News / Species Spotlight / Popular Piscines - Blue Throat Triggerfish (08/27/15)

Popular Piscines - Blue Throat Triggerfish

In The Wild

Blue Throat Triggerfish are also called Gilded Triggerfish because of the golden fin rims displayed by mature males (pictured right & bottom). Females (pictured below) will lack this coloration as well as the distinctive blue throat or jaw. The largest wild Xanthichthys auromarginatus on record is 11.8 inches long, but a much more common adult size is seven to eight inches. While this is on the small side, this is a fish that is still frequently taken as a food fish by subsistence fishermen.

X. auromarginatus range throughout the tropical Indian and western Pacific Oceans; generally in areas of consistent current with heavy invertebrate presence. They can be found from very shallow water down to nearly 500 feet of depth, but a much more common depth is from 50 to 150 feet. They are frequently found in loose "schools" just above the bottom where they eat mostly small planktonic foods like copepods.

In The Aquarium

Blue Throats are one of the best, if not the best, triggerfish for marine aquariums. They grow slowly to a maximum size that isn't very large. They are a very hardy fish that is one of the least aggressive fish in the family. They are easily paired (or added in harems) and have been known to spawn in captivity.

Gilded Triggers like to swim and thus need an aquarium with some swimming space, but even more importantly, they relish having strong current to exercise in. Because this is such an active fish, it should be fed at least 2x per day. Luckily, this is a fish that will generally take pelletized foods fairly quickly, so aquarium keepers can use auto feeders for one or more of these feedings. That being said, it is still important to get this fish meaty meals regularly.

This is a fish that a reputation for being quite shy when first introduced to the aquarium, but is also a fish that will come to learn your patterns and recognize who is the "feeder". They will spit water out at you when waiting for the meaty foods and be very engaged in everything you do around the aquarium.

If underfed, they are likely to start eating snails, crabs and ornamental shrimps. Even if regularly fed they may consume some of these critters. With this in mind, they are still probably the best Triggerfish for reef aquariums as they are extremely unlikely to pick at sessile invertebrates. Hobbyists may just have to replace snails and hermit crabs a little more often than they previously did.

Scott W. Michael, Marine Fishes, 1st ed. (T.F.H. Publications Inc, New Jersey, 2001).
Rudie H Kuiter & Helmut Debelius, World Atlas of Marine Fishes, 1st ed. (IKAN-Unterwasserarchiv 2006)
In House Resources: Adam Mangino, Eli Fleishauer