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FAQs about Genus Fromia Sea Stars Disease/Health

Related Articles: Fromia 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: Fromias 1, Fromias 2, & FAQs on: Fromia Identification, Fromia Behavior, Fromia Compatibility, Fromia Selection, Fromia Systems, Fromia Feeding, Fromia 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, Linckia Stars, Linckia Stars 2, Sand-Sifting Stars,

Sea Star Trauma (from power head)       10/5/15
Hello Crew,
Last night, I noticed that this starfish was crawling around the inlet to the protein skimmer pump. My display is a 40 Gal with a HOB Protein skimmer. I've had this star for months now and it's been doing great in the tank. Always on the move.
Today, I saw that the star had wrapped itself around the intake of the skimmer. I thought that it might have found something that it wanted to eat there. After a couple of hours of no movement, I powered the pump down and saw that the star had been stuck.
I moved it to a piece of liverock and it sort of wilted and has sat there for the past few hours. It is clearly missing flesh from 2 legs. Is there
anything that I can do for it? Any chance that it will recover?
<I would be double, triple dosing iodide-ate, like Lugol's.... and redosing weekly. And yes to hoping it will recover>
See photo attached.
<W. Bob Fenner>

Red Fromia, mortuus est        10/30/13
<eleven megs of pix? What?>
Hi, I've acclimated a red Fromia starfish and looks to be having problems.
It didn't move much staying around the same area the first day and tending to wrap around something. It then began releasing little orange balls which I thought were eggs as my mandarin was hanging around snacking on them.
Then pinky bits started coming out and brown bits. Second day it was moving around plenty and all cleared up. Third day this morning I woke to find it at the top of the tank covered in the same pink and brown bits protruding out of itself, looks extremely worrying and can't find any info so please could you help me with what's happening and what I should do?
<Remove it>
Day one:
Day two:
Many thanks.
<Read all that is posted on WWM re the genus. Bob Fenner>

Starfish Problem/Fromia Disease 4/4/2011
Hello again!
<Hello Joan>
It's been a while (thank goodness) since I have asked for help. Anyway today we noticed white powdery looking spots on our starfish. We have had him since 9/10 and he eats and is just great. This morning however we noticed these spots on 2 of his legs and removed him to a QT tank immediately. There are two other starfish in the main tank with him and neither one has any signs of this. He ate last night (he is sort of a pig. he eats his and then looks for more!) What is this substance on his legs and what do we do about it? Couldn't find anything on your site which relates to this sort of issue. The only other thing we can think of is that the Condy anemone might have stung him on those two spots (since we found him fairly close to it).
<Is unlikely from being stung by the anemone as starfish have a pretty tough skin. It appears to be the onset of necrosis of which unfortunately there is no cure for. <<Mmm, actually... RMF>>
Necrosis generally develops from sudden changes in pH, salinity, and exposure to air and starfish cannot regulate these changes very well. Keeping your water parameters stable should minimize further development.
Bob may chime in here with further advice.
Please read here as well.
Thanks in advance for your advise.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
PS- Hope the photo wasn't too big.
<Not bad.>

Re Starfish Problem/Fromia Disease 4/4/2011- 4/26/2011
<Hello Joan>
Just a quick update on the starfish. He is back in the display tank after 2 weeks. The white powdery stuff just went away on its own and he is just fine. He never showed any ill effects so it was just a mystery ailment.
<Great news, Joan, and thank you for the update.>
Thanks for all your help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Hole in Fromia 9/24/08 Hi all, <Ginny> I have a small red Fromia. It's been living in my established reef tank for a few weeks, it's been eating and the one leg that was slightly shorter than the others has caught up, which I assumed meant it was growing. <Yes> I'm not sure if it impaled itself on part of the rockwork or if something got it but it has a hole all the way through the center of its stomach. All I know is it happened during the night Saturday night. I would love to know how it happened, but at this point I'm more concerned with what to do about it. I see no rotting flesh, the hole appears clean (like someone stuck a toothpick through it) and when the star is awake and moving along the glass I can't see the hole from the underside. As a matter of fact, I thought it was looking better last night when I couldn't see the light through it. This morning, the star is stationary against the glass and the hole appears to not have healed at all. I have it in the refugium, to prevent it becoming a meal to an opportunistic feeder. <Good move> I can set up the hospital tank (it's not up for the time being) but with a lack of algae, and microorganisms in the hospital I'm afraid it would starve (there is plenty of both in the fuge). <I would leave it in the refugium> I didn't want to set up the hospital tank unless I needed to dose it with anything. Again there is no sign of infection, just a gaping hole. The star does appear to be actively searching for food. <Good> As a side note, I acclimated this star using a double drip (one drip in and one drip out) to remove all LFS water from the acclimation box. It took 4-6 hours and then I submersed the acclimation box fully in the tank to keep the star from being exposed to the air. I know it was acclimated properly at the LFS as I work there and did it myself. I watched this star to ensure its health for over a week before I brought it home. <All very good> My parameters are as follows: Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates-all 0, Calcium 420, Magnesium 1350, dKH 11, Phosphates-0. I do not test for, nor do I dose Iodine or Strontium. I assume that regular (20%) water changes take care of those. Thanks in advance, Ginny <I would "just" be patient here. Seastars have remarkable "powers of regeneration". I do hope yours recovers here. Other folks trials re can be reviewed here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fromiadisf.htm Bob Fenner>

Starfish parasite of injury ? Reading 9/22/08 Hi Crew, About a month ago I added a starfish to my 150 gal mixed reef tank. <Mmmm> All seemed well until this morning when I identified what appear to be two "growths" from the top surface. <Errr> I'm concerned that these may be parasites (though I have no idea where they could have come from) are they are so noticeable I can't see how they could have come with my new purchase. <Uh huh> My alternate thoughts are that the starfish has become injured. If they are parasites should I remove them ? <Mmm, no... Need to know which species, re the make-up of the system, foods/feeding, water quality, other livestock... but likely this animal is "falling apart"> Thanks for your advice and wisdom. Regards Steve Heath <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/stardisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sorry, Would help if I attached an image. Rgds Steve <Ahh! Does look like part of this Fromias vascular system is emerging from the stone canal... BobF>

