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FAQs about Chocolate Chip Sea Star Compatibility

Related Articles: Chocolate Chip Stars by Marco Lichtenberger, Asterina Stars, An Introduction to the Echinoderms:  The Sea Stars, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers and More... By James W. Fatherree, M.Sc.

Related FAQs: Seastar Compatibility, Chocolate Chip Stars 1, Chocolate Chip Stars 2, CC Star Identification, CC Star Behavior, CC Star Selection, CC Star Systems, CC Star Feeding, CC Star Disease/Health, CC Star Reproduction, Sea Stars 1, Sea Stars 2, Sea Stars 3, Sea Stars 4, Sea Stars 5, Seastar Selection, Seastar Systems, Seastar Behavior, Seastar Feeding, Seastar Reproduction, Seastar Disease Asterina Stars, Crown of Thorns Stars, Fromia Stars, Linckia Stars, Linckia Stars 2, Sand-Sifting Stars,

Eat sessile invertebrates....

Anemone. Choc. chip star incomp.     5/14/16
I have a question regarding anemone, I give away my chocolate chip starfish to the pet shop because I find out that it was very vicious, she was beautiful but I love my anemones more than her and my other marine life I have.
I found the chocolate chip starfish on top of my anemone almost disappear under her, I suspect it has something under as she eat my frag and also a corals before and I didn’t even know it will turn like this,
<Could read it on WWM...>
but when I turn the starfish upside down sure enough it has my small anemone under almost completely trap on its mouth and legs, fortunately she let the anemone loose and my anemone it’s been seating on a shell for couple days, not attach to it but I can see her tentacles moving a little bit here and there, my question is....Do you think she may recover from the attack or not?
<Actinarians/Anemones are amazingly tough, GIVEN proper circumstances, feeding, water quality... I would not give up>
not all tentacles was eaten but some yes, seen like the starfish was trying to suck on the anemone to kill it and swallow it completely.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Anemone... eaten by Protoreastor     5/20/16

Unfortunately my anemone didn't make it....
<Thank you for this report. Bob Fenner>

CC Starfish; incomp. w/ Urchin/s      10/1/15
Hi, I came home today to find my chocolate chip starfish laying on the bottom of the tank with my sea urchin on top of him.
<Yikes... Some Urchins eat Seastars...>
I had a suspicion something wasn't right so I moved the sea urchin to find he had eatin one leg off the star fish. Although the star fish looked normal I immediately assumed he was dead.. he seemed stiff as well. I moved him, and began to see movement. So I then picked him up and held him against the glass. He latched on and has been moving around for an hour or so. My question is will he survive and will the leg grow back?
<IF this CC survives, conditions are propitious, it may regenerate. I'd be keeping the two separated. IF you have a refugium, I'd move the star there>
Also what would cause the urchin to do this?
<Hunger, predation... opportunity>
They have been in the tank together for about 6 months. And the starfish does not appear sick in anyway. Thank you!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

chocolate sea star got partially eaten  6/26/12
I work for a Science Center in Allentown PA. My job is animal care, I take care of the critters including the touch tank. We have a 500 gallon salt water tank, that has: 2 horseshoe crabs, star fish, such as chocolate chip, forbes,  and one Bali. We have 2 yellow angel fish, several hermit crabs, clams, snails, living rock, spider crabs, a regular standard crab, and other small fish and a small rock lobster.
<The crabs, lobster... predaceous>

There are 2 charcoal and 2 paper element filter sets that are on 2 pumps, along with a UV light for each set. The water temp is at 64F,
<... too low for Protoreastor, the angels, tropicals period>

 thanks to the 2 chillers,(the temperature I was told, prevents parasites and diseases, by the previous caretaker) and the biological filter(?) is a glass tube that's about 5 foot tall and filled with sand.
Currently the parameters are:
PH: 7.8
Ammonia: none detectable
Nitrites: 0.0
Nitrates: 10
I do a 100 gallon water change every other week.
Recently I had a black angel fish die, it was laying on the bottom of the tank gasping, until I took it out and put the poor thing out of its misery.
The fins of the fish were ragged, similar to torn cloth. Is this a sign of disease?
<... likely environmental, social in origin>
Yesterday the chocolate chip starfish looked like something tried to eat it, one arm is completely missing, one arm is half gone and overall it really looks bad.
<Eaten... see above>
  The first thing I did was separate it from the rest of the tank by putting it in an open container and put it back into the tank for the night.
<? Of no use>
 Today I got permission and set up an emergency hospital tank and placed the sea star in it.  As I was placing the sea star in the new tank, I noticed that there was some kind of white webbing material covering the wound, I'm hoping this is some kind of scab.   What are signs of healing or death in a sea star?
<The prognosis is very poor... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ccstardisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above>
  What do I need to do to try and help it to heal? Or is it too late?  If at all possible, can you respond to my email address, as I am at work and need the info ASAP, I can't access the web from work, but I can access my email on my phone. Thanks.
Photo attached of the sea star as seen last night.
<... Bob Fenner>

