Picasso Triggerfish

Huma Huma, Humuhumunukunukuapau'a, Whitebanded Triggerfish, Painted Triggerfish

Family: Balistidae Picture of a Picasso Triggerfish - Huma Huma Trigger - Whitebanded Triggerfish - Painted TriggerfishRhinecanthus aculeatusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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Been keeping marine fish for well over 35 years and my current fish is a Picasso Trigger I named Pablo (sorry, couldn't resist). I bought him for my youngest son's... (more)  Frank P.

   The Picasso Triggerfish or Huma Huma Trigger (Whitebanded Triggerfish or Painted Triggerfish) is a very popular triggerfish probably because of its' very interesting color and unusual patterning.

   It is quite striking with the line markings of yellow, blue and black adorning a mostly white body. This fish will emit a 'whirring' sound when it is startled.

   To maintain a peaceful tank that houses triggerfish, be sure to provide lots of room and a cave or rocks for a retreat area. Also house appropriate fish together that have similar needs and can hold their own. In this case larger protein eaters such as groupers, surgeonfishes, and basses, Some eels and puffers can be appropriate too.

  The Picasso Triggerfish or Huma Huma Trigger are known to have a pretty good disposition for a trigger and are generally a peaceful fish.

For more Information on keeping this fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium

Geographic Distribution
Rhinecanthus aculeatus
Data provided by FishBase.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Tetraodontiformes
  • Family: Balistidae
  • Genus: Rhinecanthus
  • Species: aculeatus
Picasso Triggerfish, Rhinecanthus aculeatus

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Picasso in captivity

One of the slightly smaller triggers, the Picasso Triggerfish only grows to 9.8," unlike other genus that can grow to 1.5 to 2 feet so they only need a tank that is 180 gallons, unlike the 300 gallons that a Clown Trigger needs. That being said they will attack many inverts except large stinging cnidarians like the carpet anemones. One of the other large anemones can be seen at 0:32 of this video. The clownfish knows he is safe from this aggressive trigger. As juveniles, they are quite mellow and will eat from their owner's hand and act more like a dog than a fish! It is when the get older that they become very angry and should only be housed with fish of the same size or larger. They can be housed with others in the same genus if added at the same time into a larger tank. Provide open areas to swim and secure air-line tubing and electric cords because, like dogs... .they like to chew..... oh and they like to rearrange aquarium decor! Provide them with lightweight objects that they can move around for maximum entertainment.

Maintenance difficulty:   The Picasso Triggerfish or Huma Huma Trigger is easy to keep. Triggers are among the hardiest of all marine fish.

Maintenance:    Feed all kinds of live, frozen, and flake foods. Best to feed small amounts several times a day. We generally feed squid, shrimp (the same kind people eat), mussels, and all kinds of chopped up fish.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    Picasso Triggerfish are found in the Indo-Pacific: Red Sea south to South Africa and east to the Hawaiian, Marquesan, and Tuamoto islands, north to southern Japan, south to Lord Howe Island. Eastern Atlantic: Senegal to South Africa. Commonly found in subtidal reef flats and shallow protected lagoons. Juveniles are secretive in rubble patches, adults swim about openly but are usually shy. They are a territorial fish.

Foods:    In the wild they feed on algae, detritus, mollusks, crustaceans, worms, sea urchins, fishes, corals, tunicates, forams, and eggs. In the aquarium they should be fed all kinds of meaty marine foods, cut up fish, shrimp, squid, etc.

Social Behaviors:    Can be aggressive towards members of its own species and fish that are the same size.

Sex: Sexual differences:    Unknown.

Light: Recommended light levels:    No special requirements.

Breeding/Reproduction:    Unknown.

Temperature:    No special requirements.

Length/Diameter of fish:    Picasso Triggerfish or Huma Huma Trigger (Whitebanded Triggerfish or Painted Triggerfish) adults can grow to 30 cm (12 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 60 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    No special requirements.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom    No special requirements.

Availability:    This fish is generally readily available.

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Lastest Animal Stories on Picasso Triggerfish

Frank P. - 2015-04-01
Been keeping marine fish for well over 35 years and my current fish is a Picasso Trigger I named Pablo (sorry, couldn't resist). I bought him for my youngest son's 12th birthday. In a few months my son will be 30 and Pablo is still going strong! I'm guessing he was at least 1 year old when I bought him, so that makes him 18, going on 19! He has outlived a polka-dot grouper and a medium sized black lion (he started nipping at the fins of the Lion, so I took the Lion back). He has lived alone for about 12 years now and has an attitude and a half. Knows members of my family and will act like my Dachshunds when it's dinner time. Does 75Gal wind-sprints till I drop in some food. Still has his original color, is quite large and hates it when I do maintenance! Has gone after the sponge, steel scraper and on 3 occasions, my hand drawing a little blood each time. Even with all of that, I wouldn't trade him for anything. Best fish I could have ever hoped to have - When his time is up, he will get a funeral with honors.....

  • Clarice Brough - 2015-04-09
    What a wonderful and fun fish you have! We have a similar fish experience... but it's with a Maroon Clown though at only about 25 years, and its companion is a Haddon's Carpet Anemone.
some kid - 2004-05-03
Picasso Triggers are great fish to keep. i have a picasso and a bluethroat trigger in my saltwater reef (yes, i have soft corals, anemones, and polyps with them) and they are doing great! they never bother any of the other fish or corals, and always come to greet you at the front of the tank. they are very herdy, and should mention that i am a kid, and this is the first saltwater tank i set up. they are great, and i would recommend them to anyone who wants a smart, hardy, and peaceful saltwater fish.

  • Carel Mouton - 2014-06-20
    Who says you can't keep triggers together. I have two Picassos, an Undulate, a Clown, a Nigger and an Indian Trigger in my tank. They all live happily together without any issues. At one stage one of my tangs had an issue with my clown trigger but I took the tang out for a week and this resolved the issue.
d.rose - 2013-11-12
Been in the saltwater for 9 years, recently decided to go on the aggressive side, thanks to wife who fell in love with a 6inch humu humu beautiful! As many may hear this is not one of the aggressive triggers, story short, been going to local pet shop 26 years nothing this women daughter of owner wouldn't handle. When I asked for this fish, she refused and asked her brother to get it for me. Needless to say there was human blood in the tripled bag I brought home, been watching this fish for months, I put him in with a same size nigar trigger and he kicks his butt on a daily basis, by the way tank is 125 gallons but he lives peacefully with a few damsels and a snowflake eel and a clownfish. VERY AGGRESSIVE!

Jb - 2012-11-01
What are some picasso trigger fish tank mates for a 75 gallon fish only tank?

  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-11-02
    Some great choices out there; snowflake eels, smaller groupers, lionfish,  larger clown and other as long as not too small.  Triggers can turn at any time.