territory, the Pinktail Triggerfish will often exhibit extreme aggression toward its tank mates which often leads to their injury or death.

Ideally tank mates will consist of other large fish species that are hardy enough to handle the Pinktail Triggerfish and who have different feeding habits. Fish who are shaped differently and feed differently than the Pinktail will be less likely to be considered as competition and more easily accepted by an adult Pinktail Trigger. Small fish species, many invertebrates and all crustaceans will be seen as a food source to an adult Pinktail Triggerfish.

Pinktail Triggerfish will need both live rock and shelled food items like crustaceans in order to wear down their ever growing teeth. Foods like shelled crustaceans and other large meaty items combined with the Triggers messy eating habits produce a lot of waste that must be handled by the filtration system.

Excellent mechanical and biological filtration is crucial to maintaining quality water parameters in aquariums housing large carnivores like the Pinktail Trigger. Hobbyists will need to employ large canister or wet/dry sump filters in combination with power heads to provide additional water movement.

Plenty of water movement will ensure that leftover foodstuffs do not settle on the substrate and instead are kept in the water column where they can be picked up by the filter intakes. Large canister filters, sumps and wet/dry units are capable of housing large quantities of bio-media in order to provide plenty of surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow, which will allow for efficient biological filtration.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Pinktail Triggerfish.

Pinktail 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 shelled 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. It is generally best to feed them twice a day an amount of food that they will consume within five minutes. Providing plenty of variety in their diet is important as it helps to ensure that the fish will receive all the vitamins and minerals that they need to maintain a strong immune system.

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