Hey! Questions! Choc. chip... star... incomp., gen.     4/18/12
<Hi Jamie!>
 My friend just bought me a Chocolate Chip Starfish for my 90 gallon tank and after looking at your site I am terrified to have it in the tank due to the large amount of soft corals I have!
<Soon to be had!>
 She bought me 3 snails on top of it, although I am not sure what kind of snails they specifically are.
<Always a good idea to know what is in your tank.>
 Anyway, I keep lettuce in my tank for my adorable slug<???> and the Chocolate Chip Starfish has a huge piece and due to its suction and I cannot get the lettuce away from it.
<Pull gently, it will release its grip>
 Is it okay for him to eat lettuce and if I continue to keep large amounts of that in the tank is it possible my corals will be safe?
<It is going to find the coral eventually. What are you feeding lettuce?>
 Also, I see a lot about hermit crabs eating the starfish and I have red claw and blue claw hermit crabs, with the blue species being a lot bigger than the red, do you think they may try and eat the starfish?
<Only if it is dead/dying.>
 In the 4 days we have had the starfish he has not left the glass of the upper tank; he moves about the upper tank very often and so far hasn't gone elsewhere but if I catch him near my beautiful corals he is gone!
<Sooner or later it is going to find the coral. It's what they do.>
Re: re: Hey! Questions! 4/18/12

Thanks so much for the reply!
<Not a  problem.>
I will be donating my Chocolate Chip Starfish to my local pet store soon. To answer your question, I feed my slug lettuce. He LOVES it. Yesterday, I watched him eat a piece of lettuce for over an hour, it was adorable!
<I'm not a fan of using terrestrial plants as a food source. They have little nutritional value and contain large amounts of phosphate and nitrate because of the fertilizers they are grown with- both of which are going to end up in your water.  Dried seaweed is a safe option and can be found in Asian marts or LFS at an inflated price. Growing macro-algae in your sump
or refugium is another option. It will provide a constant supply of food while removing nutrients from the water. I'd recommend Gracilaria parvispora aka Ogo or Ulva aka Sea Lettuce. >
I don't know what species my slug is or my snails,
<This is somewhat important as not all snails are beneficial algae grazers and I'm not sure what you are referring to as a "slug".>
 I know, I'm the worst. P.S., your comments make me laugh hysterically. I know, I need more to do with my life! :)
<Don't we all.>
Re: re: Hey! Questions!     4/18/12

Oh! I forgot to mention, most of my soft coral are mushrooms, but I'm guessing that won't make a difference and the Chocolate Chip Starfish will probably still find them and eat them? Boo.
<You got it. More on Chocolate stars--
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_2/choc.htm >

Marine Invertebrates, CCS comp., other rdg.    12/1/11
Dear WWM crew,
    I usually would be emailing about coral however something more concerning has happened. My uncle decided that he would give me a Chocolate Chip Star as a present about two months ago.
<Most die way too easily, prematurely in captivity...>
It is doing well except for the fact that he then bought me a three inch long Feather Duster. After failing to convince him the two could not live in the same environment I thought maybe putting the Feather Duster on some live rock would help it escape. Two days later, just as I had said it would, the star devoured my poor Feather Duster. I have tried to use this as evidence that the Star needs to find a new home but for some reason it has 'superior survivability' and now it has 'priority' over everything. Is there any way to put in some sort of cage in the tank for this demon so that it can devour whatever it wants and my future corals and hopefully Feather Dusters can live happily?
<Not really... won't be able to find suitable foodstuffs there...>
Also, what are some of the suggestions you would have toward keeping Feather Dusters,
<What little I know of practical value is archived on WWM>
 I have read that without a skimmer they don't need to be fed and they have to be fed multiple times per day. The food ranging from photo-zoo plankton to pieces of meat. If you were in my shoes how would you feed it?
<... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherfdgfaqs.htm
 The water parameters are: Nitrate-10-20,
Nitrite-0, Ammonia-0, pH-8.4, Salinity-1.026, Calcium 520 ppm,
<This is way too high... and magnesium? See WWM re both>
phosphate-0-.1. Equipment: large hang-on back filter, heater, four 65 watt Power Compacts 10k, heater, 400 gph powerhead (entire tank volume seems to be moving). Misc: 50 pounds of Live Rock. 15 pounds Live Sand, 30 pounds crusted coral/shell. Livestock: Four-stripe Damsel (several years old, it doesn't seem to bully anything, actually the other fish pick on it), two Blue Chromis (Getting at least three more soon due to the schooling effect I love), Pencil Urchin, 6 Turbo Snails, 13 Blue Legged Hermits, Ocellaris Clown, misc. Blenny, Scarlet Shrimp. Are there any species that I could also house with these? Say from the Dottybacks, Basslets, Jawfish, Gobies (I am very fond of symbiosis in my tank)?
<In a 55 one of the first two, or possibly more than one of the third, who knows how many out of the hundreds of species of the fourth...>
A bubble coral hopefully will be added once the demon I mentioned above is taken care of. From that point other odd LPS coral will be added mainly Frogspawn Torch, Hammer ( I am a fan of pseudo-anemone appearances) . The Tank is 55 gal. standard length, width, height. Should I email you more stats. about the tank? Or would any more information be helpful?
<Read where you've been directed. The search tool on WWM, the indices>
 I really do appreciate your wonderful site that has warned me from making horrible choices. Such as 'Green Brittle Stars', 'Coral Banded Shrimp', ect.<no such word; etc. is a contraction for et cetera res... "and other things">
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Starfish stomach 9/23/08 Hi, Just a quick note to say how informative and helpful your site is! I would like to share a couple of interesting pictures of a chocolate chip starfish eating a peppermint shrimp. The pictures clearly capture the stars ejected stomach . thanks, Renea <Mmm, yes... are predaceous. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Long Tentacle Anemone Vs. Chocolate Chip Sea Star -- 05/27/08 <Hello Lindsey, Brenda here. > I have a sixty gallon tank and the whole bio-ball, protein skimmer filter. I have live rock and power heads and live sand. I have three long tentacle anemones, one Chocolate Chip Star Fish, <Ouch! Anemones and the Chocolate Chip Sea Star cannot live together in peace. The Sea Star will destroy the anemones. I do not recommend the use of powerheads with anemones. > one Sand Sifting Starfish, Peppermint shrimp, lots of hermit crabs, <Crabs are opportunistic feeders and can become predators. > and one Maroon Clown Fish. My tanks levels are all great, as well as the temp in the water. <I need actual numbers here to be able to help. > We do water changes on regular basis with RO water. Lately my Chocolate Chip Starfish has lost several of his brown spikes on his back and it looks like he is being eaten away by something, he is losing pieces of his legs. <The Chocolate Chip will likely not recover from this. It may be caused from the sting of the Anemone. > Also my anemones have shriveled up to very small sizes. <I'm not surprised. > My Clown Fishes Anemone was great and lately is tiny and is now hanging down almost up-side down from his live rock and looks like he is spitting out some type of white intestine out of his mouth. I cannot get him to eat, it seems like he is not strong enough to hold on to the food long enough to actually eat it. My other anemones are acting the same way but not as bad. What is going on? PLEASE HELP!! I really do not want to lose anything and especially not the anemone that the Clown Fish loves. Can anything be done? <Remove the Chocolate Chip Sea Star immediately. Please send me a complete list of water parameters including temperature, calcium, alkalinity, pH, Salinity, Ammonia, Nitrates, and Nitrites. I also need to know the age of your system, and a detailed list of all equipment you are using. > Thanks you for your time. Lindsey <You're welcome! Brenda >

