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FAQs about Linckia Sea Stars 1

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 2, 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,

Sick Starfish Hi Bob, I have a blue starfish, Linckia laevigata. He was doing great up until this morning. He was active, worked his way around the tank, etc. This morning we came in and he has what looks like a small cut at the base of one leg. White stuff has come out, but is still attached by fibers to the body. I don't know how it happened - crab, sharp rock, who knows. Does he need to be removed as a threat to foul the tank, or is this the kind of thing that heals in time? <Cuts, vacuolations (missing areas) are real trouble with this species... Often indications of disease, parasitism... not catching to other species... and if your Linckia should perish, it won't immediately pollute your system. Do keep your eye on it. Otherwise I would leave this animal in place w/o specific treatment. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Dale Re: Sick Starfish Thanks for the input, Bob. It sounds like a job for the quarantine tank. What do you think? Dale <Mmm, I would not move this animal... it's too likely to starve, stress it to death to be moved. Bob Fenner>

Blue Linckia starfish: Help Mr. Bob I need help figuring out why I can't keep blue Linckias.  <Actually... L. laevigata is not easily kept... most do die... mainly from infections, parasites that "take over" consequent to the traumas of collection, shipping, handling... the ones that do "make it" have had better histories in going from the wild to captivity and have been placed in well-established (many months...) large, reef systems...> I have tried 3 so far. One a year and have lost each one. All my chemistries are in check. Nitrates are kept at about .07. the rest is good. I have a reef tank and check for just about everything except oxygen and organics. I have a 105 gallon oceanic show tank. That is actually growing corals for me. I change the water so often I am almost sick of water changes (but it is worth it). Back to the story: I buy a blue Linckia and it usually last for a couple of days. then it kinda become real thin and nasty looking. Then the crabs take over. <The types, numbers of crabs you have may also be big trouble here> Are these not acceptable with a reef and fish system?  <They're on the "just barely" worth trying side IMO... Please read over the survey piece: http://wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm and consider a more appropriate species... like a Fromia...> I only have 4 fish in this set up: Purple tang, 2 clowns, and a flame hawk. Or does the unknown inhabitant of the tank getting it: Bristleworms ETC? Or are the Crabs actually killing it from the word go? <Maybe so, particularly the crustaceans> Thanks for any help you can give me. I would sure like to figure this one out because it is my little girls favorite fish. Kevin Johnson <Do try to interest her in the Purple "Linckia" other hardier species shown on our site. Bob Fenner>

Starfish Missing A Few Legs? Dear Crew: We have a reef tank that has had in it for several months some snails and hermit crabs, one purple Linckia star and an emerald crab. Two weeks ago we added three corals and a fire shrimp and a brittle star. This week my Linckia star appeared with some of each of its legs eaten off. Any idea what could be eating it so I can remove it? Tracee <Hard to say, Tracee...Could be the crab, or it could be some sort of bacterial infection, which starfishes tend to be subject to now and then...In fact, I have a Centropyge angelfish that loves to "graze" on the tips of one of my brittle star's legs...this kind of thing may be happening to your animal. Keep up the highest possible water quality, observe the interactions between the animals carefully, and be prepared to remove either the offending party or the injured starfish if necessary. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Linckia coming to a bad end - 4/2/03 I purchased a Linckia star fish that did not move for 4 days, <Not unusual, but not a really good start, in my experience> i also noticed its stomach was hanging out, After calling my fish store they said they put out there stomach to collect food <Yep. Some species>, a few days later i picked up the star fish and the stomach fell off. <Yeah, probably just expelling gut as a signal of some form of stress. Did you acclimate or is this in the acclimation tank? What were all of your tank readings? These are things to check before purchasing. Also a good idea to see what the purchase tank readings are as well for reference.> my pet store said that it is a defense mechanism if they feel threatened and there stomach is out it will just release it to protect themselves... is that true. <Utter bull@#&*. I don't even want to go there. Certain types of seastars are known to do this as a feeding mechanism, but I have not heard of it as a defensive mechanism. (at least not in my experience) I suggest you do a little research before you purchase such animals as it is somewhat well known that Linckias are not exactly the hardiest of echinoderms. Also, keep in mind the place you purchased the animal from is always trying to make a buck. They will tell you whatever they think you need to hear. (most will anyway). In any event, quite a lot has been written about these starfish, not only here, but on a great many other sites as well. Here is a great place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm and read through the FAQ links as well! Lots of great information there. I would identify your species of Linckia and let you fingers do the walking (on your keyboard) and find out all you can. Knowledge is half the battle, my friend. In the mean time I think it is best to watch this animal and see if it might not recover. If it does not seem to move for many more days and you notice no podia movement, then it might be time to remove the Linckia. With that, we do appreciate your coming here to learn and ask questions. You are already on your way to enlightenment.>  Thank you <thank you. Paul>

