Niger Triggerfish: The Ultimate Care Guide for 2023!
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If you have a large tank and you’re looking for a fish to add some color, excitement, and personality, the Niger Triggerfish is a great choice. Also known as the Redtoothed triggerfish or Blue Triggerfish, these marine fish are full of activity. Bursting with vibrant blue and black on its body, it’s no wonder why the red tooth triggerfish has become so popular among more advanced saltwater enthusiasts. While this may not be the best beginner fish, it’s among the more interesting and potentially reef safe triggers out there!
Niger Triggerfish Care Overview
The Niger Triggerfish (Odonus niger) originates from the Indo-Pacific region and can be found in waters off of Australia, Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. They prefer coral reefs or rocky environments with moderate currents where they can hide when feeling threatened. In the wild these fish primarily feed on small invertebrates but in captivity they tend to eat all sorts of food including frozen foods such as shrimp, crustaceans and squid.
The Niger Triggerfish is known to be quite active and will often show off its beautiful colors when swimming around the tank. They can also be quite aggressive with other fish, so it’s important to make sure they are not housed with smaller or more timid species. That being said, compared to other triggerfish Odonus Niger actually can be quite peaceful, but that will likely depend on the size of the aquarium.
Odonus Niger tends to be widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific ocean and the Red Sea, but can even be found near the Great Barrier Reef!
Odonus Niger Appearance
The Niger Triggerfish has a deep body shape and can grow up to 18 inches in length. Its coloration is quite striking and will range from blueish-green, black, and purple to lighter hues depending on the angle and light exposure. It also has red teeth which gives it its alternate name Red Tooth Triggerfish or Red Fang triggerfish. While sometimes confused with the black triggerfish, you should be able to tell these two apart by the lighter blue of the Niger Trigger, especially towards its anal and dorsal fins.
One important thing to note is that depending on the lighting you have, this exotic type of fish may look different. While high output lighting will show off their blue and deep purple hues, other species may appear differently.
How long do Niger Triggers live?
Niger Triggerfish can live at least 10 years when properly cared for, but in some cases, they can even survive up to 15 years! To help ensure your fish lives a long and healthy life, be sure to provide it with the proper diet, tank size and environment.
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Niger Triggerfish Temperament
When it comes to temperament, the Niger Trigger can be quite aggressive and territorial. They are known to chase other fish, so it is not recommended that you keep them with smaller or more timid species. It’s important to make sure they have plenty of hiding places and room to swim within the tank as this will help reduce some of their aggression.
While these triggers are thought to be more reef safe than others in the species, we recommend a lot of caution. While younger, they may be less likely to pick on corals (we’ve heard that changes for many as they grow older). One thing however is for sure, crabs and cleaner shrimp will definitely be at risk of being chomped on by these members of the triggerfish family.
Niger Triggerfish Tank Size
Because the Niger Trigger or Red Tooth Triggerfish can grow so large, we recommend a minimum tank size of 180 gallons. However, if you want to keep more than one Niger Triggerfish in the same tank, we suggest getting a much larger one as they can be quite territorial.
Niger Triggerfish Water Conditions
The Niger Triggerfish prefers an environment with moderate water movement. In terms of temperature, this fish will do best between 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH should be maintained around 8.1-8.4 with a specific gravity of 1.020-1.025 and 30ppm nitrates or less to maintain optimal health of your fish.
Niger Triggerfish Tank Mates
Due to their aggression, it is not recommended to house them with smaller or more timid species. Some compatible tank mates include bigger and more aggressive fish such as Grouper, other triggerfish, Tangs, Rabbitfish, Angelfish, Moray Eels, and Lionfish. They are more likely to do well in a carnivore reef tank versus keeping them with Clownfish or small fish, however something like Royal Grammas could do well with plenty of room to hide. That being said, you will need to make sure you have a large enough tank to accommodate these fish and that you are prepared for any potential aggression.
Regardless of the tankmates you choose for your Niger Triggerfish, you certainly will need a very large aquarium. These active fish may have an easy temperament when you provide them with plenty of space in the home aquarium, with plenty of rock work for smaller fish to hide in. We would not suggest keeping them with shrimp, clams, or similar other tank mates .
Feeding a Niger Triggerfish
In the wild, Niger Triggerfish are planktivorious eaters, known to form schools and eat zooplankton. In home aquariums they will mostly feed on crabs and other invertebrates such as mollusks if given the chance. In your aquarium we suggest feeding a variety of meaty foods such as krill, clams on the half shell, squid, shrimp, mussels and even frozen mysis shrimp. You may also want to offer some vegetable matter or seaweed if possible as they are natural omnnivores. They also are known to search for shallowly buried food, so crustaceans will be a great snack for any of the trigger family during feeding time.
While not a simple thing to do, many triggerifsh in home aquariums are known to be receptive to hand feeding. While that sounds a little sketchy with the Odonus Niger (have you seen the red fangs!), it absolutely is possible to feed them this way.
Breeding Niger Triggerfish in a Fish Tank
We’ll go ahead and warn you now, this is not the easiest fish to breed. In the wild, Odonus Niger will form schools with many triggerfish at a mating grounds. It is very difficult to distinguish male and female Niger Triggerfish in a home aquarium. While these great fish are possible to breed, it’s not easy. When the female accepts the males advances, she will lay eggs at the nest. With the eggs waiting to hatch, the male will fend off any other fish that would like to eat the eggs – especially difficult in the reef channels of their home.
When the fry are born, it’s possible to feed them specialized larvae and other fry food before they are ready to eat hard shelled shrimp and other meaty foods as they grow. It’s important to keep a constant pH of 8.1-8.4 in your tank during this time and to ensure the parameters in your aquarium.
Niger Triggerfish FAQ
Are Niger Triggerfish Reef Safe?
Niger Triggerfish are generally considered to be safe, however, we’d be very cautious about keeping them with expensive corals you’re not willing to lose. When given plenty of space and a varied diet, a Niger Triggerfish may be less likely to eat corals, but it very much depends on the personality of the individual fish.
How Large of a Tank Do I Need for a Niger Trigger?
We recommend 180 gallons as a minimum tank size for Niger triggers. While it’s possible to get away with something smaller for your marine aquarium, the niger triggerfish requires plenty of space to swim around if you want it to remain peaceful towards the other marine life in your aquarium. As a large fish, it’s important to give them the necessary room to grow and make that vibrant blue shine in your tank!
Can I keep a Niger Trigger with Small Fish?
Generally, we recommend keeping them with larger fish. They do well in predator tanks with other triggers (like black triggerfish), grouper, and lionfish. That’s not to say they won’t get along well, and some fast movers like damselfish may get on with them well in your fish tank.
Are Odonus Niger Hard to Care For?
No, while they can be a bit tricky to feed at first, they make great additions to many large aquariums. They are similar in care requirements to other triggers such as the Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum) or the Titan Triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens). As long as your tank is properly maintained, and has plenty of room for them to swim, your fish should be fine.
Niger Triggerfish Care
The Niger Triggerfish is one of the most active and hardy fish in the ocean, so you can be rest assured that if given the right conditions they will do well for many years. If you’re looking for a fish with personality and beauty, then the Niger Triggerfish may just be for you! With their bright colors, hardy nature and bold personality, these fish can make a great addition to any large aquarium. Just remember to provide them with plenty of space and hiding places as they will do much better in an environment that is set up specifically for them.