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FAQs about Linckia Sea Stars 2

Related Articles: Linckia Stars, Asterina Stars, An Introduction to the Echinoderms:  The Sea Stars, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers and More... By James W. Fatherree, M.Sc.

Related FAQs: Linckia Stars 1, Linckia Identification, Linckia Behavior, Linckia Compatibility, Linckia Selection, Linckia Systems, Linckia Feeding, Linckia Disease, Linckia Reproduction, Sea Stars 1, Sea Stars 2, Sea Stars 3, Sea Stars 4, Sea Stars 5, Seastar Selection, Seastar Compatibility, Seastar Systems, Seastar Behavior, Seastar Feeding, Seastar Reproduction, Seastar Disease Asterina Stars, Chocolate Chip Stars, Crown of Thorns Stars, Fromia Stars, Sand-Sifting Stars,

Orange Linckia Starfish, reading  11/20/2008 After about 3 weeks upon arrival and acclimation, my sea star is losing his arms! Why??? Jeff <About what most all do. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/linckiastars.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Star fish losing arm, no data, or Linckia reading on WWM    8/12/08 I just recently purchased an orange linkia star fish. <And read re this genus on WWM? Doesn't appear so...> It has started losing half of one of it's arms. Part of the arm is still on a rock, while the rest of the star pulls away. Is this normal behavior for this fish? <... not a fish...> If not, is there anything that I can do to save it? Tanks a lot! Barbara <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/linckiadisfaqs.htm And the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Linckia thanks   2/25/07 Hello,    <Kaylie>      My name is Kaylie, I am 12 and from Ashland WI. My class has been researching sea animals over the last couple of weeks, each of us picking out are own kind. I picked the Blue Linckia. when I was researching the web I could barely find anything at all. Until I came about your website. I learned so much! I just wanted to thank you for all the interesting facts and postings that you put on your website. You guys are now the ones for me to go to if I have any questions about Sea Creatures. Thanks a bunch! - Kaylie <Thank you. Bob Fenner> Linckia Problem/Aquarium Suitability - 07/28/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I have a blue Linckia that has been happy in my tank for several months.  I have a 20 gal tank, with 20 pounds of Live Rock. <<My friend...suitability of this animal for aquarium use aside, this tank/volume of live rock is much too small for the continued good health of this animal>> The only other inhabitants are two Ocellaris Clowns.  The Starfish has always been extremely active and even now is climbing one of the intake pipes in the tank. <<Mmm, indeed...furtively searching for food...starving...>> What I am concerned about however is what looks like a white cut or graze on one of the legs.  He is still quite active but I am wondering what this is likely to be, and whether or not it is treatable. <<Likely the result/culmination of nutritional deficiency...adding/changing out old for new live rock may help but these stars rarely recover in aquarium settings.  Even so, you would only be delaying the inevitable.  This genus of starfish has a dismal survival record.  Those that survive the collection/shipping process still acclimate poorly...those that survive acclimation are usually doomed to slow starvation.  This starfish rarely, if ever, accepts offered foodstuffs (clam, shrimp, whatever), and thus requires large amounts of live rock in order to meet its nutritional requirements...which may also beg the question "is this animal truly reef-safe" as it will surely scour the emergent life from your rock.>> My nitrates are 0.0, but my SG is slightly high. <<Tells me nothing...what is "slightly high"?>> Any suggestions would be appreciated. <<Unfortunately there's probably little you can do for the star at this point.  But for future reference, I would like to suggest one of the smaller and hardier, easier to feed Fromia species would be better suited to your tank>> Regards, Simon Ashby <<Cheers, Eric Russell>>

Linckia Stars Dear Crew; I have searched your website many times over the years and I think it is an awesome site. <Thank You> Anyway, my question is what kind of sea star do I have.  I purchased a sea star a couple of days ago that the dealer said was a Blue Linckia and I suppose it could be.  But it is not blue it is a bluish green color with some mottling on it and blue tips on each of the arms.  Otherwise it does look like a Linckia sea star but I don' t know if it actually is Linckia laevigata.  Please help.  The sea star is fine by the way. <There are many types of Linckia stars.  Without a pic of it I could not give you a good answer.  Do a search on the WWM, keyword, Linckia starfish, and see if you can find a pic of it.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, James <Nice name>

Purple "Linckia" Starfish I have a large purple Linckia starfish I recently introduced in my 55 gal tank. He moves continually ALL over the tank and seems to be perfectly content...my question is every morning he has what appear to be "blisters" or "bubbles" on the top side of his arms. When touched they emit a small amount of fluid or nothing at all and disappear. What could this be and should I worry? Thank you for your help. Tami <Mmm, do a search on your computer with the scientific name of this animal (Tamaria stria) and "aquarium". Don't know what these structures are... but a 55 gallon system is too small for this species. Bob Fenner> 

