Clown Triggerfish

Scientific NameBalistoides conspicillum
Common Name(s)Clown Triggerfish, Bigspotted Triggerfish
OriginIndian and Pacific Oceans
Temperature Range75-82°F
Water ParametersdKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Adult Size20in
DietFish, shrimp, squid

Clown Triggerfish Facts:

1. Females blow water across their eggs to keep them with plenty of oxygen

2. Known to attack divers

3. Can rotate each one of its eyeballs independently

Clown Triggerfish

Clown Triggerfish

The Triggerfish are the silent hunters of the aquarium world.  Their sleek, oval shape with large head and protruding teeth make these guys a favorite fish to own.  These Triggers can be difficult to keep for the beginner but worth the effort for as established tank.

Physical characteristics

The Clown Triggerfish has bold and contrasting colors making it a prized fish for aquariums.  The background is black with white circles and yellow coloration around its eyes and dorsal fin.  These fish can grow to be up to 20” as adults.  They are usually found hiding in the corals and rocks amid the Indian and Pacific Oceans.  They use their strong teeth to break apart crustaceans such as shrimps and clams. 


Clown Triggerfish like to eat different types of meats including shrimp, squid, clams, and other fish.  If you are keeping them in a tank, then you can also provide fortified algae as well as frozen shrimp.  Triggers like to hide in the rocks and crevices so make sure to put food where they feel comfortable getting to it.  If not, you can have a sick Triggerfish on your hands real fast.

Clown Triggerfish in Aquariums

First and foremost, juvenile Triggerfish do not do well in captivity.  That’s why you don’t see many in stores.  So if you find one, don’t give in to the temptation.  Stick to the adults.  As mentioned before, they like to hide.  So make sure to have plenty of nooks and crannies for your Triggerfish to call his home.  The most foreboding aspect of the Clown Triggerfish is their temperament.  They can be quite aggressive, especially to smaller fish. This includes aggression to the point of eating smaller fish and shrimp in the tank.  Do not put a Triggerfish if you have a shrimp in your tank.  And beware if you have smaller fish like Damsels, you might be missing one or two if your Triggerfish gets hungry.  These fish are better suited for tanks over 100 gallons to have plenty of space to hide and maneuver. 

The Clown Triggerfish can be a hardy aquarium fish as an adult.  They would best be left to experienced tank owners due to their aggressive behavior towards other fish.  Not only will they eat smaller marine life in the tank, but they can cause, obviously, a great deal of stress within the aquarium.  In this stressful environment, all of the fish are susceptible to ick and other diseases that can wipe out an entire aquarium within days.

While beautiful to behold, beware the Clown Triggerfish.  If you have a large tank with no other fish, perhaps this animal would be a good choice if just to highlight his beautiful markings.  But if other fish are involved, it may be best to enjoy a more docile fish for your tank.

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