View Full Version : Are large brittle stars safe with fish and inverts?

03-12-2010, 04:21 AM
I would like to know if you consider large brittle stars to be a threat to fish and inverts in a reef tank. I know the "green ones" are known to hunt fish, but there seems to be little consensus regarding the 2000 other species.

It is generally thought that these are peaceful scavengers and detritivores, but I am not convinced.

I recently purchased a large orange brittle star. Each leg measures roughly 7-8" and the body is 1.5"-2". Total from end to end is probably about 17" - It is a large brittle star.

The species was apparently imported from Tonga. It is listed as "Ophiothrix sp" but the ID is speculative. If anyone else purchased one of these brittle stars recently or has any info on this species, please share your experience with me.

03-12-2010, 05:04 AM
Offer it a big silverside. If it takes it and eats it there is a good chance that it will do the same to a small sleeping fish.

I've owned a 'green death' brittle star for 6 years. I've never had a problem with it but I've never kept any small fish with it either.

03-12-2010, 05:07 AM
I think being a scavenger like most others they will eat dead flesh but alot that I have come by only have eaten algae and other stuff on the rocks so I realy don't know. My 2 cents is there are scavengers and will act like one.

03-12-2010, 12:39 PM
I'd just like to say small fish that are easily caught would not be a good match for a large brittle star. Example engineer Goby they trap their selves in a chamber making for an easy prey item for the brittle. I've kept a Green death brittle star for about 8 years now it measures 24" across, I've always been on guard with it and other that the Goby it's been a great animal. Most people viewing my tank say "whats that" and then they want to see the whole thing so I pull out the food and say "Dance for us" being the Star that it is the performance is always a hit. Ticket on sale Sat.

03-12-2010, 02:09 PM
I have kept a very large Black/Grey Brittle star in my display since day 1 with NO problems. He is atleast 18" stretched across and a few years old (from a fellow canreefer). He rarely leaves his rock and scavenges for whatever falls. (I do feed my tank well though). He has never made any attempt to "catch" anything. Infact it sleeps in the same hole as the the tiny gudgeons and they have survived. They sleep directly ontop of him! It is ones of the Ophiocoma species though, different than what you have. I know the green Serpent stars are NOT safe...much more aggressive.

03-12-2010, 02:53 PM
I have 2 tan banded serpents and 2 Black/brown brittle stars and they all seem fine in my tank. Just scour the bottom/rocks is all they do

03-12-2010, 04:49 PM
I have 2 orange...2 banded....a really bristly one....and the mean green one....never had a problem with them taking anything alive....