Blue Linckia Parasites? Hi Bob, <Jamie> Sorry for the unsolicited email, I tried to post in the forum but it seemed to fail, hope email is okay. <Yes> I have introduced a Blue Linckia to my tank. All was well for 2 days, moving about quite a bit, grazing etc. until it came to stretch of live heavily algae covered where it stopped. Nothing unusual there. I assumed she had stopped in delight at the deep growths and was getting down to some serious grazing <Mmm, Linckias don't eat much algae> ...but then I noticed something strange… The middle section of one of her limbs seemed to be going into a hole in the live rock. Far Deeper than she would have the dexterity to get in herself. She had been there overnight without moving so I though I should investigate further. Upon moving her gently I discovered a huge wound on her underside directly over the hole in the live rock. Something has attacked her from underneath! <Mmm, much more likely the vacuolation originated from inside this animal> In the hole in the live rock I caught sight of white/grey coloured shrimp type creature making its escape. It was quite small perhaps only 6-7mm long and seemed to swim on its side and backwards.  I've now placed the Linckia in a recovery cage far away from the scene of the crime. My questions are; What was the shrimp type animal? There could be hundreds of them in the live rock. Can I get rid of them? What other organisms will eat these pests? <See WetWebMedia.com re: shrimp identification, compatibility> What are the chances of the Linckia surviving? <Very small... this is a very difficult genus of asteroids for aquarium use... almost all die soon after distribution... due to poor, rough collection, handling, shipping... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/linckiafaqs.htm  and the linked files (above, in blue)> Why did she remain over the hole? Surely a Linckia 10cm in diameter can overpower even the most determined tiny shrimp. One of its limbs is now only attached by about 20% of its cross section. Should the severed section be removed? Can Linckias regenerate limbs?  Thanks in advance for any ideas/comments. Jamie Buchanan London, UK <Read on my friend... and choose better suited species in future. Bob Fenner

Tamaria stria Questions (11/21/04) Hi, <Hi. Steve Allen tonight.> We have a purple Linckia (Tamaria stria) that we really, really enjoy! <Good for you. They can be difficult to establish and maintain. Of course, the common reference to them as Linckias is incorrect because they are not of the genus Linckia.> We're moving him, several fish and corals to a new 200 gallon tank. The new tank will have a 5" deep sandbed. <Great.> We are thinking about purchasing a red serpent star.  However, we want to make sure it will be compatible with the other starfish, corals and reef fish.  I've read that some brittle stars sometimes eat small fish and possibly soft corals. <The green ones, Ophiarachna incrassata, eat fishes. As to whether any brittlestars eat corals, there is little evidence that they eat healthy ones. Should be no worries with others, though no guarantees.> Don't want to take any chances, but if the Red Serpent is safe it might benefit the sandbed (and be interesting). <Consider also Nassarius snails, great sandbed cleaners that burrow and cruise under the surface like sand submarines.> We are also curious if orange or blue Linckias or another purple Tamaria would work (we know we have to limit the number so they won't starve - so we were trying to decide on only one more to add). <The mortality rate of genus Linckia between collection and tank is at least 95%. The vast majority of the ones at the store are already dying of being mishandled between collection and the store. They must be acclimated over a few hours by drip mechanism if you are to have any success. You should pick one that has no blemishes or any evidence of ill health. Personally, I (and others of the crew) recommend genus Fromia as much more hardy.> Also, how many Nassarius (and what other snails) would you recommend for a DSB in a 200? <I should have read all the way to the end before answering. I'd say there's not a set amount. Get 10 or 12 and see what they, in combination with the brittlestars, accomplish. You an add more later if needed.> Thanks in advance! Doug <Hope this helps.> Linckia seastar use? >James, howzit? Am writing from reading your piece in the Nov. FAMA (do hope >they are paying you). You plug genus Linckia seastars... "which require, >little, special attention." Do you have any tips on selecting, keeping >these alive? Through my history (to present) they've mostly all died... >irrespective... Bob F Hey Bob, <Hello James, Konichiwa!> I pulled up the article - and I have to agree, that caption was not the best choice of words for that star. Should have used a chocolate chip, <Protoreastor nodosus are FAR more hardy> or at least stated that's the case for smaller ones, as I did in the text. Still, I'm a little surprised that you say they've mostly all died, as they've been fine for me for the most part. Well, I'd say they've done about as well as most other star/serpent/brittle if they made the trip ok. I had a good supplier when I was in retail and some did come in as bags of white mush - but those that made it through the first few days seemed to fare well enough, although there were always a few losses here and there even later. <Man, take a look at the WWM FAQs re the genus: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/linckiafaqs.htm Mostly bad news, reports> I put several in customer's tanks when I was doing maint.. Bought them at a LFS after letting them sit for a week or so usually. Looking for physical activity, moving tube feet, and a lack of white goo was sufficient as far as picking them after the waiting period. Usually kept them in FOWLRs, but not always, with a Choco chip and/or a serpent, and they seemed to do fine. These were always pretty small though, maybe 3 to 5 inches tops. Like I said in the text, the bigger ones would likely need more attention (food). I used to give shrimp and/or shrimp pellets to various stars, brittles, and serpents and sometimes even put them on top of food, but that's about it. <I see...> I've always thought most all of the problems I've ever heard about them were directly related to shipping problems and/or improper acclimation. You didn't say why/when they've died. I know I've read at some point that some stars don't like to eat what you might provide at times, but I don't recall having any specific problems with them... Have I been lucky or is my brain off track? <Hee hee! Maybe both> What do you think the natural life expectancy of one might be? Curious... <In captivity... less than a week in my estimation. Do agree with the origin of difficulties... principally collection, holding and shipping "stress", damage> On the other topic - pay. I remember you (and I assume other writers) had trouble getting paid a couple of years ago, but I thought that had been cleared up... The emails you sent me about the problems were one reason I haven't written anything for them in such a long time. But, now I'm sitting over here with too much free time, so I figured I'd give it a try. <Okay> Susan told me up front that it would probably be 3 or 4 months after publication before I'd get a check, and my first article for them in years came out in July - so they're about due. We'll see what happens I guess. Please tell me you ended up getting all your money and that I haven't made a blunder... <I did eventually get mostly paid up... after about two years... other folks have not been so fortunate. Will cc you a pertinent note/email from Ted Coletti re.> Aside from all that, I have found that I will have at least two weeks with no classes in March - so I can take a good trip or two. Okinawa is a must, as I can get a roundtrip flight and 4 nights in a hotel for $500. Is there anywhere else that you would specifically suggest for diving that won't break the bank? I was thinking maybe Palau, but I don't know much about much over here. There are a lot of dirt cheap deals to go to Saipan or Guam, but I have no idea what I might see there. I've seen some packages to Fiji too, but they're quite a lot more expensive. <There are a bunch of island groups to the south and east of Japan... some have air service, holiday packages... I would get out to as many as you can> Getting about ready for my Xmas trip home too. Take it easy, jf <Hope to see, dive with you somedays soon. Bob F>