Starving Sea Star?? Dear Bob- (or Anthony...) <cheers, mate> I have been reading your FAQs and I emailed the other day about my orange Linckia. Exactly what kind of greens and meat do I need to feed him so I don't overfeed the tank or underfeed him?  <tough to say... we first need to ID the genus of the star. Numerous genera are collectively shipped as "Linckia sp". Please scour the web, this site, Indo Pacific Field Guides, other books etc to get a genus and species of possible. In the meantime, simply a wide variety of frozen foods like you would feed a Marine angelfish to be specific> (29 gal reef tank, 2 months old, 2 clowns, 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 horseshoe crab (3"), 1 orange Linckia and 35 lbs of live rock!  <for what its worth... I'm certain that the horseshoe will die in their tank in 6-12 months despite your best efforts. They need a lot of food and a lot of room to grow, scavenge, bury/forage. They need huge tanks!> (seems like the Linckia goes around the rocks once, ends up on the glass and sits there. I clean the front glass so I can see the tank whole idea of reef tank!) and he sits on the clean glass.  <alas... not indicative of anything specific, my friend> After reading your info, I figure I need a protein skimmer, is the SeaClone™ Protein Skimmer ok for me?  <ahh... do read through the FAQs on this topic. Or visit the message boards. You'll find that most people like me won't even take this skimmer for free! You can add Prisms, Berlin and Nautilus to this category for me. I like to get a lot more bang for my buck... my strong advice without spending too much money would be an Aqua C Remora (for hang on the tank <H.O.T.>) or Tunze's smallest unit (model 210)... see here at General Aquatics: http://www.generalaquatics.com/myProducts.cfm?CFID=382338&CFTOKEN=23764741 &parentcategoryid=1%7Cprotein%20skimmers&categoryid=1|protein%20skimmers& vendoridtoDisplay=21|Tunze&collection=1%7Cprotein% 20skimmers > I don't want to take all the food out of the water for the star, but I notice it is getting cloudy!  <not sure that I follow the last comment? In reference to skimmer efficiency? If so... no worries... seastars are deposit feeders. If in relation to target feeding... no pieces should be left more than a few hours to rot and cause cloudy water>  Please help and thank you very much!! Ron  <I sincerely thank you for caring, my friend. I truly believe that your empathy will make you a fine and successful aquarist. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Orange Linckia (Target Feeding Deposit feeders/ Sea stars) What is the best way to feed these guys ? 29 gal tank with 2 bags live sand and 35 pounds of live rock. Tank only a couple of months old. <hmmm... going to be challenging here to be honest. Most would say the tank is too small to conceivably support a sea star. If possible, small daily feedings of a great variety of foods (green and meaty). Perhaps consider making a homemade food recipe (many on the net and in Bob's book, on WetWebMedia, etc)... freeze all in party cube trays and offer the star a food cube daily (mixed nutritious fare with vitamins) from the substrate> Have 2 clowns, 1 horseshoe,  <Doh! er... Horseshoe crab? Forgetting the adult size of about 12" in diameter... there will be no easy way of providing enough food in the sand to keep this crab alive in such a small tank. Too bad... indeed a fascinating creature. My string advice is to get this crab to an aquarist with at least a 200 gallon tank and DSB. In the meantime, bury mysids in the same place daily just under the sand (other meaty foods too of course for variety)> 1 linkia,2 skunk cleaners shrimp. I feed spectrum daily as well as Mysis shrimp (every other day), I have a few shrimp left on the sand when creatures are done eating. Can I hand feed a Linckia???  <yep> Small children perhaps??  <only if they misbehave or seem inclined to vote Democrat in the future> Thanks a lot for your response. Ron <my great pleasure... best regards, Anthony>

