Taxonomy: Brittle Sea Star belongs to the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Echinodermata, Order Ophiurida, Family Ophiotrichidae, Genus Ophiothrix and Species purpurea.
Scientific names: The scientific name of Brittle Sea Star is Ophiothrix purpurea.
Other common names: Brittle Sea Star is also commonly known as Brittle Star and Purple Brittle Star.
Origin or natural range: Ophiothrix purpurea originates from the Caribbean Sea, the Western Indo-Pacific region and the Red Sea including Fiji and Tonga.
Size: Brittle Sea Star may grow up to a size of around twelve inches.
Color: Ophiothrix purpurea occurs in Red, Brown, Tan, Green, Yellow and Black colors.
Aggression: Brittle Sea Star is semi-aggressive towards the marine aquarium members.
Venom status: Ophiothrix purpurea is non-poisonous in nature.
Habit & Habitat:
- Brittle Sea Star is found in groups on shallow reefs or hiding out under rocks or between or on other marine animals such as gorgonians, corals and sponges to name some. While clinging to marine invertebrates, Ophiothrix purpurea eats the organic matter deposits on the body surface of these animals.
- Brittle Sea Star has quite agile, wavy, snake like movement and is quite brittle, that is, it breaks off easily and therefore the common name.
- Ophiothrix purpurea is nocturnal in nature and is thus, active at night.
Growth enabling environment in your marine aquarium:
- Brittle Sea Star has a delicate body with a very small, green colored central disk.
- Ophiothrix purpurea has five, yellow colored, long arms with a central black colored stripe running along the length of each of its five arms. The edges of the arms have white or black colored spines. The arms are primarily the sense organs rather than the feeding tools.
Your marine aquarium must meet the following environmental specifications to successfully nurture Brittle Sea Star in it: Aquarium habit & habitat:
Feeding & Nutrition:
- Tank type: To host Ophiothrix purpurea, you should have a Reef Type Marine Aquarium.
- Temperature of water: The temperature of your reef tank must be maintained between seventy-two and seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit.
- Specific gravity of water: The specific gravity of your aquarium’s water should range within 1.023 to 1.025.
- pH of water: The pH value of your tank’s water should scale between 8.10 and 8.40.
- Acclimation: Slowly acclimate Brittle Sea Star to your marine aquarium environment through the Slow Drip Method. The process generally takes a minimum of two hours time.
- Diet: Ophiothrix purpurea is Omnivorous in feeding habit.
- Food content: Brittle Sea Star eats the meaty bits of seafood and small fish. Brittle Sea Star also scavenges on detritus.
- Supplements: Regularly supplement the diet of Ophiothrix purpurea with the meaty bits of clam, scallop, raw shrimp, mussel, zooplankton, etc. You can directly hand feed Brittle Sea Star.
Ophiothrix purpurea eats detritus and therefore, helps keep your marine aquarium free of perishable organic matter.Care:
- Ophiothrix purpurea is easy to maintain.
- Sudden fluctuations in pH and temperature of your marine aquarium’s environment may give pH shock and temperature shock, respectively, to the Brittle Sea Star therein.
- Nitrates and Copper in any form in your reef tank’s environment may prove lethal for the Ophiothrix purpurea in it.
- Exposing Brittle Sea Star to air may prove lethal for it. Therefore, be very careful to keep it under water even while handling it.
Ophiothrix purpurea may attack small fish in your marine aquarium, if not fed properly. Therefore, feed Brittle Sea Star regularly and properly.