Tim's Tropical Fish - Saltwater

Saltwater Home

SW Galleries

SW Care

Our Site


Clown Triggerfish

Triggerfish Galleries

Clown Triggerfish, Balistoides conspicillum

Clown Triggerfish - Origins

The Clown Triggerfish is also known as the Big-spotted Triggerfish. It comes from coral reefs of the Indo-West Pacific. It is black on the top with the lower half of the head and body having large white spots. Its mouth is a distinctive yellow with a white ring around it. Triggerfish have a doubled dorsal fin with a large spine in the front area of the fin. It uses the spine to lock itself into rocks and corals where it sleeps for the night, well protected from predators. Triggers can also vocalize a grunting sound. The eyes work independently to scan the reef.

Clown Triggerfish - Aquarium Care

The Clown Trigger is reasonably easy to keep, but is not reef safe, is not a good community fish and grows too large for most aquariums. Clown Triggers are also territorial, so it is best to keep only one in the tank. They are among the more aggressive triggers, so consider a Redtooth or a Picasso Trigger for your first purchase of triggerfish. The tank should be at least 140 gallons with plenty of places to hide plus open areas for swimming. 

Clown Triggerfish, Balistoides conspicillum

Clown Triggerfish - Feeding

The Clown Trigger feeds on regular live, frozen and flake foods. This can include squid, shrimp, krill, mussels, pieces of fish, starfish, sea urchins, shellfish and small fish. Their diet can be supplemented with spirulina, algae or dried seaweed. Triggerfish use their mouths to blow over invertebrates and attack them in their soft undersides. They can be very aggressive when eating.

Clown Triggerfish - Breeding

There are no known sexual differences. Clown Triggers are egg-scatterers and they are not bred in captivity. They spawn in deep waters, where the young live until they reach a length of about 6 inches (15 cm), which is why it is much more difficult to obtain juveniles.

Scientific Name: Balistoides conspicillum
Family: Balistidae
Care: Difficult
Temperature: 24 - 28 C; 75 - 82 F
pH: 8.2 - 8.4
dH: 8 - 12
Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.025
Size: 50 cm; 20 inches
Breeding: Egg Layer
Life Span: years
Crustacean Safe: No
Coral Safe: Yes


Only one Triggerfish per tank.  Keep with large basses, groupers, large surgeonfish, aggressive eels, lionfish and puffers.  Do not keep with invertebrates.