The study described here examined the effects of cavitation nuclei characteristics on histotripsy. High-speed optical imaging was used to compare bubble cloud behavior and ablation capacity for histotripsy generated from intrinsic and artificial cavitation nuclei (gas-filled microbubbles, fluid-filled nanocones). Results showed a significant decrease in the cavitation threshold for microbubbles and nanocones compared with intrinsic-nuclei controls, with predictable and well-defined bubble clouds generated in all cases. Red blood cell experiments showed complete ablations for intrinsic and nanocone phantoms, but only partial ablation in microbubble phantoms. Results also revealed a lower rate of ablation in artificial-nuclei phantoms because of reduced bubble expansion (and corresponding decreases in stress and strain). Overall, this study demonstrates the potential of using artificial nuclei to reduce the histotripsy cavitation threshold while highlighting differences in the bubble cloud behavior and ablation capacity that need to be considered in the future development of these approaches.