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FAQs about  Green Brittlestars, Ophiarachna incrassata Compatibility

Related Articles: Brittlestars, Sea Stars An Introduction to the Echinoderms:  The Sea Stars, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers and More... By James W. Fatherree, M.Sc.

Related FAQs: Green Brittlestars 1, Green Brittlestars 2, & FAQs on:  Green Brittlestars Identification, Green Brittlestars Behavior, Green Brittlestars Selection, Green Brittlestars Systems, Green Brittlestars Feeding, Green Brittlestars Disease, Green Brittlestars Reproduction, & Brittlestars 1, Brittlestars 2, Brittlestars 3, & Brittlestar ID, Brittlestar Behavior, Brittlestar Compatibility, Brittlestar Selection, Brittlestar Systems, Brittlestar Feeding, Brittlestar Disease, Brittlestar Reproduction, & Seastar Selection, Seastar Compatibility, Seastar Systems, Seastar Feeding, Seastar Reproduction, Seastar Disease

The shadow knows...

midnight death   8/11/11
I couldn't see anywhere on the site if there were any fish that would be considered safe with a known green brittle star that eats fish.
<Most anything large enough>
I was hoping to put him in with a moray snowflake one day. Currently, the eel is a baby and I am concerned he will become lunch.
<IF the moray is at least the length of the Brittlestars width it should be safe. I would still feed the Ophiuroid every other day though. Bob Fenner>

Green Brittle star and Coris gaimard  Hi Bob, I have attached a photo of one of my two what I believe are Green brittle stars. <I think you're right> I have a Coris gaimard in my quarantine tank and he is ready to go into my 90 gallon with my Koran Angel (he's doing great) and one of my green brittle's that I moved out of my 125g Reef. Here's the question, since the Coris sleeps buried at night will the green brittle attack him?  <It's a possibility... especially if the Coris is small (just a few inches)> I have heard that green brittle's are bad news, and maybe I should remove both of them and donate to my LFS for maybe smaller brittles (non green). What do you think? Thanks Larry <Mmm, up to you re assessing the risk, taking it. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/brittlestarfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>
Re: Green Brittle star and Coris Gaimard Thanks for the quick response. My Coris is 4 inches and has switched colour to adult. However I am not willingly to take the risk of a cheap brittle star over the Coris. <Me neither> The green brittle stars are aggressive, if I feed my corals, say my frogspawn with bits of silversides, they come out of hiding and take the pieces out of my corals. They are easy to catch this way just put a large chunk of silversides in the front of the tank and out they come. Thanks again Larry
<Yikes. I say the heave-ho as well. Bob Fenner>

Fish & Serpent Star Compatibility... Not!   9/12/07 I have a brown serpent star in a 125 gal FOWLR. <Because of your concern, I am assuming you mean a Green Brittle stars, (Ophiarachna incrassata). Does yours look like the guy on the top of this page? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestaridfaqs.htm More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestarcompfaqs.htm > I would like to get a radiant wrasse (Halichoeres iridis) , but I'm concerned that the serpent star may go after a sand dwelling fish. <Highly likely if given the opportunity.> I have never seen it stalking fish before, but I did witness it attacking a cleaner shrimp! <They can be quite predatory.> The tuxedo urchins and star also leave each other alone. If it would be too risky to house a wrasse with this star, would the radiant wrasse be a good tank mate for seahorses? <No. They have different system requirements. Seahorses require specialized low flow systems. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seahorsecare.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tube-mfi.htm These two do not belong in the same system.> Thank you for your insight. <Welcome! Mich>

Brittle stars hello , i have a green brittle star, in my tank, and i am wanting to buy a small snowflake eel, do you think they will get along ok <Yes, these two should. This species of Moray doesn't eat starfishes, and the Green Brittle Star should leave the Eel alone. Some info. on the Snowflake can be found on our site here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm and the Star here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestars.htm Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: brittle stars >thanks for the links, i just had a pet store to tell me i couldn't have an eel with my brittle star cause the eel would eat it <Mmm, no... this species mainly eats crustaceans in the wild. Take a look under the species name, Echidna nebulosa, in the scientific literature, e.g. fishbase.org. Bob Fenner>

