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  1. #1
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    Brittle/Serpent Starfish

    Last night I added a jet black brittle star to my 29gal. tank that included two green chromis. I felt safe with this since everything I have read stated that if the star is not green all would be ok. Not so, the star promptly picked off both fish within 12 hours. Outside of 4 small hermit crabs, the chromis and star were the only inhabitants along with the live rock. I had just fed the star with a nice chunk of shrimp which he ate with gusto. so I doubt he was too hungry. One note, the brittle star is very large, about 8in. tip to tip. The fish had lived in harmony for 3 months until the death star. I guess he may have been without food for sometime before I bought him, but I was led to believe this would not cause this kind of action. Anyone else have this happen with a non-green brittle star. Should I give him anothr chance or attempt to return to the lfs?


  2. #2
    Bug
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    Re: Brittle/Serpent Starfish

    Brittle/Serpent Starfish have reputations of being predatory. Well here is some emperical evidence that suggests otherwise:

    I have a single brown polyp frag that lives in an empty snail shell. It was a freebie from the LFS when I got my Glod T. Maxima clam last week. Well I placed the polyp in a spot on the rocks to see if it liked it. One of my snails or hermits knocked it off the rock two nights ago and it fell into the lair of my Brittle Starfish. I left it over night and when I cleaned the tank yesterday, low and behold, the healthy polyp was unscathed!

    A few months ago I dropped a very sick xenia frag in the tank that I received from NY. The second it hit the sand, the Brittle Star pulled it into its lair. Yesterday I found one of my Green Chromis that had perished stuck to the bottom of my powerhead. As it floated on the sandbed the hermits and cleaner shrimp were having a field day. When it got close to the Brittle Star lair, wham, those tentacles pulled it right into the dark!

    Brittle Starfish are scavengers and detrivores. Mine does a great job sifting the sand and cleaning up unwanted organic matter. The behavior exhibited is inconsistent with the prerdator reputation. It will not attack a healthy tank inhabitant, but anything with the "smell" of death, as they have no eyes to see, is efficiently cleaned up!!

  3. #3
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    Re: Brittle/Serpent Starfish

    I agree that Brittle/Serpent starfish are scavengers. I have a couple of small ones in my 58g right now, black/gray ones that do a great job of cleaning things up. I like having them around. And they NEVER eat anything they aren't supposed to.

    However, I have owned green ones in the past and they are predatory. I have seen them eat clams with my own two eyes. I have also seen them eating on perfectly healthy fish (I didn't see them catch the fish -- but I know the fish weren't sick).

    So, I do agree with you. As long as you aren't talking about green ones...  ;D
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  4. #4
    BWI
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    has anyone else had any problems like this with their brittle stars?

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  5. #5
    Former Moderator a4twenty's Avatar
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    not that i know of....... but i did lose a couple of green reef cromis 6 months ago. one was definitely a jumper ( he had very fine teeth marks on him ) but the other was a mystery. i just assumed one of my anemones caught him but maybe not. i have 2 black brittle and 1 serpent, from what i've read the serpent stars are more aggressive. also i do keep my tank well feed and offer meaty food to all that want it when i feed my anemones.
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  6. #6
    BWI
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    ooooh ok, once i read that article i decided not to buy one at all. Thats crazy that they will take down a fish!

    Building Quality not Quantity

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