Blue Linckia, leopard wrasses and angels Good evening Bob! <cheers, bub... Anthony Calfo in your service> Well, I know you've probably heard this a hundred times now.... I bought something for once without doing any research, a blue Linckia~ I was at a wholesalers and it was $5 and I've always wanted one.  <impulse and cheap price... a recipe for death> Don't shoot me!  <oops...sorry. I jumped the gun on the harassment> As soon as I put it in the tank it promptly disappeared into the woodwork, "Great! I just bought a lovely blue star that I'll never see!" hehe.  <or worse... it will starve, dwindle and die back in the rockwork and wipe out the while tank when you go on vacation. Have a nice Holiday! <G>> He's being more social nowadays and hanging around the clams. (Been in the tank about 2 weeks now) I read the FAQs and he's relatively healthy, he was kind of a grey/blue when I bought him, but he's not "cob webbing" or anything. Ok, my question is do they have any food requirements other than detritus and micro creatures?  <wow... these starfish like most sea stars need a lot of food. If you do not/cannot target feed them weekly if not daily, then they need very large aquariums (over 100 gallons) and very mature displays (well over 1 year old with a lot of live rock). Else they will slowly starve over a period of months like most. Surely not to live beyond one year, I am truly sorry to say> Currently he's in one of the most beautiful/healthy 58gal tanks in Miami that has been established for over 5 years. ;] It has a 3"+ fine sand bed, tons of little benthic critters, etc.  <awesome... the maturity of the tank is a tremendous help. Still... spatially... it is a bit small in surface area to sustain this deposit feeder. Especially if you have any blennies, gobies, tangs, etc that graze the rock competitively> Other than fish food (Spirulina flakes and pellets) I feed the tank Dt's concentrated plankton every other night, which the brittle stars seem to love. Also, are Linckias nocturnal?  <yes> It doesn't seem to move around during the day at all, like the brittle stars. Is it normal for Linckias to stay in the same position for a day and a half or more?  <common for imported ones...duress> Do they feed on diatoms that accumulate on the glass as well as feeding on stuff in the sand?  <not only diatom algae per se> His suckers seem to be in good shape, nothing looks irregular.  <good to hear... a good sign> Just they move really slowly, so a person tends to worry.  <understood> And he doesn't seem to get all excited like the brittle stars when I add plankton. ;]  <true... he is a strict detritivore... no suspension feeding at all> On another note, (thanks for reading all this, I have a special skill at rambling!) would a leopard wrasse and a yellow Coris wrasse be compatible?  <likely not... and you truly must avoid putting a leopard wrasse in a tank this small. They are categorically very difficult to sustain for more than a year or two. Best success is in huge aquaria (over 200 gall) with few other fishes> And would they be compatible with a bicolor blenny?  <stick with the yellow Coris and you will likely be fine... although there is always a chance of territorial aggression from the blenny> (My bi-color is currently in my 10gal nano, where he is king, I can't wait to see his expression when I put him in the 58g that I'll be moving to once my boyfriend has the 75g setup, heehee Two reefers living under the same roof is a dangerous combination. ;]). Also, are Rusty Angels reef safe, hardy, okay for keeping w/ above mentioned fish?  <now that's a hardy choice :) Seriously... a fine angel. Reasonably hardy and easy to feed... tends to be long-lived in captivity. As far as reef safe... eh... as reef safe as dwarf angels get (nibbler)> If so, should I keep a pair or single? Okay, that's it I swear!!  <oh... you are headed for a smack <G>. You do recall that you have a 58 gallon aquarium, don't you :) > Oh, can you sex bicolors?  <is this a trick question... Ok, I'll bite: yes... the male is the one wearing the smoking jacket and the female wears a silk Kimono> The males are so pretty during mating time.  <OK> Thanks so much for everything, I think you guys are awesome and I hope to know as much as you do someday. Sweet dreams~ Morgan Moore <ha! Thank you for putting up with the wise guy in your luck if the draw. Best regards, my friend>

Blue Linckia Starfish >Hello! >>Greetings, Marina here. >Like others, we should have read more information before purchasing a blue Linckia starfish!   Now that we have, however, we are not sure if it is doing well or not.  We acclimated it very slowly adding about 1/2 cup of our tank water every 30 minutes to it in a bucket over about 4 or 5 hours before putting it in our 92 gallon aquarium.  It sat on the rock (attached picture) for about 10 minutes and then decided to travel.  It bumped our elegance coral crossing the sand and went behind some of the live rock (behind finger coral in photo) and has not come out since.  Is this something to be concerned about?   >>Not at all. >How long should we wait for it to move out from behind the live rock before we try to get it out (we don't want to stress it but don't want to find out too late if it is not doing well)?  We can see parts of a couple of its legs and it still appears healthy. >>I really wouldn't worry about it too much, folks.  Do NOT try to remove it, it's too easy to tear off its legs, leaving a good entry point for infection.  Even if a couple of weeks went by, I wouldn't worry too much, it may simply be finding much of what it prefers behind the scenes, so to speak.  You can *try* leaving it some tidbits in a more open area, but don't be surprised if someone else takes you up on the offer.  Try a mirror on a stick to look at undersides and areas not otherwise easily visible, I think it will turn up sooner or later.  Best of luck, and nice tank!  Marina      

Re: Blue Linckia Starfish >Thanks Marina! >>My pleasure. >Since we emailed you, it has stayed behind the rocks but is definitely moving around.  I think you are right that it is finding plenty to feast on back there!  I will try to use a mirror per your suggestion, that is a great idea!  This is my husband's second reef aquarium (he had one over ten years ago) and my first, and I have to say that it is one of the best most rewarding things I have ever done!  I am so obsessed :-)  so I really appreciated your "nice tank" comment. >>Good, because they don't come easily.  ;) >One other question I have, I have been hand feeding the open brain, doughnut, hammer and elegance corals with cut up fresh shrimp a couple times a week and they seem to be doing very well,  is this the right amount or should I be doing it more or less often.  I am most concerned about the elegance coral since we have heard that they can be very difficult to maintain. >>You may want to add phytoplankton to their diets, but they sure looked pretty good to me.  I would only suggest finding a good supplement specifically for corals (I like Selcon for fishes), and adding some variety to their diets as well (squid, octopus, and the like).  Glad all is well, Amy!  Marina