Fromia star, hlth. 9/22/08 Today I came home to find my starfish (can't ID - was sold as pink/orange tilestar, closely resembles but not quite Fromia monilis) with one leg decimated - only skin and a small lump of intestine remaining on the lower half and the upper half heavily picked at. Another leg is moderately damaged with loss of turgor, and a third is mildly damaged. I have placed in an inverted, ventilated drinking cup within the aquarium to protect it from predation with a couple small pieces of rock and large shells for it to scavenge while I come up with something better. I am thinking about an acrylic box, well ventilated with a powerhead to provide additional circulation with several larger pieces of live rock. Am I correct in thinking that the stress of moving this animal to another tank for treatment is going to outweigh any actual benefit of antifungal/antibiotic treatment? <Very likely so... unless you have another well-established setting to move it to that you think is more appropriate> Also, should I amputate the decimated leg to reduce the likelihood of secondary infection? <I would not> Any other advice? <Mmm, yes... to read: http://wetwebmedia.com/fromiadisf.htm and the linked files above... for input re what root cause/s there might be here> Current inhabitants: 7cm Canthigaster solandri, 8cm Rhinecanthus aculeatus, 9cm Odonus niger, <These three eat such animals> 14m Siganus unimaculatus, 6cm Chaetodontoplus mesoleucus, 9cm Premnas biaculeatus, 7cm Chromileptis altivelis, 11cm Chelmon rostratus, 35cm Echidna nebulosa, medium Ophiarachnella sp., <This might also> small Stichopus chloronotus, small Pentacta anceps, small Mespilia globulus, medium Tripneustes gratilla, and about 8 Clibanarius tricolor I know the triggers or puffer would be the immediate suspects, but the niger has been in the tank with the star for four months, and the others were in the tank six months ago when I bought the star. The only recent addition is the angel, which the other night I saw picking at bits of algae on the glass near the star. Is it possible/likely the angel, or would you suspect someone else? Thank you, David <I suspect that this is likely a mix of challenges from water quality mostly, perhaps a lack of nutrition secondly... maybe with a bit of opportunistic predation tertiarily. Bob Fenner>

Fromia Indica - sick! 9/21/08 Hi, <Hello> My Fromia Indica is sick. One of his arms' skin started peeling to reveal white flesh underneath. <A bad sign> Then it turned back to his usual orange colour (but still fleshy rather than skin-ny) and I thought it was going to be OK, but his arm seems to be slowly shortening and the entire arm looks a little swollen. Over the course of about 2 weeks he seems to have lost about 0.5cm of arm. At first I thought it may have been because I added a little too much top up water that week, but it seems to be shortening still, so I'm not sure. <Echinoderms do/can shrink... get smaller on the basis of food availability, water conditions... and Asteroids are famous for regeneration properties> I've been frantically reading through WWM, but all the issues seem to be acclimatisation issues. I've had this little guy for about 8 months now, and this has only just come up. Perhaps from the last water change? <Could be> (I have a nano tank, so maybe this could be it). Another arm has some white specks on it too, and the tip is kind of starting to look dodgy, but I'm not sure if its just because I'm getting paranoid! He's still wandering around my tank actively and seems otherwise healthy. What do you think it could be? <A combination of food lack and changeable water quality> Some people have been suggesting that I slice off the 'infected' part of his arm. <I would not do this> Or should I leave him to heal naturally. Do you think he will heal or it will get worse? What should I do? Is there any treatment available? Thanks in advance, Lai <Moving this animal to more propitious circumstances, feeding it a bit more could save its life, Especially in a small volume, you must take care to not let water chemistry, physics vary... through frequent checking, topping off, the use of closely matched pre-mixed change out water. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fromia Indica - sick! 9/29/08 Bad news. He's not getting any better! <Too typical> Im heartbroken. Most of his arm is disappearing, and a second one has started shrinking. His bottom half is starting to turn white too. At times it looks like he's hollow and wrinkly. Is all hope lost? At what time do I euthanize him? <... hope not lost till the animal is dead... not likely to cause trouble in such a system as yours. BobF>

Ailing Starfish... 2/27/08 <Hi Mike, Mich here.> Yesterday I found my Seastar on its' back in the tank. <Uh-oh!> He stayed like that for quite some time; <A very bad sign.> until I gently picked him up and flipped him over. He now seems to be 'melting' in the spot I placed him; <Sort of like the Wicked Witch of the West but different?> it's like his legs are collapsing, hollow. He seemed to be doing so well!... <Note past tense here.> I've had him since mid-December. Attached is a photo from 'happier' times. <Was a beauty, but sadly most starfish just do not do well in aquarium settings and I would discourage you from getting another. Their diets are just not well understood and unfortunately these beautiful creatures typically starve to death in captivity. A red brittle star (Ophioderma rubicundum) would be a much better option. They generally do well, are quite pretty and eat most meaty foods offered.> I think I know the answer, <Yes you do. I'm sorry for your loss> but is there any hope? <There is always hope, but I'm sorry to say there is little to none for your guy. Mich> Mike.

