What Do Starfish Eat? Complete Food & Diet Information

If you’re wondering what to feed a starfish in your aquarium or curious about their diet in the wild, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll provide a complete guide to starfish diets, exploring what they eat and how they eat it, as well as their defense mechanisms and movement patterns.

Starfish are fascinating creatures that have captivated marine enthusiasts with their unique appearance and remarkable abilities.

Learn about starfish diets and behavior in the ocean and aquariums. Gain valuable knowledge about these unique creatures, whether you’re a seasoned aquarium owner or just curious.

So, sit back, relax, and dive into the world of starfish diets.

How Do Starfish Eat?


Exploring the eversion process provides insight into the unique feeding habits of starfish. During eversion, a starfish expels its stomach through its mouth to digest prey.

Unlike most animals, starfish don’t have a true digestive system. Instead, they rely on their stomachs to break down food outside their bodies.

Starfish use their thousands of tube feet to capture their prey. Once they’ve found a suitable target, they’ll wrap their arms around it and begin the eversion process. This process is remarkable since starfish can consume prey much larger than their small mouths.

Once their stomachs have surrounded their prey, they’ll secrete digestive enzymes that break down the animal’s body. The starfish will then pull its stomach back into its body, where the digestive process continues until the food is completely consumed.

Starfish’s eversion and digestive process provide insight into these creatures’ unique and fascinating feeding habits.

What Do Starfish Eat In The Ocean?


Starfish have a varied diet, depending on where they live and what food is available. For larger starfish, crabs may be a part of this diet, while coral polyps make up a major portion of the diet for starfish, like the crown of thorns that reside in reef systems.

In some cases, starfish will even eat other starfish. As they search for sustenance, they may scavenge for seaweed, algae, and decaying plants or animals, making them ideal for some home aquariums.

Barnacles, sea urchins, bristle worms, and crabs are other items on the menu. Availability is an important factor in the starfish’s diet, and it’s clear that they are quite adaptable regarding their eating habits.

No matter the size of the starfish, they will always seek out food. They may not always be successful, but they have a knack for finding something edible.

From scavenging for algae and seaweed to hunting crabs and coral polyps, starfish have a broad palate and a strong will to survive.

What Do Starfish Eat In Aquariums?


Feeding your starfish is an important aspect of keeping them healthy and happy. The feeding frequency can range from once every 2-4 days, depending on the species.

Understanding your starfish’s natural environment and diet is essential to ensure they receive the proper nutrition. Regarding recommended foods, mussels, clams, oysters, snails, scallops, and leafy greens are some of the most popular choices.

However, specific species dictate a specific diet, so verifying the type of starfish you have and their dietary needs is essential. Additionally, purchasing food from a reputable source and cleaning it before feeding your starfish is important.

Feeding techniques can also vary, depending on the species and their behavior. Some starfish are active feeders and require food to be placed before them, while others can scavenge for food alone.

Overall, understanding your starfish’s feeding habits and providing them with the appropriate diet is crucial for their health and well-being in their aquarium habitat.

How Their Diet Varies By Species

Starfish have evolved and adapted to specialize in various feeding behaviors and preferences, resulting in different dietary requirements depending on the species. Therefore, it is vital to consider the specific starfish species when selecting the appropriate food to provide.

Below are some diet recommendations for the most commonly found starfish species.

  • Chocolate Chip Starfish: These creatures love feasting on sea urchins, snails, shellfish, shrimp, algae, and tubeworms. Unfortunately, they also have a taste for coral, so be careful.
  • Brittle Starfish: These guys are mainly interested in small invertebrates such as shrimp, snails, and crabs.
  • Asterina Starfish: They munch on algae, coral, bristle worms, biofilm, and detritus.
  • Marble Sea Starfish: These are partial to detritus, algae, shrimp bits, and fish flake food.
  • Sand Sifting Starfish: They can be seen snacking on small crustaceans, mollusks, bristle worms, feeder shrimp, and detritus.
  • Panamic Starfish: They can be seen enjoying coral, shrimp, snails, algae, and sometimes even other starfish.
  • Linckia Starfish: They feast on algae, detritus, biofilm, and food flakes.

Understanding the specific dietary requirements of each species can help aquarium owners provide a balanced and nutritious diet for their starfish, promoting their overall health and longevity.

Do Starfish Have Predators?

Starfish have some great defensive strategies that ward off their predators. Their tough, bone-like exterior is unappetizing to many animals, and the suction cup-like structures on their feet make it difficult for them to pull off surfaces like rocks.

Despite these clever defenses, starfish are still prey to a variety of predators in the ocean. Some of the most common animals that eat starfish are sharks (particularly bottom-feeders like nurse sharks), king crabs, rays, other starfish, octopi, big snails, turtles, otters, sea birds, and large bony fishes.

Clearly, starfish have evolved impressive tactics to keep themselves safe but are still prone to predation. With a wide range of ocean predators, they must remain vigilant to survive.

The intricate predator-prey dynamics in the ocean are a reminder of the importance of protecting all species and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

The Importance Of Knowing What Species You Have

Knowing the specific species of your starfish is crucial for understanding their unique behaviors and dietary needs, ensuring they thrive in their aquatic environment. Each species of starfish has different feeding habits and preferences.

For example, some species prefer a diet of mussels and clams, while others may prefer snails or decomposing organic matter. Researching and identifying your starfish species is important to provide them with the appropriate diet and feeding frequency.

Dietary diversity is also important for the overall health of your starfish. Providing a varied diet will help them get all the necessary nutrients and prevent them from becoming picky eaters. Feeding frequency will vary depending on the species, but most starfish should be fed once every 2-4 days.

By identifying the species of your starfish and providing them with the appropriate diet and feeding schedule, you can ensure they live a long and healthy life in your aquarium.


Do Starfish Eat Algae?

Adding algae to your starfish’s diet isn’t necessary, but it can benefit some species. Some starfish rely on algae for nutrition, while others don’t need it.

Adding algae can provide extra nutrients, but be careful not to overfeed and harm the aquarium ecosystem. Research your starfish’s dietary needs and feed in moderation.

Adding algae to your starfish’s diet can be beneficial, but it should be done with caution and consideration for the environment.

Do Starfish Eat Shrimp?

Yes, some species of starfish eat shrimp, but their diet also includes other animals like clams and worms. It’s important to consult experts to ensure they get a balanced and nutritious diet in captivity.

Additionally, some species of starfish are better suited for captivity than others, so it’s important to do your research and make ethical decisions regarding feeding and housing starfish.

Do Starfish Eat Coral?

Starfish can consume coral, causing damage to coral reefs. Some species of starfish, like the Crown-of-Thorns, can cause mass destruction. Monitoring and controlling their population is important to protect coral conservation efforts.

By understanding the impact of starfish on coral, we can better protect and conserve these precious marine habitats.


Starfish have unique diets that vary by species and location. It’s important to know what foods to provide and how to care for them, whether observing them in the ocean or keeping them in an aquarium.

By understanding their behaviors, you can better appreciate these slow-moving predators and their importance in marine ecosystems.

Starfish play a vital role in the ocean’s ecosystem, and by observing their behaviors and diets, we can better care for them. Take a moment to appreciate their incredible adaptations and personalities.