-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>

Mystery snail and starfish question Hello all! <Steve Allen>   I have a mystery snail in my reef.  What kind is it?  It's not in any of my invert books.  I removed it tonight, and moved it to a tank without any complicated rockwork, so I could find it again if I needed to. <Does it bury itself in the sand? Looks like some sort of Nassarius (or similar subsurface) snail to me. Generally harmless cleaner of sandbeds. Search WWM & other web sources for pix & info.>   Also, do you know if Linckias are known sponge eaters?  It seems that's all my orange Linckia likes to eat. <Well then yours is, right? The are generally opportunistic scavengers. No real surprise if it eats sponges.>  Everyone I know who has tried one has seen it die fairly quickly. <Yes, which is why I think they should not be sold. Lost a few myself before switching to Fromias> So far, after about a month, mine's still looking chipper.  Could it be the sponge diet? <Perhaps. A month is a good start. Kept your water clean & stable and maybe you will succeed where most fail. My fingers are crossed for you.> Thank you! Vicki Madison, WI <A great town. I travel there twice per year on business. Next trip in 3 weeks.>

Linckia In Trouble (5/11/04) Hello, <Hi. Steve Allen tonight.> I need some help with a starving starfish (I think). <OK> I bought an orange Linckia starfish about a week ago from an online website. It seemed to be fine until today. I think it is not getting enough food, but what I found out in reading about them was that they only eat algae. <Well, they eat pretty much any organic detritus, and generally do not require (and may not accept) supplemental feedings in a well-established tank. Placing a small bit of shrimp or other meaty marine food next to the star may result in it moving onto and consuming the offered tidbit.> Do I have to feed them anything else? <Worth a try.> It has seemed to shrink and only some of its legs are sticking to the glass and the little legs underneath have seemed to close up. A couple days ago he moved to the bottom of the tank and then back up to the top, so I thought everything was ok, but I feel he is in real trouble now. <These are concerning symptoms. Are you aware of the fact that probably more than 90% of all Linckia stars die within days or weeks of introduction. Most are already doomed on delivery due to shipping stress. How long did you acclimate it for. Stars require slow acclimation over a period of hours. Otherwise, they die (slowly over days) from damage due to osmotic stress. At this point, there is little you can do other than maintaining pristine and stable water conditions and waiting to see what happens. Trying to feed it is not a bad idea, but it may not be interested.> Other "critters" in the tank are: 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Flame Angel, 2 Percula Clowns, 1 yellow tail damsel, and 2 cleaner shrimp. 55 gallon tank been up and running for about 6 months. <Your Yellow Tang requires a minimum of 75 gallons eventually, preferably more.> Thanks for your help. Joey <Hope this helps.> 

Blue Linckia Hi fellas, I'm really bummed because I think my new Blue Linckia may be dying.  I brought him home on Thursday of last week and drip acclimated him before putting him into the tank.  Within a few hours he had crawled behind a live rock where he's been ever since.  He does move around and I see his arms moving so he's alive.  Since Saturday I can see protruding from that area two long skinny things that look like innards of some kind, but I can't see his mouth or his topside (covered by rocks) so I can't tell where they're coming from.  Any thoughts?  I really like this guy!! Ana M. Saavedra <Sorry to read of your star's apparent failing health. Unfortunately this genus is not generally an aquarium hardy species. Most die soon after export... due to poor collection, handling, the trauma of shipping principally. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm and the FAQs files beyond... or input the name in the search tool on WetWebMedia.com and you will see your experience is common. Bob Fenner>

Re: Blue Linckia <Anthony Calfo with the follow up.> Wow - I had read that they were supposed to be relatively easy to keep. <although they are understandably popular for their beauty and common availability/low price... I have never read a single reputable reference that cites them as hardy.> Do you think there is anything I can do at this point?   <it is likely to die... still, let me suggest that you keep it (or put it) in quarantine for healing or damage control (to prevent the fouling of you whole tank). Please be sure to always use a QT vessel for every new fish and invertebrate. Read through WWM archives on the importance of QT. Starting here (two QT articles on this list recently): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Latest%20Articles.htm > What do you think the long skinny things are?   <the matter is covered redundantly if you have the time to browse the FAQs (4 pages on seastars which much of it specifically on blue stars... links at top of this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm The gist of it though is that they ship very poorly and even when you get a good one, you need a minimum tank size of 100 gallons that is mature (over one year old) with copious algae to support their strict diet. Else they simply starve to death slowly> In fact, here's a quote from the page you sent me to!! "Among the favored species are the very attractive Sand Sifting Star, Archaster typicus, the Little Red Starfish and Orange Marble Starfish (Fromia elegans and Fromia monilis respectively), Blue Starfish (Linckia laevigata), and Purple "Linckia", Tamaria stria." <indeed... true, my friend. They are "Favored" in the trade... very popular. But that does not make them hardy. Just cheap, pretty and purchased too often by ill-advised/ill prepared aquarists. No slight to you. You did say you read somewhere that they are hardy. To avoid such events in the future, perhaps simply read a wider scope of information for a better consensus. I wish you luck as always. Kindly, Anthony>

