Niger Triggerfish, Red-toothed Triggerfish (Odonus niger)

niger triggerfish (Odonus niger)

Niger triggerfish (Odonus Niger) are commonly seen in pet stores that sell marine fish.

Typically, the niger triggerfish you find for sale are only juveniles so they are small. However, keep in mind that niger triggerfish grow quite large - up to 20 inches (51 cm) in length so you'll need a large aquarium for them. You'll need at least a 70-80 gallon tank to house one and preferably a larger tank.

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.

Niger triggerfish are also commonly called red-toothed triggerfish. As the name suggests their teeth are red, although typically not until the fish begins to mature.

Niger triggerfish (or red-toothed triggerfish) belong to the family Balistidae and are from the Indo-Pacific. Like other members of the family Balistidae they don't have pelvic fins.

Unlike many other triggerfish species, the niger triggerfish is generally peaceful toward its tankmates. This is especially true if the other fish and invertebrates were added to the tank first. You can even keep more than one niger triggerfish in the same aquarium as long as they are added as juveniles and at the same time. Make sure you have plenty of room in your tank for all of your fish. Don't keep them with aggressive fish that will harass them.

You also need to provide them with lots of live rock arranged so that there are caves and crevices for them to hide in.

Niger triggerfish are omnivores - they need both animal and plant based foods. They enjoy seaweed veggie clips, as well as marine algae and meaty based marine foods (e.g., chopped up seafood, frozen, meaty aquarium fare for marine fish). Will sometimes eat sponges on the reef, but they won't harm coral.

Niger triggerfish cost about $25 for a juvenile, more for adults. They are easy to feed and fairly hardy.

Similar to other triggerfish species, these fish sometimes bite the hand that feeds them - use caution when servicing their tank.