Care Level: Easy
Reef Compatible: With Caution
General Description: The Redtail Triggerfish, also referred to as the Sargassum Triggerfish, is endemic to the Caribbean Sea. Sometimes confused with the Crosshatch Trigger (Xanthichthys mento) because it too may also be referred to as a Redtail Trigger. The body of a Redtail trigger is grayish-lavender in color and covered in evenly spaced dark spots. The tail (caudal) fin is an orange-red color for which it gets its name, and above the eyes are a bright white-blue highlight that adds personality to this trigger. All triggers in the genus Xanthichthys are considered reef safe because they will not nip at coral. Caution should still be exercised with the invertebrate clean-up crew, such as ornamental shrimp that could be preyed upon. A quirky observation about the Redtail trigger is that they eventually “get to know” the hobbyist as the one who cares for them, thus become extremely friendly and even puppy-like. The demeanor of Redtail triggers makes them a versatile fish, in that they are good candidates for both community and semi-aggressive tanks. Sexing male and female Redtail triggers is difficult compared to other species in the genus Xanthichthys, so only one individual per aquarium is recommended. An adult Redtail trigger can reach a size of approximately 10″.
Diet Requirements: Redtail triggers are carnivores. A diet consisting of various proteins and frozen preparations such as brine shrimp, squid, mysis shrimp, krill, chopped fish, and clams will maintain optimal health and coloration. We highly encourage soaking frozen foods in vitamin and fatty acid supplements, as triggers are continually active and have high metabolisms.
Care Requirements: A minimum 125 gallon aquarium that is at least 12″+ wide is ideal. Smaller specimens can be temporarily raised in smaller quarters (no less than 90 gallons) as long as it is upgraded accordingly. The Redtail trigger appreciates some live rock in the aquarium, especially caves and crevices to take refuge in if felt threatened. Compatability with other trigger species is variable, but a Redtail trigger would certainly be outcompeted and bullied by more aggressive species (e.g., Clown, Queen). Redtail triggers will not nip at coral but are to be added “with caution” into a reef aquarium as it will vary individual to individual about whether the invertebrate clean-up crew is in danger. Xanthichthys triggers can be quite shy upon introduction and should not be kept with overly aggressive tank-mates long term in order to thrive and be active in the open. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025.
Purchase Size: Small: 2-1/2″ to 3″; Medium: 3-1/2″ to 4″; Large 4-1/2″ to 6″
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.