Re: Ailing Starfish 2/28/08 A few hours after I sent this yesterday, I found him piled up, disintegrated. <I'm sad to say I'm not terribly surprised.> *sigh*...I really liked him <I'm very sorry for your hurt Mike. Starfish typically just don't do well in captivity.> (and he wasn't cheap)... <I am glad to hear this. Again, this is not a creature I would recommend for captivity, and hope that if nothing more the price decreases demand.> thanks,
<Welcome, Mich>

Fromia acclimation Greetings, I purchased 2 Fromia stars from DrsFostersSmith.com last week. I carefully followed the acclimation procedures that were shipped with the livestock. I floated the closed bag for 15 minutes to stabilize temp, added 1/2 cup of tank water every 5 minutes, dumped half the bag when full, continued to add 1/2 cup of tank water every 5 minutes until bag was full again, and finally dumped contents of bag into a net and added star to the tank. Entire procedure took about 1 hour. <very fine> Instructions specifically said not to add an airstone, due to possible rapid rise in PH. <yep> Well, both stars looked great with no physical problems that I could detect and moved around the tank actively. The next day, one of the stars (which I believe was a Fromia indica) started to dissolve and died the day after that. The other star (Fromia monilis) appears to be fine. Since then I have been researching acclimation techniques specifically for stars and found that many prescribe to the idea of acclimating stars over the course of 4-6 hours due to their sensitivity. <they are rather sensitive although the other side of this debate is the concern of other issues of water quality with extended acclimation in a confined bag/bucket (unheated, low O2, etc)> This sounded logical to me until I read Bob's article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm regarding generic acclimation procedures and it stated that in cases of prolonged shipping times it may be risky to add any tank water to the shipping water in fear of poisoning the livestock (increase in PH, coupled with detectible ammonia levels in the shipping bag). <agreed> The stars are being shipped from California and I reside in Michigan, resulting in a shipping time of almost 24 hours. <long indeed> I contacted DrsFostersSmith.com and I will be receiving a new orange Fromia tomorrow (free of charge). Any advice that you could give me on acclimating these stars to ward off a repeat of the last disaster would be greatly appreciated. <I favor your first acclimation procedure: direct... not too short and not too long> Below are my tank specs: Oxygen - 6ppm Alkalinity - 3.46 Calcium - 310 Ammonia - 0 Nitrate - 2 Nitrite - 0 PH - 8.1 72 gallon tank, 2 months old, 75 lbs live rock, no fish yet, 1 cleaner shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp Thanks, Jeff <unrelated to your starfish DOA, your pH and Calcium are on the low end... do stabilize and raise a little when possible. Kindly, Anthony>

Fromia starfish falling apart... Hello I need some help with a Formia milleporella. <I believe you're referring to a Fromia star> I have recently got into the hobby (4months approx) and my tank has been going OK to date but I have made some errors which I have noted from studying your website. Top of my list of things to do is to get a QT tank and perform dips on new stock. Anyway the point being I have no QT tank at this moment in time. <Get that thing going! You'll never regret it!> I introduced a star fish last week, what I realized after the event was that the shop must only have taken delivery of it that day and it had probably only been in his tank a matter of hours, <Yep, with things as sensitive as Fromia stars, you really need to wait at least a week if not more to ensure that your LFS has not botched the acclimation> I then took it home and placed it in my main tank (via normal acclimatization procedures recommended on this site but no QT). <No need for QT. My idea of a normal acclimation is an hour or two, Fromia stars require a much slower acclimation (several hours)> The stress of all these moves (so I reckon) has resulted in his legs rotting away as I have read on this site. <It's an acclimating issue, in part from just being acclimated at your LFS (potentially incorrectly) then getting acclimated within a few hours to your aquarium (again, potentially too quickly).> The end of his legs have turned to mush although his body is fine (not rotting), he is moving around. I am concerned that he will die and most probably as a result of my negligence/inexperience. <It's very possible> What can I do to help it? Am I endangering my other stock by keeping it in the tank in this state? (black Percula clowns, fire shrimp, turbo snails, hermit crabs, yellow boxer shrimp) All of whom are in great shape. <Take out all the dead leg pieces but leave the body in, I have seen them on more than one occasion heal back up if the entire "body" is intact. Other than that, there's nothing you can do.> I am keeping a close eye on my water (daily checks) and it is looking OK SG 1.023, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites all zero plus temp 78. I perform a 5% water change every 2 weeks and add Kent liquid calcium. <If you are adding calcium you should also be testing for it. Include an alkalinity test as well if you're using the Kent liquid calcium as it tends to deplete your alkalinity level> My water has been very stable since I completed my initial 4 week cycle. <Good luck, I hope the starfish pulls through! -Kevin> Cheers John

