Picasso triggerfish are also called Humu Picasso triggerfish or humu humu. Do you want to know a more detailed description of this beautifully marked fish? If yes, let’s dive right in.

Triggerfish is a member of a  little aquatic fish family called Balistidae. Picasso is one of the 40 different species of triggerfish. This amazingly attractive fish is marked with prints that resemble an abstract painting. Also known as black bar triggerfish, Picasso triggerfish is mostly found on reefs, especially in the Indo-Pacific regions. Because of being easy to take care of, Picasso is a favorite choice of the fish keepers from saltwater fish species. With its distinctive snout and fin, this fish is really easy to identify.

This beginner’s guide is going to help you in having a better understanding of the fish so that you can easily become a prepared keeper for this intricately printed, beautiful fish.

Picasso Trigger fish – Overview

Common Name

This fish is commonly called Picasso triggerfish. They are also known as Humu Picasso triggerfish, humu humu, or black bar triggerfish.

Scientific Name

The scientific name of this fish is Rhinecanthus aculeatus.

Habitat or Origin

Picasso triggerfish is originally found all over the Indo-Pacific Ocean in their tropical reefs and the sandy patches surrounding them. It also inhabits tropical and subtropical oceans all over the world, with the greatest population in Indo-Pacific. This fish prefers living in shallower waters near the reef side, which have plenty of rocks for them to hide in and search for food.

Average Size

In terms of size, Picasso is three or even four times larger than the rest of the tank fish. Their length ranges somewhere between 8-20 inches (20-50 cm)
Coloration Picasso triggerfish has vibrant blue and black stripes on the head and also has yellow stripes on the face. It has a Tan body.

Life Span

In the wild, they live up to 10 years and in captivity, with optimum care, they would live up to 8 years.


Picasso triggerfish is not a picky eater when it comes to the choice of food. This fish is carnivorous. Natural foods which are favorite among Picasso fish include snails, clams, squid, shrimp, krill, etc. Provide different varieties of food to your Picasso fish.

Gender Identification

It is very difficult to identify the gender of Picasso triggerfish; only during the spawning process you would be sure to know which of your fish is male/female
Behavior If you are looking for a fish that is active in your aquarium, Picasso Triggerfish may not be your choice. It is a fairly aggressive species that will defend its territory to the hilt. It can even eat smaller mates in the aquarium as well. They erect their spines while grunting as a sign of aggression and warning.

Although Picasso is one of the more easy-going aquatic animals, it can still end up being dangerous, especially in an aquarium full of smaller invertebrates and fish. But, don’t let these facts keep you from rearing this attractive fish. All that you need to do is to get the mix right, and Picasso is amazing.


Humu Humu is not reef-safe fish. This fish, as mentioned above, loves to eat invertebrates. Cerith snails, Skunk cleaner shrimp, any kind of crab peppermint shrimp, or even Nassarius would be on Picasso’s favorite menu. They usually attack fish that are less aggressive. Thus, when it comes to Picasso fish compatibility, it is often advisable to keep Picasso triggerfish in a fish-only tank which includes the rest of the aggressive fish, for example, the Lionfish, snowflake eels, and surgeonfish of the same size.

Always remember to check your tank daily to see if there is any sort of disturbance going on in your aquarium community. Another important point to remember is that you should avoid adding more fish as even aggressive fish which are smaller in size than Picasso can get preyed on.

Ideal Tank Conditions

Being a larger saltwater fish with a length up to 8-20 inches, a tank size of around 180 gallons or 680 liters is required for the Picasso triggerfish to live in. Sandy substrate is used in an aquarium with Picasso inside.

Plenty of places should be there for Picasso to retreat. These can include overhangs that can be used as a marine rock display, crevices, and caves. Lettuce-like faux corals with interstices are also a good space for Picasso fish to retreat to. Ornaments and rocks should be secure enough so that Picasso cannot hurt themselves by hitting them over.

Water Parameters

The optimum temperature which should be maintained in the aquarium ranges from 72 to 78℉ or 22 to 26℃ with sg of around 1.020 to 1.025 and dKH somewhere between 8-12.

Breeding In the wildlife, the reproduction of Picasso starts when the Male fish starts creating a harem around itself during the mating season. Fish usually spawns at dawn. The Male fish, first, fertilizes the female eggs and then leaves these fertilized eggs where the female fish takes care of them. The male fish then moves on. An extremely large space of territory is required for this process which is not possible to be recreated in a tank environment.

After the female lays eggs, it watches over them while fanning them with its fins. Eggs of Picasso hatch at an incredibly fast speed. Most of the developed larvae hatch and swim away till the sunset of the same day. This is how their breeding continues.

Common Diseases

The ulcerative disease known as tenacibaculosis.

Approximate Cost

In the USA, depending on the size, they cost around $70-$120 and in the rest of the world, they almost cost the same.

What to look at when buying

Examine for any peel of skin or torn fins and any infection around the gills. Pick the one which is active in the lot.

Species in the Market

Clown triggerfish, Reef triggerfish, Rhinecanthus fish.