Friday Fish Facts - Picasso Trigger Fish
The Picasso Trigger Fish (Huma huma nuka nuka apua a, Rhinecanthus aculeatus) is perhaps one of the most easily recognized saltwater aquarium fishes in the hobby due to it being very hardy, relatively inexpensive, having distinct vivid coloration on the head (similar in appearance to the David Bowie character Ziggy Stardust / Aladdin Sane), and wide brown and white angled strips on the body. The Picasso Trigger has a an aggressive and quirky personality, and should be kept in larger aquariums of 180 gallons or more to provide enough room to meet their territorial demands. Smaller Picasso Triggers have been successfully kept in saltwater aquariums as small as 55 gallons, however larger tanks are recommended to meet their needs as they grow. Make sure there is plenty of rock work and caves for the Picasso Trigger, as well as shells and crushed coral, which it will pick up and move around, until rearranged to it's individual taste.
Hailing from the Pacific Ocean, Picasso Triggers can be found from as far as South Africa and the Maldives, all the way to Fiji and Hawaii, where it is the state fish and known by locals as Huma huma nuka nuka apua a (roughly translated to "fish with a pig nose"), because of it's pig like face and the grunting noises it makes. The Huma Huma Picasso Trigger can reach a maximum size of 6"+ inches, however most in the aquarium trade tend to range in size from 1" to 3.5" inches. The Huma Huma Trigger requires a variety of meaty foods including squid, krill, clams, small fish and hard shelled shrimp to help wear down their continuously growing teeth. They have a voracious appetite and should be fed 3 to 5 times throughout the day.
The Picasso Trigger Fish is easy to acclimate, but is known to be territorial and aggressive towards other fish. It is recommended that it be kept with similar sized fish with equal, semi-aggressive temperaments. The Huma Huma Trigger Fish is not reef safe and is not recommended for reef tanks. It will eat crabs, shrimps and other crustaceans, and may occasionally scrape it's teeth on live rock to help wear them down. It is also known to eat sponges, stony corals, mollusks, worms, brittle stars and sea urchins.
In popular culture, the Picasso Trigger Fish is probably best known for the artist it was named after, Pablo Picasso. Earning it's moniker due to the colorful, symmetric and angular face and body markings that are similar to the wild, deconstructed, cubist style paintings the artist is known for.