Shrimp/Serpent Star Deaths Help me, Bob! Three days ago, I purchased from my trusted LFS three cleaner shrimp (all large, two carrying eggs) and one beautiful red serpent star. All were carefully acclimated. Water parameters perfect. Have other thriving serpent stars. The following morning, I found the newly-added red serpent laying still. I allowed several hours to pass before reaching in to try to see if I could coax movement, to no avail. I put him on a rock so I could gauge his movement. Waited a few more hours to see what happened, and he just hung there - definitely deceased. I removed the poor soul. Later that day, I noticed that my three new cleaner shrimp were missing. It has now been several days and not a trace. The only fish in the tank that may have done them some harm would be my flame hawk, but I didn't actually see him do anything. Is this a case of I did something wrong, or bad stock from the LFS? I should add that I also bought a small arrow crab at the same time, but he is doing just fine. What do you think the culprit is? Thanks for your advice, as always. Marilyn >> Yikes, though I love a mystery, I do not like to see anomalous animal losses or hobbyist-friends suffering. Unfortunately, I'd almost bet anything that the culprits) are your existing (green) serpent stars. This, in the middle of the night missing livestock, script is their MO for sure. Yes, the hawk might eat one small shrimp, and the Arrow Crab can/will grow to bothering/bothersome proportions... and, yes, maybe the LFS had some bad livestock... but all these losses? No, it's the stars. Either remove and trade them in, or reconcile yourself to only larger, aggressive or non-tasty tankmates. Bob Fenner

Brittle star ambush Mr. Fenner I had an orchid Dottyback who was living inside an empty snail shell. This morning, I found my green brittle star next to the shell with the Dottyback in his mouth. I had heard that some brittle stars can be quite adept at catching sleeping fish, but had not experienced it first hand until now. Should I worry about the brittle star catching other fish? What can I do to keep this from happening again? Thank you. >> Yes. Remove it...  Bob Fenner

-Seahorse compatibility- Lol...I just got done writing you about my blue/green Chromis in with my erectus seahorses!  But, alas, I need your help once more... <That's what we're here for, fire away!> I went to a marine store near where I live in Ohio today (was supposed to buy some small crabs and such for both my 30 gallon tank of seahorses and for my 5 gallon of dwarf seahorses).  Well, when I was in there I picked up a nudibranch ...Phyllidia arabica I realized tonight from reading on here.  I am wondering now if I should not have bought this little bugger! <Well, do you know what it eats? Unfortunately, these things are incredibly hard to identify, and if you didn't collect it yourself, you have no way of knowing what it ate in the wild (they are usually specific feeders). Nudi's similar or the same as this one have been know to release toxins when damaged. All that said, it probably was not a smart buy.> I talked to the owner of the store and he told me it would do just fine in my tank with the seahorses.  I also went in looking for a chocolate chip starfish, which I thought would make a wonderful addition, well....sigh...I let not only the owner, but my friend as well, talk me out of the chocolate chip and in to purchasing a green brittle star instead. <Hehe, come armed w/ info!> Again, the owner of the store said that it would do well in with the seahorses and I had nothing to worry about. <Green brittle stars are notorious for chowing on unsuspecting fish at night, I doubt that your seahorse would be immune from this.> I am now shaking my head and embarrassed to say that after reading up on both of my new purchases that it seems neither is right for my tank! <Hehe, unfortunately it happens to everybody. Try to learn from these mistakes and come into the store knowing what you want and how to keep it. If something is really cool and you're not sure about it, put it on hold and research it.> Am I just over reacting?  I LOVE my seahorses and do not want to introduce them into harms way because of my lack of knowledge on these two specific species.  Will my guys be okay with these two new additions, or should I remove them pronto?  Any help on this quandary I have made for myself at the risk of my seahorses (wondering if I should start kicking myself now) would be gratefully appreciated! <If your LFS guy is cool, he may let you return what you've just bought. If you LOVE :) your seahorses, you'll want to remove them. Good luck! -Kevin> Thank you again,  Jena