LTA attacked by Choc chip star 04/07/2008 Hi, <<Hello, Andrew here>> Friday we woke up to find our chocolate chip star hovering over the spot where our LTA was. We removed the star from that spot and could not find the LTA anywhere, not even a trace of it. Needless to say the star went back to my LFS the same day. <<A wise decision, very predatory>> I was heartbroken by the loss of our anemone. We have had it for about 8months, and it was about 8 inches in diameter and very healthy. So I bought a new anemone to replace the old one, it is a BTA. When I returned home to acclimate the BTA, to my surprise the LTA was out and alive! I have a 75gallon with a snowflake eel, and volition lion, about 90lbs of live rock, and snails for cleanup crew. The LTA does not appear happy, he will not inflate fully, his tentacles are long and inflated though, appears to have no injuries, has not moved from his spot, however his mouth remains slightly open (which I am aware is not a good sign). He does seem to inflate more as the days go on, but mouth remains open. I placed the BTA on the opposite side of the tank, where he immediately attached his foot. My questions are as follows: 1. What precautions should I take when housing two different anemones in the same tank? <<Plenty of distance between SP.>> 2. What should I do for my LTA? <<If possible, move to quarantine tank, target feed and monitor closely>> 3. Will the LTA be okay? <<Given good water parameters, staple diet, lighting, should recover fine>> 4. What should I watch for or be worried about? <<The main to watch is the distance between these two, else chemical warfare will ensue>> I did perform a 20% water change yesterday Sat), just to be on the safe side. I use RO/DI water which I mix myself. All of my parameters are perfect. We have had the tank for a year, and it has been very stable for the past 6months. I do have a skimmer, two additional powerheads (which are screened to avoid the anemones being sucked in) and appropriate lighting for anemones. Thanks in advance for your help! Love your site Michelle <<Hope the above helps. If problems do arise between the two nems in the tank, i would suggest removal of the BTA.. Personally, i prefer to only see multiple nems in tanks of 100 gals plus, this gives plenty of room for the two to have "plenty" of space between them>> <<Thanks and good luck. A Nixon>>

Chocolate Chip Starfish/Compatibility 1/25/08 Dear WWM Crew, <Hi Spencer> First off I really enjoy the website. <Glad you enjoy.> The information is very helpful and easy to understand. I recently became a marine aquarium pet owner but have taken off running. I have a 10g BioCube that is stocked with a 2" Chocolate Chip Star, 4 little Hermit Crabs, 2 Emerald Crabs, a 2" Harold Dwarf Angelfish, <Your tank is much too small for this fish.> a 1.5" Clown, a little 1cm baby Blood Shrimp, <Mmm may become a meal for the Emerald Crabs.> and a recently added Condy Purple Anemone. <Yikes, take this anemone back, tank is much too small and you stand a very good chance in losing fish to it's sting.> Everybody seems to play nice and get along. They all have a little place they call home and don't seem to be aggressive with one another. Every one is fed well I guess I should say. My first question is, I am interested in adding some mushroom polyps to the LR and I am wondering if I am going to have any issues with the star, anemone, or the dwarf angel? <The starfish is not reef safe, been known to eat anemones etc.> I am not concerned about losing the money if there was a problem, but concerned about the well being of the polyps. Also if there is a problem, to prevent the star from eating the polyps, can I put algae wafers in for the star? <This starfish prefers meaty foods such as clams, shrimp, etc.> Second, is it normal for an anemone to be fully inflated most of the day and then completely deflated for a small portion? <Can be.> There is no color loss in the Condy and no secretion of any kind. I have done some research on the matter and some articles have read that its normal for an anemone to do that and some have said it's not. If you could shed some light on this topic that would be great. <The light I'd like to shed is whether you have enough light to maintain this animal to start with. Does not belong in such close quarters with other vulnerable animals. I'm thinking not enough research was done or you wouldn't have bought this animal in the first place. Will soon cause you problems when this anemone dies, and it will, then you will more than likely experience a total wipe out. Do read here and related articles/FAQ's above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/condyanemones.htm> Thanks for your help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, Spencer Hall

