Profile of the Pinktail Triggerfish

Pinktail Durgon (Melichthys vidua), near Kona

The Pinktail is an exception to the rule that triggerfish can be difficult to keep in an aquarium. When they are first brought to the aquarium, it may be difficult to get them to eat, but once they realize that hand-fed items are food, they quickly adapt. This fish has what many people refer to as "personality," since it will follow you around the tank until you feed it. If this fish is brought to the aquarium near the conclusion of the stocking phase, it will usually ignore the present housing condition as long as it can find a home in the living rock formations. While aquascaping, it's usually a good idea to include numerous possible "homes" in your formations.

Breed Overview

Common Names: Pink-Tail Triggerfish, Red-Tailed Triggerfish

Scientific Name: Melichthys vidua

Adult Size: 15 inches

Life Expectancy: 10+ years


Family Balistidae
Origin Polynesia, Micronesia, the Philippines, and the East Indies, and on across the Indian Ocean to the coast of Africa.
Social Mildly aggressive, interactive
Tank Level All levels
Minimum Tank Size 100 gallons
Diet Carnivore
Breeding Nest builders
Care Easy
pH 8.1–8.4
Temperature 23–27 degrees C (73–81 degrees F)

Origin and Distribution

The Indo-Pacific range of this species stretches from Hawaii and the Tuamotu Islands westward through Polynesia, Micronesia, the Philippines, and the East Indies, then across the Indian Ocean to the African coast. It may be found from northwestern to central Australia, encompassing the Great Barrier Reef's whole length.

The Pinktail Triggerfish swims in seaward reefs, diving up to 187 feet. It explores in loose groups, spending most of its time in search of foods such as crustaceans, algae, sponges, and detritus.

Colors and Markings

The "pink tail" of this Triggerfish earned it its name. The body is so dark that it appears black, yet it is actually a rich forest green hue. The dorsal and anal fins are transparent pinkish-white with black bands along the outside margins, whereas the pectoral fins are yellowish in hue.


The Pinktail Triggerfish is one of the few Triggerfish species that may be kept as pets. This Trigger might be timid at first, but with time, it will become gentle and outgoing. It is rarely antagonistic to its tank mates unless they are substantially smaller or were added after the Pinktail. If you want to keep more than one in the same tank, add a male and numerous females at the same time.

Be advised that in the wild, the Triggerfish eats crustaceans and tiny fish. Snails, crabs, and small or shy fish are all at risk of being eaten. Choose species that are around the same size as the Triggerfish and are capable of standing their ground.

Pinktail Triggerfish Habitat and Care

This fish prefers shallower waters outside of the reef with rocky, stony, or corally terrain where it may hide in the wild. You may recreate this habitat in your tank by avoiding the crustaceans and mollusks that are commonly used as Triggerfish food. Pinktails consume a lot and can make a mess, therefore a good filtering system and moderate to vigorous water flow are required.

Provide lots of protection and space for the Pinktail Triggerfish to move about. Triggerfish love changing rocks and plants in their habitat, so choose substrates and plants that can withstand being moved.

While Pinktail Triggerfish may thrive in a tiny tank, larger tanks result in happier, more docile fish. Because this species is bright and interested, a home with plenty of open space and interactive components might be beneficial. Observing your Pinktail Triggerfish reorganize their area, check out their tankmates, and respond to your actions and reactions may be a lot of fun.

Pinktail Triggerfish Diet

Pinktail Triggerfish are voracious feeders who will consume nearly any meaty meal. Harder foods are preferable since their teeth continue to grow throughout their lives and chewing stops them from overgrowing.

Frozen vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, Spirulina-enriched brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, krill, and frozen sponge or mollusk-based meals are also good choices. Squid that has been chopped is likewise an excellent alternative. Feed your Triggerfish twice or three times a day if feasible. Make sure your fish has a diversified diet so they may get a broad variety of nutrients.

Sexual Differences

There are no visually obvious sexual differences between males and females.

Breeding the Pinktail Triggerfish

Pinktail Triggerfish mate up, create nests, and protect their eggs from predators in the wild. They are, however, extremely difficult to breed in captivity. A new sort of diet for Triggerfish larvae has just been created, which may make home breeding a little simpler.

More Pet Breeds and Further Research

Triggerfish are notoriously difficult to keep since they are aggressive and difficult to catch. The Pinktail is perhaps the only species suitable for newcomers. If you're a more experienced aquarium keeper looking for a challenge, you can consider maintaining multiple species (like the Black ).

Otherwise, check out all of our other .