Feeding a big fancy brittle star - how much/how often?


Active Member
View Badges
Jul 5, 2018
Reaction score
Hi all,

I have a big Fancy Brittle Sea Star; the kind with the stripes down its arms. I'd say it's 10-12" from tip to tip with a center disc of 2.5" or so.

I'm curious how much you feed and how often?

I've had some smaller fish disappear here and there - in the 2-3" range - and while I've never seen it with a fish, I'm trying to rule it out. In fact in the 2-3 years I've had it, I've never seen it out of its hiding place in the rocks. (Although I'm not out religiously at night waiting to see.)

I currently feed it every 2-3 days a piece of squid about the size of 1-2 nickels stacked up. (I've never fed him fish pieces because I don't want him to get a taste for that, LOL!) Is this enough for a star that size?

When I feed the fish every day its arms are out searching, but I don't know if that's just because it's a scavenger/opportunistic feeder, never knowing when it's next meal is coming.

Thoughts and thanks!
Reef Chasers Aquaculture


Well known Member and monster tank lover
View Badges
Aug 11, 2013
Reaction score
Wisconsin-Florida in a year
Typically, most Brittle stars are primarily scavengers or detritivores. In reef aquariums, they tend to roam on the substrate and rockworks in search of tiny particulate matter and leftover fish food to consume. These meals are transported into the mouth by the tube feet. Serpent starfish is also known to prey on small organisms such as worms e.g. feather duster tube worms. Supplementary feeding is well-appreciated, they can ingest bits of clam, fish, mussel, shrimp, sinking pellet foods, and flake foods.
It is best to spot feed them large chunks of food to keep them healthy. They really love raw shrimp.
Interesting fact: If the Serpent (Brittle) star is not getting enough to eat they might eat their own legs to keep from starving,

Silly clownfish

Community Member
View Badges
Dec 4, 2019
Reaction score
I have never target fed brittle or serpent stars and have had some for 15-20 years. I have had to remove at least one dead fish that they did not find before me and take care of, so I don’t worry much about predation, although I know they can. Mine are well fed enough from what I feed my fish.

snails on the other hand... i have seen them disappear into a serpent star, which then has a very distended central disk, and a few days later have the remains of the shell disgorged looking like a polished button.

What's the main reason you take on DIY reefing projects?

  • Save Money

    Votes: 9 42.9%
  • You Like To Make Things

    Votes: 6 28.6%
  • Necessity, you want it a certain way

    Votes: 4 19.0%
  • Time, you need it quick

    Votes: 1 4.8%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 1 4.8%