Re: FAMA realities Well.....XXXX.  I'll keep my fingers crossed and let you know what happens.  They still have 3 articles from me that they haven't used yet, so I guess I'll ask for those back if I don't get what I should, when I should, for the first two. <Yeah... when they returned my work there were about fifty articles, hundreds of slides... all just thrown in a box...> Thanks for the info.  On the stars too.  I seem to get the impression that maybe you think they aren't very hardy ;) <Ha!>   I looked at the FAQs at wetweb and I'll keep your comments in mind if I write anything else about them in the future. Later amigo, j <And a further note. In the COA (Conchologists of America, yes, I'm a shell collector...) there's a note re the genus (and a gastropod, Thyca, which parasitizes Linckia laevigata... stating their lack of hardiness unless placed in a large established system with lots of diatoms and microfauna to eat. Bob F>

Linckia Problems (10/21/04) Hi. <Sorry for the late reply. Just got back after a week away from WWM and found this in my inbox. Perhaps someone else replied earlier. BTW, please capitalize "I" and punctuate in the future--it makes it much easier to read and respond to a query.> I have just started a tank about 2 months ago <better to wait several months to add most stars> and I just got a starfish and it isn't doing so well...it is a blue 5 legged star <Linckia laevigata, notoriously un-hardy. The vast majority die within days or weeks of purchase. In fact, most are already dying from poor handling by the time they get to a dealer.> and I think he is actually eating himself. <More likely disintegrating. I can't see how one would eat itself.> I just got him less than a week ago and I think it may have been damaged when the woman at the store removed it from the coral it was attached to because some intestine looking piece fell off his stomach. <Already dying there as noted above.> The starfish used to be very active around the tank but is not anymore and I am pretty sure he is picking at his own tentacle..<tentacle? Starfish do not have these. They have arms and tube feet. Not tentacles.> My fish recently got the Ich and I have been treating them outside <very smart> of the tank so as to not harm the starfish or my other invertebrates but I still don't know what is wrong with my poor guy. Any suggestions as to why he would be eating himself or acting like he is dying? thanks so much, Charlene <Sorry to say, your star is dying and there is little if anything you can do to save it. I'd guess it's already dead. If still alive, you could put it in a hospital tank and treat with a broad-spectrum antibiotic. How did you acclimate this star to your tank? How did the store acclimate it to theirs? It requires slow-drip acclimation over a couple of hours because these animals are very sensitive to changes in salinity and pH. If you want a star in the future, I would recommend the much hardier Fromia species. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.>

