Picasso Triggerfish

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Rhinecanthus aculeatus - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Picasso Triggerfish

A definite eyecatcher with a somewhat enigmatic personality. Scott W. Michael


The legendary Hawaiian Humu-humu-nuku-nuku-apua'a makes a fascinating pet. It readily adapts to aquarium living and will delight its owner with its interesting behaviors, even making a soft grunting noise when threatened.

See: Model Species Aquarium

Family: Balistidae

Other common name(s):

  • Humu Humu Triggerfish
  • Blackbar Triggerfish

Native range:

Habitat: Reef-sand interface with lots of rubble. Provide several good hiding crevices and adequate swimming room.

Maximum length: 25 cm (10 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 285 L (75 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: All levels.


Omnivore. Feed meaty seafoods, as well as herbivore rations several times a day.

Aquarium Compatibility

The Picasso Trigger can be a bit of an underwater enigma. Some individuals behave perfectly with tankmates, while others change personalities and attempt to destroy smaller or more passive species. Some more peace-loving individuals may also snap and start harassing their subordinates. That said, it can be kept with other large, potentially aggressive, species. Juveniles are more passive than adults, and it is less of a threat to its neighbors in a larger tank. It will eat a wide range of ornamental invertebrates—thus, the reef aquarium is not a good home for this fish.


Demersal (on or near the bottom) spawners that tend and protect their broods.


This is an active fish that always seems to be trying to figure out how to find another meal. It will lift coral rubble and shells as it searches for hidden prey, and may even rest on its side and use its pectoral fin to dig in the sand.

Reference: 101 Best Saltwater Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM