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Keyhole limpet ate my red starfish


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A keyhole limpet appeared suddenly in my tank about a month ago. I have no clue where he came from as I haven't purchased any coral or live rock in a long time. He's larger than a quarter in size. One day I noticed that my red star fish was missing a leg for no particular reason. Another day I found the guilty party. The keyhole limpet was feasting on my red star fish and by that time he didn't have any legs left and was basically a goner. Anyone else have similar issues? That thing has been a pain for me.





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My assumption is that a starfish can avoid being eaten by a limpet. What kind of red starfish, how long have you had it, and how big is the tank?


Most ornamental starfish don't have enough food in small tanks and do not do well, a common thing to see in linkias and others that are on their deathbed is hole like damage to their legs, which could be mistaken for something eating them.


My guess is the limpet is scavenging and the star died of another cause. If it's really giving you that much trouble you can try to take it out if you locate it again.

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those veiled limpets are strict awesome algae eaters. if you want to get rid of him i'd love to have him :)


i used to work at a LFS and they would come in on the rock sometimes. they can get rather huge but do an awesome job eating algae. I would not put the blame on him.


like others said the starfish could easily get away from him if it were the case. A nassarius snail once jumped onto my red serpent and i was lucky enough to be around to watch the serpent pick it off of himself and toss it away.


if anything it was just scavenging.


people tend to put the blame on the scavengers because they see them eating the aftermath. starfish can drop their legs if need be. They can blow off with salinity changes too..

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I have a 34 gallon Red Sea Max. The Red Star was just a basic red starfish - maybe Fromia milleporella. Maybe 1 inch in size. I would watch it motor around the tank. I had it for 3-4 months with no issues. The limpet appeared and then started following it and then chewing on it. Before, this the limpet was very timid and now since the star is gone it's always out eating the algae on the glass and elsewhere. I'm 99% certain it's a keyhole limpet. It looks just like all of the pictures. I haven't seen it trying to eat anyone else.



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