Sick Fromia Greetings, I purchased a Fromia monilis on 9/14 and it seemed to be doing fine until last week. <still... I'm guessing that this is a newly acquired specimen. Many succumb to infections and duress within weeks of import. Correct me if you have had yours for months> First, the tips of his legs started to dissolve and then 5 days ago it seemed to eviscerate. For 2 days all of it's innards seemed to be hanging out his underside until they became detached. Amazingly, he continued and still is moving about the live rock. <indeed... a bad sign, but they are remarkably regenerative. You are feeding this animal, yes? Microalgae on rocks, algae wafers, etc> I have read that cucumbers eviscerate and regenerate their internal organs, have you heard of starfish having this capability? <yes... a sign of great duress> The tips of his legs seem to be healing now but there are now 2 huge gashes across 2 of his legs and another cyst on the top of his body. I have read that dying starfish can pollute an entire tank. <anything of that size/mass can pollute a tank just the same (tang sized fish, anemone, etc)> Do you know if this is true with Fromias? Do you think that he has any chance of recovery or should I euthanize him? <the healing tips are a very good sign... feed well and lets wait a little longer. Place in a sump or refugium if necessary to keep an eye on it but do not move to another tank just yet. Remove on the first sign of giving up the ghost (non-motile, tube feet non-responsive, etc)> Also, my other orange Fromia seems to spend all his time at the very top of the tank glass, hardly moving. <sounds hungry :) looking for organic matter at the surface where it collects... or... low dissolved O2 in the system. Do get a cheap O2 test kit (like Tetra brand) and verify> I moved him down to the substrate last week but one morning I woke up and he was at the top again. I am concerned b/c there doesn't appear to be enough algae on the glass to keep him fed. <quite possibly> Could this indicate that the oxygen level is too low at the bottom of the tank. <yes... very intuitive. Kudos to you, my friend> I do not utilize powerheads. <not a problem if you simply have a very large return pump on the sump> I measured my GPH from the return line at 610 gal/hr and have an air pump in the sump. <wow... definitely in need of stronger water flow here. Do consider a larger return pump if your overflow can handle it, and powerheads in the display if not. The old rule of thumb of 10X water flow in the tank per hour is antiquated and not accurate for modern reef aquarium systems. I run approx 2200 GPH in my 50 gallon marine tank. Simple Random turbulent flow (converging outlets) and you wouldn't look at it and think the flow is that strong> My oxygen is reading 6 and I can't seem to get it any higher. Should I attempt to move him again or should I just leave him be? <don't move the star but do take a low tank water sample (submerged film canister and sealed while low). > My 72 gal tank is a little over 2 months old now and I still have nothing in the tank but 75 lbs live rock, a orange Fromia indica, a cleaner shrimp, and a peppermint shrimp (another peppermint shrimp also died). A third Fromia I purchased died 3 days after arrival, dissolving after a few days. <sea stars should be left in the dealers tank for at least one week before buying them. Pre-pay or deposit if necessary to hold them for screening of weak individuals. Even then... it is critical to quarantine all new livestock on your own for 2-4 weeks. Please browse our archives at wetwebmedia.com for more info on a proper QT tank> All stars seemed fine at arrival, and I acclimated them extremely carefully over a 1.5 hr period. I purchased all online. I am off to a very discouraging start and am reluctant to purchase fish until I can prove that I am capable of keeping a few starfish and shrimp alive. <the purchase of livestock online is not recommended when a good local source is available. If you choose to purchase online... all such animals need a full 4 week QT. And using the Seastars as a gage for fishes is inaccurate my friend. They are fairly difficult to keep relative to fishes> Is it too early in my tank's life cycle to be adding starfish? <absolutely yes!!! Seastars need very large and very mature aquariums to survive. Some say 100gall tank minimum. Try brittle or serpent stars instead (Ophiuroids). Much hardier. Try common species first> Test kits- Salifert SPG: 1.023 Temp: 81-83.5 <these warmer temps may be the reason you cant get your oxygen levels higher... aim for 78-80F> PH: 8.1 <target pH 8.3 night and 8.5 by day> Oxygen: 6 Ammonia: <.5 Nitrate: 0 Nitrite: 0 Alkalinity: 4.57 Calcium: 320 Strontium: approx. 15 Thanks for you time, Jeff <with kind regards, Anthony>

Fromia Starfish I bought a Fromia star 3 days ago. It seems fine until yesterday that part of one arm start to degenerate. I had a same problem with one before and it died. <this necrosis is serious at times> Could I use iodine treatment? <sure... swab a reef strength dose directly onto the affected portion with the intent to stain it> If all else fails, could I cut off the portion of the arm that is infected, since their can regenerate? <please do...sooner rather than later and take off more of the arm than you need to. Use a sharp razor or scalpel.> Thanks, Jackie <with kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Fromia Star Could you please help me with the following I have a red star fish, Fromia indica I acclimatized the star for about 1hr slowly adding a bit of water at a time (for salinity and temp) For 2 days the star hardly did moved. On the 3rd day in the tank it was moving around a bit. On the 4th day I noticed a type of lesion with stuff (pink fine tubes and brown matter) coming out of one of its legs (its still moving a lot). On the 5th day it has lost a leg (from where the lesion occurred) and it has a new deep lesion across the center of its body (its still moving a lot) Could you please comment. I have had my 300ltr tank up and running for almost 2 months now. I skimmer running consistently, 15WUV, large trickle filter (bio ball) + Over-under filter with a lot of super-ex (porous tubes) and some coral. I only have a cleaner wrasse and 2 common clowns (ocellaris), a boxer shrimp and a cleaner shrimp, 1 purple anemone (magnifica) and a green stripped anemone, mushroom coral (in the tank for almost 2 months) Everything else is happy and looks healthy, Andrew <Sounds like a very nice system... and I really like this species of Star... The one you got likely "had problems"... an injury, perhaps an infection... that progressed while in your care... Because the matter is evidenced at its center, I would just wait and hope for the best at this point... even if there is a "Star" parasite or infectious agent... it will unlikely effect your other animals. Bob Fenner, who says don't give up on Fromia because of this one bad specimen.>

Red Fromia Starfish <Ernestine. Sorry about the late reply, this is Lorenzo Gonzalez, subbing for Bob, who's in Indonesia. Unfortunately, I'm traveling now as well, so we're a little behind on the emails!> I have a question about a "little red starfish" (Fromia sp) that I got two days ago. (My reason for choosing the Fromia was that it was one of your favorites.) It seems to be expelling it's insides. Because of everything I had read, I acclimated it very slowly (over 6 hours) to equalize salinity, etc. It has crawled up on the front glass and seems to be expelling it's insides. (?) A couple of pinkish "strings" are hanging from it and in the center it looks like a "blob" of "stuff" squished up against the glass. It dying? Will it cause problems for the other inhabitants? I have a 75 gal reef tank, almost 1 1/2 years old. Water parameters are all good, etc. (SG 1.024, temp 79-82 - temp goes up over the day with MH's on, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates <10, phosphates 0, Alk 3.5, pH 8.2) . <Everything there sounds fine: unfortunately, and I do apologize for this, replying so late... if your Fromia is not dead by now - it's probably fine. :-| > Although I know you hear this all the time, I must say it anyway, I LOVE YOUR BOOK (The Conscientious Marine Aquarist). I've spent a small fortune on books and yours is hands-down my favorite and the one I recommend to others. Thanks for providing such a wonderful reference for saltwater addicts. :) <Bob will be happy to hear this, he'll see all his emails, including the ones I'm answering, within a few more days... regards, Lorenzo> My thanks in advance for your help and advice. Earnestine Smith, Harrison, AR

