When this species first appeared in captivity more than 50 years ago, it created a sensation, and for years was known as “the most expensive aquarium fish”. Since the 1980s, it has been more frequently imported, but remains very popular. Unlike the Red-toothed triggerfish, it is an antisocial species that is never found in large numbers anywhere in its Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific range. Triggerfish are named for the complicated structure of part of the dorsal fin, which “locks into place” so the fish can secure itself in crevices.
One has to look closely at this elegant fish to see that its tiny but needle-sharp teeth are indeed a shade of dull pinkish red. This species does not have teeth as massive as most other triggerfishes, since it feeds primarily on plankton, often assembling in large schools to feast on it. It also eats sponges. Found from the Red Sea far into the Pacific, for many years it has been popular in aquariums, where it does very well.