Just wanted to share... Shrinking Shrimp, predatory Brittlestar? This weekend I purchased four small peppermint shrimp hoping they would clean up some pesky Aiptasia in my tank.  I read all that I could find to try to make sure they would be safe, but alas, they became the most expensive food I've ever put in my tank!  I believe the green brittle star is the culprit.  All of the shrimp were gone within a few hours.  They were fairly small shrimp, but all of my fish are smaller than 3 inches long, so I'm pretty sure the brittle star got them.  My husband keeps trying to convince me that maybe the shrimp are hiding, but my tank is only 55 gallons and I would expect to see at least one of them around feeding time.  Anyway, I just thought that I would share with other hobbyists that small shrimp are not necessarily safe with a medium to large size brittle star, regardless of what the LFS tells you!  Keep up the good work WWM crew! <Thanks for the encouragement! It is always possible that the shrimp are hiding. I put a very expensive fire shrimp in my tank on Saturday...haven't seen him since. Shrimp are experts at hiding. Keep watching around feeding time. Best of luck! David>

Green Brittle Star   11/26/07 Hey Crew, <Hello Kirk, Mich here.> Just a quick question.  I recently bought a green brittle star because of their reputation as janitors.  <They are good janitors,  so good in fact, that they will clean up your livestock as well.>  I did my research first and was fully aware of their predatory nature.  <Good, they have also been called "The Green Death".>  I have a 135gal FO system with a Humu, a Blue Angel, Majestic Angel, Yellow Tang, Coral Beauty, and a Blue Damsel.  I wasn't too worried about the safety of any of my fish but I forgot all about my last fish...a little Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse.  <Poor survival rates, should not be not be kept in captivity.>  I really don't know how I did it but I actually forgot all about him until I but the star in the tank and saw the wrasse swim past it.  So... my question is, what is the likelihood that he will be eaten by the star?  <Can you say: "Tastes like chicken".>  I have had him for about six months now and he is actually doing very well in the system.  I had big hesitations when I purchased him due to their low mortality rate in captivity.  <...but you purchased him anyway?>  But my son really wanted him so I caved.  <Would have been better to use the situation to teach your son about conservation and responsibility.>   Truthfully I didn't expect him to do this well.  <...Yet you purchased him anyway?>  He is a really good eater and follows the trigger around all day and whenever the trigger scoops up a mouthful of sand, the wrasse seems to pick at little whatever's that get stirred up with it.  He also stays right next to the trigger at feeding time and eats the tiny pieces the messy trigger spits out.  The angels and tang also really like the services the wrasse provides and open up their gills several times a day for a good once over.  I don't really know where the cleaner beds down at night but I am pretty sure its one of the many holes/caves in the rock.  So I am a little worried about his safety.  <And you should be.>  Do these stars actually stalk fish <Like paparazzi.>  or are they more opportunity feeders that will take advantage of a sick/weak victim.  I will more than likely take the star back if you guys feel there is a real threat to the cleaner.  <Take him back, put him in he sump, get him out of the main tank...if you don't want to loose your wrasse.> Sorry it got so winded...as always, I appreciate the help.  <You seem like you know the info, you just need to stick by what you know and not be pressured at your LFS.>   Kirk

