Brittle Star eating Fish can they?

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I have a Brown Brittle Star in my tank and alot of my small fish keep disappearing with nothing to be found. I have no other big fish in the tank that could do this so is it the brittle star? The last victim was a small clown and I am getting tired of it. Please HELP :help:


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What else is in your tank.. and have you tested your water etc etch blah blah? These things are mostly scavengers that quickly scoop up any uneaten food or if a fish is already dead... it'll gladly remove it from your system... the brown brittle stars 'shouldnt' eat fish that are still alive.... but I wouldnt say its impossible. What else is in your tank? Could you possibly have a mantis you dont know about?
Green brittle stars on the other hand.....
I think that he is the slaughter after reading some of the other posts. I suppose that he may need to be removed. It has been in my tank for about 6 yrs. and I guess that it is a free for all now for it. Little crap!!!!

sinner's girl

I can't believe you'd get rid of a star you've had for 6 years. My brittle never bothered my fish.
Are you feeding you brittle? if he is getting your fish, maybe he's just hungry?
Did you check your water? are you sure it's not another fish picking on the little fish?
I read about the greens and no there is nothing else in the tank that could be doing this. The water parameters are great. Tanks been up for 7 + yrs. 90 gallon with approx. 160 Lbs. live rock. Its easier then my fresh waters LOL. The clown that bit it today has been in the tank for approx. 6 months and health. Use to feed right out of my hand with the others till he got munched. All I found was his tail.

sinner's girl

Are you feeding the star? My brittle like shrimp. About 1/3-1/2 a salad shrimp a week or so. It's worth shot.
I feed the choc. chip but he comes to the top of the tank once a week or so for his food the brittle on the other hand hides till late at night so no he gets scraps.


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you said yours was brown not green green are mean my brittle stars have never bothered a thing that was living. they do eat the dead. i have one in with a yellow clown gobie who just perches wherever often on bottom of the tank and the brittle star never bothers him


I had a large green brittle star and it never bothered my fish however my friend had one and it would actually perch itself up on its legs and make a little cave with its legs and trap fish. I witnessed it doing that more thean once. Each one has its own personality so I would say you should try feeding it more and see if it leaves your fish alone.
Just to let everyone know, I took the brittle to the local fish store and they took it with no issues. Added a sifter star in his place. So the brittle will be happy some where else.


Active Member
Originally Posted by InsaneSTV
Just to let everyone know, I took the brittle to the local fish store and they took it with no issues. Added a sifter star in his place. So the brittle will be happy some where else.

What size is your tank...
If it's too small, the sand sifter will eat through your sandbed and then end up starving and dying...Not to mention leaveing your sandbed dead..
Bet the LFS never told you that...


Active Member
Bring back the sandsifter for the above mentioned reasons and the chocolate chip if you have a reef system, since they eat inverts.
There is a 3 inch argonite bed and the choc. star does not bother anything. It is a fish only with inverts. one little sand sifter (1 and a half inches) and the choc. chip about 3 INchs tank is a 90 gallon that has been up and running for 7 + yrs and is doing great. I just had it torn down about a month ago transfered everything to a large pool and switched stands and clean it up some. The disappearing fish has been an on going prob. for about 6 months and when the tank was down there is nothing in there that I do not know about. I can recall a time that everyone told me not to get a manderin and I ignored it and it was in the tank for 5 yrs till winter storm and lost power for 36 hrs. and tank got to cold.


Active Member
I would like to say several things:
One, please provide more specifics on your situation - fish lost, how old they were, and SPECIFIC water parameters - if you are truly interested in ruling out any other possibilities. And there may be other possibilities. It is worth making sure there is nothing else that is an issue. :)
The brittlestar is a scavenger...and will eat dead fish. But whether it caught and ate those fish is questionable. How many fish did you lose? How often did you lose them? Did you ever see the star with a huge disk? Again, important to know what fish, how big, how long you had them, etc. Because many of these reports of brittlestars CATCHING fish are WRONG.
In short, from what I can tell this was an animal that was not directly fed. This is important for animals we keep and I can not blame it if it "decided" to get some food. To expect it to starve is rediculous...however, I would imagine that you would have had issues for quite some time if you had a predatory star. If this was a recent thing, you may just want to rule anything else out.
But I like to document these things so I would very much appreciate specifics if you could provide them.
The green brittlestar is a KNOWN predator in the wild. But many brittlestars have the potential. They are highly adaptable and opportunistic; deprived of food, many could easily turn to getting it in other ways.
I agree that the sand sifter is doomed in most tanks under 100g and will generally starve in 9-12 months.


Active Member
Could be a killer hitch hicker that just took that long to grow up. You can drop food in the tank long after the lights are out to see if something like a bad crab ect. comes out to play.
Could it be the chocolate chip? Red generals (Protoreaster linckii) are basically the same as the chocolate chip; they're just a different color and get to a smaller size. The red generals have been known to suck up sleeping fish that lie on or in the sand. Just to be clear, I have never owned any chocolate chips or red generals, but I have owned brittle stars and serpent stars. I got the information about the red general from my local fish store (if people disagree with this information, I do not understand why a fish store would tell me the horror stories of a $35 invertebrate if they were not reliable). I have owned 1 red serpent star (got up to 5-6 inches in diameter before getting an infection in its core and croaked), 1 brown serpent star (got up to 10 inches long - trigger ate a portion of him and he didn't recover), 2 black and red brittle stars (Got up to 10-14 inches in diameter - Trigger again), and a green brittle star (got up to 10-14 inches. I placed him in a smaller tank to save him because he was being harassed and the tank overheated =/). I have never ever had a problem with my brittle stars nor my serpents.I even had them with snails and crabs (red legged hermits and a sally light foot) The brittle and serpents never tried to eat the crabs nor did ever try to catch my little fish. I did feed them well - my brittle stars even started reproducing, which was pretty cool.
The summary of this is that for the 4 years that I have been a fish hobbyist (it's not much, compared to some fish hobbyists, but all experience matters), and I have never ever had a problem with brittle stars or serpent stars, no matter what color they are.