Recently, I took a little field trip to one of the United States leading fish and coral wholesalers located right here in Southern California, Quality Marine.  The folks over at Quality Marine were kind of enough to open their facility and let me get a behind the scenes view of how fish and corals are imported, acclimated and then make their way into our aquariums. I was also given the opportunity to film and photograph a huge variety of awesome and even rare fish and corals during my visit.

Quality Marine has an enormous 40,000 sq ft facility that houses pretty much every type of aquarium animal from betta fish to super rare saltwater fish.



The state of the art filtration system is one the most advanced in existence which allows Quality Marine to successfully house a huge variety of aquatic animals and provide a healthy inventory for customers all over the world.

Interacting with some of the employees that work around the clock to care for the animals and seeing the careful attention these people pay to the health and well being of the animals was truly inspiring and helped me to appreciate the animals inside my aquariums even more.

Something I really like about Quality Marine is that they work tirelessly to support responsible and sustainable collection as well as aquaculture and captive breeding to help protect the longevity of the aquarium hobby and preserve the natural environment from which these animals come from. A majority of the corals Quality Marine offers are aqua cultured or Mari cultured and they were the first company to bring us captive bred yellow tangs, Yasha Gobies, Miliaris Butterflyfish, and the Hawaiian cleaner wrasse.  They also remain to be the only source for captive bred Banggai Cardinalfish in the US today.


Banggai Cardinalfish


Every single fish and coral that comes through the Quality Marine facility gets a special tag that contains a QR code.  Simply scanning the QR code allows you or your local fish store to get all kinds of great information about the particular animal including:

  • Common and scientific name
  • Suitable tank conditions
  • Diet
  • Country of Origin
  • Date of arrival and departure from Quality Marine

Our new partnership with Quality Marine is really exciting and I am proud to present episode #1 of Marine Depot Fish Facts where we are going to document different groups of aquarium animals in each episode.  Our first focus will be Reef Safe Triggerfish.

Classically, Triggerfish are large, aggressive aquarium fish that really have no place inside a delicate reef tank.  They can wreak havoc on your corals, inverts, tank mates and even uproot your aquascape in search for food!

A few unique species, however, behave substantially different than the norm for this family of fishes and make for a great addition to a large reef tank.  This is mainly because these Reef Safe Triggerfish naturally feed primarily on planktonic foods and have a more mild temperament compared to their invert craving cousins.

These Triggers are naturally found in deeper open water near the reef drop off zone so they are not accustomed to ravaging the reef in search of prey.



It is important to also understand the definition of reef safe.  These Triggerfish will not eat your coral but could very well disturb the rocks the corals grow on and if they are hungry enough, they could easily swallow a shrimp or two.


Crosshatch Triggerfish


Crosshatch triggers are arguable the most desired of the reef safe triggerfish because of the amazing coloration and ”crosshatch” body pattern.

With a maximum size of 11 inches they require a large aquarium of 180 gallons or more.

They should get a heavy diet of meaty foods such as krill, shrimp, clams, squid and small fish.


Bluejaw Triggerfish


Also called the Bluechin or Blue Throat triggerfish because of the patch of blue on the bottom jaw of the males.  With a maximum size of 9” the Blue Jaw Trigger should be kept in aquariums no less than 150 gallons with plenty of caves and rocks to hide in.

These carnivores need a solid diet of meaty foods to stay happy. Just like the crosshatch trigger which belong to the same genera these guys may rearrange your rocks but will generally not pose a threat to corals, invertebrates or tank mates.


Sargassum Triggerfish


Sometimes called the Red Tail triggerfish, this species comes from the Caribean, grows to a maximum size of 10” and should be kept in a tank no less than 150 gallons to feel comfortable.

Just like the other two reef safe triggers these guys need a diet consisting of meaty foods like squids, shrimp, clams, and other small invertebrates and may disturb your aquascape.

The Sargassum Triggers get their nickname because the Juveniles are often found hiding amongst the floating bunches of Sargassum weed in the open ocean.

The beautiful coloration, interesting personality and unique appearance of triggerfish really make them an awesome pet to keep in your home aquarium.  Please also feel free to share your experiences with  triggerfish in a reef tank.

Filming and working with the crew at Quality Marine was an amazing experience  and be sure to stay tuned because we have a ton of great ideas for future animal spotlight videos.