Undulate Triggerfish

Orange-lined Triggerfish

Family: Balistidae Picture of an Undulate Triggerfish or Orange-lined Triggerfish, Balistapus undulatusBalistapus undulatus
Latest Reader Comment - See More
I have an Undulate Trigger living with a Yellow Tang... they have been together since they were babies and believe it or not they are best buds... every now and... (more)  AR

   Even though he's a beauty, this guy has the reputation of being the most aggressive triggerfish! Which means the Undulate Triggerfish or Orange-lined Triggerfish may be the most aggressive fish, period! Actually they are okay when they are small, but get cantankerous as they get older.

   Make sure you have a large aquarium or not very many other fish. Give it lots of room and a cave or rocks to retreat into.

   The Undulate Triggerfish or Orange-lined Triggerfish can be worth keeping since it is lively, colorful, and will grow to be a nice pet, taking food from the owners' hand! Watch your fingers though, the teeth are very sharp and can deliver a painful bite.

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

Geographic Distribution
Balistapus undulatus
Data provided by FishBase.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Tetraodontiformes
  • Family: Balistidae
  • Genus: Balistapus
  • Species: undulatus
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Maintenance difficulty:    The Undulate Triggerfish or Orange-lined 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:    Undulate Triggerfish or Orange-lined Triggerfish are found in the Indo-Pacific: Red Sea south to Natal, South Africa (Ref. 4420) and east to the Line, Marquesan and Tuamoto islands, north to southern Japan, south to the southern Great Barrier Reef and New Caledonia. Occurs in coral-rich areas of deep lagoon and seaward reefs from the lower surge zone to at least 50 meters.

Foods:    Feeds on a variety of benthic organisms such as algae, echinoderms, fishes, mollusks, tunicates, sponges, and hydrozoans. All kinds of meaty foods including starfish and sea urchins, snails, mussels, calcareous algae, and pieces of passing fish.

Social Behaviors:    Generally this fish is aggressive towards other fish, especially other triggerfish. Has a territorial nature.

Sex: Sexual differences:    Unknown. Eggs laid as one cluster in a shallow excavation on sand or rubble along channels.

Light: Recommended light levels:    No special requirements.

Temperature:    No special requirements. Normal temperatures for marine fish is between 74 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Length/Diameter of fish:    Undulate Triggerfish or Orange-lined Triggerfish adults can grow to 30 cm (12 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 60 gallon aquarium is recommended.

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

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

Availability:    This fish is available from time to time.

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Lastest Animal Stories on Undulate Triggerfish

AR - 2009-03-13
I have an Undulate Trigger living with a Yellow Tang... they have been together since they were babies and believe it or not they are best buds... every now and then the tang will cross the line and the Undulate gets a little nasty but the next day all is well. What I find most odd is the Undulates behavior of building... this guy will literally move all of the sand, gravel, rocks and coral in the tank to one side... he builds these huge mountains on one side of the tank and leaves only the glass on the other side... each time I go in to clean the tank I level off the sand and gravel and move the rocks back, he goes crazy and starts attacking me... than within a few days the mountain is rebuilt... I have had saltwater aquariums for years and have never encountered this behavior.. it's amazing to watch him work tirelessly and I am actually starting to feel bad about re-arranging his home...:-)

  • Anonymous - 2011-05-17
    He is building a place to sleep. You need to provide a cave for him.
Pipo - 2004-04-30
I agree when you said this trigger is the most agrressive of them all with the excemption of course of the clown trigger. My undulate trigger is only about 2 inches long but his appettite is unexplainable, he eats anything & his favorite; small clown fishes. His peaceful towards his tankmates but when he sees any dying fish he bites them until death together with my niger. A very active fish but be careful of putting it with smaller vulnerable species.

steve - 2011-01-26
I had an undulated with a yellow tang, a lion fish and a very fast damsel. When the trigger got mad he would actually change colors, kind of an electric blue striped brown color. And I swear when he got really mad he would grunt or bark at the other fish. I called him cave boy because he only came out to kill something. I eventually returned him for a huma, much better tank mate.

LC - 2010-12-20
I got a 5-6"ondulatus trigger! He ate a 6" panther grouper,5" niger,4'5" picasso! He's a beautiful KILLER! They were in a 75 gallon tank! Got along all together for about 2 years till one day he decided to be alone! Within a week he ate the other fish! He's been alone for about six months now! I'm working on getting a nice size lion fish! Can't wait.

Nichole - 2010-04-08
I just bought a undulate along with a blue tang. They are about the same size and seem to get along so far. I also have a snowflake eel and they are funny to watch. My undulate has kind of set the tone for what's "his," but now has settled in. I am hoping if I keep him well fed it will keep his aggression under control. I did not know that they were very aggressive fish until after I bought him. So we shall see how it works outs.


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