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When to add a "clean up" star fish?


Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
Oct 2, 2009
Hi All,

I will be getting my octo tomorrow (coming from Live Aquaria)

I have snails and hermits in the tank now, but they may end up being lunch at some point so I was wondering when is a good time to add a sea star to help with the mess?

Also how many should I get for a 55 gallon tank?


Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
Gainesville, GA
Any time now is good. It is usually best to have your clean-up crew in ahead of your octo. Once they are accustomed to you delivering food, anything you add may be considered such (even though MOST don't eat stars - I recently read about one that does in the Mather, Anderson, Woods book). I keep usually 3 serpents/brittles in my 60 ish tanks along with a couple of seastars (I particularly like the thorny star but they are not reef safe for corals). I am very fond of the red/orange brittles as they seem to know when there is an octo in the tank (one of Carols serpents was like that as well) and become somewhat day active with a bit of personality. I also keep a common serpent or two and have this bright orange one that is only occassoinally found that I love (talk about BRIGHT). He is shy but you can't miss him at feeding time.

The only ones I know to avoid are the greens. For years I was SURE that there must be two different green serpents as our Mr. Green Jeans was moved from tank to tank because his arms would get lopped off by one thing or another. We did not think he would survive because he kept getting damaged. After four five years (maybe longer) he seemed to turn overnight aggressive and was housed by himself. He can now take a piece of shrimp almost the size of my pinky finger first joint and make it disappear and lives with a mantis shrimp who may occassionally still lop off an arm tip but they have done well together for over a year.


O. bimaculoides
Mar 5, 2010
If Live Aquaria is still sending the abdopus, mine has yet to eat a snail or hermit. Shows no interest in them at all.

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