Chocolate Chip Starfish

Updated September 23, 2018
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
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The Chocolate Chip sea star is a somewhat hardy echinoderm. Acclimating them to your tank can take a while longer than most other saltwater organisms because they are very intolerant of sudden shifts in water parameters such as pH, temperature and salinity levels. Drip acclimate them over an hour or more before introducing them to the tank.

Even though these Chocolate Chip Starfish will scavenge around the tank you still need to supplement their diet. Feeding them can be challenging because they are slow moving and the fish in your tank will eat the food before your sea star has a chance to get at the fish food. Use some Tank Tongs to place the food right next to the starfish. It should hover over the food and begin eating. It is important to note that they will eat smaller saltwater invertebrates and corals. This starfish is not recommended for a reef tank setup.

Protoreastor nodosus Protoreastor nodosus

Chocolate Chip Starfish Care Details

Scientific Name : Protoreastor nodosus

Common Names : Chocolate Chip Starfish, Sea Star

Care Level : Easy to moderate

Life span : 5 - 7 years, possibly longer

Size : 6 inches or larger (15 cm)

pH : 8.1 - 8.4

Temperature : 72°F - 80°F (22°C - 27°C)

Specific Gravity : 1.020 - 1.025

Carbonate Hardness (dKH) : 8 - 12°

Origin / Habitat : Red Sea

Temperament / Behavior : They are generally peaceful.

Breeding : Not very common in the home aquarium.

Aquarium Size : 30 gallon minimum

Tank Mates : This is not considered a reef tank safe echinoderm. They will eat corals and slow moving invertebrates.

Reef Tank Compatible? : Reef Safe? Nope. They will eat any stationary and slow moving animals in your reef tank setup.

Fish Disease : Saltwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment

Diet / Foods : Algae, Shrimp, shell fish, etc. Place the food near the sea star so that it may eat.

Tank Region : All over. They like to attach to the sides of the glass and on live rock or the substrate.

Gender : Hard to determine differences between male and female.

Site References :

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Chocolate Chip Starfish

Chocolate Chip Starfish Tips

From: Brandon
After waking up this morning one anemone short, I now know that a Chocolate Chip Starfish will eat smaller anemones.

From: Jodie
Do not put Chocolate Chip's with puffer/boxfish, the boxfish will eat them up. Our boxfish mutilated our chocolate chip overnight. I found out that this is a common trait of boxfish.

From: Eric
My chocolate chip sea star ate my small colony of pulsing xenia. I noticed the starfish by the xenia when I left for work that morning but didn't think much about it... When I came home from work, the xenia was pretty much completely gone and the starfish was propped on the spot where the xenia used to be. I would of much rather had that pulse coral instead of this starfish. The xenia was $25 and this starfish was $10! I should have researched this starfish more thoroughly before purchasing... Thanks for letting me vent.
We have not only heard others talk about this behavior (see the pulsing xenia profile), but we have witnessed it too. It is unfortunate that you had to find out the hard way what the chocolate chip sea star is capable of doing. Thanks for posting your comments. Hopefully someone else can read and learn from your experience.

From: Laney
I would not recommend having a chocolate chip starfish in the tank with a hermit crab. My crab ate my starfish, and it was really painful to watch. I've looked all over the internet to find this tip, and haven't found it. So here it is. My hermit crab stalked the starfish, chewed off all of its "chocolate chips" and tore off two of its legs. Finally, when all the tissue was pretty much gone on the dorsal side of the starfish, I put him out of his misery. It was very, very sad.
Woah, what kind of hermit crab was this? Will post your comments.

From: Jennifer
In Regards to Laney's comments, I too have a chocolate chip star fish whose "chips" were torn off by the infamous hermit crab! I witnessed the same crab tear my turbo snails out of there shells. He was definitely a determined hermit crab.

From: Rachel
So far my chocolate chip stays at the top edge of my tank and away from the hermits. My hermits have eaten snails to take their shells, but they have not eaten the serpent stars that are in the bottom of the tank with them. Although I bet they would eat the star if they could climb the side of the tank! I am moving my hermits to my sump/fudge.

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