Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum)
Clown triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum) are large marine fish from the Indo-Pacific. They reach a maximum adult size of approximately 20 inches (51 cm).
They belong to the family Balistidae.
The name "triggerfish" is derived from the action of their fins. Triggerfish have spines on the anterior dorsal fin that become erect whenever the fish feels threatened. The movement of the spines on the dorsal fin is said to resemble the movement of a trigger. The erect fins makes the triggerfish difficult for a predator to remove from a cave or crevice because their removal from their "safe place" is impeded by their erect fin spines. Having the dorsal fin spines in an erect position also makes it more difficult for predators to swallow them.
Clown triggerfish can be rather aggressive themselves. They sometimes bite aquarists' hands when they are placed into the aquarium. Although these fish can sometimes be tamed you shouldn't try to hand feed this fish or place your hands in their tank without using caution.
Clown triggerfish sometimes attack and kill other fish. You certainly can't keep them in a tank with timid, small fish. They may only be kept with other large aggressive fish (e.g., large angelfish). Often it is safest to house a clown triggerfish in a tank by itself.
Clown triggerfish are unsuitable for a reef tank - they will eat your reef inhabitants. They also like to rearrange the reef and other aquarium objects. They sometimes detach coral from their rocks.
Clown triggerfish are carnivores. In their natural habitat they eat hard-shelled crustaceans and molluscs. These fish are fairly easy to feed in captivity. Feed them lots of meaty marine foods such as chopped up seafood, frozen aquarium fare for marine carnivores and omnivores, as well as hard-shelled shrimp.
Clown triggerfish cost between $80-160, with juveniles being less expensive. However, juveniles are less hardy than the adults.