The Golden Heart Trigger is one of the newest and most exciting fish in the aquarium hobby. Golden Heart Triggers have light, yellowish colored bodies covered in dark spots and blue markings. Their most notable feature is a bright golden spot on each side.
As a member of the Balistes genus, the Golden Heart Trigger is fairly aggressive. They will prey on most invertebrates and even small fish, and are not suitable for reef aquariums. Once acclimated, the Golden Heart Trigger is not a fussy eater. It will readily accept most prepared or frozen meaty foods like smelt, shrimp, scallops and clams. Take care when maintaining the aquarium as a finger may look appetizing to an especially bold trigger!
Most Triggerfishes are brightly colored and marked with patterns of lines and spots. They are easily recognized by their deep flat bodies, small pectoral fins, small eyes placed high upon the head, and rough rhomboid-shaped scales that form a tough covering on their body. Near the area in front of the tail they have some prickly, spike-like rows of spines. Even though quite small, these tail spines can scratch and cause injury to a person or other fishes. Also because of the rough, spike-like texture of these fish's bodies, they can easily get caught in an aquarium net, and once snagged it can be difficult to remove them from the material without some scale damage occurring.
Triggers are extremely territorial and seem to be on the move most of the time. In general they do get along with most other fish. They need plenty of room to move around, as well as establish a territory of their own with as little infringement from other tank mates as possible. With a tendency to be aggressive towards other Triggerfishes, especially those of the same species and sex, usually putting them together is not a good idea. Their nature can be unpredictable. Sometimes they can harass and pick on other fishes, and other times they may get long just fine. When keeping other fish with a Trigger, the closer the other fishes are to the same size as the Trigger, the less chance harassment will occur. It is best to place Triggers in an aggressive fish-only tank community along with other larger non-related species such as Groupers, Lionfishes, Snappers, Eels, Hawkfishes, Tangs and Surgeonfishes.
Maximum Size: The Gold Heart Trigger grows up to 9 inches in length.
General Size: The Gold Heart Trigger generally comes in size varying between 4 to 8 inches.
Minimum Tank Size: A 150 gallon or larger aquarium with rocks and caves provides a good habitat. It will rearrange the landscaping and rocks as it wanders in and out of the caves.
Tank Conditions: The Gold Heart Trigger should ideally be kept in temperatures between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. A pH value of 8.1 or 8.4, and a specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.025 should be maintained. When kept with invertebrates, the specific gravity range should be 1.020 to 1.025, for the invertebrate species. In a fish only aquarium, the specific gravity should fall between 1.020 and 1.023.
Reef Tank Compatibility: Because these fish eat a wide variety of crustaceans and invertebrates, they are not considered suitable in live rock or reef aquariums that may have these types of marine life present.
Diet and Feeding: The Gold Heart Trigger needs a varied diet of meaty foods including; squid, krill, clams, small fish and hard shelled shrimp to help wear down their ever growing teeth.