Re: Blue Linckia 2/6/03 Well, interesting developments never cease with this hobby....  The innards "disappeared" (drawn back in? expelled and munched by crabs?) <all possible, indeed> Then the Linckia started to move and made his way to the back wall where he stayed for a day and now I found a piece of one of his legs on the substrate.   <that part sucks> A chocolate chip starfish had been hanging around nearby - <uh-oh> do they inflict damage on one another? <rather a one-way street. Chocolate chip stars like many (the rule is "thorny-backed" are omnivorous or predatory) are indeed meat eaters. Often put in coral tanks where they sometimes behave and other times forage for flesh. Its the very thing that makes them so hardy- they are indiscriminate feeders> I was under the impression that most sea stars are OK together. <quite the contrary... other than Linckia, Fromia, Tamaria, and a handful of other "reef stars", most Asteroids are at least omnivorous... some specifically prey on other echinoderms> He looks better, frankly, despite the missing leg bit.   <good to hear... that may be true. Do you now have some very mature/algae covered rock for it to graze? Feeding on natural benthic/deposit life forms will save this stars life> He looks more "turgid" if that makes any sense.  Could it be that my buddy is on the mend? <possibly, my friend. I do hope for the very best> Ana M. Saavedra <kindly, Anthony>

Re: Blue Linckia 2/6/03 Anthony, Thanks for the speedy response.  Yes, this tank is about 7 months old and there are a lot of goodies in the form of algae on the live rock and on the back glass.   <excellent to hear... Indeed helpful and reason to hope> Fingers crossed.  Should I toss the leg or can it regenerate a starfish?! Good question. If the leg has enough matter from the central disk, it can very well regenerate a whole new starfish. Leave it in peace for a day or two... perhaps more. If it does not rot promptly and you see even slight tube foot activity say 48 hours from now... that would be a very good sign> Ana M. Saavedra <best regards, Anthony>

Star Destroyer! Hi Wet Web Crew, My Juvenile (1-2") tank raised Map Angel (Pomacanthus maculosus) just tore apart my orange Linckia star, two legs are now missing. <Bummer) Now I have the star in plastic container inside the tank.  They are both in my 80 gal reef and have been together for about a month.  I have noticed the Angel picking at some other corals (leathers) but not doing much damage but now he needs to be moved. <It's just going to get worse, in most cases. Good idea to relocate him before more damage is incurred> I was wondering if I could put him in my 75 gal FOWLR, the current inhabitants are a 2' zebra moray 18" snowflake moray and a 2" fuzzy dwarf lion (Dendrochirus brachypterus).  They have been with smaller fish before and have been fine (1" blue tang).  Thank you for your reply and providing this great website. <I think that he will be okay for a while in that tank. However, this tank is getting to be on the crowded side. The fishes in that tank are messy, voracious eaters that can degrade the water quality in even the best-maintained aquariums in relatively short time. Plus, the size that the angelfish will ultimately attain dictates a much larger aquarium (150gal plus) if you want him to live a long, healthy life. Good luck! regards, Scott F>

Is the Blue Linckia ( Linckia laevigata) reef safe? Yes, reef "safe" in so much as they don't generally try to eat organisms people purposely keep in such systems (they're detritus, micro-invertebrate feeders... best kept on sandy to rubble bottom systems that have a rich population of infauna...)... but not such good reef organisms in their propensity to die... most often soon after collection/shipping/installation... and pollute system water... If you try this Blue Linckia, get a smaller individual, and keep your eye on it... daily. Bob Fenner

Blue Linckia starfish I am interested in adding a blue Linckia starfish to my 75 gallon reef tank. I do not no anything about them. Will they harm my corals, clams, or fish? Do they require special feeding? Are they difficult to keep? Will they sift my sand? Do they hide a lot? <<Thank you for asking ahead of purchasing your livestock... The Seastars of this genus will not harm corals, corals or fishes... the Blue, Linckia laevigata feeds on microbes and detritus... and some tablet foods... and hence, is best placed in a well-aged, not meticulously vacuumed system... with a fine(r) substrate.  Historically these are difficult organisms to keep... more than half are dead within a couple of months of collection... but a good deal of these "incidental" losses are due to poor handling (from the wild to the end user) and improper husbandry (mainly starvation in too-clean systems)... Wait till your system is a good six months old, growing a steady mix of algae (desirable and a tolerable amount of pest forms)... Oh, and they do hide a great deal, and require plenty of places to do so. Bob Fenner>>