The Mystery of the Disappearing Fishes...Better Take a Closer Look at That Ophiuroid - 05/26/06 Hello Everyone, <<Morning Barb!>> I am writing out of desperation, in the hopes of finding some peace of mind. <<Uh-oh...well, let's hear your problem and see if I can help>> I have a 55-gallon saltwater setup with a 30-gallon refugium <<Excellent>> that has been up and running for about 3 years now.  The livestock would include: 2 Clown Fish/host Anemone 1 Mandarin 1 Brittle Starfish (spans about 6-8") 1 Cleaner Shrimp 1 Coral Banded Shrimp 1 Peppermint Shrimp 1 Green Chromis And various corals. My water parameters are all fine, and I do regular weekly water changes to stay ahead of the algae problem.  Here is my problem. Not even two weeks ago, I thought I could add some more fish to liven up the tank. So I purchased a Sixline Wrasse, <<Nasty little buggers>> a Royal Gramma Basslet, <<And on the other side of the coin...  These are wonderful little aquarium fishes>> and five Green Chromis. <<Mmm..are "okay" as far as damsels go>> Everyone looked fine for a few days and then I noticed the Wrasse disappeared. <<No quarantine, eh>> By the way my tank has a cover to prevent a suicide jumping. <<I understand the reasoning...but feel the advantage/benefit of improved gas exchange to be worth the risk of keeping an open-top tank>> Then about 10 days after the purchase, a couple of the Chromis disappeared, as well as the Basslet just yesterday. <<Very troubling indeed>> I am now down to just one Green Chromis of the original purchase. The Wrasse and Basslet just disappeared without showing any signs of poor health.  As far as the Chromis go, I did notice some strange markings that I later researched from your site that cannot be explained.  The markings were red blotches like a bruise on the skin and some scales missing. <<Mmm yes, a physical trauma...and a clue...>> Also skin coloring looked like it was turning white.  Only one of the original Chromis showed these markings and eventually the rest did.  I definitely plan on talking to the fish store about replacing them. <<I don't think the store is to blame here...at least not directly...>> However, I can't explain losing the Wrasse and Basslet. <<I have an idea/suspicion>> Did I try to put too many fish in my tank or is there a predator that I'm not aware of? <<The latter I believe...will explain below>> Like I mentioned, they just disappeared overnight, and showing no signs of distress.  I really thought I had room to grow.  And I find it very strange that up until this last purchase, the other tank habitants had been doing just fine.  I'm really disappointed about this and I'm afraid to put anything else in the tank.  Maybe I should mention, that I've had recent outbreak of glass anemones which I've been trying to control with a Kalk solution, which I also learned about from your site. <<Not the problem here>> It seems to working well since the Peppermint Shrimp isn't doing it's job. <<Ha! Yes, my experience with these as well>> Could you guys help me with this problem and tell me what I did wrong?  It kills me to see what I thought were healthy fish (Wrasse and Basslet) just disappear. Thanks so much, Barb <<Well Barb, I think you need to look to that growing Brittle Star as the culprit...especially if it happens to be "green" (genus Ophiarachna)...have a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestars.htm.  Even if not Ophiarachna, the more "fish safe" species will sometimes turn to your fish for an "after-dark snack" when they get large and/or are not kept well fed.  From the fish species taken/gone missing and the circumstances and markings/injuries you describe, the Brittle Star rises as the prime suspect in my mind.  I suggest you move that Brittle Star to your refugium and see if the situation improves for your fishes...I think it will.  Regards, Eric Russell>> 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> Green (not always) Brittle Star...Yummy tankmates!   1/3/07 <Hi James, Mich with out today.> You're website is great and you are all smarter and better looking than I will ever be and if you can help me I will send you $5 in the mail... <Heeheee! Flattery will get you everywhere!> Today I woke up and found half my sally light foot crab sticking out of the mouth of one of my brittle stars.   <Sorry for your loss.> Looking at your website I have since determined that although dark brown in color, it is indeed a green brittlestar.   <Yes, Green Brittle stars, (Ophiarachna incrassata), may not always appear green.  Though the base color is usually light green to olive, there is often a contrasting pattern of varying colors which can alter the overall appearance.>   I have another brittle star that looks almost exactly like this one but it is smaller and light tan.  Is it possible that this too is a 'green' brittle star?  Is it that simple or should I send a photo (which may be difficult since they avoid light.) <It is possible.  As a general statement, brittle stars, are not the safest of tankmates.  Serpent stars are much more docile and I think preferable.  My personal fav is the Ruby Red Serpent Star (Ophioderma rubicundum).> Also, if I do have to get rid of the two stars should I find other animals to 'sift' my sand or is the likelihood that these two stars were filling that niche low anyways?   <Low likelihood.> I have a half a dozen Cerith snails, a dozen Nassarius snails, and a dozen little hermits to do that for me already (in a 29 g tank). <Mmm, more or less.> Lastly, what is the best method to capture these brittle stars so I can return them to the LFS?   <Usually can be lured from their hiding places by offering a tasty morsel or two by hand. Thanks, <Welcome!  -Mich> James