- Injured Fromia - Hi, My wife and I bought a Fromia star the other day. All legs ok no injuries. Monday morning I noticed the tip of one leg was almost completely cut off. I caught a box crab last night and removed it from the tank. The leg seems to be crumbling. But the star is as active as before and moves around the rock and tank quite fast for a Fromia. I notice some reddish feathery tissue at the open wound and my flame angel occasionally goes by and takes a bite. <This is probably where the tip of the leg went originally.> I was wondering if I could put super glue over the open end to seal it. <I would not do this.> Super glue has been used for wound closure on people, even eye surgery. <True, but I'm not sure a Seastar would react the same way a human would - have you ever put super glue in a cut? It hurts.> Should I cut the end clean before I start? <Clean cutting the edge might help, but I'd be looking for other causes/culprit. Do check your nitrates to make sure they are within reason, as well as keeping an eye on that angel. Unfortunately, there's not much to a Seastar and they frequently voice protests about their environment by dissolving into thin air... or actually water in this case. Again, I would not go the glue route as this might expedite the Fromias departure.> Thanks for your help. Joel and Karen <Cheers, J -- >

Fromia Sea Star Hello. I purchased an orange Fromia star two days ago. Within a day of introducing it to the reef tank I noticed holes or cuts as if it had been eaten. The next morning a leg was missing and with another day it was dead. I have a cleaner shrimp and blue and red crabs. What are the natural predators for a Fromia star and is it possible I may have one in the tank and not know it. <I'm thinking what you've witnessed is necrosis of the legs/body of the sea star. This star is fairly hardy if handled properly. They are sensitive to changes in SG, temp, ph and oxygen levels that may be encountered during shipping/acclimation, especially exposing them to air. Any of these changes can cause this.> THANKS! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Fromia milleporella First Aid 8/22/05 Good Sunday WWM Crew... <What happened? Lost another day, again!> I hope that that this finds you well. Yesterday, I took receipt of a Fromia milleporella. I live in KY and it came from California via Drs. Foster and Smith. It was a mess. Its shipping time was not unusually long, but evidently long enough. His body, overall was still turgid but each of his 5 legs had developed necrosis (up to 1/4 inch in a couple of places) and he evidently had shed in the shipping bag. Upon initial investigation, I modified my acclimation to floating him in the tank while using a 5 ml eye dropper to drip tank water every fifteen minutes (at a rate of one drop per second) and then emptying 1/2 the water and commencing my "drip". This process took about 5 hours, but I checked his bag temp several times and it matched that of the tank. I then lowered his bag into the water, slid him out and laid him on top of a piece of Cyclop-Eeze wafer in an accessible, but protected spot on the substrate. I kept an eye on him for the rest of the evening to see if anything was going to change drastically. He moved about 1/2 inch and seemed to be pressing his disk down into the substrate where the Cyclop-Eeze wafer was. My goal was for him to be comfortable, and to have nourishment that he wouldn't have to work very hard to get. I reread all of the sea star articles and FAQ's currently posted, paying particular attention to the postings regarding Fromia milleporella. One posting in the FAQ's mentioned that you could swab the necrosis spots with reef strength iodine a/o remove the necrosis (plus some) on the legs with a scalpel or razor blade. This morning I performed the iodine swab with a disposable wooden grilling skewer (never used) and polyester filter floss attached to the end of it soaked in Kent Marine Iodine supplement. I also did my best to remove the necrosis areas on his legs and vacuuming out the "pieces". For today's nourishment I placed some starfish sushi (a.k.a. a piece of mussel soaked in Selcon wrapped in dried seaweed) under him and squirted some DT's Live Phytoplankton into the substrate underneath him. He seems to be accepting the sushi, but it took him a couple of hours. My question is, if he can be swabbed with the iodine as Mr. Calfo suggested, can I fashion dressing for his legs with the iodine soaked filter floss, and then change it each day until it is able to regenerate? <I would leave off handling, treating this animal more than the one time> It seems to be working on it on its own as long as I can keep it as de-stressed as possible and nourished. <Yes> By the way, I called Drs. Foster and Smith once the starfish was settled, explained his condition and they gladly gave me a full and immediate credit (my choice, store or to my credit card). I thought that was good customer service considering that I am not convinced that this guy started his trip from California in good and healthy condition. <Very likely so> Your advice is most welcome, and any other suggestions for me would be most appreciated. I know that I have an uphill battle ahead, but the starfish seems to want to recover and I want to help it as much as possible. Thank you very kindly, Pam Cradic <I do hope this animal recovers in your good care. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fromia milleporella First Aid...one more quick question 8/23/05 Thank you, Mr. Fenner for your reply to my inquiry. I have just one more question regarding my sick friend. Yesterday afternoon it appeared as though the necrosis on four out of his five legs had stopped. <Very good news> The ends of these legs had skin (for lack of a better word) over the ends, and no white could be detected. The fifth leg, unfortunately developed a new spot on it (after he "broke off" the necrosis portion of it) and it appeared to be traveling to his center rather quickly. Now, his disk seems to be "shedding" or changing colors. He's still interested in food, as he ate the "sushi", and reacted to the food stimuli this morning (DT's again in the substrate). His disk is changing from dark red/black (his original coloring) to a much brighter solid red. He appears to be "shedding" the previous skin. Does this signal the beginning of the end for him? <Can't tell> I had hopes as long as his disk looked healthy, and I am encouraged that he appears to be interested in food, but now I'm not so sure. I appreciate your advice. Sincerely, Pam Cradic <Thus far, you have done everything I know of "right"... Bob Fenner>

