Clown Triggerfish
Clown Triggerfish

Clown Triggerfish

Balistoides conspicillum

Clown Triggerfish

Common name: Clown Trigger, Clown Triggerfish, Big-spotted Triggerfish
Scientific name: Balistoides conspicillum
Max size: 20 in / 50 cm
pH: 8.1-8.4
Salinity: 1.020-1.025
Temperature: 72-78ºF (22-26°C)

The Clown triggerfish is an eye-catching species and the most popular trigger species. It is also as far as we know the only triggerfish that has been bred in home aquariums. It is readily available in fish stores and can be ordered online. It is however often quite expensive.

It has a brown body and the lower half of it is covered in large white spots. The mouth is surrounded by a yellow field whit a white edge. On its back the Clown triggerfish has a yellow to gold colored field. The tailfin peduncle is sometimes, but not always, of the same yellow/gold color. My description does not make this fish justice and I recommend that you look at the pictures to get a better opinion of how this fish looks. It only seldom grows to it full size in aquariums and a 10 in / 25 cm Clown triggerfish has to be considered large in aquariums. They have a rather long lifespan and can grow to be over 10 years in aquariums and even older in the wild.

The Clown triggerfish is an aggressive fish that should never be kept with smaller fish or invertebrates. You can house it with other aggressive fish that are large enough to stand their ground against the Clown triggerfish. They are not reef safe and should not be kept in reef aquariums. They eat invertebrates and can damage or tip over corals when they try to rearrange the décor. 

The Clown triggerfish is a very hardy fish once they have acclimatize to an aquarium and started eating properly. They can be recommended to beginners that have a marine aquarium large enough to house them.

The Clown triggerfish have sharp teeth and can bite if they feel threatened by you. Bites can be painful.

The Clown triggerfish originates form the Indo Pacific Ocean and can be found from the African east coast down to Durban, South Africa and eastwards to Samoa. They can be found as far north as Southern Japan and as far south as New Caledonia.

Clown Triggerfish care and aquarium setup:

The Clown triggerfish is a large fish and they need to be housed in large aquariums. The minimum tank size for keeping a Clown triggerfish should be considered 100 gallon / 400 L. As always when it comes to aquariums, bigger is better and an adult 20 inch / 50 cm Clown triggerfish will need an aquarium considerably larger than 100 gallon / 400 L. The Clown triggerfish prefers an aquarium that has a lot of caves and a few overhangs to explore, but also a lot of open space to swim in. It is important to provide it with a couple of suitably sized caves to sleep in. Make sure that the decoration is properly secured since this species likes to rearrange things and otherwise might cause accidents by causing rock formations to collapse.

The Clown triggerfish prefers a well lit well circulated aquarium with calmer shaded areas to rest in. They produce a lot of waste so good filtration is a must.

It is best suited for "fish only" and "FOWLR" tanks. They can do a lot of damage in reef aquariums.

Ideal conditions for the Clown triggerfish is pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025, and temperature 72-78ºF (22-26°C).

Feeding Clown Trigger

The Clown triggerfish is easy to feed and will accept most food types including flake food. In the wild they are omnivorous and the main part of their diet consists of sea urchins and other invertebrates. Feed your Clown triggerfish a varied diet including meaty food and vegetables. A good diet can be built around high quality flake food that is complemented with chopped up sea food such as shrimps and clams as well as frozen food and vegetables. Feed your fish 1-2 times a day.

Breeding Clown Triggerfish

The Clown triggerfish has spawned aquariums but no one has as far as we know successfully raised the fry. We do not have any information on the setup used during these attempts to breed the fish. If you want to try to breed this species you likely need a large aquarium. Simulating seasonal changes might trigger the Clown triggerfish to spawn.

Triggerfish Articles:

Arabian Picasso Triggerfish – Rhinecanthus assasi
Niger Triggerfish – Odonus niger
Picasso Triggerfish – Rhinecanthus aculeatus


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