Chocolate Chip Starfish

Protoreastor nodosus

(5 Reviews)

Chocolate Chip Starfish

Chocolate Chip Starfish

Protoreastor nodosus

(5 Reviews)

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Chocolate Chip Starfish Care Facts

Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
Diet: Omnivore
Reef Safe: No
Minimum Tank Size: 20 Gallons
Max Size: 15 inches
The Chocolate Chip Starfish, Protoreastor nodosus, also known as the Horned Starfish, features small horn-like projections from its appendages. It has a short and stout body with short and thick arms along with those knobs which resemble chocolate chips - its size and knobs make it almost impossible to swallow whole. 

The Chocolate Chip Star eats by excreting their stomach out onto their prey and retracting it back in. They will primarily eat an omnivorous diet consisting of dead plants, algae, sponges, and detritus. Like many other starfish, the Chocolate Chip Star is highly sensitive to water quality conditions and can never be exposed to open air. They should not be paired with predatory fish or with soft corals, tubeworms, and clams as they can eat them. They  require a tank with plenty of sand, rock, and algae. 

The Fascinating Chocolate Chip Starfish (Protoreastor nodosus): A Unique Marvel for Saltwater Aquariums

The Chocolate Chip Starfish (Protoreastor nodosus) is a captivating and distinctive species that brings a touch of uniqueness to saltwater aquariums. With its striking appearance and intriguing behavior, this starfish has become a sought-after addition to marine setups. Let's explore the Chocolate Chip Starfish's habitat, reef-safe nature, size, lifespan, diet, aquaculture potential, and compatible tank mates.

Habitat: The Chocolate Chip Starfish is native to the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region, including the Indian Ocean and parts of the western and central Pacific Ocean. In the wild, they inhabit coral reefs and rocky substrates, using their tube feet to navigate and feed.

Reef-Safe: The Chocolate Chip Starfish is reef-safe, primarily feeding on detritus, tiny organisms, and algae. However, caution should be exercised as they may consume some soft corals and other invertebrates. Monitoring their behavior and providing adequate food can help prevent accidental coral predation.

Size and Lifespan: The Chocolate Chip Starfish can grow quite large in suitable aquarium conditions, reaching up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter over the years. They can live for several years in a well-maintained aquarium with proper care.

Diet: In their natural habitat, Chocolate Chip Starfish are scavengers, feeding on various organic matter, detritus, and tiny organisms. A home aquarium requires a well-maintained system with proper water quality to sustain a healthy population of microorganisms that serve as their food source.

Aquaculture: The Chocolate Chip Starfish is widely available in the aquarium trade, but most specimens are wild-caught rather than captive-bred. Due to the challenges of successfully breeding and rearing these starfish in captivity, their availability through aquaculture is currently limited.

Five Compatible Tank Mates for the Chocolate Chip Starfish:

  1. Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus): Their vibrant colors and peaceful nature make them suitable companions for the Chocolate Chip Starfish.
  2. Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis): These shrimp are not only beneficial for tank maintenance but also coexist harmoniously with the starfish.
  3. Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni): Known for their unique appearance, these cardinalfish are suitable companions for the Chocolate Chip Starfish due to their peaceful nature.
  4. Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani): This colorful dottyback is a compatible tank mate that contributes both color and diversity to the marine environment.
  5. Tailspot Blenny (Ecsenius stigmatura): With their quirky behavior, blennies like the Tailspot are great additions to the tank, as they cohabit peacefully with the starfish.

In conclusion, the Chocolate Chip Starfish (Protoreastor nodosus) is a fascinating and unique marvel for saltwater aquariums. Its captivating appearance and scavenging behavior make it an intriguing addition to marine setups. Aquarists can enjoy the beauty and allure of these distinctive starfish by providing them with a suitable environment, carefully monitoring their diet, and choosing compatible tank mates.

Read More: Chocolate Chip Starfish (Protoreaster nodosus): The Full Review For Saltwater Aquarium Enthusiasts

Reviewed by: Benjamin Schlau on Sept. 24, 2023

I only purchase the Chocolate Stars for my Harlequin Shrimp. So they don't last too long. Saltwater fish's prices are reasonable with great quality. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by: De Monte on Oct. 8, 2017

We've had Chocolate chip stars for years and have found them to be very adaptive to medium size marine environments. They are well worth the investment and almost always attract the attention of people viewing the aquarium.

Reviewed by: Carl on July 23, 2016

Chocolate Chip Starfish make a great addition to any tank. They are very easy to acclimate and care for, and stay very active roaming the aquarium cleaning the algae off of both the live rock and the glass.

Reviewed by: Phillip A Thrasher Jr on April 26, 2015

Reviewed by: Rocky on Nov. 6, 2014

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