Green brittle star, Marine Stocking 1/11/08 Hi WWMedia Crew! <Hello> I'm a huge fan of the site, as well as the Bob and Anthony's books. You've helped me a great deal, as I've moved forward with my first tank. <Great> I'm hoping you can help me again. I'm looking toward the somewhat distant future of my tank and had a question, concerning the green brittle star's appetites. Would larger fish, e.g. lionfish, morays or Marine Bettas be in jeopardy? (These are what I have set up, to date.) <Not likely, however I would guess the star would be in danger from them, its legs could make a tasty snack.> Of course there's the Betta, who I know enjoys caves... once he has reached adult size would he be OK with the green brittle star? The Betta comes first for me--he's got nothing but personality, and I brought him home and intend to care for him. I want to be sure he's safe. <Most likely would be ok, but honestly I would skip the star altogether, no need to tempt fate by adding a piscivore to the tank.> I have a 90g tank with around 120 lbs. of live rock, a 20g and a TurboFlotor protein skimmer, if that helps sketch out the logistics. My levels are usually around 77 degrees, 1.023 SG, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, <10 nitrates, pH 8.2. No inverts so far--aside from the ones that showed up on my live rock. I'm sticking mostly with a FOWLR setup. <Ok> Thanks. I'm truly grateful for all you do... ATH <Welcome> <Chris>

Re: Stone crabs in my tank (not)... Ophiarachna after all  -- 10/30/2007 Not sure if you remember our discussion or not <I remember, reading, placing...> I did promise to tell if I figured out what was eating the missing tank members. We had quite a discussion a few months ago. Well let me tell you the past few months have been nuts. Had a pretty healthy Aiptasia bloom. <These might do it...> I had 2 live rocks with larger animals on them. The rest was a fine hair like growth on the lace rock. First reaction is the lace rock was yanked and bleached. I've done this with regularity over the 30 yrs I've had fish with no bad affects. I just make sure to rinse really well and completely air dry everything. <Yes> Anyway the 2 live rocks, one smaller one was sacrificed, only thing of value was the rose anemone and I removed him and placed him on a "safe" rock. Rose anemone was new and I suspect the Aiptasia came in with him. Broke the other rock off and tossed the section with the Aiptasia. <One control approach...> Anyway to make a long story short I spent 2 days stripping the reef. Took it really slow and pulled everything that I found off rocks and moved them to other rocks. During this strip search I found 2 more of those darn Mithrax crabs! <Ahh!> Didn't catch them in the traps and I spent about 2 weeks baiting and moving and setting up in different ways in different locations with different baits. Well ok, I thought great we have all the little buggers and nothing else so restock the tank. First purchase, 3 peppermint shrimp (missing) one gorgeous blue tux urchin, yep mildly predacious but darn do we have enough hair algae to keep him pretty busy. Which is why I bought that "algae ONLY eating" green bristle star!!!!! <Mmm, hmmm> Now let me explain, when I was about 12 yrs old my mom bought this gorgeous salt water set up. She had it for about 2 yrs and one day I came home to find it ripped down "out of the wall" and sitting in the garage empty. When I asked her what was up she explained that her "pet" chocolate chip star had eaten her last fish. She had this star trained and she really thought it was cute how he'd reach out and grab the food from her hand. Well instead of the food it was her last fish and she took the star fish and dried him out and set him on her bar to remind her to never get another fish tank. <Yikes!> Needless to say I have a poor opinion of star fish! That was one of the big rules when we went into the tank, No star fish! Well he was playing with this guy in the store and I told him how I felt and the employee walked up behind us and said """"""" Oh no that guy is perfectly safe in your tank!! He only eats algae, he does get big and will eat a lot of algae so you need to make sure he has enough to eat!!!"""""""""""" <Right...> Gee and maybe that's why I didn't think about him when we were having our discussion about where my fish were going!! Yesterday, I acquired a new piece of live rock, it came in with 5 almost microscopic stars on it. Well first thing was to research and make sure the green star wouldn't fight with the little guys, 2 blue Linckias and one black and a white ringed bristle star and 2 of those 5 legged little macro stars. Lo and behold what do I find when I come to your site and pull up the green bristle star fish. Vicious fish eater!!!! Oy vie!! I could ring that pet store persons neck!! Anyway Bristle star is a pretty cool little/big guy at 12". <!> He's just gonna have to move to the isolation tank. Oh and guess what? More of those darn Mithrax crabs in the new piece of live rock, Small piece about 6" and I've pulled 2 of them out so far!! Nice rock with 5 lacy mushrooms on it at $20. <I'd sell the Mithraculus...> Really glad we set up that isolation tank. Thank you for that bit of advise.. Take care and sorry for the long winded letter Bridget <Thank you for this follow-up. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Stone crabs in my tank (not) 10/30/07 LoL you're too funny!! I can just see it now Me standing on the street corner hollering, "hey anyone want crabs" ROTFL Thank you for having your site, I can't begin to tell you what an incredible resource it is!! I am truly grateful for all your help! Take care Bridget <Thank you! BobF>