Linckia problems... Greetings Bob & crew! Just stumbled across your site while searching for info on a lethargic Blue Star. VERY IMPRESSED!!!  Being new to the saltwater scene, please allow me to give you a break-down on how I've started and what I've got: <ok> HARDWARE, ROCK, SUBSTRATE, ETC 75G AGA Reef-Ready Tank w/corner overflow Coralife Compact Fluorescent Fixture[2 65W Actinic; 2 65W 10,000K] EcoSystem 3012 Sump w/20lb Miracle Mud (no skimmer) Gen-X MK-4 Return Pump (1190 gph) Won Bros. 250W Pro-Heat II Titanium Heater (in sump) 3 Maxi-Jet power-heads [Model 1200; 295 gph] (1 too many?) Ultra Ground Titanium Grounding Probe (in sump?) Red Sea Wavemaster Pro Wavemaker Tsunami ATI Dosing System w/Rio 90 Powerhead [for make-up water] 2 Moon Beam 470 Nanometer Blue Night-lights <cool!> 115 lbs LR (Tonga & Haitian) 80 lbs CaribSea Aragonite Seaflor Special Grade Reef Sand 40 lbs CaribSea Aragalive Reef Sand Crystal Sea Marinemix Salt Water: AquaFX RO/DI LIVESTOCK: 6 Turbo Snails 40 Astraea Snails 30 Blue Leg Crabs 3 Peppermint Shrimp 2 Fire Shrimp 5 Green Coral Crabs 2 Brittle Stars 1 Blue Linckia (See below) WATER QUALITY - Tetratest & Aquarium Systems SeaTest Kits Temp: 75 to 76 - Lifegard Little Time or Temp SG: 1.024 to 1.025 - SeaTest Full Range SG Meter ALK: 6 to 7 <That's in dKH and not alk I presume> pH: 8.1 to 8.2 - pHep by HANNA NO2: <0.3 <It better be 0!!! Nitrite is highly toxic but you are likely getting a false positive on your test kit (I'll guess that it's the Tetratest kit). Get another kit and have your LFS test it to make sure that you have none> NO3: 2.8 average NH3: 0 PO4: 0 Ca2: 405 to 465 (Kent Liquid Calcium added to make-up water) 20% to 25% water change twice a month Approx. 3 qt.s. evaporation & make-up per day O.K. Here goes: I initially filled the tank on April15th. Obtained & introduced LR on April 27th. On May 7th brown algae showed up on rock, glass and substrate.  After cycling the LR for 2 weeks, I added Caulerpa to the mud in the sump and it propagated well. On May 9th I introduced the snails, crabs and shrimp. Algae was gone within a couple of days. Awesome!!  On May 18th NO3 jumped to 5.68 and upon investigation found 5 dead Astraeas. I'm assuming this was the cause of the NO3 spike.<A nitrate level of 5 is hardly a spike, it's only toxic at a few hundred>  No change in NO2 or NH3. Removed dead Astreas and performed 20% water change. The next day NO3 was back to 2.8. On May 29th I added 2 Blue Linckias (wish I had read up on them first!).  On June 3rd NO3 had jumped back up to 4.54. You guessed it! <Nope, a nitrate level of 4 would have no effect on the star) A deceased Linckia (stomach distended and tips chewed off 2 appendages) <Sounds more like an acclimation problem to me. They need to be dripped for several hours>.  Performed a 25% water change an am now closely monitoring the second Linckia which appears to be somewhat lethargic and pretty much staying in one spot on a rock under an overhang.  I was contemplating quarantining the poor fellow, but from what I've gathered in your responses to others experiencing this same dilemma, I gather I should just leave him be and keep an eye on him. <You got it> As I stated at the beginning of this message, I'm a neophyte to this hobby and  guess I'm looking for constructive criticism as to how I'm handling things.  I started purchasing and reading books on saltwater/reef set-ups last November (5 months before I even began to purchase the tank and components)<excellent!>, but it seems there are as many opinions as there are authors!  [Tullock, Paletta, Tunze, Shimek, Skomal and Metelsky to name a few]. <Look for books by Borneman, Nielson, Fossa, Sprung and some sketchy characters named Bob Fenner and Anthony Calfo>  One question I have is the recent appearance of red slime algae in the mud/Caulerpa chamber of the EcoSystem sump.  Is this a normal phase? <Sometimes yes, sometimes no> Do I need to remove it or let it go? <Siphoning it out wouldn't hurt> Another question is when might I expect to see the development of Coralline algae on the glass. <3 weeks, 2 days, 11 hours, 26 minutes, and 32 seconds. Actually, the time it takes coralline to get going varies from a few weeks to a few months so just be patient and keep your calcium and alk high> There is a fair amount on the LR but I'm wondering how long it takes to propagate to the aquarium glass.  Does the presence of the Turbo and Astraeas on the glass negate the production? <Nope, or we'd all be in trouble!> Should I be adding Strontium? <That's debatable but it doesn't hurt> If so, how much and how often? <Follow mfg's recommendations> Is lighting a factor? <Yep, but your lighting is perfect intensity for many species of coralline> At this time, my Actinics come on one hour before the whites (which run for twelve hours) and remain on for one hour after the whites go off. <14 hour day? A bit long, try not to exceed 12 at the most> At the end of that cycle, the Moon Beams come on for six hours, shutting off just before dawn.  Another concern is feeding. As stated in the list of livestock above, basically all I have are janitors, as I will be out of town for ten days in July and want to hold off on adding any corals and/or fish until my return.  Do any of these guys require regular food or are they okay with what's on the LR and in the live sand? <They'll be fine for 10 days provided there's plenty of algae on the rocks. It would be preferable to have someone throw in some pellets half way through though.> I have been hand feeding the Fire Shrimp a pinch of flake food every couple of days (amazing how they will eat right from your fingers!) but that's about it. I have purchased a package of Formula 1 but have yet to try it, not knowing who will eat it and how much to use. <Everyone will eat it, try half a cube for starters then go from there> I sincerely apologize for being so long winded here,<hehe> but I figured too much info is better than not enough.  I truly enjoy the education I'm absorbing with this hobby, and although I have a minimum habitat thus far, I just can't get enough of it and look forward to setting up other systems; experience (and funds!) permitting. <Damn that funds thing, think of the incredible tanks we all could have!!!> Thanks in advance for any enlightenment you might be able to provide. <Good luck, -Kevin> Greg Binder