CCS... comp.   1/16/08 Hi, I was wondering if a chocolate chip starfish would be compatible with a snowflake moray eel and a lionfish. They are housed in a 180 gallon with a 90 gallon sump also I was thinking of adding a freckled grouper in the tank. Would this make a good addition to the tank. Thanks for the help, Adam <... might be hard to get food to the Star... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ccstarfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Chocolate Chip star, comp.  11/9/07 Hi, <Owen> I was just wondering if a chocolate chip star is compatible with a general's star, or will one of them eat the other? <If hungry, crowded, yes> Also, are there any other stars that can coexist with a chocolate chip star (e.g. a brittle star, blue or red Linckia)? Would it be safe to put a tomato clown or percula clown in with the chocolate chip? <Fishes are fine... but again... You have read on WWM re CCS?: http://wetwebmedia.com/ccstarcompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help.

Chip Starfish in Trouble - 7/29/07 <Hi Sandi> I have had a CC for about 4 months now in a 100 gallon tank with clowns. <Good sized tank!> He has previously been doing very well with much activity and a healthy appetite (feeding frozen krill, per fish store's recommendations). <Needs more varied diet, such as mussels, squid, fish, etc.> Within the past 48 hours, I have noticed that he(?) has developed a whitish, feathery substance on his underneath side and also some sort of worm (centipede looking) crawling on and around him. <Most likely a bristleworm, but without a photo..?> Is there something in my tank that I need to get rid of? If so what, and how? <If you mean the worm, probably not, but again, without confirmation of what it is, sorry, can't really say.> Also, what is "growing" on my starfish, and how do I get rid of it? <Again, a photo would help, but even without one, it sounds like you've got a starfish in trouble. It could have a bacterial infection and/or be in the process of dying, and the worm is merely scavenging on the decaying flesh. If you have a QT, move the star over there for observation/isolation/possible treatment, and keep water conditions pristine. Please see this link for more information re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stardisfaqs.htm> Thanks, <You're very welcome and good luck! --Lynn> Sandi

Starfish Compatibility 2/9/07 - 02/09/2007 I have a 25 gallon tank FOWLR tank and wanted to get a Serpent or Brittle Star. The only thing is that I have a Chocolate Chip Star and Purple Reef Lobster. My question is do you think all 3 will get along? <Should be no problems with the starfish, I'd be more concerned with the lobster going after small and/or sleeping fish.  James (Salty Dog)> <<James... no... the Lobster is going to be a constant question mark... the CCS could eat the Ophiuroid... RMF>>

Chocolate Chip starfish compatibility, options - 1/18/07 Hello, <Hey Angie, JustinN with you today.> My husband and I have started our first saltwater tank.  It is a 125 gallon, with live sand and live rock; we have plans for simple corals and fish.   <An excellent choice for a first saltwater aquarium. Too many people try to go the nano tank route at first, and run into stability problems.> The problem right now is that we didn't do our homework, and impulsively bought a 'cute' chocolate chip starfish from a LFS that didn't explain anything about what it can do to a reef (or future reef) tank.   <Ah, yes. You know the problem here; I will save the soapbox for another time. *grin*> We have learned that it eats basically all of our inverts and can do damage to the corals we want to get.   <Oh, yes, and quite efficient too.> It was a mistake for us to buy this little guy, and so that is the question: what do we do with him now?  My husband suggested another tank, but we already have 3 fish tanks, and I don't want another one to clean up after. I have asked around to the people I know with saltwater tanks, and got no takers.  Is there any way to get rid of an unwanted starfish?  Do local fish stores take back livestock? <Most certainly do, and if they do not, then I would consider this a strike against them. Give them a call to find out; if they do not, you could always try other area fish havens!> We are under a time crunch to make a decision; I watched him eat another snail today! Thanks, Angie <Make haste to the phone, Angie! Good luck! -JustinN>

Chocolate chip ate my urchin? 1/6/07 Hi, <Good morning, Joanne. Graham T. with you today.> Is it a known fact that if you put a chocolate chip star fish (sea star) in with a urchin the chip will eat the urchin? <CCS will eat a *dead* urchin, sure. Probably dying, but not a healthy urchin.><<Mmm, depends on relative health, hunger. RMF>> Why I ask? I know nothing about salt water tanks so when we purchased a home with two big built in tanks we hired a 'fish man' to take care of them. <Good idea to get some help up front at the first...> To make a long story short, one tank needed to be treated <For what?> so the 'fish man' took out the urchin and chip (who had been living together in a big tank) and housed them together in a small tank while treating the tank for a week or so. <Possibly, the urchin was already hurting when moved. Although you don't mention what "brand" of urchin you are mourning, I don't know of any CCS predating them.> The next morning the chip was on top of the urchin, which by now was dead. <If you don't see it happen, don't assume the CCS is a killer.> Should they have been put together in a small tank and should the 'fish man' have known this would happen. <That is hard to say, but I question whether they saw any medication before they were relocated, how they were relocated, and also how closely the tank conditions in the smaller tank match the larger one. There should've been no problems with the two eating each other, however, when either Echinoderm gets hungry, they eat what they can "catch", which may include dead and dying specimens.> Thank you. Joanne Cork <Good luck with your systems, and the treatment, too. Hopefully you aspire to eliminate the "fish-man" eventually..? -Graham T.>

