Scimitar Triggerfish

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Sufflamen bursa - (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
Scimitar Triggerfish

A fish with character that, like all its family members, can rotate each eyeball independently. Scott W. Michael


Although the colors are more muted than those of some others in the family, this is a hardy, handsome fish that is loaded with personality. While shy initially, the Scimitar Triggerfish will gradually adjust to its new environment, becoming bolder as it begins to recognize the aquarist as a source of sustenance.

Family: Balistidae

Other common name(s):

  • Boomerang Triggerfish
  • Bursa Triggerfish
  • Scythe Triggerfish

Native range:

Habitat: Reef-sand interface with lots of rubble. Provide several good hiding crevices and adequate swimming room.

Maximum length: 24 cm (9 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 285 L (75 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: All levels.


Omnivore. Feed meaty and herbivore foods several times a day.

Aquarium Compatibility

Although this is a relatively peaceful member of the clan, it may throw its weight around and bully smaller fishes or more passive species introduced after it is well established in the tank. Young fish are more mild-mannered than their adult kin. Only one should be housed per tank, although it can be kept with other triggerfishes in a large aquarium. Reef aquarists should avoid this beast—it has a catholic diet that includes a diversity of ornamental invertebrate species.


Demersal (on or near the bottom) spawners that tend and protect their broods.


It will slide into crevices and cracks in or behind the reef when threatened. Although not common, this fish can jump from an open tank if startled or harassed.

Reference: 101 Best Saltwater Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM