One of the less aggressive Trigger species, Niger Triggers are often the subject of debate among marine enthusiasts. While some claim that these fish are reef safe, others refute this. However, everyone seems to agree that Niger Triggers are hardy and can make interesting captives.
Though the Niger Trigger is considered to be reef safe by some, others dispute this heartily. It is safe to assume that if you keep them in a reef or with smaller fish, you will be replacing the "trigger snacks" at least once in a while. Niger Triggers may vary in temperament from one individual to the next. It is safest to consider all trigger fish to be not reef safe. If you do plan to keep your Niger Trigger in a reef environment (not recommended), introduce it last, and try to avoid including such inhabitants as cleaner shrimp or hermit crabs, which some Niger Triggers may eat. Observe it carefully to be sure you do not have to remove it. Niger Triggers may nibble at corals, and some may root in the sand, causing sediment to fall on corals. When adding a Niger Trigger to a community fish-only tank, you should be sure that the Niger is the smallest inhabitant in the aquarium, and be sure that other fish are of similar temperament to your trigger. Niger Triggers have been known to move items in their enclosures. These fish are quite hardy and disease resistant and are valued by many for this resiliency. They can bite, and if you do find yourself reaching into your aquarium for any reason, you should use caution. Surprisingly, some Niger Triggers make a noise similar to grunting by grinding their teeth.
Niger Triggers often have reddish coloration to their front teeth or fangs. The rest of the fish is blueish black to purpleish black in color, and many have coloration consisting of hues of both colors. Their tails are lyre shaped, extending from their bodies in a beautiful curve. Often, a gold bar marks the separation between the lobes. Niger Triggers' fins may have a dark blue-green coloring and are edged in light blue and yellow. In captivity, many Niger Triggers reach lengths of 16 inches (41 centimeters), although wild specimens measuring 20 inches (51 centimeters) have been reported. Using their large first dorsal spine that can be locked into place, many Triggers may wedge themselves into tight places of their aquariums and are quite difficult to remove once they are in such a position. The first spine is the largest and strongest and cannot be collapsed by pressing on it. However all of these spines can be folded down by pressing on one of the smaller spines.
Native to the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and the Indo Pacific, Niger Triggers are often seen in the pet trade.