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Big hermit ate my urchin. What else would they eat?


AC Members
I have a 200g FOWLR tank with peaceful fish and a varied cleanup crew. Yesterday I got two large hermits (one larger than an apple) for the tank. The LFS guy told me they'll eat coral, and I figured I was fine since I have none.

My purple pincushion urchin was all hollowed out this morning, with the bottom missing. (Its pins still moved when I took it out--amazing.) I assume the large hermits did it.

I also have serpent stars in the tank, as well as the usual snails and small hermits. Also emerald crabs and various shrimp. Are any of them in danger like the urchin was? If not, I suppose I'll keep the large hermits (amazing algae eaters) and not get urchins. But if other animals are in danger too, the large hermits will go back to the LFS.

What say you?

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AC Moderators
Crabs are opportunistic predators and scavengers. They will eat pretty much whatever they can get a hold off. For that matter so will your serpent stars.

It is possible something happened to the urchin and the crabs were just cleaning up but if you have crabs that large, I wouldn't be surprised if they took it down and chances are it will not be their only victim.


AC Members
The serpent stars would do the same? I thought that was the case for brittle stars but not serpents. My serpent stars pretty much hide all the time (and move about as fast as my turbo snails).

Bummer about the large hermits. (I think mine are/were red hairy hermits.) They are fascinating to watch and are absolute lawnmowers on algae.


AC Moderators
Green serpents are known to hang at the top of caves and fall down around unsuspecting fish. The brittles will certainly do the same and are a tad quicker.

A large batch of those must have just been shipped into the states. My LFS has a handful of them last week. They were funny to watch. The sold quick. All went into a 1000 gallon.


AC Members
Even small hermits will take out other hermits and snails so definentley not safe for them, I wouldn't trust giant hermits with any inverts or small fish really. I keep mostly dwarf's and a couple scarlett and thin stripes nothing that takes anything bigger then turbo snail shell.

I've had several different brittles and tiger stripe serpents never once saw any go after anything living. I don't think they'll eat a healthy fish when i first got my male perc he was tiny and would host in the arms of a brittlestar sticking out of the rockwork.