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FAQs about Sea Stars 4

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

Related FAQs: Sea Stars 1, Sea Stars 2, Sea Stars 3, Sea Stars 5, Brittle StarsSeastar ID 1, 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, Linckia Stars, Linckia Stars 2, Sand-Sifting Stars,

Pictures for you (seastar id) Bob, Is there any way that you could tell me what type of sea star this is (I have attached a photo of him)? The pet store told me that they think he was shipped from Sri Lanka, but the guy I talked to didn't seem very sure about it. I'd like to get more information, but it's hard not knowing what type of sea star he is. <Looks like an Echinaster species to me. Am concerned as well (that this may not be a tropical species). Do take a look on the Net with this genus name for a more positive identification. Bob Fenner> Thank you,
Christine Marling

Seastar id Thank you for your reply.  The shape and color in general seem to match the Echinaster Sepositus, but in the clear up-close pictures of this sea star that I have found on the net, there is a difference between mine and the pictures.  The Echinaster Sepositus has reddish purple structures coming out of it's pores, while mine does not.  In addition, the Echinaster Sepositus appears to be bumpy.  Mine is smooth for the most part and has small white/translucent bumps coming from the pores, which gives him the appearance of being fuzzy.  Am I giving the description of any other type of sea star that you know of?  Or do you still think that he is an Echinaster? <I do think this is a different species, but could not make out the surface characteristics you list with the image provided. I did not see a good match with this and Baensch, or my identified pix... do you have access to a copy of Fossa and Nilsen v. 4 of The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium? There are a few members of the family Ophidiasteridae pictured that this animal could be. This is the family that includes the Linckias, Nardoa species. Could you send a close-up or larger image that I might be able to see more detail? Bob Fenner>

Re: Seastar id No, I don't have access to Fossa & Nilsen v.4, but I took another picture of him although he is in a difficult spot to photograph.  I tried to get up closer to him, but my digital camera didn't want to focus on the sea star.  I have attached it along with the original picture I sent.  I hope this aids you in the identification. Thanks, Christine <Only the first pic came through... do take a look on Google (images) of Echinaster luzonicus... does this look like your animal? Bob Fenner>

Re: Seastar id That picture on google of the Echinaster luzonicus has reddish things poking out of it's skin, mine has white/translucent ones. It is almost like the tube feet continue onto the back of him (just shorter) and coming out of the pores of his skin. <Still... could be the same species. Some Seastars have quite a range of color, markings, morphology. Bob Fenner>

Re: Seastar id 3/21/03 Final questions and then I'll leave you alone.  What temperature should  a Echinaster luzonicus live in and what should I feed it?  If this is a cooler water species should I run him back to the store screaming and yelling? <there's a brief but succinct report on the breeding/husbandry of this star on Seascope in this archive: http://www.breeders-registry.gen.ca.us/Reprints/SeaScope/v13_fall/star.htm also, see page 216 of the Indo-Pacific Coral Reef Field Guide (Allen/Steene) for an image to compare to. Best regards, Anthony>

Sea star division and arm count 3/10/03 A very small sea star came into my aquarium six months ago on a piece of live rock.  I have no idea what species it is after looking around on wetwebmedia and the 'net, but it is approximately 0.5" across and golden brown in color.  About a month ago, while doing my morning check of the tank, I noticed that the 5-legged sea star now had 2 legs.  This morning I realized that there are now 2 sea stars in the tank, the second having 3 large legs.  My assumption is that the original sea star sustained some trauma (perhaps from a fish's over-curiosity) and divided into two stars.   <correct... fission is often induced by injury> Now both the 2-legged and 3-legged stars have 3 leg buds (for total leg counts of 5 on one and 6 on the other).  Am I mistaken in these being "clones," or is leg count not entirely driven by genetics?   <leg number is somewhat consistent among species but can be highly variable. Not genetically passed in that regard> I would have expected both stars to have the same number of legs if they are indeed generated from halves of one sea star.  I am aware that some species have different numbers of legs from individual to individual, but these potentially being the genetically same individual makes me wonder if leg number is entirely genetically determined or possibly a partial matter of chance. Thanks, Patrick <I would not be surprised if the nature of the fission or injury in this specific case has mitigated the odd leg number. No worries at any rate. best regards, Anthony>