Red Fromia Star leg injury 8/18/05 Hello Crew, Per the advice on your website, I got a Red Fromia starfish instead of a blue Linckia.. <A much better, likely to live, choice> I've had it for about 6 weeks now and it basically lived in the corner of the glass moving up and down, and he seemed happy. Last week, I moved him to the live rock for more foraging (and better visibility for me) <... better to let these animals, almost all animals, find their own way...> and within 2 days I noticed that the tip of one of his arms was frayed like something picked on it. <Maybe... a biped> Over the course of the last few days its getting more and more frayed apart (thus the leg is getting shorter). He's still on the live rock now and still seems to be moving around normal.... is there anything I can do to help the little guy out? What's typically takes place now that he has an injury? Does he just keep fraying apart to the point of death?? Thanks, Cody <Please read... here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marind5_5.htm Re Asteroids, Fromia... and please learn to/use the indices, search tool on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Fromia Star leg injury 8/19/05 Bob, <Cody> I understand fully how to use the indices and the search tools. It is most likely necrosis of the limbs, but nothing I've read tells me how to save the little guy's life. Will you please help me with some definitive direction on what I should do? <Unfortunately... there is not much known re asteroid health/disease issues, cures... purchasing apparently healthy specimens of historically hardi/er species, providing them with stable, optimized environments, nutrition, a dearth of predators... and not fooling with them is about all there is. Bob Fenner>

Starfish legs turning white 12/12/05 Hi,<Hello> I bought a starfish (Fromia nodosa) 2 months ago. It was fine initially but two weeks after acquiring it, the tip of all it's legs turned whitish. It is still moving around actively but I wonder why those legs would turn white and whether it would be harmful in the long run. Is there any preventive measures to take? This is my first starfish and I do not have any starfish creatures feeding on starfish in the tank (as far as I know - unless it was imported with the rocks). <A common problem with starfish. They are sensitive to changes in specific gravity, temperature, ph and oxygen levels usually encountered during shipping which causes necrosis of the legs and/or whole body which is what you are seeing. A drip acclimation is recommended for all starfish. As long as a food supply is present, the starfish should survive. I know of no cure for this. I have one now that has necrosis and its been in the tank for a year now, just doesn't have the nice orange color it once had.> Thank you for your help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Dying Fromia - Questions Re: Stability of Water Parameters - 10/26/05 Please can you help? I bought a Seastar and introduced it into my marine aquarium about 1 month ago, the aquarium is a 180L tank which has been running fine now for about 8 months. <<This system cannot yet be considered fully mature, especially when considering introduction of particular invertebrates. You don't mention how you introduced the animal, either, however, acclimation of Seastars is of UTMOST importance. The ill effects of poor acclimation methods can take a little while to show up. Please make use of the Google bar on our home page, and search on Seastars.>> I believe the Seastar to be a Formia {Fromia} (looks like a orange marble - Monilis). up in till the last few days it seemed fine, then I seemed to notice bits of it had started to come off, as if something had takes bites out of its legs. <<Does the flesh itself appear to otherwise be healthy? If so, I would continue to watch it closely, keeping an eye out for predators. However, it is more likely than not that what you are observing is an actual disintegration of the animal's flesh, which means it is dying. This can have many causes, but most likely water quality is the main issue. Many stars can be saved by going with clean, filtered seawater (such as Real Ocean) and treatment with a broad spectrum antibiotic. The one I've seen used with amazing efficacy is Spectrogram.>> I have watched the tank but seen nothing even go near it, but it still seems to be getting worse and worse and now the body of the Seastar is also starting to disappear - what looks like rot away! <<It's dying.>> It still moves a little bit but can't stick to the glass it just falls to a heap on the bottom and now it just lays on the live sand or live rock and hour by hour is moving less. The only other things in the tank are 2 damsels, 2 clown fish, 1 Copperband, 1 angel fish. <<These animals are unlikely to harm the star, but are nowhere nearly as sensitive to water quality. You don't mention what types of damsels, clowns, or what type of angel fish, and there are HUGE differences within the families. Even if the angel is of the genus Centropyge, the tank is overcrowded as it is. The Copperband will not do well long-term, and the biggest problem is maintaining water quality in a tank less than 50 gallons U.S.>> For the time being the Seastar is in its own hospital tank to ensure it is not being eaten by any of the other occupants. Water levels seem fine, pH may of {have} been a little low but I have added a buffer to keep it at 8.2. <<Seastars are INCREDIBLY sensitive to salinity, pH shift, heavy metals in the water, etc., etc. You've done the right thing by moving it, but if you can AT ALL get natural, filtered seawater, do use that, but DO acclimate the animal over a period of hours (all day would be great for a stressed animal) to it. I honestly think it's too far gone, but we have a responsibility to try, don't we? Google "drip acclimation", hit the 'cached' link. Also, know that if you need to add buffers to keep the pH up, you need to address why the water has such low alkalinity. You really MUST have stable conditions, and pH shift kills more animals more quickly than most folks can really appreciate.>> Can you please let me know what I can do to try and help this Seastar, what is wrong with it, is this Seastar is going to die, if so what can I do to help prevent this in the future? <<For one, don't buy any more Seastars until you learn more about them, water quality, etc. You need to learn more about the importance of pH stability, and please understand that much of what these animals are sensitive to most hobbyists cannot test for (or test accurately/reliably). Yes, it's dying, you've done the right thing, try the above suggestions, have the Spectrogram on hand anyway because it's such a good product (medicine chest/First Aid kit for fish is ALWAYS a good idea). Once you learn more about HOW to keep water parameters where they should be, and your system is more mature, then you might be able to try one of the hardier species (serpent stars are preferable, still relatively delicate, but if one can keep other reef denizens, then one should have good luck with Seastars). You make no mention of live rock, please, do not underestimate the utility of this.>> Many Thanks Scott W <<You're welcome, and best of luck. Marina>>

