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TriggersTriggers

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Queen Trigger - Balista vetula - Queen Triggerfish

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Triggers

One of the interesting categories of pet fishes is that of Triggers that belong to Balistidae Family. Their large, non-overlapping scaled and spotted body distinguishes them from the other categories of fishes. Fresh Marine offers a broad spectrum of Triggers to grace your aquarium. However, prior to moving on to them, lets look at some of the distinguished features of Triggers.

Compatibility. Triggers are usually aggressive and destructive in nature, which is why they are not readily preferred for Community or Reef Tanks. These fish should be kept in large tanks because larger the tank the lesser the risk of destruction and aggression. Aggressive and big sized Triggers should be kept with large and aggressive fishes in an aquarium. If kept with small fishes, the thin & tiny ones will be eaten by the enormous species.
  • Habit & Habitat. Triggers largely inhabit warm coastal waters in Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Indo-Pacific. Triggers are mostly Diurnal and solitary in habit, and live on Shallow Reef Edges with sandy bottoms and Seaward & Lagoon Reef areas. They have a unique ability to erect the first two Dorsal Spines in such a way that the first one locks and the second one unlocks, which in turn protects them from predators. They have inherited the name “Triggers” owing to this locking and unlocking behavior of theirs.
  • Morphology. These bright colored hardy fish have round, laterally flat body with an interior Dorsal Fin. Triggers have tough Skin covered with rough rhomboid-shaped Scales and are usually 30-75cm long. Triggers have a big, angular-shaped Head, strong Jaws, and sharp Teeth.
  • Aquarium Environment. Triggers require a Specific Gravity of 1.020-1.025, a pH of 8.1-8.4, and a Temperature between 72-78°F, in the tank. Keep ample Rocks & Caves in the aquarium for hiding.
  • Aquarium Feeding. Triggers are Omnivores and usually like to feed on Hard-Shelled Invertebrates, Shrimp, Squid, Fish, Shellfish, Tunicates, Corals, Sea Urchins, Crustaceans, large Zooplankton, and Algae.


  • Now, lets look at the various Triggers, species available on Fresh Marine.

    Genus – Xanthichthys
  • Blue Jaw Trigger Fish (Xanthichthys auromarginatus). Also known as Bluechin Triggerfish and Blue Throat Trigger Fish, these Triggers have a small Pectoral Fin, fused to one Spine. Probably, one of the best Triggers for Reef Aquarium, these fish don’t require expert handling and can grow up to 14” in length. They require a minimum of 75Gallons of tank capacity and can be kept with a large variety of other fishes, except small reef fishes.


  • Genus - Pseudobalistes
  • Blueline Trigger Fish (Pseudobalistes fuscus). Also known as Bluelined Triggerfish and Rippled Triggerfish, these Triggers are striking Blue in color. Growing up to 22” in length, these Triggers require at least 80Gallons of aquarium.


  • Genus – Rhinecanthus.
  • Bursa Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus verrucosus). Also known as Black Patch Triggerfish and Blackbelly Triggerfish, these Triggers have a half White and half Yellow Face with a pencil-thin Moustache and a colorful mask across the Eyes. Bearing large black patch on their abdomen, these Triggers have a Yellow colored body. Growing up to 9” in length, these fish require at least 75Gallons of water.
  • HumaHuma Picasso Trigger Fish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus). Also known as Huma Picasso, Lagoon Blackbar Triggerfish, and Humuhumu Picasso Triggerfish, these Triggers may disturb the aquarium accessories & fittings. Growing up to 10” in length, the Humuhumu Triggerfish requires minimum 100Gallons tank.
  • Rectangular Trigger Fish (Rhinecanthus rectangulus). Also known as Rectangle, Reef Wedge-Tail Triggerfish, Humu Rectangle Triggerfish, Wedge-tailed Trigger, and the V-line Humuhumu, these Triggers have a Pearly White Face and two Blue and Black stripes across the Eyes. It is also recognized by its V-pattern outlined in Yellow, which highlights the posterior section of its body. As one of the popular aggressive tank mates, growing up to 12” in length, Rectangular Triggerfish requires 75Gallons or larger aquarium. It produces a grunting voice.


  • Genus – Balistoides.
  • Clown Trigger Fish (Balistoides conspicillum). These Triggers have strong Jaws. Being attractively colorful, Clown Triggerfish is one of the most sought out buys for Aquariums, despite its aggressive disposition. Growing up to 14” in length, these fish require a minimum of 100Gallons of water.


  • Genus – Melichthys.
  • Hawaiian Black Trigger Fish (Melichthys niger). Also known as Black-Finned, Indian Black Triggerfish, Indian Triggerfish, and Black-Finned Triggerfish, these Triggers have a Brown Body and Black Fins with White lines at the base of Dorsal and Anal Fins. Growing up to 10” in length, these fish require at least 90Gallons of water.
  • Pinktail Trigger Fish (Melichthys vidu). Also known as Pink Tail Trigger and Hawaii Triggerfish, these Triggers have beautiful Emerald-Green body and a bright Pink Tail. Growing up to 14” in length, a 75Gallons, or larger aquarium provides a good environment to these Triggers. You can keep these Triggers in Reef Tanks but with caution.


  • Genus – Odonus
  • Niger Trigger Fish (Odonus niger). Also known as Redtooth Triggerfish, these Triggers can routinely swap their body color between Green and Blue with a striking, light Blue highlight on the Fins and long Tail Lobes. With non-aggressive behavior towards tank mates, it is suitable to keep these fish in Reef Aquaria. Growing up to 12” in length, these Triggers require a minimum of 75Gallons tank. It generates a Grunting sound when taken out from the aquarium.


  • Genus – Abalistes.
  • Starry Trigger (Abalistes stellatus). Also known as, Starry Triggerfish, these Triggers have a tanned body with many dark spots that fade to Yellow towards the posterior side of the fish. Growing up to 21” in length, these Triggers require a 125Gallons or larger aquarium. These Triggers are relatively friendly and can be kept with the other species of same or larger sizes. These fish are not suitable for Reef Aquariums and can eat Crustaceans & Invertebrates.


  • Genus - Balistapus.
  • Undulate Trigger Fish (Balistapus undulates). Also known as Orangelined Triggerfish and Orangetailed Triggerfish, these Triggers have an attractive, Emerald-Green body with Yellow-Orange vertical stripes. In a 55Gallons or larger aquarium, keep Undulate Triggerfish as a single Trigger in the aquarium as it can attack tank mates. These Triggers grow up to 12”.


  • Genus – Sufflamen.
  • White Tip Trigger Fish (Sufflamen chrysopterus). Also known as White Tail, Halfmoon Triggerfish, and White Tail Triggerfish, these Triggers have a Brownish-Black body with a Blue underbelly. Growing up to 10” in length, this specie requires 125Gallons or larger aquarium.


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