Green Brittle Starfish compatibility - 10/8/07 <Hello> I have a 55 gal with a Snowflake moray eel, Volitans lionfish, and an almost three inch Niger trigger fish. <Need more room for these three.> I have read about this "fish eating brittle star" <!> if I get a Green Brittle Star will he eat my triggerfish, or any other of mine for that reason, but I am most worried about me Niger. <I wouldn't take a chance on it. There's a good reason why they're sometimes referred to as 'The Green Death'!> Thank you very much. <You're welcome --Lynn>

Serpent Star Question 11/08/07 Reading tons of FAQ's and reading the RC forums I found myself confused. I understood brittle stars and serpent stars to be very different creatures. <Um, not necessarily. And this is the problem with common names. "Serpent" and "brittle" could be used to describe different animals or they could be used to describe the same animal. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestars.htm> I also understood green brittle stars to be very dangerous inhabitants to have in a reef tank, but I had never heard anything negative about green serpent stars. In my tank I have assorted SPS, 2 hammer corals (separate near an overflow), assorted Zoanthids, 2 blue/green Chromis, 2 pajama cardinal, 2 black Ocellaris (1.5"), 2 peppermint shrimp, and 2 skunk shrimp, and also a 5"red and 5"green serpent star) The tank is a 120G containing about 150lbs of LR, with a 25G sump, and 35G rock, Chaeto and DSB Fuge. About 1 week ago 1 blue/green Chromis, and 1 peppermint shrimp disappeared. I had previously wondered if there was any aggression in between fish, and in order to watch I set up a mirror and watched from the next room for several hours while surfing the web. <cool idea> There was no aggression I could see. Now after reading some posts from people about "dangerous green serpent stars" I wonder whether my green serpent star is the offender (there was no body found), or if someone was just mistaken and meant to right green brittle star. <Maybe they weren't "mistaken" per se but simply had a different idea of how to use the name(s).> To sum this all up, is the green serpent star dangerous, or does "green death" only apply to green brittle stars? <I think that the names "green serpent" and "green brittle" are often used interchangeably. I've seen Ophioarachna incrassata called by either name. Again, this is the tragedy of common names. So, my friend, I'm sorry to say it sounds like you may likely have the dreaded "Green Death" star (yet another common name--though one a bit more specific in this case).> Thank you so much in advance, you folks were a wonderful resources helping me get started. Joshua <Thank you and de nada, Sara M.> Re: Serpent Star Question, and Blenny question -11/11/07 Ah thank you so much for the help and information, hopefully getting the serpent/brittle/green death star out will have fixed the disappearing Chromis and shrimp problem. <Hope so! :-)> I dimmed the lights and coaxed him out over the course of an hour, then grabbed him and moved him to the overflow on my refugium. I do have more questions for you though. My stocking list goes In my tank I have assorted SPS, 2 hammer corals (separate near an overflow), assorted Zoanthids, 2 blue/green Chromis, 2 pajama cardinal, 2 black Ocellaris (1.5"), 1 Orange Striped watchman goby (3"), 2 peppermint shrimp, and 2 skunk shrimp, and also a 5"red and 5"green serpent star) The tank is a 120G (48x24x24) containing about 150lbs of LR, with a 25G sump, and 35G rock, Chaeto and DSB Fuge. In my long term goals I hope to keep a mandarin dragonette, but I am prepared to wait as long as needed to grow and maintain a pod population capable of supporting him. <Cool... and please note that there are ways to culture these pods too.> I am also interested in a Foxface, but I am unsure if he would be appropriate for two reasons, the four foot length of the tank, <Hmm, why would this bother the Foxface? They actually *need* a lot of space.> and the bunches of potentially tasty corals. <Huh, I think you may be getting some weird misinformation on these fish. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rabbitfi.htm> In the more near future I am considering a Lawnmower Blenny to the tank. Do you see any problems with him in this mix, I've heard they are interesting creatures generally. Will the watchman goby be to similarly shaped to get along with him. <Haha, um, what? I'm sorry, but are you sure you're thinking of the right fish here? Shrimp/watchman gobies and Foxface/rabbit fish look nothing alike. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm> Thank you so much again, Cheekymonkey <My pleasure, Sara M.>