Red Fromia star has hole in its head! Help! 4/1/07 Hello all, <Hi Luis, Mich here.> Thanks for all the incredible info on your website. I just bought a red Fromia star about 4 days ago. Everything seemed to be fine, but this morning it's there is a hole right in the middle of the starfish, opposite of where it's mouth would be. It looks like something attacked it overnight. <Possibly, but often these stars just don't acclimate well and promptly begin to disintegrate.> I have a skunk cleaner shrimp, a fire shrimp, six Mexican hermit crabs, a wrasse, an ocellaris clown, a psychedelic mandarin, a purple Firefish and a teddy bear crab. When I added the starfish to the tank I also added 2 different sponges to the tank (the teddy bear crab hitch hiked in on one of them). <Oh! Do watch these sponges, if they decide to die they can take out your whole tank.> Do you think that one of these could have attacked it? <Teddy bear crabs are not reef safe.> The starfish has been hanging out on the glass on the top of the tank, so I don't think it could have been one of the crabs. <May not have been.> Could one of the shrimp have done this? <Also a possibility, but I think is more likely a transport/acclimation issue.> Also, do you think the starfish can live through this? The hole is not pretty, it looks like its tentacles are coming out of the top if it's "head". <Not likely, but is possible.> It is still alive right now, but don't know if I should just take it out of the tank so that it doesn't end up fouling my water. <I would give it a chance but keep a close eye on it. If it stops moving remove it.> Any insight would be appreciated. <Hope this helps.> Thank you! <Welcome! -Mich> Luis

Re: Red Fromia star has hole in its head! Help! 4/4/07 Mich, Thanks for the reply. <Welcome!> The star ended up dying. <I'm sorry for your loss.> I believe it to either be an acclimation issue OR the teddy bear crab. <Either are possibilities.> I went back to the shop where I had acquired the star and there was a star from the same batch that disintegrated also. <Unfortunately this is not terribly surprising.> But, to my horror, I caught the teddy bear crab eating my sand-sifting star the next day! It ate a whole arm before I knew what was happening. <Yikes! I would not recommend the sand-sifting star (Astropecten spp.). These stars decimate your sand bed removing beneficial organisms and typically starve after a few months in captivity.> Needless to say I have removed the teddy bear crab from the tank. <Mmm, hopefully to a suitable home and not an untimely demise.> I had searched online about the teddy bear and various sites said it was reef safe and a detritus eater so I thought it was safe, thanks for the info that says otherwise....wish I would have known. <Not every source hold equal value.> Hopefully the star will live and regenerate a new arm. <It may.> Unfortunately, none of my corals are happy since adding the sponges. The tank at the store that one of the sponges was in was being cleaned when I bought it (water was really cloudy). I'm starting to think that I introduced a lot of toxins since I had to introduce that water into my tank. <Yikes!> I am going to do a few water changes daily for the next few days to get any toxins out. <Do watch this carefully. Dying sponges can really do a lot of damage.> Green mushroom won't open up, gorgonian won't come out and my torch is losing tentacles! <Ho buoy! Not good!> I'm about to do a water change right now. <Good!> I changed it yesterday and the gorgonian came out for a while. <You may need to do several large changes here!> Wish me luck! <Good luck my friend!> Thanks again for the info, <You are most welcome! -Mich> Luis

Sea Star Fromia disintegrating 3/23/07 Hi, <Hello> I, like many of your readers, have had a Fromia Sea Star for about 1 week and one of his arms is disintegrating starting at the tip. I feel that it is an acclimating issue. <Mmmm, not likely. Perhaps collateral damage (collection, handling, shipping) and maybe unsuitable environment> I need some guidance regarding a couple of treatment plans I've read on your website. First of all, I do not have a QT. One suggestion that I read was to "swab a reef strength dose (of iodine) directly onto the affected portion with the intent to stain it. Questions: 1) What is a reef strength dose of iodine? <As in "straight out of the bottle"... product/s made for supplementation> 2) How do you swab on the medicine without exposing the starfish to air? <Can't as far as I'm aware> Second suggestion: On your site I read that to save such a starfish, consider dipping it in a dilute antibiotic bath. Questions: 1) What antibiotic, 2) How long to dip, 3) Where to dip the animal <Usually Furan Compound/s... e.g. Nitrofuranace... folks use a bit of the system water, dissolve the contents (usually) of a 250 mg. capsule...> Thank you in advance for your help. You have a great website. <I wish I could be more positive here... This genus does better than most all others, in captive settings... but does require matching, stable, high quality water ("reef") conditions... Plenty of established live rock... Almost all, once they show such deterioration, perish soon thereafter. Bob Fenner> Fromia Seastar Ailment, Sir Paul's Mum ref. 8/7/06 Hello Crew, I am a proud owner of a year old 75 gallon SW tank. Throughout my freshman year of keeping SW fish, I purchased almost all "beginner" <Do like this spelling, instead of beginner... a bit different meaning/intention> livestock (2 Perculas, 3 Chromis, 1 royal Gramma, lawnmower blenny, sm. crabs & snails). I had very good luck with all of these animals and my tank has never, ever had any traces of ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate ( w/ SeaChem test kits). <Wow, no NO3?> So, understandably, I thought it was time to branch out. Last week I purchased (from Dr. Foster) a pineapple tree coral, a green mushroom, and a Fromia Seastar. After absorbing all the info I could off of your site I was confident I could take care of the star. After receiving it, I poured it & it's water in a bucket. I then, over the course of 4 hours, dripped water in through airline tubing. <Mmm, did you happen to measure the spg of the water in the bag? Needs to be near-matched... adjusted over days, weeks if very different> The star looked very healthy and mobile. When it was time to place him in the tank however, I neglected to realize that the water the Seastar was in was cooler than the water in the main tank. <Mmm, not generally much of an issue> I was too concerned with not exposing the star to air to notice this possibly fatal mistake. After being placed in, the star moved around as usual for a couple of days. He climbed the glass up to the waterline where he still is today, 6 days after initial placement. This alone wouldn't be that bad, but the star's central disk is excreting little intestine-looking globs (does not look like a stomach). That's not all- several pores on his front side are bulging out, they're beginning to look like bubbles that are about to burst. <Bad...> I guess there is a bright side- no visible signs of necrosis such as white marks or decaying tissue. A reason for the stars demise might be a pH drop in my tank at night. <How much? A few tenths of a point should be fine> I don't have any fancy equipment to help balance this out. I am a realist, and I understand that the situation is pretty grim, but I'm curious as to what I should do now. Should I move the star down to the substrate <No. Will move itself> and trying feeding him some formula one (doubt he's eaten anything substantial while in my tank), should I be like Paul McCartney and let it be,
<Good point/comparison... This is what I'd do> or should I dispose of it immediately? And finally (didn't know I'd type this much) should I try my luck again with Seastars with this new knowledge and maybe some new equipment (I don't like serpent stars, may be hardier but I find them creepy). <Can't tell...> Thank you guys so much, without you I would have never gotten into this incredible hobby. BTW: my mushroom and tree corals are doing well from what I can tell : ) Specs--> Emperor 400 gph power filter; Whisper 300 gph filter; Two 200 gph powerheads; 260 watt PC (soon to add another 130 watt); Remora skimmer; 75 lbs live rock; Alkalinity 2.5 mEq/ L; Calcium 500 ppm; Salinity 1.025; Temp 81 F. <Mmm, your Alk. is a bit low, the calcium a bit high... I'd look into, allow these to adjust more to "middling" values... and try another Fromia if you should lose this one. Bob Fenner>