Re: CCS/urchin update, or why we QT 1/6/07 Hi Graham T. <Hello, again Joanne. Good to have you back. (I sometimes wonder what happens with my "advice" when I get no feedback.) > Thank you for your response. It was very informative and appreciated. <Also good to hear, as I am a new kid here on WWM. Thank you very much!> I do have a few follow up questions and answers (as best I can) to your questions. <Excellent, I'll do what I can.> We have two 200 gallon salt tanks. <Neato, to acquire this luxury, - at least from my point of view.> One of them reef but our problems have been with the non-reef tank. Problems started when new fish were introduced to the tank. <Common occurrence without a QT regimen in place.> 'Fish man' <hehe.> said, bad lot of fish (probably damsels) infected tank. Lost quite a few fish. Things have been stable for a few months. <I'm assuming you mean that other than fish passing on, things are stable.> We have 1 porcupine puffer, 12 damsels and one other unknown (I think a some kind of tang), plus CCS and what I believe was a rock urchin. The fish kept developing white bits on them. <*sounds* like Cryptocaryon... can be caused by elevated stress-levels brought on by poor water quality or aggression that result in lowered immune-response.> Water was fine. <OK.> 'fish man' tested often. We treated a couple of times with Metronidazole <Not very useful against Crypt. Strongly urge setting up a QT for your livestock and dosing with copper for at least 14 days. And that reminds me that you'll be wanting a copper test kit to go along with the meds. (Don't be scared of this hobby, but you did just jump in with two established systems) > but it kept coming back. 'Fish man' decided to treat every other day for four treatments of Prime. <Unless there is a new product with the same name that I am unaware of, Prime is a water conditioner, and is used primarily for removing unwanted toxic chemicals for water that is being prepared for water changes. This makes me wonder: 1)Did you misconstrue the "fish man" adding Prime to water as "medication" when he was just treating a water change? 2)Does this also mean you don't use purified water (Reverse osmosis or some other form...) for water changes? Either way, I think some reflection on the addition of specimens into your system is in order, and perhaps a good book (I highly recommend "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner, or "The Simple Guide to Marine Aquariums" by Jeffery Kurtz) that opens the door to understanding the basics and inter-relationships present (and depended upon) in your systems. I do tend to rant and ramble.> The CCS and urchin were taken out (before treatment) and put into a 20 gallon echo <?> tank (I think this is what it's called.) The urchin looked  healthy when he went in. (I don't know what a healthy urchin looks like but he had a good deep color and moved around the tank.) <Actually, Bob F. left a note on that reply of mine (but it is on the site, not your email...) that mentioned relative health/hunger, more or less striking out my idea of a hungry urchin being "un-eatable" by the CCS.> <<Yes, RMF>> I'm wondering if the CCS like you mentioned was hungry. I feed one frozen cube of Emerald Entree everyday. 'Fish man' said there was no need to feed CCS anything extra. Does this seem adequate? <He's right on, there.> With all the issues we've had I'm reluctant to take over from the 'fish man' until I know more. <It will all work out if the "fish-man" is worth his salt.> Thanks for your time. <Mine is yours. I welcome the chance to learn with/from you in the future. Good luck and happy reefing! -Graham T.>

Chocolate Chip Starfish being cleaned by Peppermint Shrimp. Comp.  1/5/07 Good Day, <And to you> I have a 75 gal saltwater tank with a 32 gallon refugium.  The tank has been up and running since April 2006.  Currently stocked With a DSB, Live Rock, 3 Percula Clowns, a Coral Beauty, Purple Pseudochromis and a Royal Gamma Basslet.  In addition I have a few snails, hermits, 1 Coral Banded Shrimp and two Peppermint Shrimp. Oh! And a Chocolate Chip Starfish.  I am not planning To add any more creatures for approximately 6 months while my pod population grows to support a Mandarin. I have noticed that the Peppermint Shrimp are both "cleaning" the CCS for hours at a time, he does not seem to mind it, but I wanted to be sure that The shrimp were not causing any harm.  What are the shrimp finding to eat on the CCS ? <Mmm, might be some sort of epizootic, epiphytic life there... but more likely they re feeding on part of the star itself... Is this causing too much damage?> Thanks so much for your time. Bonnie Rose <Bob Fenner>