Linckia questions >Bob  >>Not Bob today, Marina. >This is a really great website. I have fallen asleep many a night reading your awesome information... >>Heh, the dreaded QWERTY disease! Presents itself first with QWERTY embedded on your forehead. >I have two questions I was hoping you could help me with. >>Let's try. >1 - I have a 110 gallon reef tank with a small refugium on it. What is the best macroalgae to use to absorb as many nutrients as possible?  >>Many macros will do this fairly well, but for me, given its propensity to GROW, Caulerpa would be one. However, know that it is toxic, ESPECIALLY if it goes into a sexual reproduction mode (caused by pruning incorrectly - do a search on the site for more), or experiences a die-off. Chaetomorpha is one very popular macro with which you don't quite have the same issues. >Right now I have spaghetti algae in there and have the light on 24/7 and is starting to die so I think I am doing something wrong. Do you have any suggestions regarding algae and light timing? >>I know many people do use constant lighting, I never have (just too cheap to waste energy like that!). You don't say what lighting you have, but some macros do need more than others. Again, with Caulerpa, I did fine with it under a bank of mixed 4'-40W normal output fluoros. I think it would also do just fine under a cool white daylight bulb. >2 - I would like to purchase a purple Linckia star and was wondering if it would be safe with corals, electric scallops, clams, shrimps and snails.  >>To the best of my knowledge it is. >I've heard they are not compatible with clams if they get bigger. What is your opinion? >>First and foremost, that that "if" is a pretty big "IF"! Also, IF it does become a problem, it would really be quite easy to remove. I'm going to assume that you're well-versed in quarantine and acclimation procedures, but will remind you (and everyone reading) that with sea stars, ESPECIALLY delicate species like Linckia, poor acclimation can kill it quick! Even a very slight difference in salinity can cause trouble. >I wish I could be a fraction as knowledgeable as you someday. >>I just KNOW you mean Bob. Sometimes I wonder how (or if) he sleeps, what with all that up there. He probably has THE most wrinkled brain of anyone I have ever known. >Thanks so much for your assistance... Jim Hoffman >>You're welcome, Jim. Glad you're enjoying Bob's love child. Marina

- ID This - Sorry, I just learned that AOL made me zip 'em. <No worries...> Hello- <Oh, hello.> I am new to marine aquarium keeping and I have found a new creature on the live rock that I (or anyone else I know) am unable to identify.  A picture is attached.  It looks similar to a star fish having one extra long leg. <That's exactly what it is, perhaps a Linckia... seastars have an amazing regenerative capability... this star was probably reduced to just a portion of the disk and the one leg, and it's just been slowly growing back the missing parts. Neat acquisition.> It is about 1.5" in length.  The system has been running almost a month.  The live rock was added during the 2nd week.  Everything seems to be going well, in my humble opinion.  I would like to know what this creature is and if it will harm other organisms. <Probably nothing to worry about... some seastars make a habit of eating bi-valves, but others are less predatory. I'd keep it around.> I find your website very informative.  Thanks for all your help.  LH
<Cheers, J -- >

Echinoderm Quarantine (9/8/04) Greetings crew. <Steve Allen today.> Can't find what I need in the FAQ archive. I am planning to get a starfish for my minireef.  After extensively researching my choices, I am leaning towards a Fromia sp. of starfish (waiting for a pretty red or orange one to come in). <Best choice. Most Linckias die.> I am wondering if I should set up my QT differently than I do for my fish and corals? <Bare bottom is fine. Echinoderms are happiest at normal seawater salinity (SG around 1.024).> Is there anything special that I should do for keeping a starfish for 4-6 weeks? <4 is fine. You will need to feed it things like frozen Mysis.> I currently have a 10-gal with heater, 20w of PC, powerhead <Consider leaving this out. Definitely use a screen to keep the starfish room getting stuck in the intake.> and a whisper 30 filter. Plenty of PVC <not really needed for the star, but no harm.> and a fake Caulerpa plant as well. <Again, not needed.> Anything else I should have on hand just in case of problems? <Not that I can think of. The key factor is slooooow acclimation (use drip--read article on WWM). This will also be the case when moving to the display. Stars tolerate only very gradual changes in SG and pH especially. Temp and other factors are important as well.> Just wondering before I get my new reef family member. <Smart to learn first and buy after. Good luck.> Thanks again for all your help. AA pleasure.> -Ray Question or statement from the unknown about starfish? I have blue starfish and it has a big gash on one of its legs and on a different leg it seems to be rotting away at the very tip <and I have a pimple on my forehead that has appeared just days before a big meeting! Your problem however can be addressed in the wetwebmedia.com archives where tons of free information on this and many subjects abound. A general search can always begin here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ your specific organism is addressed on this page and the many links at the top: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm also, please be sure to always quarantine this notoriously delicate species and all other for 4 weeks before ever thinking about putting them directly into a display tank (fear of necrotic infection and disease wiping out other healthy animals. Anthony>

