The Chocolate Chip Sea Star is a highly-recognizable ornamental sea star that boasts instant appeal. It is not difficult to imagine the dark chocolate brown tubercles (protrusions) that dot the surface of the sea star as chocolate chips on top of a tasty cookie. While it may seem odd to consider a sea star "cute," the charming color pattern reminiscent of the classic baked treat makes the Chocolate Chip Sea Star a highly desirable addition to a FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock) aquarium.
Also known as the Nodular Sea Star, or Chocolate Chip Starfish, the Chocolate Chip Sea Star naturally inhabits a fairly large habitat. Though most commonly found in shallow lagoons, the Chocolate Chip Sea Star can also be found at depths down to 75 feet deep in the Indo-Pacific reef region. A large aquarium with open access to a mature sand bed several inches in depth best recreates the preferred habitat of the Chocolate Chip Sea Star. While relatively hardy, the Chocolate Chip Sea Star requires particular attention to water quality. Like many invertebrates, the Chocolate Chip Sea Star requires high water quality and will not tolerate high nitrate levels.
The Chocolate Chip Sea Star should be kept in a large marine aquarium housing mild-mannered fish. Since they are slower moving than most fish, it should not be housed with predatory fish, including Triggerfish and Puffers. The Chocolate Chip Sea Star is not considered reef compatible since adults will eat soft corals, sponges, tubeworms, clams, and other starfish. Keep in mind that the Chocolate Chip Sea Star is only appropriate for very large aquariums since it can grow up to 15 inches in diameter.
The color of the Chocolate Chip Sea Star may be light to reddish-brown, blue, white, or yellow based on geographical location it hails from. With no distinguishing characteristics to help differentiate male from female Chocolate Chip Sea Stars, breeding in an aquarium is extremely difficult.
The drip acclimation method is highly recommended for all Sea Stars since they are unable to tolerate rapid changes in water chemistry (oxygen levels, salinity and pH). The Chocolate Chip Sea Star should never be exposed to air while handling. Also, the Chocolate Chip Sea Star must not be exposed to any copper-based medications and avoid contact with a majority of anti-parasitic medications.
In the aquarium, the diet the Chocolate Chip Sea Star can consist of chopped clams, shrimp, and squid.
Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 2" to 3"; Medium: 3" to 4"; Large: 4" to 6"