The Clown Trigger, Balistoides conspicillum (Bloch & Schneider 1801), grows to sixteen or so inches. Get one small, and feed it sparingly... and keep your eye on it and your other livestock... this is an Alpha Alpha species that typically takes over a system of any size... and woe be to the tankmates that don't get and stay out of its way.
About the only downside of balistid keeping, and it’s a big one is there overt, and at times agonistic personalities.
Everyone has favorite stories to tell about these fishes. The "cute" spitting Clown Trigger that bit the bejeesus out of someone’s finger. The big Undulatus that moved all the gravel and rock around the tank, pulled up the undergravel filter risers, then committed hara-kiri by smashing the aquarium heater against the tanks side. The Niger that spends all its spare time "locked in" with its trigger, upside-down!
Yes, these fishes ARE characters, and if anything else universal can be stated about them: they’re individualistic. Some members of the same species can be kept in very peaceful surroundings. I’ve seen some housed in full-blown reef systems. Other specimens of the same species can be unholy terrors, outright consuming any real or potential "tankmates".
As alluded to above, most Triggerfish species offered in the trade rank the highest score (a 1) in my book in terms of aquarium survivability. This is of course given a few, actually two provisos: One, that you secure initially healthy specimens (usually no problem), and two, that they are procured at a reasonably small (but not too tiny) size. For most species the latter practical range is a few to a handful of inches in total length. All triggers are wild collected, and most of only an inch or so to start will do all right, but the two to five inchers are more sure-fire for adapting to captive conditions."
With the permission of Robert (Bob) Fenner webmaster of WetWebMedia ()