Starry Triggerfish

Family: Balistidae Picture of a Starry Triggerfish, Abalistes stellatusAbalistes stellatusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Heather Lettengarver
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I have kept this Triggerfish (2 in a tank). They are fine in a single, they just need their separate hiding places. I have had them in a Fish-Only tank now for a... (more)  Dhritiman Datta

   The Starry Triggerfish is identified primarily by the white "stars" on it's back. This juvenile specimen also has distinctive black markings extending to below the eyes and has the close set spots on it's body.

   Pictures of adult specimens show the black coloration and the spots faded but the stars on it's back are still identifiable.

Heather reports this about her Starry Triggerfish:
"On observing the Stellatus behavior for the past few months I have found it to be the least dominant Trigger in the tank. She does occasionally have a nip or two in her pectoral fins - given by the Niger also in the tank. The Stellatus avoids my juvenile Undulated, and though the Undulated does not act aggressive towards the Stellatus (yet) he often will steal the food right from her mouth and retreat to the rocks (he does not do this with the Niger). Of course this pecking order may change as they grow and it may just be particular to my fish."

For more Information on keeping this fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium

Geographic Distribution
Abalistes stellatus
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  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Tetraodontiformes
  • Family: Balistidae
  • Genus: Abalistes
  • Species: stellatus
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Maintenance difficulty:    The Starry Triggerfish is easy to keep. Triggers are among the hardiest of all marine fish.

Maintenance:    Feed all kinds of live, frozen, and flake foods. Best to feed small amounts several times a day. We generally feed squid, shrimp (the same kind people eat), mussels, and all kinds of chopped up fish.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    Starry Triggerfish are found in the Western Pacific to East Africa and the Red Sea; usually found on mud or silty sand

Foods:    All kinds of meaty foods including crustaceans, mollusks, and fish.

Social Behaviors:    Usually is not aggressive towards other triggerfish, but we are not sure about other kinds of fish. See Heather Lettengarvers' comment above.

Sex: Sexual differences:    Unknown.

Light: Recommended light levels:    No special requirements.

Breeding/Reproduction:    Unknown.

Temperature:    No special requirements.

Length/Diameter of fish:    Starry Triggerfish adults can grow to 60 cm (23.5 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 150 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    No special requirements.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom    No special requirements.

Availability:    This fish is rarely available.

Lastest Animal Stories on Starry Triggerfish

Dhritiman Datta - 2007-07-20
I have kept this Triggerfish (2 in a tank). They are fine in a single, they just need their separate hiding places. I have had them in a Fish-Only tank now for a year. I have decorated the tank with coral skeletons. I have given them many hiding places and they remain fine. This is a KOOL trigger. However to keep 2 in a tank it is recommended to buy young and introduce at the same time.

  • Jake - 2013-10-06
    Mine is pretty mean! He picks on all the fish in the tank. Fish are as follows: yellow tang, starry trigger, clown trigger, hawk fish, panther grouper, emperor angel adult. I have been in this fish keeping for 10+ years and also have a reef tank. I have 2 tanks, running 125 gallon fish only tank, and a 55 gallon reef tank. These triggers seem to be pretty mean to me.
angel - 2010-02-17
What do u feed them?

  • Editor's Note - 2010-02-17
    All kinds of meaty foods including crustaceans, molluscs, and fish.
  • Anonymous - 2013-07-25