Starfish should not be purchased on a whim. All starfish require a established tank, and all are intolerant of sudden changes is salinity, temperature & pH, no starfish will tolerate copper based treatments.

Most stars, though considered reef safe, can be predatory towards small anemones, clams and small shrimp. So really, they should be described as “reef safe, with caution”.

Starfish generally don’t do well in captivity, and complimentary feeding is almost always required. Be sure to research any inhabitant you plan to add to your aquarium, to ensure you can meet it’s care requirements.

5. Red Linckia Starfish

Red Linckia Starfish
Red Linckia Starfish

One of the most popular starfish within the hobby is the Red Linckia Starfish. With it’s peaceful temperament and striking red colour, it’s easy to see why.

They are a very active species of starfish, and will often be seen out and about throughout the day and night. They survive by eating microorganisms & detritus.

These starfish only just make it onto the list because they are incredibly hard to feed. It is not easy to ensure your tank is established enough for this starfish.

4. Sand Sifting Starfish

Sand Sifting Starfish
Sand Sifting Starfish

Sand Sifting Starfish are one of the more plainly coloured starfish, but when you see them the intricate detail of stripes and spikes and dots, does make them interesting to look at.

They are considered more predatory than some of the other stars that have made this list as they will eat other Starfish, along with shrimp, mollusks and urchins. But their main diet does consist of detritus found in the sandbed and in the rockwork.

They are considered difficult to keep as they will quickly eat any detritus left in your aquarium, then they bury themselves in the sandbed, die and decay. Not an easy one to keep, but they will accept substitute feeding.

3. Banded Serpent Starfish

Banded Serpent Starfish
Banded Serpent Starfish

Unlike the first two mentioned in this list, the Banded Serpent Starfish is a carnivore, which makes substitute feeding a lot easier!

These impressive Starfish can grow up to 1 foot in diameter, so they do require a larger tank.

They are generally considered to be peaceful in the aquarium, but will spend most of the day hiding away as they are nocturnal feeders. Given time, some do learn to be active throughout the day, rather than the night.

Serpent stars do come in a variety of colours, and some of the other colours such as the red ones are also considered reef safe. Green ones should be avoided!

2. Fromia Starfish

Juvenile Black Tip Fromia Starfish
Juvenile Black Tip Fromia Starfish

There are several types of Fromia Starfish that are considered reef safe, they all could have been added to this list!

The reef safe ones include: Marbled Fromia, Black Tip Fromia & Red Fromia. The most common being the Black Tip Fromia.

They have a traditional starfish shape & can add a real pop of colour to your aquarium! In my experience, these stars are active throughout the day & night, and are model citizens within the aquarium.

They eat detritus and films, but they will also accept substitute feeding of flaked foods, meaty foods and nori.

1. Brittle Starfish

Cleaner Shrimp Cleaning Station

Much like the Fromia Starfish, there are several types of Brittle Stars that could have made it onto this list, and the come in a variety of shapes and colours.

Red, Yellow, Banded, Fancy and knobby to name a few!

Brittle starfish are probably the most commonly kept starfish in the aquarium hobby. They will need substitute feeding, but are generally considered to be one of the easier starfish to keep.

Be careful, there are a couple of types of Brittle-star that are not considered to be reef safe, most notably the Green Brittle Starfish. so please do your research before purchasing one.

Brittle Starfish are similar to Serpent Starfish. You can tell the difference as Brittle Starfish are covered in spines/spikes and the Serpent Starfish are smooth.

Brittle Starfish
Brittle Starfish


This website is expensive to run in both monetary value and time. If you like what you see, and find this site helpful, please consider donating towards the running costs of the site.