Brittle pink reef star eating cleaner shrimp

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Well-known member
Jul 1, 2004
bowling green ky
When I got up this morning and did my check the tank before you make coffee routine. I saw that my pink brittle star had captured and was eating my cleaner shrimp alive. It had just molted because the exoskel. was lying on the bottom near by. Has anyone else had this happen? I tryed to rescue him but the star was wraped in the live rock and retreated immediately with the struggling shrimp. I had on just like it for 2 years and sold it, I just got this one last week. I am very upset with said critter, and am resisting the urge to put in the yard to dry and make a nice dry starfish paper weight. Any Ideas? other than starfish jerky. Steve


Aug 5, 2003
Any crustracean that has just molted is very vulnerable, and most in our tanks will stay hidden until their new exoskeleton hardens, then will linger out of hiding.

Brittle stars are scavengers but are also opportunists. When they have a chance, they will take it and capture prey. In a tank that is well fed, there may be other circumstances and may not bother shrimp at all.

However, this is one reason I don't keep a brittle star. I have a small one that is a hitchhiker from a colony of coral, but this one is black and is not big at all.

I'm sorry for the loss :(

- Elmo


Well-known member
Jul 18, 2003
Most shrimp or crabs will lay up in the rocks to stay out of harm's way after they molt. Either the shrimp was in the wrong place (or the star in the right place, for him) or maybe the shrimp had an incomplete or bad molt and was injured in some way.

The star was just doing what they do. It's a bummer though. :(
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