- Scientific name: Ballistidae, Balistidae
- Common name: Triggerfish, Hogfish, Pigfish, Tamborfish
- Aquarium size: 1,000 liters
- Temperament: Aggressive
- Temperature: 24ºC to 26ºC
- pH: 8.2 to 8.4
- Diet: Carnivores
- Length: Up to 50 cms
The Ballistidae, Balistidae, Pejepuercos or Triggerfish, are marine fish highly valued by aquarium enthusiasts.
The group is called Triggerfish in reference to its dorsal fin that functions as a trigger , and serves as natural protection.
We can find triggerfish of different sizes and colors, although I would highlight the Clown triggerfish, for its original color, with dots and stripes.
As it is a large group of fish, of which there are at least 40 species, we can find some varieties that could be kept in a community aquarium, although in general they are territorial and aggressive fish.
We can find triggerfish of different sizes, ranging between 20 cm and 50 cm long.
They all have a common characteristic, which is what the pseudonym offers the group: triggerfish.
It is an erectile spine that forms the first radius of your dorsal fin, the second radius of the dorsal fin allows you to unlock the spine and keep it in the same position . In turn, the unlocking of the second spoke is ensured by a third, much smaller spine that forms the third spoke of the dorsal fin.
This is a protection mechanism against natural predators, which together with its tough and strong skin as a shell, makes it a quite dangerous rival.
The other identifying characteristic of triggerfish concerns their very strong and robust jaws, equipped with teeth that form a kind of beak , with which they break the branches of the coral and the shells of the mussels.
His eyes are located on the top of a large head. They are small and have the ability to move independently.
Trigger fish species
Distribution and habitat
Triggerfish are found in the wild in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, as well as in the Red Sea.
Their favorite waters are shallow, close to the reefs and rocky slopes, where they find their food.
They need large aquariums. Most should be raised in an aquarium of about 1,000 liters.
The good news is that they are often easily acclimated to living in captivity.
Regarding water quality, the most common parameters are:
- Temperature between 24ºC and 26ºC
- pH between 8.2 and 8.4
- Density between 1.023 and 1.026
Remember the shape of their mouth … they like to feed on hard-shelled animals, such as crabs , lobsters, prawns , sea urchins, starfish and sometimes they also eat coral branches, sponges and algae.
In the aquarium we must avoid including them with species of fish smaller than it, since they run the risk of being part of their diet.
Behavior and compatibility
Balisitids are solitary and territorial fish, which are aggressive towards others of the same species to defend their space.
In the fights that they maintain to defend their territory, the triggerfish can make perfectly audible sounds.
They are fish that show a certain intelligence and that can be affectionate.
Inside the aquarium they must be in the company of fish of a certain size, since small ones, mollusks or crabs, would serve as part of their diet.
Depending on the species of fish the Ballistids, we could be facing a more or less sociable fish to live in a community aquarium.
The reproduction of the Ballistids can vary somewhat depending on the specific species, but they are generally polygamous fish. The males can fertilize several females at the same time, usually between 3 and 10.
Spawning takes place in the territory of the male, who is usually the one who takes care of them until they hatch.
It can also be the case that the female has its own territory within the male’s territory, then the laying would take place in its own territory.
During the breeding season some species become very aggressive. They defend their nests from all kinds of intruders, regardless of their size … some divers have been attacked when entering their spawning territory.
The hatching of the eggs sometimes happens on the same day. The laying is carried out in the morning, and at dusk the hatching takes place.
When the fish are born they are very small and their parents are in charge of their care.