American Oceans

Clown Triggerfish

The Clown Triggerfish is a popular saltwater aquarium fish that is known for its vibrant colors and unique personality.

a clown triggerfish swimming underwater

Clown Triggerfish are known for their territorial behavior and are often kept alone in aquariums.

They are also known for their aggressive nature and can become quite hostile towards other fish in the tank.

Despite this, they are a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts due to their unique personality and stunning appearance.

Read on to find out more about these beautiful fish!

Physical Characteristics

The Clown Triggerfish has a striking and vibrant appearance. It has a bright yellow body with black and white spots, and a black mask around its eyes.

a close up on the face of a clown triggerfish

The dorsal fin and anal fin are outlined in blue, while the pectoral fins are bright yellow. The coloration of the Clown Triggerfish may vary depending on its location and age.


The Clown Triggerfish is a medium-sized fish, growing up to 30 centimeters in length. Males are typically larger than females.


The Clown Triggerfish has a stocky, oval-shaped body that is compressed laterally. Its body is covered in tough, plate-like scales that protect it from predators.

It has a small, pointed mouth and sharp teeth that it uses to crush the shells of its prey.

The Clown Triggerfish has a unique swimming style, propelling itself through the water using waving motions of the broadened dorsal and anal fins.

This gives it a distinct and recognizable appearance in the water.

Habitat and Distribution

The Clown Triggerfish can be found in a vast area that stretches from the eastern and southern coasts of Africa to the southern parts of Japan.

a clown triggerfish with its trigger protuding

Its range also includes the eastern coast of Australia, Samoa, and Indonesia. According to the USGS, this species is uncommon or rare throughout most of its native range.

A single record was reported in the Mediterranean Sea in Spanish waters in 2012, which was likely an aquarium release.

Preferred Habitat

The Clown Triggerfish is commonly found in coral reefs, where it prefers areas near steep drop-offs. It can inhabit depths ranging from three to 75 meters.

The fish is known to form pairs and spawn on patches of sand and coral rubble, where eggs are attached to the substrate and guarded by the parents.

According to Oceana, Clown Triggerfish is one of the most sought-after reef fishes for public and private aquaria due to its bright colors.

However, it is difficult to keep in captivity due to its aggressive nature.

Behavior and Diet

The Clown Triggerfish is a solitary fish that prefers to live alone, except during breeding season when they come together in groups.

a beautiful clown triggerfish swimming

They are diurnal in nature and highly active throughout the day.

Clown Triggerfish are known for their aggressive behavior and are not recommended for reef tanks as they can damage or even destroy corals and other invertebrates.

Feeding Habits

Clown Triggerfish are carnivores and will eat a variety of foods in the wild, including crustaceans like shrimp, crabs, and mollusks.

In captivity, they will accept most every fish food that you put into the tank, but it is recommended to give them a varied diet of vitamin-enriched, fresh, meaty, marine-origin type foods.

It is important to note that Clown Triggerfish have strong jaws and teeth that can crush hard-shelled prey.

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