Flame scallop with chocolate chip starfish   5/8/06 I understand the feeding problems associated with flame scallops but wanted to try one in my tank. The only problem is that I have a 4 inch chocolate chip starfish in the tank already. I know they can eat some corals. My question is "have you heard of them eating flame scallops?" Thanks <Mmm, may eat bivalves... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ccstarcompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Protoreastor nodosus For Aiptasia Control? -- 09/25/06 Hello, <<Howdy!>> First off I would like to thank you for your time in this matter. <<Quite welcome>> I have a 4 year old FOWLR system that I have gotten the most enjoyment out of.  Up till this time I have not minded the few Aiptasia I have in the tank. <<Mmm, yes...doesn't always 'get out of hand'...can often be 'enjoyed' like so many of the other creatures we keep>> I have clowns and yellow tail damsels along with various worms, crabs, snails, pods, etc.  I am thinking of perhaps upgrading my lighting to try my hand at corals this spring but before that I have to get rid of the Aiptasia.  I have spent many hours on this site looking at various methods for non-chemical removal.  The fish mentioned are too large for my nano system. <<I see...and 'kudos' to you for realizing this>> I was thinking of buying a chocolate chip starfish because they are not reef safe with the hope that it would eat the Aiptasia, live happily, and once I upgrade my lighting, go back to the LFS.  I have not read anything about this idea of mine on any of the facts posted.  Please let me know if this has ever been done by y'all or if you have heard of it working in the past. <<I don't have any knowledge of this approach, but then most all my dealings are/have been with reef hobbyists/reef systems where controlling Aiptasia is concerned.  As such, introducing a biological control such as Protoreastor nodosus to a tank full of sessile invertebrates would not be an option.  But in your case, what's the harm?  I think it is very much worth a try...and do let us know if it does or doesn't work for you>> Again, thank you for your time. Vicki <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Green brittle on the prowl - 3/7/05 Hello... I'm afraid I have a dilemma.  <OK. Let's see what we can do about helping the situation> I recently purchased a green brittle star...  <Uh oh>  ... at the pet store in our town. The shop owner assured me there would be no problem in my tank unless any fish got sick or weak.  <All I can say here is research before purchasing....I know you know this now.>  All was fine for the first few days, he and our mandarin seemed to be getting along well, even hanging out in little areas together.  <Hangin' out is not the word I would use>  My husband and I kept a close watch on them because we were concerned about the safety of our <sic> fish.  <I can only recommend that again, research before purchase. This starfish is well documented on our website.>  Just when we thought things were alright, we caught our brittle star hovering over our mandarin and lowering down as if to eat her!  <Very likely so>  It even spit out the food it had been given about and hour earlier! I had originally wanted a chocolate chip star, but again, the shop owner advised that it would not be a good addition to a reef tank (I only have a pink tip anemone and a mandarin in with the star)  <Well, a chocolate chip star is not a good reef tank addition but with the lack of corals it would likely be fine. Chocolate Chip species are hardy but aggressive feeders, more than happy to mount and consume sessile clams, oysters and all manner of corals, soft and stony.>  My questions to you are: Is this normal behavior for a brittle star?  <Not any brittle star but Ophiarachna. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestars.htm.  There are many attractive and useful brittle stars. You just happened upon one of the exceptions to the family.>  Should we be concerned for the life of our Mandarin?  <Yes. The brittle star is only the beginning of issues for the Mandarin fish. They need to either be trained to take frozen food preparations or you need to have plenty of live foods either available to you or in the aquarium where the mandarin is housed. A mandarin can decimate a population of amphipods in a small tank in no time.>  And would a chocolate chip have been a better choice?  <Really depends on your long-term vision for your tank keeping. Do your research and then determine your preferred choice of animal> Thank you so much for your help.  <Our pleasure. Thanks for being part of it all. ~Paul>

Chocolate chip starfish behavior, actually comp.   7/6/06 I had a quick question about CCS; I found my sand sifting starfish dead about to be completely eaten by the CCS, <Happens> but the funny thing is that it was chilling on my Mag float  near the top of my aquarium when i saw it...? I know that they CCS will eat any and everything they can find, did it kill the Sand sifter or just want its dead remains? <Not possible to state... can/will seek out as food if hungry... will consume if find dead, dying and are hungry. Bob Fenner>

Chocolate Chip Angel Cookies - 04/02/2006 Hello, I have a question. <Ok.> My brother has a Chocolate Chip starfish and an angel fish that don't seem to be getting along. The angel fish is nipping at his starfish. <Mmm...tasty.> Is he just being mean or is the angel fish not getting enough to eat? <Hmm...can't say if its getting enough to eat, but likely wouldn't matter anyway, probably just has starfish on the menu. I would separate these.> The tank is about a 40 gal. Thanks <Welcome. - Josh>

Chocolate Chip Starfish Compatibility   2/6/06 Hello, <Hey, Mike G with you this afternoon.> I have a 30 gallon tank with a chocolate chip star fish, a yellow tailed damsel, a fire fish goby, some snails and some hermits. <Sounds good so far.> I was wondering if there are any other algae eating invertebrates that would be compatible with my chocolate chip star fish? <Most any inverts aside from corals should do splendidly.> Sea urchins? <Most certainly - go for a smaller species, such as a Blue Tuxedo Urchin.> Cleaner Shrimp (even though I know he is not really algae eating) <Not an algae eater, but a decent all-around scavenger. Should do fine.> And also, what fish do you recommend adding next? <30 gallons is not an excessive amount of space for a marine aquarium... perhaps a clownfish and a clown or neon goby would be a wise stocking choice.> Thanks the site is great, R.C. <best of luck! Mike G>

Chocolate chip star fish and seahorses in same tank  1/1/06 I  have a 60 gallon seahorse tank with 6 medium Ocean Rider seahorses. I have 2 pincushion urchins and 2 chocolate chip starfish also in the tank as a cleanup crew <Okay> I know brittle starfish are not safe with seahorses. I have not seen anyone say one way or the other whether seahorses are safe with chocolate chip starfish. <Usually no problem... these stars are too slow to catch the horses> I know the chocolate chip starfish will eat invertebrate but will it eat seahorses? <Would if they could get their tube-feet on them> Do you think it is a realistic problem that the chocolate chip starfish might eat the seahorse while he is sleeping? <Mmm, nope> I really don't want to move the chocolate starfish unless you feel this is a realistic problem.   <I wouldn't be (overly) concerned here. Bob Fenner> William J. Unroch, Attorney

