Harlequin shrimp help

Jay Z

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I feed mine 1 chocolate chip or sand sifter every 2 weeks. Takes him around 2 weeks to eat a whole one.

When he first cleaned my tank I was happy. Then he continued to clean my tank when I didn’t give him anymore starfish. Then I was educated. Keep harlequin happy or suffer the consequences.

I don’t qt at all. Wash it in fresh water first then drop it the tank. Takes a minute or 2 for him to find it.

If I do more than 1 starfish he will go collect all of them and keep them in a pile while he eats. Last time I got 3 and he went and got all of them. Took him a month to eat all 3.

After he finished them I figured he would be good for a couple weeks. After a week I started noticing a lot of empty shells in my tank. He ate my conchs, snails, hermits, even the darn bristle worms.
 
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jsvand5

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After he finished them I figured he would be good for a couple weeks. After a week I started noticing a lot of empty shells in my tank. He ate my conchs, snails, hermits, even the darn bristle worms.
Did you actually see him eating those things? I have never heard of that happening but honestly it would be great IMO if a harlequin would eat those things rather than having to feed starfish so often.
 

Jay Z

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Did you actually see him eating those things? I have never heard of that happening but honestly it would be great IMO if a harlequin would eat those things rather than having to feed starfish so often.
Yes I did. After my 1 conch shell came up empty I started checking the tank 3-4 times a night with the flash light (I only sleep about 2 hours a stretch).

Never know what that little bugger is going to go get.

I blamed him for my carpet anemone missing in the same time span. I can’t prove that though.
 

rkpetersen

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I've kept a pair of harlequins for a year or so.
I give them asterinas from another tank, and also from an LFS.
I buy chocolate chip stars from an invert-only system, put them in the sump, and feed one arm at a time, once a week or so.
I'm not particularly worried about them transmitting fish diseases. If anyone has evidence that crypto or other fish parasites will encyst on a living sea star, let's see it.
They instantly sense that there's a star in the water, even from the other side of the tank, and come out to get it with their little dance.
I don't throw in a whole star because they drag whatever I give them to their secret hideout, and I don't want what's left of a whole large star decaying there.
I have tried freezing sea star arms and then feeding them later, both harlequins ignore them completely.
I've never seen a harlequin eat anything but a sea star. I'd have to see a video of them eating something else before I'd believe it.
 

Gareth elliott

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I have a question since there are harlequin shrimp experts about lol. Do they eat other echinoderms or just sea stars. I gifted my indica when i upgraded(didnt trust there would be enough food) but are urchins and cucumbers safe?
 

Mjrenz

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I have a question since there are harlequin shrimp experts about lol. Do they eat other echinoderms or just sea stars. I gifted my indica when i upgraded(didnt trust there would be enough food) but are urchins and cucumbers safe?
I've read about the possibility of them eating urchins but mine hasn't touched the two small tuxedos I have in the tank. I don't have any cucumbers so I'm not sure about them
 
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homer1475

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Thanks for the updates!

Went tot he LFS today and bought 2 chocolate chips. Cut an arm off one, and was not nearly as bad as I had originally thought it would be. No blood, no oozing, no screaming, nothing. Threw the rest in the sump and it's climbing the walls like nothing happened. It was sort of like cutting into a piece of clay that has dried out.

Dropped the arm in the front of tank, and he instantly came out to look for it like he knew it was in there(he mostly hides during the day in a spot I cannot find, but I know where he hides now!). I handed it to him with long tongs and he immediately took it and went to hide to eat it.

After doing this, I now have no issues with cutting up ornamental stars to feed it. I did not know it would eat sand sifters too. Good to know as they are more readily available around these parts then chocolate chips(local petco has them, but not chocolate chips, and the only LFS that has them is a 2 hour drive one way).

So I guess my only question would be, when you get down to the last leg, do you just throw the rest of the star in, or just the leg and save the moddle for another time. IE, will the remaining body of star live without arms?
 

Mjrenz

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Thanks for the updates!

Went tot he LFS today and bought 2 chocolate chips. Cut an arm off one, and was not nearly as bad as I had originally thought it would be. No blood, no oozing, no screaming, nothing. Threw the rest in the sump and it's climbing the walls like nothing happened. It was sort of like cutting into a piece of clay that has dried out.

Dropped the arm in the front of tank, and he instantly came out to look for it like he knew it was in there(he mostly hides during the day in a spot I cannot find, but I know where he hides now!). I handed it to him with long tongs and he immediately took it and went to hide to eat it.

After doing this, I now have no issues with cutting up ornamental stars to feed it. I did not know it would eat sand sifters too. Good to know as they are more readily available around these parts then chocolate chips(local petco has them, but not chocolate chips, and the only LFS that has them is a 2 hour drive one way).

So I guess my only question would be, when you get down to the last leg, do you just throw the rest of the star in, or just the leg and save the moddle for another time. IE, will the remaining body of star live without arms?
I like to leave two arms and let the others grow back. The only star I've sacrificed completly is a sand sifter that a chocolate chip damaged beyond the possibility of survival
 

vetteguy53081

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Better safe than sorry- Quarantine, even if it 48 hours.
 

Phycodurus

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homer1475,

if space allows, you may want to simply house the harlequin shrimp in its own tank — risk of pathogen introduction elimated. i have a pair housed separately, but in my case it’s because i have fromia stars in my main 180G.

in your situation, you board the harlequin separately until such time as his services are required in yr main tank (yes, i acknowledge that then there’s the risk of pathogen introduction (from the harlequin itself), but in a practical sense, i really do believe the actual risk is extremely low.


respectfully,
rick
 

rkpetersen

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So I guess my only question would be, when you get down to the last leg, do you just throw the rest of the star in, or just the leg and save the moddle for another time. IE, will the remaining body of star live without arms?
Once the star is down to two arms left, I give the harlequins all of it.
The center section is not likely to survive on its own.
I haven't seen chocolate chips stars regrowing fast enough to just keep using the same few animals.
I buy a few new ones every couple of months.
 
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Kal93

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I keep 1-2 chocolate chips in my sump, each one lasts 4-6 weeks depending on size. You don't need to QT the starfish, just avoid transferring your LFS's water into your system. Also, be sure to iodine dip the cut leg and feed your starfish 1x per week
 

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