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Fish of the Month
Issue: June 2008

Odonus niger

RÜPPELL 1836

FOTH 0608
Common Names: Redtooth triggerfish, Niger trigger, blue trigger, purple trigger, black trigger

Type Locality: N/A

Range: Throughout the Indo-Pacific, Red Sea south to South Africa and east to the Marquesas and Society Islands, north to Japan, south to the Great Barrier Reef

Taxonomic Troubles: Originally described as Xenodon (Balistes) niger. The genus Odonus is currently monotypic.

Size: 50 cm TL (20 inches).

Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical marine

Difficulty: A very hardy marine, but aggressive and large, so difficult to keep with other animals.

Tank Setup: A very large tank is needed. There should be plenty of open swimming area but also several hidey-holes available, either live rock structures or artificial caves, like pieces of PVC pipe. A substantial current should be provided.

Feeding: Naturally feeds on plankton and sponge. Will usually take a variety of foods in the aquarium. Fresh or frozen plankton-like foods (like mysids) are especially appreciated.

Breeding: As with many triggers, the female guards the eggs. No known successful captive propagation.

Description: Color is quite variable, from greenish blue to blue, purple, or black. This, plus the distinctive body shape with lyre-shaped tail—not to mention the eponymous reddish teeth—make the fish easy to identify.

Notes: This fish is one of the planktivorous triggers. It is usually found in schools in open water on the seaward side of a reef where there is a strong current, feeding on zooplankton. Thus, it is less territorial than some other triggers, but it still does best alone or in a huge tank with other similarly sized fish. It is definitely not reef safe, as it will feed on small motile and sessile invertebrates. Like all triggers, it possesses a dorsal spine with which it locks itself into a crevice at night, making it all but impossible for a predator to extract it.

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