Fromia Starfish ... env., health... 7/15/06 Hey Bob, just have a couple of quick questions... I bought two Fromia starfish one for my tank and one for my grandparents tank off the internet. The starfish that my grandparents got has lost two of its legs? Is it dying? <... well, isn't doing too well...> Mine has lost one tip of one of its legs? <Can't tell from here> We followed the procedures in releasing them into our tanks. Also what is good to feed them? Thanks for your help Jason Campbell <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fromiastars.htm for the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Re: Fromia Star question 4/26/07 Thanks for the help, but now I don't hold out much hope. Just took a peek at him and he has that hole in the center I read about. <Truly unfortunate. I'm so sorry to hear that.> Would furan help? BTW I have an anemone in the q-tank too. <Although I've read that Furan can help when you've got a sea star leg that's deteriorating, I'm not aware of it helping this type of deterioration on the disk. When this sort of thing crops up, it seems to advance very quickly. I'm sorry I don't have better news for you. Take care and best wishes --Lynn>

Fromia Star: brown bubbles at joints 9/20/07 Hi, I had recently purchased a Fromia Star about 4 days ago. I have noticed really tiny brown bubble-like dots coming out of his joints (all the little crevices a and cracks in his skin). Is this normal, or is this a disease or virus. He has recently started losing one of his legs (disintegration-I am applying iodine concentrate to the wound, I'm thinking possibly to cut of the leg) <Mmm, I would not> and I don't know if this is a by product of that. Please let me know what's possibly going on and what steps of action I should take. Thanks <Could you send along a pic? Some Fromia species do have what you describe naturally... Bob Fenner>

Re: Fromia Star: brown bubbles at joints 7/21/07 The bubbles went away. I think it was just something it has when its laying around, because when I got near it, the bubbles went away. Maybe some sort of nerve feeling or something like that. Anyways, What should I do about the disintegrating arm? Should I continue Iodine Supplements, or should I try something else? <Mmm, best to read... here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marind5_5.htm the third to last tray. Bob Fenner>

Is my star fish okay? -11/18/07 Hi everyone! I am new to owning an aquarium and had a 14 gallon for about a month and a couple of weeks. Today I just bought my first star fish and acclimated it for about 2 hours. At the place I got him from, he was called a little pink Fromia. He has an orange body with pink spots all over and is maybe about 2 inches in diameter. I got my water tested and it was perfect. After I put the him in the water he has just been sitting there and his tube feet are not out, but his stomach is (I think its his stomach anyway...). He is sitting there like a rock. Is he okay? <Hmmm... tough to say for sure. It could just be acclimating. If it's not moving by tomorrow morning (Sunday), you could gently turn it over to see if it tries to move at all. If it doesn't move, I'd be concerned. If it squirms at all, turn it back over and just wait for it to get used to your tank. Please see here too: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fromiastarfaqs.htm> Thanks, Heather <Best, Sara M.>

Re: Is my star fish okay?-11/18/07 Thanks so much Sara. You all are VERY helpful. I think he may be dead. He looks like this but his body is orange with pink spots. Do you know what his scientific name is? Again, THANK YOU!! -Heather <I'm sorry, but we would need a picture to help you ID it if you're unsure of what it is. If you have a camera, please send us a photo. -Sara M.>

Indian sea star has been attacked... reading -- 1/04/08 hello WWM <Charles> I'm a novice in marine aquaria but seem to be doing quite well so far I have a nano reef aquarium, 58 litres. <Okay> I have 1 yellow tailed damsel, 1 humbug damsel, 1 blue damsel, <A poor mix of Pomacentrids in such a small volume> 1 banded coral shrimp, 1 red legged hermit, 1 blue legged hermit, 1 purple coral <What is this? Specifically> and until this evening (3rd Jan 2008) 1 Indian sea star. <A Fromia indica... or Fromia sp. at least, likely> Now this is what my email regards I came home from work yesterday to find my sea star clinging to the spray bar with two lesions in two of its legs. I kept an eye on it for a while and it seemed to be moving around, slowly, but moving. Later that evening I checked up on it and one of its legs was missing and part of it on the sand at this point it was on the live rock and the closest animal to it was the blue legged hermit (which, may I add, I think is something else as it has black and blue legs rather than red and blue) but it wasn't attacking it at that point, although I assumed, that having powerful pincers, this was the culprit so I isolated it over night. <Mmm> In the morning the sea star was in the same condition but alive, then when I came home it was life less on the sand missing 3 whole legs an 1 badly damaged I think it is dead now as it hasn't moved at all. As the blue hermit was isolated and the red legged hermit is tiny I passed the blame onto the shrimp. I liked the sea star and it was the first animal in the tank and it was thriving I don't believe that water parameters are culprit, or reproduction, as there is nothing left of the legs. Can you help me with this, could the shrimp be culprit or maybe the damsels. <Yes, either could be... or no culprit/predator at all> Also is this common as I want to get a new sea star but don't want a repeat episode. I thank you in advance for any advice you can give me. Regards Charlie <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marind5_5.htm Toward the bottom... on Seastar Disease, Fromias... Bob Fenner>

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