Are triggerfish hard to keep?

Answered by Jason Smith

As someone who has worked extensively in the aquarium pet fish industry, including owning a fish collecting business, I can confidently say that triggerfish can be challenging to keep in a saltwater aquarium with other fish. However, there are exceptions to this generalization, and with proper acclimation and care, triggerfish can thrive in a home aquarium.

Triggerfish, like many saltwater fish, have specific requirements that must be met in order for them to thrive. They are often known for their aggressive behavior and territorial nature, which can make them difficult to keep with other fish. They may display aggression towards smaller or more passive tankmates, potentially causing harm or even death.

One of the main reasons triggerfish can be challenging to keep is their diet. They are omnivorous, meaning they eat both meaty foods and plant matter. In the wild, triggerfish feed on a variety of invertebrates, small fish, and algae. It can be challenging to replicate this diverse diet in a home aquarium. Many triggerfish will readily eat prepared foods such as pellets or flakes, but it is important to also provide them with a variety of live or frozen foods to ensure they are getting the necessary nutrients.

Another factor that makes triggerfish challenging to keep is their size and activity level. Most triggerfish species grow to be relatively large, often reaching a foot or more in length. They are active swimmers and require a spacious aquarium with plenty of swimming room. In smaller tanks, triggerfish may become stressed, which can lead to health problems and aggressive behavior.

However, despite these challenges, triggerfish can be successfully kept in a home aquarium. The key is proper acclimation and tank setup. When introducing a triggerfish to an aquarium, it is important to provide plenty of hiding places and territories for them to establish. This can help reduce aggression towards other tankmates and provide a sense of security for the triggerfish.

Additionally, tankmates should be carefully selected. It is best to avoid keeping triggerfish with smaller, more passive fish that may become targets of aggression. Instead, consider tankmates that are similar in size and temperament, or species that are known to coexist peacefully with triggerfish.

In terms of tank setup, a larger aquarium with plenty of swimming space and hiding spots is ideal. Live rock or other structures can provide both visual barriers and hiding places for triggerfish. It is also important to maintain good water quality and provide a varied diet to ensure the health and well-being of the triggerfish.

In my personal experience, I have successfully kept several species of triggerfish in home aquariums. With careful consideration of tankmates, proper acclimation, and a well-maintained tank, triggerfish can be a beautiful and fascinating addition to a saltwater aquarium. However, it is important to be aware of their unique needs and challenges in order to provide them with the best care possible.