Blue Linckia trouble part II Hey Kevin, First off, thanks for the quick reply. <I bet this one will be quicker!>  To clarify; yes, the ALK I referred to @ 6 to 7, is indeed dKH.  You were correct about the NO2 test being a Tetratest. <Figures, I'm not a big fan of most of tetras products as they have quality issues.> Had all tests performed at LFS a little over a week ago to see how his results related to mine and he read 0 Nitrites.  I think he uses Aquarium Systems SeaTest kits primarily. <That's what we use at the shop too. They're cheap, hard to screw up, reasonably accurate, and it's readily apparent if the reagent is bad. If you want better accuracy, go for Salifert or LaMotte> I'll check & pick up one of whatever he uses. Didn't drip the Linckias. <That's pretty much the do or die activity with these critters> Floated the bags for about an hour adding 3-4 oz of tank water every fifteen minutes.  Had I been aware that they are considered an advanced aquarist's species, I wouldn't have even thought about purchasing them. <I wouldn't say they're for advanced aquarists, they just need a really really long slow acclimation and a big ol' established tank with lots of microbial life to eat.> The second one I mentioned as being lethargic seems to be showing a little more movement the past couple of days.  I've got my fingers crossed.  I could kick myself for not researching these guys before acquiring them. <Ah, happens to everyone, you'll know next time.> I'm looking at it as a reckless act on my part but if there's an up-side to it, it's that at least I've learned to look before I leap! (More reading!) I did, by the way, order both the New Marine Aquarium - Reef Invertebrates and Book of Coral Propagation immediately after sending off the first e-mail. <Great!> In regard to the time element regarding the development of the algae being 3 weeks, 2 days, 11 hours, 27 minutes and 32 seconds.......What time zone are you writing from, and are the minutes and seconds from the time you typed them or from the time you hit the SEND key? LOL.  <Hehe, geez, I lost count already!> I had extended the lighting time from 10 to 12 hours after I introduced the janitors and saw how quickly they had seemed to clean up the initial bloom.  Not a necessary move, eh?  I'll go ahead & cut back to 10 hours if that's the case. <Well, you said that the daylights were on for 12 and the actinics on for an hour before and after, so after renting a supercomputer for an hour I came up with a photoperiod of 14 hours, maybe I misunderstood you. The idea is just not to go past 12 hours, it's very abnormal for these critters and can even be a little stressful to the photosynthetic ones.> Thanks again Kevin for the education and sharing your knowledge and expertise. <That's what I'm here for, enjoy! -Kevin> Gratefully, Greg Binder

-The incredible shrinking Linckia- I have a blue Linckia that is orange in color. <Isn't that an oxymoron? :) > I have had it for over six months. She  moves around actively has no sores of any sort.  The problem is that she keeps getting smaller and smaller, I feel that she may be starving what can I do, I don't want to lose her? <Unfortunately, this is all too common with Linckia stars, especially larger ones. Since their diet consists of mainly microfauna, it takes a pretty large and well established tank to keep them truckin'. You can hand feed them by placing bits of seafood (got any sponge based marine angel food?) on the substrate in front of it's path or literally drop it right on top. Try this a few times per week or more. Good luck! -Kevin>

Mushy Linckia (2/27/04) I have a Blue Linckia star fish. <How long have you had it. More than 90% die within a few weeks of being introduced into the tank. I killed six of them before giving up. I should have stopped after just a couple, but I'm too stubborn.> Last night it was very alive and okay. I noticed , there was white damage one of his arms. This morning it just collapsed on tank floor and crawled. His three legs getting mushy but the other two is okay. After I checked your web side I separated it to another tank. I don't know anything about it and Please help me How can I help him. (I bought him 5 days ago it lives with 4 damsel and one anemone)  What kind of antibiotics I have to buy. Or it is already dead. It is not moving ,but one mushy leg it seems getting okay. Thank you for time. Beril <Sorry to be pessimistic, but your star is almost certainly doomed. Most develop infections & die due to poor collection/transportation practices or to failure to acclimate very, very, very slowly. You could try some sort of broad-spectrum antibiotic in combination with pristine water conditions, but I'd say the prognosis is exceedingly poor. Do read on WWM or in Reef Invertebrates about the many disadvantages of this genus. Next time, try a Fromia. Yes, they are smaller, but they are very colorful and are much hardier. Good luck, Steve Allen.>

Another Dead Linckia (3/2/04) Hi Steve, As you said my starfish died. Thank you very much for your time and information. Take care, Beril <So sorry Beril. I know exactly how you feel. :(  Do consider a Fromia next time. They're quite attractive, though small, and much hardier. Steve Allen.>

Keeping Genus Linckia Stars (3/7/04)   Hi Bob! <Steve Allen helping out today.> I'm hoping you can help me with a question on my starfish. After years of freshwater I decided to make my dream come true and start a salt. I've setup a 46 bowfront, 50 pounds. of live rock and sand, with skimmer. It's been setup for almost 3 months with only snails, hermits, a brittle star, a Sally Lightfoot, an Emerald, a Blood shrimp and three recently added soft corals as occupants. <Don't be surprised if one of your crabs eats the shrimp. Also, Emeralds have been known to eat fish.> After reading as much as possible, I've decided to wait for about 5/6 months before adding fish. <That sort of patience certainly give the reward of a much more stable system.> Now for the question/problem.   I'm working with a man from a LFS who also sets up and maintains saltwater systems professionally for restaurants, offices etc. Needless to say I've been placing more trust in him then myself. Even though I read as much as I can so that I have as much knowledge as possible. Three days ago I added an Orange Linckia and Blue Linckia. Nothing I've read has stated that either are particularly hard to maintain. Now after looking at you site I've afraid I was duped :( The man I've been depending on is extremely nice and seems to know what he's doing. Am I wrong? Please help! :) <Genus Linckia is problematic. I killed several myself before giving up. If you get the rare one that is not already dying of the rigors of collection/transport, and if you slowly acclimate it to your tank, and if there's adequate food, they actually do well. If they survive the first month, they'll probably be fine. It is important to keep your water quality optimum and avoid fluctuations in SG and pH because they cannot adjust quickly enough. Very important to do small daily top-offs (evaporation replacement) with RO water so the SG does not bounce up and down. Stars like an SG closer to real seawater than fish need. I'd say about 1.024. pH should be around 8.2 and stable. Consider and electronic monitor--much easier to use than color-change test kits, IMO. If these stars die and you really want something, do consider genus Fromia instead. Hope this helps.>