Re: unknown star fish Bob, A while back I asked you about a star fish I had come to me by way of a candy cane coral I purchased. You said you didn't have a clue what kind it was from my description because there are so many different starfish. Well as luck would have it I got a digital camera for Christmas, so here is a picture of the little bugger. So as the man on the game show would say...Bob Fenner...name that star fish   :) Thanks, Robert <Tah dah! It's a Linckia multifora. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm Bob Fenner>

Blue Linckia vs. The crabs Hi, <Hi Sean, Don here> I found and read your website after buying a Blue Linckia for my 55 gal tank. Too bad I didn't read up on this species first...live and learn <Continue this path>. It was looking and very active for the first few days, but has stopped moving for the past few days. I've tested my water, and all the stats are fine. From what I've read this lack of activity is not necessarily a problem. However my Sally Lightfoot & numerous hermit crabs seem to be feasting on one arm in particular. Is it doomed? <If you leave it in the tank, yes> The Linckia still has it's blue color, but looks deflated (turgid when purchased). Should I remove it for fear of contaminating my water? Or should I let nature take its course and let the crabs feast? <Oh, remove it and find it a new home, maybe it can be saved. Kinda sad to take a remarkable specimen like this to feed your crabs> Thanks for any advise. Sean Gilmore

Re: Saltwater smells bad, Linckia Seastar Wow thanks for the quick response.  To respond to a few of your questions... on over 3 weeks! so orange Linckia star <Are you target feeding this guy?> I have tried and he blows right by or over it...no interest.  he has been very active until today and he has disappeared into the rocks.  I can't find him at all...could he be the source of my smell? <Not likely but I would want to find him and get him out if he has expired> My dog faced puffer who was a gem in my reef tank (again I am lucky or maybe a case of ignorance is bliss, who knows!) just passed last month at 10.5 captive years. It smells musty and stinky like something rotting.  When I first got my live rock I cycled it in Rubbermaid containers in the garage with a heater and power heads...smells like cycling rock just not as pungent.  I'm not sure if any of the corals are dead, I don't think so, but I do see them spewing a clear slimy looking material that looks to have little white specs in it. <Don't like this...It may just be corals that are expelling waste and but it could be something worse. A while back I had a few mushrooms that let go of their rock...They were dying when I saw them spewing stringing stuff. Either way, if your corals are closing and opening with regularity, they aren't dead> It only comes from one section of the coral....first it was the mushrooms a couple of days ago then today I saw my cabbage doing it.  All the corals have their polyps out and feed and then retract normally after lights out. How can I tell if they are dead and do you have any idea what they are shooting out?   <Could be their symbiotic zooxanthellae. Or it could be simply waste materials. If you feed them regularly, it may be excretion. If you aren't target feeding it's probably not excretion> I once saw on discovery channel that corals reproduce once a year by shooting hundred of spores into the water could this be what mine are doing? <Never say never in this hobby but I'm afraid that it's not very likely> I have two cap 1200 power heads in the tank facing each other to create a random current.  The current is very strong throughout the tank and the surface turbulence is high. <Good!> I am attaching the pictures again they are in jpeg format, I'm not sure what I did wrong but hopefully you will get them this time. I am also adding one more of a bristle worm I found crawling about in broad daylight today that doesn't look like a friendly.  Can you confirm if it is or not please? <Yep...bristle worm. Bristle worms are okay unless it's really big...like big enough that it could eat something that you don't want it to eat> I really appreciate your time, thanks again! <You're welcome! In regards to the smell...Look around on the floor and be sure nothing has jumped out of your tank. This happens to everyone from time to time. Also, I'm not that worried about the sponges, but give the mud the old "sniff test" and see what it smells like. Check your livestock carefully to be sure that nothing has died underneath the rocks or in a dark corner. And finally, keep doing those water tests...especially ammonia. If your smell is coming from something in the tank that's dead, you will (sooner or later) get an ammonia spike. Be watching for it. If it happens, do a water change and take out whatever is necessary to find the dead critter. If the water smells like something has died, then something has most likely died. You've just got to find what it is and where it's hiding. Hope this helps. David Dowless> Terre