Aggressive Lawnmower Blenny or Brittle Starfish! 03/11/2008 How are you all? Thank you once again for all of your help! <<Good Morning, Andrew here today>> Ok, can you tell me who the culprit may be? About 5 days ago I purchased a Midas Blenny. Very pretty and sweet he acclimated to the tank and was out swimming in an hour. <<You did not quarantine for 4 weeks??>> He happened to scout out a hole in a rock that my lawnmower blenny sleeps in every night and camped out for a bit before the Lawnmower spotted him and had a fit! He was trying to get him to get out by shaking his body against the hole but the Midas was scared and wouldn't come out. The Blenny then went into the same hole and pushed him out very quickly. I then noticed a white very small spot on the Midas' left fin. <<Could of been caused by the two blennies in the same hole>> Over the past few days it has gotten smaller. I have been soaking food in Garlic Extreme. <<Garlic extreme is not a cure for anything. All this will do is bolster the immune system a little>> Two night ago all my fish were fine. They all ate and disappeared as they do when lights go out. I also had a small Bi colored Blenny for about a month now. The Midas has been staying in his hole for the most part except to come out and feed and swim on his side of the tank closest to his rock. I noticed yesterday a.m. that the Bi colored Blenny was missing! I do have, or shall I say did have until today, a Brittle Starfish. I took him to my LFS and gave it to him. He said that it wouldn't have been the Brittle and that I should keep him as he was so beautiful and looked "well fed" He said it was probably my Lawnmower Blenny that killed him and the Starfish ate him. <<This is a good possibility. Depending on the species of brittle you had, some are known fish predators like the green brittle. What SP. of brittle was yours?>> I couldn't help it and told him just to keep him because I didn't want to take anymore chances. I noticed that my Six Line Wrasse has a bite out of his tail fin! The Lawnmower has NEVER bothered my Wrasse or Dwarf Coral. Do you think it was the Brittle or the Lawnmower? <<Lawnmower blennies are not aggressive fish per say, except to others of similar body shape>> I had been feeding my Brittle every night at first by hand with shrimp and scallops and fish. The LFS said not to do that and only feed him every three nights or so. Do you think he got hungry and ate my little Bicolored friend? The Lawnmower chased the Bi color every once in a while but never came close to trying to bite him. 65 gallon with 75 lbs. live rock and several small frag coral Order which introduced and time in tank flollows: Dwarf Coral Beauty (2 Months) Six Line Wrasse (2 months) <<this fish should of been added last>> Lawnmower Blenny (1 1/2 months) 3 Blue Green Chromis (1 month) Bi-color Blenny R.I.P. :) (3 weeks) Midas Blenny (5 days) Starfish Brittle Starfish (1+ months) gone now ( My Son bought it) Algae eating starfish (2 months aprox.) Shrimp 1 Skunk cleaner (1+ months) Water param.s have been great. I check them every week as well as have my LFS just to compare. <<At face value, i would say its a possibility that you can put this disappearance down to the brittle star. Out of the fish you stock, the 6 lines wrasse is about the most aggressive, and really should of been added last. My advice, now the brittle has gone, is to monitor the current stock>> Thank you in advance for your opinion and all of your help! Rachel <<Thanks for the questions, Hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: Aggressive Lawnmower Blenny or Brittle Starfish! 03/12/2008 Hi Andrew! Thank you for your quick response. <<No problem>> Yes it was a Green Brittle. Attached is a photo of what looks like him setting up for the evening for his dinner! At the time I took the pic, I thought he was just getting "comfortable" with his environment. The LFS my Son bought him from said that don't eat fish. My Wrasse has never bothered one fish except for a Purple Pseudochromis that I added. He immediately went after him. I quickly got the Pseudo out and took him back and traded for the Midas Blenny which he has not bothered once. The Six Line is probably my favorite fish as he is always out. He really seems to "dance" in the current at the front of the tank when I turn the stereo on. Almost seems to be to the beat of the music! He is really cool! I added him in the beginning due to a bristle worm problem. I did do extensive research but it seems as though all the reef safe community fish I am interested in can become territorial and should be added last. Where do you start? <<Well, where do you start? that's always a good question. The best place to start is by having at hand a good selection of books to research, rather than forums>> Anyway, after looking at the pic and reading my response to your questions, do you still think it was the Green Brittle? <<Yes, i would be happy in saying it was more than likely the green brittle. They can be / are predaceous>> Or should I go back and get him? To tell you the truth, I thought he was cool that he would eat out of my hand. But on the other hand, he kind of gave me the creeps because he reminded me of a Tarantula! I just thought he would be nice to have because LFS said they ate everything down to fish waste! <<He he he...yes, they do eat everything down to fish waste, including small fish too>> Thank you once again Andrew! Rachel <<Good luck Rachel, hope the above helps. A Nixon>>