Linckia Follow-Up (3/7/04)   Sorry Steve! Didn't know it was you. <Back with you again.> LOL I'm planning on getting a Fromia soon. :) <Good choice> However, now I'm confused Steve. I was expecting you to "yell" at me for making a big mistake on the Linckias. First, THANK YOU for not doing that! LOL But why didn't you? LOL <Because I made that mistake several times in the past myself. Naturally, when you're new at this, you expect that if an LFS is offering something for sale at a relatively low price (generally under $20) it is actually a viable option. Live and learn. It's not the buyers who need to be chastised, it's the dealers.>   My tank's pH, ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels have been great. <zero, zero, and not too much right?> My SG has remained at 1.025 since setup, so I guess I'm doing something right. :) <The mark of a conscientious marine aquarist. :)> I have PC lighting and a Remora hang on skimmer with a filter box which I find has helped with the "scum" floating at the water level. <Yes, and makes the skimmer more efficient.> However, my skimmer stopped working earlier this week. <Hmm> It suddenly started up again although I still checked the pump. Today it seems to be doing the same thing. Could something be going wrong with it? <What pump did you choose? Some are more equal than others. Output can be variable from day to day due to tank conditions. Review the owner's "manual" (one sheet of paper!) for anything you might try. You can always e-mail AquaC and ask them for help. Jason Kim is very customer-friendly and conscientious.>   (You guys are great BTW! SO patient with us newbies!). <Everyone's been a newbie at everything they now do well at. Always worth remembering.> As for the Emerald. Do you think if I return it and get a mated pair of Banded Coral shrimp it would be all right? I've read about the Banded being aggressive at times but would the fact that they were a pair make a difference? <I've never had a problem with mine. A pair would be very nice and they supply plenty of egg & larvae to feed fish. There is some risk to your fire shrimp (Lysmata debelius) with having Stenopus though. Consider adding another fire shrimp instead. As hermaphrodites, they should get along and mate.>   Again, Thanks for all the help! And forgive me if I bug you a lot in the future! I just found your site and am thrilled that I did! I make sure to check through by searching first though, so I don't bother you too much. But sorry, I just know I will!! LOL <No problem. It's good for the mind to try to find the answer oneself first, but we're all happy to help here.>

The Linckias Didn't Make It (3/15/04)   Hey gang! <Steve Allen again tonight>.> Just wanted to give you an update on my Linckias. Just to remind you, I have a 46 gallon bowfront that at the moment has a cleaning crew, (including a bristle star, Emerald crab, Sally Lightfoot, snails, hermits and two cukes), and some soft coral and a Blood shrimp. Yes, you told me about the risks between the crabs and shrimp. LOL But I also had 2 Linckias. A blue and an Orange. Well both have gone to that big beautiful reef in the sky! :(  <Sorry to hear, but not unexpected as we discussed before.> Unfortunately I was unable to retrieve the orange until it was pretty much "gone". Hadn't seen it for a while but didn't realize it was dead. You know how stars can be! Out in the open some days and hiding the next. <Yep> But I was able to get the Blue out sooner. So obviously I suffered from a Nitrate spike. :( I hope this won't cause too much trouble. The tank's been up for 3 months now and has a lot of purple coralline algae and copepods etc. I did a water change so I would think it would be O.K. What do you think? <Nitrate shouldn't be to much of a problem. Ammonia and nitrite are much worse. A couple of extra water changes should do.>   Question #2-- I'm planning on sticking to Fromias <Better choice & quite attractive> from now on but am interested in a Tiger Star--Ophiolepis superba. What do you think of this star? <Very nice serpent star. I have 4 myself. Easy to find. Very active and hardy if carefully acclimated. Tend to lose a leg (or part of one) here & there, but grow back readily.> Is it reef safe? <Should be. Pretty much sticks to detritus and seldom gets big enough to go after any fish.> Is it hardier? <Yes> Will it be as secretive as my bristle? <IME, serpents are seen a bit more than brittles. Should come out when food hits the water, especially in subdued lighting.>   Also, I have only 24 lbs. of Arago-Live which makes a bed of about 1 inch. I've left the back of the tank without any sand so that I can clean it better since the sand is larger and from what I've read any deeper can be a  nitrate trap. I'm hoping in the future to add a sump to add a DSB in. I think switching now would be a mess and would take up a lot of swimming space. What do you think? <There are pros & cons here. Adding more sand will be messy and take up space because it needs to be 4+" deep. A DSB in sump would be easier. On the other hand, if you add slowly with a long funnel, you can get the sand in without too much mess. Really a matter of your choice here.> Thanks again for your help! Now I must go and light a candle for my stars. :( Eileen :) <Thanks for the follow-up & I hope things go better with stars in the future.>

More on Linckias (3/15/04)   Thanks Steve!  I placed the snail back in my reef, since it is not of the menacing variety.  It sometimes buries itself in the sand...seems to feed on detritus. <Typical of Nassarius. I like them myself.>  Good to hear maybe I'll have some luck with the Linckia (knock on wood!).  The reference materials I have on Linckias say they are "easy to keep", but after posting in some reef forums, I discovered most folks have bad luck with them. <It's the initial period that gets them. Successfully acclimated ones with lots of food available do very well. Unfortunately, most are already "dead stars walking" when the leave the store, with no hope of recovery (even though they look fine outwardly). Wondering if once the sponge is gone, should I feed maybe some sponge-based angel food? <That stuff seems to float too much. Hopefully it will eat other things.>  Water is (me bragging here) PERFECT in my reef, so I don't have to fight that battle. <I hope you didn't just jinx yourself ;). On your trip to Madison, if you get a chance, stop by the Great Dane Pub downtown.  Great joint for micro-brew and nice atmosphere:) <Alas, I'll be at a meeting at the Fluno Center the whole time. Oh well, Epic Systems is a wonderful host.> Thanks again for the help:) <My pleasure, Steve Allen> Vicki, Madison, WI

