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.”

Scientific Classification

Species: stellatus

Maintenance difficulty

   The Starry Triggerfish is easy to keep. Triggers are among the hardiest of all marine fish.


   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.

Starry triggerfish
Image Credit: Pavaphon Supanantananont, Shutterstock

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


   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.

Sexual differences


Recommended light levels

   No special requirements.




   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.


   This fish is rarely available.

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 Starry triggerfish (Abalistes stellatus) (Image Credit: Rickard Zerpe, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)