CCS vs. cleaner shrimp  12/17/05 Good day, crew. Question about scarlet cleaner shrimp and chocolate chip star. These two lived together and didn't care about each other for 3 months. Now, whenever I try to feed my beautiful star, shrimp comes and plants itself on star, taking food (blood worms, shrimp or raw fish) right from under the poor star, getting into her stomach and everywhere. <Not atypical> I feed the shrimp separately, it eats like a crocodile. Why wouldn't it leave the star alone? I think star is going through some serious stress because of this, and eats less and less. I feel like I want to kill the shrimp for picking on star, but I really like both of them. Help. What do I do? Tatyana Kucherenko <Another tank... need to be separated. Bob Fenner>

Mushroom and Chocolate Chip Starfish 10/15/05 Hi Bob! I have been using WWM as a resource for most of my marine questions. I bought a green mushroom about 1" in diameter at a local frag swap. It was doing well, raising it's green tentacles most of the time. Last week, when I got home, I saw my Chocolate Chip Starfish on top of the mushroom. I immediately transferred the Starfish to my FOWLR tank.  Sorry, I did not know that they are not compatible. I see mushrooms and starfish in the same tank in my LFS. The mushroom shrunk a little bit to about 2/3" and did not show it's green tentacles again. It just sat there for a week without any further sign of deterioration. How do I know if it is still alive? Is there anyway I could save it and bring it back to life? <It very well could regenerate Mike. Weekly dosing of an iodine supplement may help, but not much else you can do. Give it some time. I bought a small piece of live rock with absolutely nothing on it but coralline, two months later appeared four mushrooms and still spreading. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for your response.  <You're welcome>

Chocolate Chip Star Fish  9/26/05 I have three questions 1st question is: Can small hermit crabs be a threat to Chocolate Chip Star Fish or can the hermit crabs be kept with them? <Yes> Second: What is the minimum size tank suggested for keeping one Chocolate Chip Star Fish in? <I'd recommend a minimum of 10 gallons, reason being that starfish are very sensitive to changes in water parameters which can occur easily in smaller tanks.> and my 3rd question is :  Can Brittle Stars be kept with the Chocolate Chips ones? <Yes> If you can get back with me on these questions I appreciate it a lot...just having a lil difficulty and need few answers on what I asked Email back A.S.A.P and thanks a million !!! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

CHOCOLATE CHIP STAR FISH Hi Mr. Fenner. I would like to thank you for all the help you've giving me.  <You're welcome> My problem is that my emerald green crab is eating my chocolate chip  starfish! What if anything should I do?  YOUR FRIENDS JESSE II. & JESSE III <Yes, separate them! And quick... Mithrax Crabs are generally herbivorous, but will "cross the line" if hungry or the opportunity presents itself (the Star may have already been in trouble)... Bob Fenner>

A Different Chocolate Chip Starfish Question Hi All, My 3 year old son is a starfish nut. I've indulged him with brittles, Linckia and Fromia. My LFS has some very nice chocolate chip starfish with red edges that I was considering for my seahorse tank. I just have a Trachyphyllia and a gorgonian in there (refugees from my angels). Otherwise, there is a ton of a Caulerpa, snails, hermits, sea cucumbers, a coral banded shrimp and, of course, a Brazilian seahorse, 3 pipefish, and 2 mandarins. I can live with feeding the starfish occasional snails and hermits crabs. I can also take the corals into the LFS if necessary. Is anything else at risk from this starfish? My son really wants one of these "bad" starfish ;-) <I have just seen them eat things like mushroom anemones and the like. I would think the most at risk are the Trachyphyllia and Gorgonian. -Steven Pro> Thanks, Marc

Chocolate Chip Starfish Hi Bob- I just purchased two Chocolate chip starfish and I notice on your site that they are considered less desirable. I was wondering if you could elaborate on why. <They are not "reef safe" and are capable of eating desirable inverts.> Also, I am acclimating them to my brackish water tank do you have any recommendations or suggestions. <Yes, do not do it.> Thank you, Ashley <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Pondering corals 8/4/03 Currently I have a 45gal FOWLR system set up with 96W VHO 50/50 actinic blue and 10,000K tubes in it.  I also have 2 medium chocolate chip stars... amongst other things not pertaining to this subject.   <on the contrary... they are quite pertinent to your subject line. They will randomly prey on corals in time. Chocolate chips may work for weeks/months... or merely days. But rest assured they will eat coral in time> Lately I have pondered corals.  Actually I pondered them from the start... but I stumbled onto these stars... and cut back on my original lighting needs for the lack of corals and anemones in the system.   <do know that mixing anemones and corals is never proper. Sessile stinging animals versus motile ones... a recipe for trouble in time> First off, are there any corals available that would tolerate the chocolate chip stars?   <some... large Alcyoniid leathers like Sarcophyton or Lobophytum perhaps. Many more choices likely... but still a risk> If so, at a minimum... what would I have to bump the lightning needs back up to...including my current lightning? <the lighting needs to be doubled to get anywhere near the ballpark for keeping average corals. Else you will be severely limited to deep water polyps which are quite delicious to your predatory sea stars. Do read all about them in our new book "Reef Invertebrates" (Calfo/Fenner) <G>>> Thanks Steve <best regards, Anthony>