Blue Linckia Problems (7/5/04) Hi, <Hi. Steve Allen with you this evening.> First off, I would like to thank everyone from your crew for keeping such a great and informative site available. <Thanks. It's my pleasure to play a small part.> And here to my problem, which I hope you might know how to resolve or identify....I recently bought a blue Linckia starfish at my LFS. It seemed to have acclimated well after introducing it to the tank, moving around, climbing up on rocks and glass. <How long did you acclimate for? A couple of hours I hope. Linckia stars are particularly difficult to acclimate.> However, after a couple of hours....something started to come out of the mouth of the starfish which looked almost like a tapeworm or maybe even its guts. <More likely the latter.> It started with just one worm like thing and ended up with three things hanging out of the mouth, each about 4-5 inches in length. I have attached a picture. <I did not make it.> Ever since these "worm/guts?" have detached from the starfish it moved back to the sand bed and hasn't moved since, not sure if it is dead or dying or else. I have not attempted to move, because I read it is best to leave them alone. I has no sign of discoloration so far. Have you ever seen or heard something like this???? Could this actually be its guts that it is expelling (like sea cucumbers do to get rid of parasites in the digestive system???) or could this even be a tapeworm??? <I am not aware of tapeworms infesting invertebrates. The most common parasite of seastars are a species of snail. I would fear that this material is part of the starfish and that it is disintegrating. Keep an eye on it and remove it if it stays put and begins to "melt." Do read up on this species. The vast majority do not survive the trip from ocean to tank. Mortality is likely over 90% and most are already dying by the time they are purchased. Fromia are a much better choice, but all echinoderms require sloooooow acclimation.> Thanks in advance for any advice <I hope it helps.>

Sick Orange Linckia Dear Bob- I have an orange Linckia and at night he swells up on some of his arms. He also has some brown spots on some of his arms. He seems to do fine and look better during the illuminated period and I am afraid I may loose him. Please let me know what I should do. Thanks in advance and I appreciate the time you take to answer these questions. Dr. Ron Widen <the symptoms do not strike me immediately as pathogenic but I do wonder about the nutrition that this animal has been getting. They need a tremendous amount of food as deposit feeders. A good "rule" for sea stars is to only keep one per 100 gallon aquarium and the aquarium should be set up for at least 1 year minimum. Even then they will need fed several times weekly. Any compromise of this requires daily feeding. Most starve or suffer attrition within mere months... some hang in longer. Do consider if this applies here, my friend. Best regards, Anthony>

Linckia Starfish Hello! I hate to bother you guys with a "is the doctor in" type fish questions... but I am really quite concerned and after researching for 3 nights a total of 9 hours, I can't find any solid information. I hope you will tolerate my inquiry.... <Certainly> I recently purchased a purple Linckia via mail order. I say purple Linckia not just because that is what the retailer called it. <Many animals sold as Linckias/Linckias... please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm> I have studied pictures of both the supposed Linckia and the purple more predatory star it is often confused with. I notice the other star has sort of brighter orange feet, while mine has sandy colored feet. Mine has 5 arms not 6- although I'm not sure if that matters and although he might not be a Linckia it is my educated guess. <Doesn't sound like a Linckia laevigata... perhaps a Tamaria... a predatory species.> A day prior to his arrival I decided to do a partial water change. My numbers seemed great, nearly negligible, but I had very slight ammonia and nitrate so I thought some exporting might help perfect his new home.  <Detectable ammonia? Not good> After testing after the water change... both were higher. Maybe from water exchange stirring the sand?  <Perhaps... but perhaps from a dissolving, decomposing seastar> I tested my source water and it appeared that my tap has a high (25) ammonia level. I'm not sure what to think except maybe ammonia and chlorine are related?  <This is a BIG question... you should not have twenty five ppm of ammonia... with an OTO test method? Chloramines are how high in your tapwater? Please contact your municipal water district (their number is on your water bill), and ask re the titer/method of administration of what sorts of sanitizer they employ... And by all means, irrespectively do make-up and store your new water per something like the protocol described here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm? I didn't treat the water I tested, (and when I water change I do aerate the salt water mix at least a day prior... also my kit is Red Sea... and I'm not sure of its accuracy.) At any rate.. he was already on the way and it seemed like more water change might make the picture grimmer so I just held my breath. <All these issues are not easy to discuss here, independently... you should either treat your new water (if it's not coming through an R.O. or D.I or both device) with a dechloraminator, or store, aerate it for a week or more before use> On with the tale... he arrived after a bit of delay... about 1PM rather than 9AM and it must have been a stressful trip. In the order also were 2 Mithrax, 5 peppermint, 3 Chromis, 1 blenny. The blenny was dead and one Chromis died. <Arggggg> I drip acclimated him and after he entered the tank he climbed onto some live rock and stayed there. He is in a prominent position, but not really high traffic. I only have a royal Gramma who doesn't create traffic. (The Chromis are in quarantine) I did not quarantine him because I am not confident how well cycled the quarantine tank is and the 2 fish bioload seemed enough, also there is no live sand or rock in there and if he is a Linckia he is supposed to eat detritus... however he is right in the light... and at "dusk" and at night he doesn't move either. <My friend... your quarantine system must be stable, you have to make sure that you can rely on stable, high water quality there> After he climbed up on his perch he curled his toes a little. 6 hours later they were uncurled. He makes a sort of cobweb above him. I know he is making it because I wiped it off one leg and it was back within the hour. The perch is in fairly high water flow. <Yikes...> Here's the problem... I'm coming on 48 hours and he has not moved.  <...> Today I lifted him off of it (I wasn't hard he doesn't even use all of his feet to attach) and dipped him for one minute in a Lugol's dip (mixed with the tank water).  <What? Why?> No difference now. He didn't like the dip. He curled his toes. I flipped him over while he was in the bath and I did not see anything imbedded in him or any abrasions. I also gave in and did another partial water change (although smaller) last night. We are leaving in 5 days for vacation. (the first in 2 years- of course I feel guilty anyways) If this guy dies in there while we are gone... he could wipe out the tank. I feel really bad for him. Although his toes look fine and he isn't showing any degrading of tissue he doesn't seem healthy. Any advice? All other tank mates seem happy and busy, Anthelias polyps are open. <I would move, isolate this animal in your quarantine system... move all else before your trip.> I appreciate your time, greatly. (If relevant... 33L, 220 PC full/actinic 14/12 hours a day.) <Not> P.S. Your site appears to be non for profit. Can I donate? How? I do have a Paypal account. -Brooke <We do have an Amazon "begging bowl" at the bottom of the homepage and indices... But please donate your time when you are back, rested from your trip and can focus on a longer term plan for your aquatic hobby... We can start at "square one", perhaps help you develop a relationship with a local dealer... a better regimen of set-up and operation of your quarantine procedure. Do enjoy your holiday away. Bob Fenner>

