- This topic has 3 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 16 years, 8 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
January 18, 2007 at 2:12 am #1081flyinglantisMember
While trying to research suitable tank mates for seahorses, I have read conflicting information regaurding the compatibility of seahorses and serpent sea stars. Some of the articles I\’ve read stated that serpent sea stars are not good tank mates for seahorses because they might eat the seahorses and others stated the opposite.
It won\’t be much longer before I am ready to start stocking my tank, but before I do I want to make sure that all of the tanks inhabitants are going to get along. So would it be safe to put a serpent sea star in a 46 gallon aquarium with a single pair of seahorses or am I asking for trouble?
Post edited by: flyinglantis, at: 2007/01/17 21:18January 18, 2007 at 2:25 am #3303KrisGuest
Sepent star’s won’t eat anythong they can’t fit in! Yet, for as small as their bodies are they can fit a remarkable amount in!
I personally have kept SS in a Sh tank with no trouble. It had plenty room to hide and I spot fed it. which is not hard to do.
If you want to try one I’d say do it. Keep a close eye in the SS, if he proves to be a nusance to the SH remove it.
KrisJanuary 18, 2007 at 5:55 am #3304ageberGuest
i have a 90 gal seahorse tank with a brown serpent star who is no problem at all. there are different kinds of serpent stars and i was told that the green serpent star would be a problem but not the brown.January 18, 2007 at 6:12 am #3305Pete GiwojnaGuest
Kris is correct — a serpent starfish has no teeth and cannot chew; it must swallow its meals intact and in one piece, so anything that is too large for it to stuff into its oral cavity is quite safe. However, they are real stretchbellies so you have to be cautious with especially large specimens. For instance, I can tell you that when I feed my orange serpent starfish pieces of cubed cocktail shrimp, you can clearly see a square lump in the body disc of the seahorse for each piece of the cocktail shrimp it has ingested. But if you select a fairly small serpent starfish and large seahorses such as adult Mustangs or Sunburst (Hippocampus erectus), they would probably get along together fine in a 46-gallon aquarium.
A large serpent starfish is indeed a fascinating animal. They will hide under rocks or coral to get away from the bright light, but have an excellent sense of smell and will emerge from hiding the moment they detect anything edible, including frozen Mysis. When they are out and about, or tracking down their next meal from the tantalizing scent trail it leaves behind, they can be amazingly active and lightning fast, pulling themselves along arm over arm much more like an octopus than your ordinary, stick-in-the-mud, slowpoke sea stars. And they are excellent climbers. They pose no danger to any fishes that are too large for them to cram into their oral cavity in one piece, so there’s ordinarily no danger that they might regard your seahorses as a meal, providing you are not keeping dwarf seahorses are one of the other miniature breeds. But I certainly wouldn’t trust them with Pixies or newborn seahorses. Small, bottom-dwelling fishes such as certain gobies could be in jeopardy from a large serpent starfish, but they are primarily scavengers rather than predators.
Ageber has a good point, too — there are many different types of serpent starfish and that may also make a difference. Like ageber, I have also heard that the green serpent starfish can be particularly aggressive. I have a bright orange serpent starfish (Ophioderma squamosissimus) that has not caused any problems and the brittle stars are generally fairly benign as well.
However, it’s quite likely that any serpent starfish would attempt to monopolize the feeding station and scarf up the frozen Mysis as fast as it could stuff them into its oral cavity with its many arms. This could complicate things at feeding time for you and might become a major pain in the neck over time. Elevating the feeding station, which is a good way to thwart bristleworms and hermit crabs that are attracted by the tantalizing odor of frozen Mysis, won’t work with the serpent starfish because they are quite agile and very accomplished climbers. But if you can overcome that obstacle, feel free to try a serpent starfish in your 46-gallon aquarium, Howard. It might be a good idea to target feed the serpent and keep it well-fed, and it’s prudent to have a backup plan in mind just in case you need to find a new home for the serpent starfish if it consistently outcompete your seahorses at feeding time.
Best wishes with all your fishes, sir!
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