Lost Linckia complications Anthony, Thanks for the response, can I ask one last question?  <please do my friend> Once again I had a giant Linckia disappear, I have a feeling this is trashing my tank, I lost a black urchin, I have a Turbinaria who's polyps were always out, not they are completely retracted yet they occasionally come out, once more I have a giant feather duster who's feathers are now thin, not extended. I am wondering if my best bet would be to break the tank down, and replace 1/2 water with new, It is going to take forever to get nitrates down by 5 gallon changes.  <yes... I would agree... the tiny water changes are just not enough. A properly conducted large water change (adjust pH, temp, SG, aeration, etc carefully to match main display) can bring serious relief fast and is the lesser of two evils so to speak> I also have a Singapore angel who I thought was harmless, until I caught it taking chunks out of my meat coral, if its eating this, it may be picking on others, so I need to remove this fish anyway.  <yes... definitely. Dwarf angels are notoriously dangerous... few work long term in reef aquaria> One other point, I have a purple tang, the angel, and 3 smaller damsel sized fish, I am wondering if I would not benefit by eliminating one of the smaller fish as well, this would help lower trates. What do you think? (The tank is a 55) Thanks again, Tom <removing the small fish will not help much, unfortunately. The single best thing for nitrate control after water changes and deep sand beds is aggressive protein skimming. Make your skimmer work better or consider a second unit to compliment the first (and clean them alternately for uninterrupted skimmate production). Best regards, Anthony>

Blue Linckia Starfish and Beer Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob conducts research in Australia to determine if the cans of Foster's Beer are really as large as they look in the commercials> Hi, my name is Lily, I got your email address of the internet because I was searching for information on the blue Linckia starfish for a school project. I only need to know how the Linckia reproduce. If you could give me that information, that would be great, <hmmm... egg-laying not livebearing, but I'm not certain if they brood them internally, lay on substrate or broadcast> if you know anything about the green brittle starfish, or if it really exists, could you give me that information to. <yes... exists! Hardy in aquariums but is uncharacteristically aggressive for a starfish. Will catch and kill small fishes and other invertebrates when they sleep. A Bushwhacker! Ophiararachna incrassata> Thanks so much, Lily Siebert <quite welcome, my dear. With kind regards. Anthony Calfo>

Purple Linckia (actually a Tamaria stria) Have a 3" star that I got at local pet store 3-4 weeks ago. It has 6 legs, but from your description & pics on your sites, it is a purple. Has been spotless & active. Anyhow, 3 days ago I noticed a tiny mass of dingy white, translucent stuff on the top of its central disk. Star is so small that I'm not sure, but it seemed to have been attached to its madreporite or its "anus". The following day it had developed a few very small white spots on 2 of its legs close to the central disk, and yesterday I saw that there are real small areas of missing flesh (vacu...something?) around these spots. No rotting flesh...yet. It's still active as ever, but has pretty much lost use of its worst affected arm. After reading other e-mails to you, I don't have much hope. And it was so dang adorable! Thank you for you time...Tammy <indeed...bad signs. You might try abrading the soft tissue areas in a bucket of seawater (then disposing) with a soft toothbrush. A short dip with reef iodine at double dose might be therapeutic too. Focus on very good water quality (skimming, water changes, chemical filters) and lets hope for the best. Anthony>

Red Linckia Starfish? Hello is there such thing as a red Linckia? <Probably Echinaster luzonicus or a Fromia sp.> I just bought one but can't find any info <You didn't just buy something you didn't know how to care for, did you? Don't make me yell at you. :) > looks just like the blue Linckia but red. Any info? <Take a look here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm I usually just let my blue Linckia eat whatever he finds, but I occasionally feed him a piece of frozen Formula food.> Thanks in advance <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Blue starfish Bob, First, many thanks on your informative faq's. It has been a great help.  <Ah, just as planned!> Secondly, a question about my blue starfish (Linckia laevigata). I got it two days ago, after acclimating it into the tank, it was quite active the first day, moving around the sand and rocks, pretty much all over the place.. but the second day, it was on this rock all the time, not moving at all. Visibly it appears to be alright, not much different from day 1. is this normal? <Not a-normal... have seen this species in the wild and in captivity not seem to more for days, weeks, only to resume activity... as long as it has no apparent discolorations, vacuolations, I wouldn't worry, and I definitely wouldn't handle/move the specimen unnecessarily. Bob Fenner> The tank is a 55 gal, finished cycling live rock, with some snails and crabs in it, but no fish. I didn't clean the live rock too meticulously so there were some die-offs during cycling... that should provide ample food for the starfish and critters, no?  <Perhaps> thanks for your help! -Alex

Did I Just Doom My Linckias? Hiya Bob. I may have gone and done something stupid, albeit unintentionally. I acquired my first Linckias (2 blue and 3 maroon) yesterday, and after acclimation, picked them up from their bags and transferred them into the aquarium, thus exposing them to air. The acclimation procedures did not indicate that keeping them submersed at all times was necessary, I just happened to read on another website that it is; did I just doom them to certain death? (ps...I read your entire FAQ's and articles on Seastars but found nothing to address my concerns.) Sadly, Sherri J. <This is likely no problem... some benthic invertebrates do have trouble with trapped air (notably Sea Urchins/echinoids)... let me assure you, after collecting, shipping thousands of Linckia laevigata and lifting them into the air aplenty... this is not a major cause of loss or diminished vitality. Bob Fenner>

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