Re: Linckia Starfish I thank you for your time. It would seem from your response that I am doing things sloppily but I do research for hours and hours each day and I am really attempting to be responsible... <You are close to a more complete understanding I assure you> The link you gave me regarding the Linckia (sounds like a bad pun) did not work so I was hoping you can repost it, if he is not the Linckia (I thought it was the predator star with the orange feet... you think it is the true Linckia with the orange feet?) that is important to understand. <Search the index yourself here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm the area is an article on seastars, their FAQs posted near the bottom with the other Echinoderm pieces> Prior to our trip I will quarantine him. Also... I mean he moves enough that I do clearly know he's moving; he's just not "on the move", if you follow me? <Yes> I will attempt to bring a higher level of care to the husbandry of these beautiful marine animals. Believe me, it's not for lack of desire. Both tanks appeared well cycled with zero readings. Only after the order did the readings go askew. I suspect my test itself to be of low quality... another is on the way. <Good> Please do not feel burdened with a response, I know you are too busy already. I just wanted you to know that I welcomed and appreciated your feedback. <Never a bother. Bob Fenner> Brooke

Luck with Linckias I have a 55 gallon reef tank. Its contains plenty of live rock, hard & soft corals that do fine, and several inverts, such as crabs and fire shrimp. I have had no success with adding starfish, particularly red & blue Linckia starfish. They seem to die off within 1-2 weeks. Is there something I'm doing wrong? Do they require certain food. Should I acclimate them slower? I would love to add several of these creatures but they keep dying, please help. Thanks, Jeff <<There are some folks who have success with Linckia Seastars, but they are few... these species take a beating in their collection, holding and transport from the wild... and just don't appear to be "tough", or compatible with captive aquarium conditions... I would wait a few months to let your system age a bit more, and then maybe try one of the smaller, colorful stars... my fave genus Fromia! Bob Fenner>>

Linckia Star Thanks for your quick response, I'll keep an eye on the Linckia. If it dies will it kill everything in the tank or just pollute the water which I know could do the same thing). I just wanted to add a cleaning crew but it seems I made a bad choice. Will brittle stars fare any better?, I've tried different types of hermit crabs, blue legged, scarlet and they all seem to have a taste for my snails and the scarlet for the coralline algae which I saw them working on a rock which they cleaned the purple coralline algae right off. I work too hard to make it grow for a crab to have it for dinner. Any suggestions on a cleaning crew. Thanks and keep up the great work. I'm saving my money so hopefully in a couple of months or so I can buy your book, have read great reviews on it. <<The loss of life from the Linckia dissolving would be slow... Brittle stars are hardier by far. For cleaning crews, I'd have to see the spec's (again) on your set-up and other livestock. By and large I don't favor snails or hermit crabs for the reasons you state above and more. Look more to preventing unsightly algae by proper set-up, stocking, maintenance...Bob Fenner>>

Orange Linckia Star Hello Bob...I just bought an orange Linckia about a week ago...he is alive, but slowly perishing...he has this brown thing in the center of him now...what could this be?? thanks <no idea from the description "brown thing"... do remove the star to a QT tank to prevent fouling of the main display from the starfish crawling into an inaccessible area and dying and to get the creature direct care needed (in QT). Best regards, Anthony>

Blue Linckia Hi bob, Need your advice. I bought a blue Linckia about 4 days ago and he is doing great. Yesterday I noticed one of his arms was cut open and I couldn't figure out why. Then I noticed something green coming out, like a green worm. What it was is my Linckia regenerating new starfish. He has generated that one but I don't know if its even alive. Should I just leave it alone or move it to a breeding container? <Leave it whatever it is where it is> Non of the fish are picking at it but it does float around from time to time with the currents. Also the Linckia seems to be regenerating another one. Again should I just let nature be or should I take it out? <I would just watch and wait at this point. Please read over the following: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastarf.htm re others experiences with this species. Bob Fenner>



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