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Old 05-24-2005, 04:01 PM   #1
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Are serpent stars reef safe?

We have two as a part of a clean up crew. Recently we have had a couple of fish go missing, no bodies or anything left behind. Today I noticed another fish dead and one of the serpant stars appears to be eating it, but I am not sure if he killed it or not. This is the first time I have seen one of the fish dead, every other time it has just disappeared, but they have also been smaller fish. Could the serpent stars be killing the fish, or is it more likely that they are doing their clean up job and scavenging?

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Kimberly
husband's salt water reef is 92 gallon
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Old 05-24-2005, 04:50 PM   #2
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I would think they were cleaning the tank. They may take down a sick fish laying on the sand. The crabs and other cleaning crew would all eat the fish if it were stuck somewhere in the rock.
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Old 05-24-2005, 05:15 PM   #3
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I went into my office this morning around 3 am, I had a flight to catch, and just for giggles I grabbed the flash light. To my great surprise, I found my brittle star ravaging my Xenia. I could not believe my eyes, I thought it had been one of my Tangs that was nipping at Paris, and now I find out it is my huge brittle star. Well he is really ugly so I guess that is the final straw for him, back to the store this weekend. Point is, keep a watchful eye, you never know who is eating whom!
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Old 05-24-2005, 05:18 PM   #4
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8O

I thought brittle stars were reef safe! I certainly don't want my first coral introduced to my tank eaten before I can enjoy it

*off to research I go*
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Old 05-24-2005, 06:12 PM   #5
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Brittle Stars are reef safe. Green Brittle stars are not necessarily "fish safe" but that is not the same thing as being reef safe. My guess as far as the xenia is concerned is that the xenia had some food particles that IT was eating and the starfish thought it should share. I see this happen quite often. No harm is usually done to the coral IME.

I also have a sea apple, when it traps meaty foods, I have an eel that very gently, plucks the meat away from the tentacles of the sea apple.
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Old 05-24-2005, 09:01 PM   #6
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I agree with Hara. I would believe he was helping himself to some food rather than harming the coral.
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Old 05-25-2005, 09:31 AM   #7
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Well todays update is that the Xenia is missing and all I see in its place are three little, or rather large, hairy arms! He ate my Xenia, or pulled him behind a rock, so I guess I 3will go looking later.
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Old 05-25-2005, 09:57 AM   #8
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What color is the star MadManMac?
Quote:
or pulled him behind a rock
Was the xenia on a small rock he could pull?


Even still, sound like he's going back anyway, huh?
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Old 05-25-2005, 10:07 AM   #9
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no they aren't.

they get way to big and are opportunistic.

Just do a search online, it will say "bigger specimens feed on small fish" or something to that extent.

they are sold as reef safe, but they aren't.
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Old 05-25-2005, 10:53 AM   #10
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Larger specimens like the green stars can be fish killers. I've had a red/yellow brittle star in my reef for over two years. The starfish is a foot across with a disk size of about the size of the top of a soda can. I have xenya totally taking over my tank and never had an issue. I guess it's not unheard of behavior, all fish are different but, I would think it's uncommon behavior.
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