Green brittlestar question, incomp.  -- 6/17/08 Dear Mr. Fenner,> While my daughter is away at college, I am the caretaker for her saltwater aquarium. In her absence, the brittlestar has grown considerably. For the past few months, it has maintained a position above and around the bubble-tip anemone, much to the detriment of the anemone and to the frustration of the maroon clownfish. The brittlestar seemed to have dislodged the anemone, which moved aimlessly for many days before finding a new location. The brittlestar immediately moved to shadow it in the new location. I have tried putting shrimp pellets in other areas to lure it back where it had previously been, but it seems to enjoy harassing the anemone and clownfish. <The latter... is being stalked> I also suspect it of eating most of our snails. <Could> Could you please offer any suggestions and/or should I get rid of the brittlestar? <I would> It is over a foot long from leg tip to leg tip, and we have a 55 gallon aquarium. Thank you for any advice you have to offer. Sincerely, Joan Bonnington, Houston, Texas <Feel free to refer your daughter to our site re this Ophiarachna. I would be trading it out pronto. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: green brittlestar question, removal    6/18/08 Thanks for your help. I appreciate it. I am going to get fresh r/o saltwater today, so I tried in vain to capture the brittlestar. He is crafty, to say the least. I am going to have to do a major rock revamp to be able to get to him. I was only able to get hold of legs, and I didn't want to pull one off even. I will try again later. Joan Bonnington <Oh! Do simply bait this animal out... tie a bit of marine origin meaty food to a rock or such, place toward the front, bottom... when it comes out to eat (it will very soon if you mince a bit and add the juice to the tank), hand-pick it out. Bob Fenner>

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