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Picasso Triggerfish

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Picasso, Reef or Blackbar Triggerfish, Rhinecanthus aculeatus

Picasso Triggerfish - Names

The Picasso Triggerfish is also known as the Blackbar Triggerfish, the Lagoon Triggerfish, the Whitebanded Triggerfish, the Painted Triggerfish, and the Humu Picasso Triggerfish. There is widespread confusion with the public between the identification of the Picasso Trigger and the Reef Trigger, Rhinecanthus rectangulus, which is surprising as it is fairly easy to tell them apart.  The name Humu Humu means "triggerfish" in Hawaiian and Humuhumu-nukunuku-apua'a refers to the pig-like snout that it and the Reef Trigger have and use to "root" around the reef.  

Picasso Triggerfish - Origins

The Picasso Trigger comes from shallow coral reefs and lagoons of the central and western Pacific, including the Red Sea. It has a tan body with dark bands. It has bright black and blue stripes on the top of its head and a yellow stripe from cheek to cheek. The eyes work independently to scan the reef.  

Picasso Triggerfish - Anatomy

Triggerfish have a double dorsal fin with a large spine in the front area of the fin. It uses the spine to lock itself into rocks and corals where it sleeps for the night, well protected from predators. Picassos have been known to sleep on their sides as well.

Picasso, Reef or Blackbar Triggerfish, Rhinecanthus aculeatus

Picasso Triggerfish - Aquarium Care

The Picasso is reasonably easy to keep, but is not reef safe and is not a good community fish. Picassos are also territorial, so it is best to keep only one in the tank. They are less aggressive than the Clown Trigger and a good choice for your first purchase of triggerfish. The tank should be a minimum of 75 gallons, with 140 gallons preferred. It should have plenty of places to hide plus open areas for swimming. 

Picasso Triggerfish - Feeding

The Picasso Trigger feeds on regular live, frozen and flake foods. This can include squid, shrimp, krill, mussels, pieces of fish, starfish, sea urchins, shellfish and small fish. Their diet can be supplemented with spirulina, algae, dried seaweed and quality flake foods. Triggerfish use their mouths to blow over invertebrates and attack them in their soft undersides. They can be very aggressive when eating.

Picasso Triggerfish - Breeding

There are no known sexual differences. Picasso Triggers are egg layers and they are not bred in captivity. The females builds a nest and cares for the eggs until they hatch, as well as looking after the newly hatched juveniles. Picasso, Reef or Blackbar Triggerfish, Rhinecanthus aculeatus Picasso, Reef or Blackbar Triggerfish, Rhinecanthus aculeatus

Scientific Name: Rhinecanthus aculeatus
Family: Balistidae
Care: Normal
Temperature: 25 - 27 C; 77 - 80 F
pH: 8.2 - 8.4
dH: 8 - 12
Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.023
Size: 30 cm; 12 inches
Breeding: Egg Layer
Life Span: years
Crustacean Safe: No
Coral Safe: Yes


Only one Triggerfish per tank.  Keep with large basses, groupers, large surgeonfish, aggressive eels, lionfish and puffers.  Do not keep with invertebrates.