Aquarium Livestock Pet Care Guides



Indo-Pacific, Atlantic

Tank Temperature




Specific Gravity



Carnivorous; smelt, shrimp, scallops, snails, and clams; some are planktivores (Sargassum Trigger, Indian Trigger, Birdled Trigger, Pink Tail Trigger, Blue Jaw Trigger- these species are usually Coral and Community Safe).


Most aggressive and extremely territorial, but some planktivores may be more peaceful; known to bite fingers and equipment like heaters and power cords.


Generally not invert, community, or coral safe; because these fish eat a wide variety of crustaceans and inverts, they are not considered suitable in reef aquariums that may have these types of marine life present; best kept one to a tank.

Species Overview

Triggerfish are easily recognized by their distinct body shape and a thick dorsal spike that can be raised and lowered at will. When these fish feels threatened, are ready for sleep at night, or wants to secure itself against strong wave action, they can use the spine to wedge itself into a hole or crevice. Once a trigger has secured itself, it is next to impossible to remove it from its hiding place. These fish may lay on the bottom of the tank or hide in a corner if they can't find an adequate place to feel secure, so they appreciate rock or other ornaments where that can retreat. Use caution when netting these fish as the spines and rough scales can become tangled in the mesh.

Triggerfish are voracious carnivores and will need to be fed a varied diet of meaty foods including freeze-dried or frozen clam, krill, shrimp, and other similar items. They cannot be housed with inverts such as crabs, clams, urchins or crabs as these will be seen as a quick snack. Tank mates should be chosen carefully, and they should be large enough and tough enough to hold their own against a feisty trigger.

Be aware that these are very active fish, spending most of their time in the open searching for food or other fish to chase. Some can be downright mean, killing tank mates or biting electrical cords, fingers, or anything else that breaks the water's surface. Be aware of the temperament of any trigger species you may want to house in a tank before they are introduced. Even small triggers can cause big issues as they mature or become established. Triggers from the genera Balistes and Balistoides are generally the most aggressive species and should not be kept with corals, inverts or small fish. Odonus, Melichthys, and Xanthichthys genera are generally less aggressive and destructive. These fish are planktivores and some may even be kept successfully in community or reef aquariums.

We always suggest that you do further research before adding a new pet to your tank. What we have provided for you are guidelines and suggestions. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our fish room at 717-299-5691 ext. 1213 or

Recommended Items

Frozen Aquarium Food
Salt Mix
Aragonite Sand
Coral Ornaments