Clown Triggerfish

Big-spotted Triggerfish

Family: Balistidae Picture of a Clown Triggerfish or Big-spotted Triggerfish - Balistoides conspicillumBalistoides conspicillum
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Just got my first Clown Trigger! My local fish store had a little one. I talked the guy into giving it to me for $20! I dont think they will be in buisness long!... (more)  Chase

   This has got to be the most creatively designed fish! What an incredible combination of patterns, and fun colors! The Clown Triggerfish or Big-spotted Triggerfish just makes you want to smile!

   The Clown Triggerfish or Big-spotted Triggerfish is one of the most spectacular looking marine species. The round spots on the lower side of the body and the 'cigar' lips give it the name 'Clown'.

   Like all triggers, they need lots of space, a cave or rocks to retreat into, and house them with other appropriate fish that have similar needs and can hold their own. These guys are usually expensive but are very hardy once they are eating well. They are worth every bit of the price because of the unique appearance they will give your aquarium!

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

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Tetraodontiformes
  • Family: Balistidae
  • Genus: Balistoides
  • Species: conspicillum
Clown Triggerfish Juvenile, Balistoides conspicillum
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Juvenile in the wild

The Clown Triggerfish is one of the most beautiful fish in the marine world with it's bizarre patterns and colors! Very small juveniles have a low survival rate, so choosing larger juveniles up to adults is preferable. They may be a model citizen in a tank, then one day that "switch" flips and they literally obliterate all of their tank mates! House with other very large and belligerent fish in a large tank that is at least 300 gallons, with lots of hiding places. Clown Triggerfish have been known to bite the hand that feeds it if it is in a bad mood! The more you feed, the faster they grow to their almost 20" adult size.

Clown Triggerfish various ages, Balistoides conspicillum
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Narrated video on care and personality

Clown Triggerfish are as beautiful as they are angry! That being said, they are great as a pet, but like a real pet, they can chew through cords and can do damage to a hand! These fish grow quite large and they are very hardy and easy to keep despite their Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde personalities. Avoid tiny babies as they are less likely to survive. These fish are not reef safe.... at all.

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Maintenance difficulty:    The Clown Triggerfish or Big-spotted 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:    Clown Triggerfish or Big-spotted Triggerfish are found in the Indo-Pacific: East Africa south to Durban, South Africa and east through Indonesia to Samoa, north to southern Japan and south to New Caledonia. Lives in clear coastal to outer reef habitats. Occurs in clear seaward reefs adjacent to steep drop-offs. A solitary species. Uncommon to rare throughout most of its range. Adults usually seen along deep drop-offs, swimming about openly and may retreat to caves when approached. Juveniles secretive in small caves with rich invertebrate growth.

Foods:    In the wild, the clown triggerfish diet consists of sea urchins, crabs and other crustaceans, mollusks, and tunicates. In the aquarium they should be fed all kinds of meaty marine foods, cut up fish, shrimp, squid, etc.

Social Behaviors:    Aggressive, do not keep with smaller fish. Do not keep with invertebrates!

Sex: Sexual differences:    Unknown.

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:    Clown Triggerfish or Big-spotted Triggerfish adults can grow to 50.0 cm (20 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 100 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.

Lastest Animal Stories on Clown Triggerfish

Chase - 2003-11-19
Just got my first Clown Trigger! My local fish store had a little one. I talked the guy into giving it to me for $20! I dont think they will be in buisness long! :)

Hes got amazing color. I thing he will be the best Ive ever seen when he gets bigger!

  • mark - 2013-06-30
    They get pretty big though so make sure that you have a big enough tank and know what you're doing with it.
  • hannah - 2014-04-10
johnny kap - 2009-10-25
I have a clown triggerfish, a picasso triggerfish, and a panther grouper in a 10 gallon tank and they are doing fine so far! They never fight and when they do it seems they are just playing. They are great fish!

  • John - 2010-05-10
    I hope you're joking... that's just wrong and incredibly cruel. None of those fish belong in a 10g tank! By now, I'm guessing all three would have either died from ammonia poisoning or killed each other... do a little research before buying fish; what you're doing is called animal cruelty.
  • Steve - 2010-10-18
    These fish should never be placed in a 10 gallon tank. This tank is way too small. They definitely would fight.
  • Mike - 2010-12-12
    Really???? In a 10 gallon??
  • chris - 2011-01-10
    For those fish you need at least a 100 gallon tank. That's wrong.
  • Hew Janus - 2011-02-09
    You need to do a lot more research into what you are buying and what its needs are.
    Saying you have had one of these for ages (7 months) is talking rubbish.... they can live anything up to 25yrs. get to 20" and become more and more aggressive as they get older. As they mature the become very territorial, and will fight and kill any other fish in the tank. They need at least a 200 gal Tank. And they need mental stimulus.
    Learn before you buy. As you are just wasting your money and killing a pet.
  • jacson - 2012-01-06
    I like the clown triggerfish.
  • Frank - 2013-01-17
    I seriously hope this is a joke,,,,,,SERIOUSLY??!!!?!?
  • JFK - 2014-02-06
    I nano tank can be used for months to quarantine new large fish, I read an extra large angelfish or trigger fish need a thirty gallon. I tried it, they left out you need flow (circulation pumps), and skimmers rated for 150 gallons, I did twice that. Anything 5-7 inches can't survive in a 10 gallon (large to extra large salt water fish). I pet store in CT sold me a show size queen angelfish once in a 10 or 20 gallon, they where about to push it into a net, I told them they have to use a large jar or bucket (they seemed dumb and dumber). The type of fish is not the point, its the size, allot of the comments don't make any sense, you should post something meaningful and useful to other people based on experience and positive results. I just had to put a 4 inch Blue-lined trigger fish in a 10 gallon, it was attacking everything in its path, that will change quickly, its hard to get three fish the same size when ordering on the web, never happens, or the order is partially filled.
JB - 2013-06-05
What fish can live with my clown triggerfish in a 300 gallon tank or is it best to have the tank all by himself?

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-06-05
    These fish get big and are predatory so look at smaller companions as possible food. But they are also known to be very aggressive and desire to own their tank as they mature, so there's no guarantee that any other fish will work. Still fish of similar size and dispostiton may work, especially if they are all introduced as youngsters and grow up together.

    Some types of fish you could try would be larger aggressive angels like a Passer or Maculosus Angelfish, possibly a Sohol Tang (they too can get really aggressive) or another aggressive trigger, fast swimming and aggressive wrasses might work, and maybe an eel from the moray group.  It is usually suggested that fish be introduced in order of aggressivenes, introduce the more passive fish first and most aggressive last, making sure each is comfortable before adding the next fish.
Julia - 2010-03-13
Yah, I have to do a report at scool and I found this website it's the best I've found yet!

  • chessintra - 2010-11-11
    Same here it's so good.