Odonus niger

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.

Fish 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.


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.