Trumpetfish (Aulostomus Maculatus) Facts


Last updated on July 10th, 2022 at 03:51 am

The trumpetfish (Aulostomus maculatus) is a large and attractive fish with distinctive colors and markings. It’s sometimes referred to as the zoot fish, though there are many other species of fish that are known by this name as well. The trumpetfish grows to an average length of 100.1 centimeters (39.4 inches). It has large eyes and powerful jaws, which it uses to hunt shrimp, crabs, small octopuses, and even other fish at night.

Trumpetfish, or Zoot Fish as they are sometimes known, are exceptionally popular aquarium fish that can be found in both salt and fresh water environments around the world.

Ignore the funny name and you’ll find the trumpetfish (Aulostomus maculatus) to be quite the attractive, zoot fish species. With its tall dorsal fin, you can often spot it swimming near coral reefs where it’s known to dine on smaller fish, invertebrates, and algae.

Origin and descriptions

The trumpetfish is a saltwater fish found in tropical areas of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Some people refer to them as zoot fish because they are easy to catch; however, they may also be called Aulostomus maculatus. Their bellies are able to inflate with water so that they can float above sponges on which they feed.

The name trumpetfish is derived from its elongated snout, which looks like a horn or trumpet. Like other zoot fish, it has two dorsal fins along its back and anal fins underneath its tail fin. It also has small pectoral fins located behind its eyes. Trumpetfish have very poor vision but make up for it by having excellent hearing capabilities, which allows them to locate food sources through echolocation.

While there are several species of trumpetfish, each one has its own unique features that set it apart from others. For example, some have longer snouts than others or different color patterns. They grow up to 1 foot long and weigh between 2-6 pounds. They live in deep waters between 150-1,000 feet below sea level where they spend most of their time feeding on sponges or other soft sea creatures such as shrimp or crabs.

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Species profile

Trumpet fish

The trumpetfish belong to the family Aulostomidae, a group of marine fish that are closely related to cornetfishes. They are sometimes referred to as zoot fish because of their distinctive teeth. They have a very unique mouth structure in which they can create suction that allows them to suck in prey from long distances.

Trumpetfish have a small hole behind their eyes called an olfactory pit. This is connected to two organs known as lateral lines that run along either side of their body. These lines contain sensory cells that detect changes in water pressure or movement around them, allowing them to locate prey more easily. They eat shrimp-like creatures called copepods and other small invertebrates like krill and amphipods.

Scientific name

The scientific name of the trumpetfish is Aulostomus maculatus


A type of zoot fish, Aulostomus maculatus are among various types of marine life that live in tropical areas, including bays and lagoons. This particular species can be found in calm waters as well as coral reefs.

They are found worldwide in tropical seas. The fish prefer coral reefs where they feed on small fish, crustaceans, worms, mollusks, shrimp, crabs, and sea urchins. There are also smaller juvenile trumpetfishes that live in shallow sand flats where they feed on plankton.

The coral reef spawning areas for adult trumpetfishes can be found at depths between 1 to 984 feet (200-300 meters). The body of a trumpetfish is long and cylindrical with a large mouth filled with sharp teeth. The coloration of these fish varies from brownish-green to blue or red depending on their surroundings.

The average size of an adult trumpetfish is about 30 inches (75 centimeters) long but some have been recorded as large as around 40 inches (1 meter). Their maximum weight is about 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms). This species does not reach sexual maturity until it reaches about 20 years old.

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Trumpetfish can grow to a maximum size of 39.4 inches (100.1 cm) in total length, although common ones are seen at around 23.6 inches (60 cm) total length.

Tank size

Due to their big size, the minimum recommended tank size is 250 gallons (946.4 liters)

Tank requirements

The trumpetfish is a colorful fish found throughout most of Australia’s tropical waters. As a member of the Trumpetfish family, they grow up to 39 inches in length and live for up to 10 years in their natural habitat.

Because of their size, trumpetfish need a large tank with plenty of room to swim. As juveniles, they can be kept in tanks as small as 75 gallons. However, an adult trumpetfish needs a large tank; at least 250 gallons is recommended for one fish. They are also very active swimmers, so they need lots of open space.

If you’re planning on keeping more than one trumpetfish in your tank, it’s best to have a larger aquarium—at least 500 gallons per pair. The water should be kept between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

The pH level should be between 8.1 and 8.4, while salinity should fall between 1.020 and 1.025 specific gravity (SG). The ideal lighting schedule depends on what time of the year it is, 12 hours during summer months, eight hours during winter months.

Tank mates

Trumpetfish are a semi-aggressive schooling fish, so they’re best kept in schools of at least five. They do well with danios, tetras, gouramis, and other peaceful schooling fish. Some other good tank mates are angelfish, butterflyfish, clownfish, damselfish, gobies, grunts, hawkfish, lionfish, snappers, and triggerfish. However, it is always best to research your species before adding them to your aquarium as some species may not get along together.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Trumpetfish are actually generally peaceful. However, they have been known to bully smaller fish. This can lead to some territorial behavior in aquariums, so you’ll want to make sure that your fish has adequate room and plenty of hiding places so it can stake out its territory without hurting any other fish. It’s important to remember that trumpetfish do require an established tank with lots of live rock as well as other fish in order to thrive in captivity.

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Trumpetfish care


They have a very fragile operculum, which means they should not be kept in a tank with overly aggressive fish. They are best kept with small, peaceful fish that live close to sand on reefs; their care is relatively simple for an experienced aquarist.

The main concern when taking care of trumpetfish is making sure water quality is excellent, so many hobbyists consider them a challenging but rewarding fish to keep. There is some debate about whether keeping these fish in captivity at all is ethical, given how threatened they are by overfishing. As such, it’s important to make sure you know where your pet was sourced from before purchasing it.

What they eat

Trumpetfish are carnivores. Their diet consists of small fish, crustaceans, mollusks, squid, plankton, algae, and zooplankton. They can also be opportunistic feeders who will scavenge when necessary. In captivity, they have been known to eat live food such as brine shrimp or bloodworms.


The average lifespan of a trumpetfish is not known since this species is extremely shy in nature.

Trumpetfish facts


They are native to a range that extends from as far south as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, through Uruguay into north-central Argentina. This diverse species can be found in many different kinds of ocean habitats.

They have been found in coastal waters at depths of 3 to 60 meters, but are more commonly seen at depths of 20 to 30 meters. In some areas, they’re also found in estuaries and bays, and even freshwater rivers. Trumpetfish prefer water temperatures between 14°C (57°F) and 22°C (72°F).

Are trumpet fish poisonous?

No, they are not poisonous to humans. Despite their spikey appearance, they are completely harmless. However, if you do happen to get jabbed by one of these spikes, you will notice a burning sensation. It doesn’t hurt much, you’ll be fine in no time. They are also edible and are marketed locally as food fish.

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Trumpet fish species

There are 3 species of the trumpetfish, which are

  1. Aulostomus chinensis (Chinese trumpetfish)
  2. Aulostomus strigosus (Atlantic trumpetfish)
  3. Bluespotted cornetfish (Fistularia commersonii or smooth flutemouth)

Trumpet fish weight

The weight of a single trumpetfish is generally unknown as they can differ from species to species, depending on what you feed them.

Trumpet fish camouflage

Using special pigments containing chromatophores, they can change color to fit their surroundings. In order to both defend themselves from predators and to catch food, trumpetfish heavily depend on camouflaging themselves vertically amongst sea whips and other gorgonians instead of swimming. As far as trumpetfish are concerned, they can even mimic the movement of a sea whip by swaying back and forth while vertical