Starfish Question >I have a 45 gallon SW setup with among other things...2 Chocolate Chip stars.   I just ordered the Reef Tank Tune-Up from Indo-Pacific.  This package contains: 6 Hawaiian Trochus Grazers, 1 Hawaiian Turbo Grazers, 12 Nerites grazers, 12 Micro hermits, 12 Strombus Grazers.  Should I be concerned with my 2 stars eating any of these critters?  Thanks in advance,  Steve >>I wouldn't trust these sea stars, as they could be considered "opportunistic omnivores", and in no way could be considered reef safe.  Marina

-Puffer checks to see of those are actual chocolate chips...- My dog-faced puffer recently attacked two chocolate chip starfish. They have numerous bite wounds, are lethargic, and not eating. Is there anything I can do for them? <Besides finding another home for the puffer? I would just leave them be, try feeding them in a few days, keep the water parameters in check, and hopefully they'll regenerate the lost body mass. Good luck! -Kevin>

Starfish or gone fish Great site thanks for all the info. I just recently bought some cured live rock (10pounds). I have a 30 gallon tank, 50/50 lighting, skimmer, and Fluval filter. My question is, should I get rid of the chocolate chip starfish or will it be ok to keep? <Depends on what you want to grow. Chocolate chip starfish are capable of consuming some desirable life forms.> Secondly what growth should I expect to see on the live rock? <Depends on the initial condition of the liverock, your lighting, feeding, water quality, etc. -Steven Pro>

Adopting a Chocolate Chip Star (2/23/04) I need some help please.  I will be 'adopting' my brother's chocolate chip starfish when he moves.  I only want a small tank (10 gallons) -- since it is basically just for the starfish.  I would like to know what else -- if anything -- I could put in the same tank.  I know he will eat other starfish (already has) and I know starfish can eat anemones and corals.  Is there anything you can suggest?  Thank you. <Unless you can do a bigger tank, you'd best not adopt this star. Better to give it to a marine aquarium store for sale to someone with a proper setup. Starfish require superb water conditions that are difficult to maintain in such a tiny tank, especially if you are a novice. They're also better off with a lot of live rock and live sand to scavenge. I have not heard of chocolate chips eating other stars of equal size, but they will consume just about anything they can get their stomachs around before it can escape. If you can get a bigger (say 30-40G range tank, you could set something up with the star and a shrimp and maybe a fish. You need to read a lot about the equipment and $$$ required for any marine setup. BTW, how do you plan to feed this starfish? Hope this is of some help. Steve Allen.>

Another Chocolate Chip Star Question (10/21/04) Hello! <Hi. Steve Allen with you tonight.> I hope you can answer a question for me, I have recently bought a chocolate chip starfish which is doing great, but I would like to buy a large Featherduster. I am wondering if the starfish is going to end up with a late night snack? <I would be worried about this. Stars feed by everting their stomachs onto their prey and pre-digesting it outside of their bodies. I'd bet it can get its stomach down into the tube.> Does it matter at all that I feed the starfish well (clams, shrimp) a couple of times a week? <They are opportunistic eating machines--definitely a risky proposition.> Thanks for any info! Barb <Hope this helps.>

Chocolate Chip Stars and Shrimps (11/27/04) Hello, first I wanna start out by saying how great this site is. <Thanks. A pleasure to play a small part. Steve Allen with you tonight.> My question is: My husband and I just purchased a Chocolate Chip Star and a Camelback Shrimp. We originally wanted just a basic cleaner shrimp and were sold the Camelback guy after reading up on it. Should we be concerned with it having a Chocolate Chip snack late at night? <Little risk here. The shrimp should not bother the star and the star should not bother the shrimp.> Thanks a bunch A. Bandy, Port Charlotte, FL <Hope this helps.>

Can Chocolate Chip Starfish be cannibals? Yep Thank you for everything you do for us hobbyists. Many of our aquatic friends would never have made it if it wasn't for your advice. My question today is in regards to my Chocolate Chip Star Fish. I have a 44 gallon tank that's been set up for about a year. Up until yesterday I had 2 chocolate chip starfish, 2 percula clownfish, and a cleaner shrimp. My wife and I fondly call our Stars, Chip and X.  X being a 4 legged starfish. I cannot find Chip anywhere. I have looked everywhere I know and cannot find him. Both starfish were of about equal size and I have had them for a little over a year. I noticed last night that X was sitting on top of what looked to be white coral sand, but I don't have any coral sand, just live sand. The Substrate is nowhere near the size of these pieces. Could it be Chips exoskeleton? <Yes> Could X be a cannibal?  <Possibly> I guess I'm trying to figure out if it's safe for my other habitants to keep X in the tank. All my levels are perfect, and Chip looked healthy the other day. Please write back, thanks  Shawn Johnson <You can search on the Net re this Asteroid's propensity for eating other sessile invertebrates... Does happen. Bob Fenner> 

Pin Cushion Urchin partially eaten by Chocolate Chip Starfish I recently introduced a purple pin cushion Urchin (I think it is a Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) into my system. <I hope not... this is a cool/cold water species> Last night I came home to find my chocolate chip star treating him like a happy meal. There is a 1/2 inch section on the Urchin where his needles have fallen off or been digested. I have removed the star fish from the system and placed him where he can do no harm. The Urchin is understandably stressed and has not moved much (but it is still alive). My question is does this guy have any hope of survival and what can I do to enhance his odds of visiting the big reef in the sky? <Mmm, really just keeping the system, water quality optimized and stable, providing foods...> Thanks in advance and this web-site has been and continues to be invaluable. -Rob Glentzer <Rob, do try to ascertain the species here... Ask your source for its identity, look over WWM re... CCS are "not detritivores"... Bob Fenner>

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