White-banded triggerfish: Characteristics, habitats, care and more…

White-banded triggerfish or Rhinecanthus aculeatus in scientific terms are interesting and weird fish of which really worth learning about.


Phylum: Chordata • Subphylum: Gnathostomata • Class: Actinopterygii • Subclass: Teleostei • Order: Tetraodontiformes • Suborder: Balistoidei • Family: Balistidae • Gender: Rhinecanthus • Species: aculeatus

The White-banded triggerfish fish possess the rhomboidal shape of the triggerfish and a series of lines that resemble Picasso’s paintings, this being the reason of their Spanish name: Pez ballesta Picasso  Moreover they belong to the genus Rhinecanthus within the family Ballistidae. This family is known generically as triggerfish or trigger fish because of the particular shape of their dorsal fin.

Habitat and Distribution

The white-banded triggerfishis have a wide presence, in the Indo-Pacific Ocean where we will find them   from the Red Sea to South Africa and from the east of the Hawaiian Islands to the north of Japan. It also frequents East Africa, from Senegal to South Africa

White-Banded Triggerfish. Indo pacific Ocean

The White-Banded Triggerfish’ General Characteristics

Within the main characteristics of this species, it can be mentioned that its size reaches 30 centimeters in length. According to several researches, the White-banded Triggerfish have a trichromatic vision, similar to that of humans.
Their body is divided into more or less geometric areas, each with a different design and color pattern.
Their spine is made-up by three little spines connected by a small membrane, which normally keeps hidden within a groove of the dorsal region. The smallest spine is the one that, with a movement similar to a trigger, allows locking the long spine.

Other Traits

Another interesting trait of this species is teething. Their mouth is small in relation to the size of their body, with very few teeth. However, this small number of incisors is compensated with an extraordinary force in the bite. For this reason any marine invertebrate, although protected by a strong shell, can become an excellent food for our gluttonous triggerfish.
A curiosity of these amazing marine fish is their ability to swim backwards for what they use the second dorsal and anal fins, both formed by soft radii. For swimming forward they also use the caudal fin.

White-banded triggerfish are very resistant to diseases, including Oodinium and other types of ectoparasites that can kill other fish populations in few days. They are not demanding with the water’s chemical parameters and they adapt well to many aquatic qualities. So, they are undoubtedly a highly recommended species for aquariums of fish with species of certain dimensions.

here we go.they aren’t clowns they are fish

White-banded Triggerfish’ Common Behavior

This is a tireless swimmer and is also very territorial. They tend to have aggressive attitudes if they feel threatened by protecting their territory vigorously against animals they consider to be intruders. However, in the case of human beings white-banded Triggerfish aren’t considered a huge threat because of their small size.

Among other highlighting aspects of the White-banded Triggerfish’s behavior, it worth mentioning that such territorial attitude is a characteristic that is present in both genres, since according to various studies it is known that the two sexes of this Species protect their respective territories.

White-banded Triggerfish’ Reproduction

What is known about the White-banded Triggerfish’s reproductive process is that that the spawning takes place just in the sunrise, when eggs are gradually placed on the sand, coral or algae debris. The eggs hatch during the same day And both parents take care of the offspring.

White-banded Triggerfish in Aquariums

These fish are carnivorous and their diet in their natural habitats is mainly based  in invertebrates of all kinds which includes crustaceans and molluscs. They  devour small fish and depending on the species some algae. In Aquarius a diet based on mush with protein base and vegetal will be perfect.
They are therefore species totally incompatible with invertebrates to which they will take as food. This includes sea urchins and starfish that can be pecked vivaciously.
In Aquarius small specimens, about 7 cm, can be maintained with sessile invertebrates such as Zoanthus or disc anemones. In addition, small scorpion fish like Pterois sp, Ángel fish  and wrasse fish of equal size can also share the aquarium with white-banded triggerfish. However, small fish can be reached by the Rhinecanthus’s predatory curiosity.

Adult specimens are much more dangerous and usually prey on peers even if they have lived with them for a long time. So, at this stage their tank mates must be of equal or superior size. They are totally intolerant with members of the same gender. They are usually found on an individual basis and sometimes as a couple.

Despite this apparent hostility the fish belonging to the Rhinecanthus genus are shy animals that will take a few days in get used to their new home and will not totally make presence until their hunger is very pressing.

The perfect aquarium to keep the species would be the one that offers many shelters and hideouts among the living rock. Due to the size of adults we must keep in mind that an aquarium of 200-300 liters will be enough for young specimens but we will have to think of much higher volumes for adult specimens.

Let’s have a final look of them

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