Re: Chocolate Chip Starfish I recently had to move my tank. In doing so we removed some of the water.  Our chocolate Chip Starfish fell off the wall during the process.  Everything was fine at first. Then we notice the crab over by him and the starfish was turning white.  He has gotten himself back up on the wall but he is still white where his black spots were.  Can you tell me what's wrong with him and is there anything I can do for him?  Thank  <Hmm, he may have been stressed, but falling off a wall or any object is normal activity for starfish at times. Was the crab attacking him?  If he is back where he wants to be he should regain his normal coloration.  This could be the normal result of thinking he is under attack and being disrupted. These starfish are quite hardy.  They do need regular feeding of meaty foods like shrimp, (a small piece of regular prawn), etc. and they are very vigorous eaters. They are not reef safe but fine for fish only set-ups.  I hope he is getting better.  Craig>

Promise Your Fishes The Moon-But Not The Stars! Hi Scott: <Hello > I recently wrote you about my clown trigger and my lion fish. I have them in a 120 gal tank with 40 pounds of live rock for them to hide. I only intend to keep these two fish because I want them to be happy with all the space to them self. <Good intentions, for sure...As mentioned previously, however, there could be some problems between the two fishes in the long run...> But the trigger and the lion are very messy eaters, and I have to do water changes every week. <Yep! That's par for the course, as they say, when keeping these fishes> Doing some research, I found that the chocolate chip star, which is a scavenger, will help clean the bottom of the tank, but I want an expert second opinion like yours. <Hey! Flattered at the undeserved "expert" title- but I certainly can deliver a second opinion...I would be slightly hesitant to keep a starfish in a tank with a triggerfish...There certainly is that good possibility that the trigger will harass, injure, and possibly even kill the starfish with his activities... I would not risk it, myself... Just observe keen maintenance practices, careful observation, and good feeding habits- and you should be fine without one> I figure that the star won't be a space factor for the fish, but watt I am really worried is about the trigger picking on the star??? <My thoughts, exactly> Thank you for your personal advice. <And thanks for writing! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

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: Mystery Starfish A friend of mine has a 55g F/LR/SC tank that is a real pleasure to watch. His tank has a number of different mushroom anemones, Xeniids, zoanthids and things I've forgotten their names. No hard corals - not enough light. The place is just a little crowded along those line and I haven't mentioned the fish (though the Pseudochromis will eat out of his wife's hand.) Very recently we discovered that he has several "volunteer" starfish, origin and specie unknown. The largest of these has reached about 1 cm across. Attached is a jpg of the fellow slowly crawling across one of the pieces of live rock. As you can see, despite my poor photography, these asteroids have five arms and a rather significant margin. They are almost reminiscent of a "sand dollar", except that the arm spines are raised and pronounced. The obvious questions are, what is the species and should my friend be scavenging these out? Are they, as I suspect, a danger to their more sedentary tank mates? <Asterina sp. Not an uncommon LR "recruit". Please see here re:    http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastarf.htm and the related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>
Charlie H.

Starfish, etc. I upgraded from a 72 gal. to 180 gallon tank last September.  I have kept the 72 gal. tank running a quarantine tank for new arrivals, but it has been without fish and LR for a couple of months - just water, substrate and some PVC pipe remained.  When I turned the light on last night, I discovered that the tank was full of small white starfish (at least 50 of them), small red worms (like small red inchworms) and various other small creatures.<Might be worms.>  The longer the lights were on, the more the creatures tended to burrow into the substrate.  The starfish have thin arms and they vary in size (including arms) from 1/8" diameter to the size of a quarter.  Without photos do you have any guesses regarding the variety of starfish (and worms) and do you think it possible/worthwhile to try to grow them in to larger specimens?<Could be bristle worms... good to have as long as they don't get too big... IMO if they reach 1 3 or 4 inches they need to be removed.  I have seen bristle worms reach almost a foot in length when fully extended.  The starfish I would like to see a pic of before I can say/guess the type.> I was intending to break down the 72 gallon tank in favor of a smaller quarantine/hospital tank.  If I decide to let the starfish grow, what do you suggest I feed them - I have not put any food in the tank for several weeks.  Thanks for your help!<You could just let them be.... they've lived this long... you could try a little bit of fish food.  Best wishes! Phil> Dan

Dried starfish My son is doing a special science fair project about starfish. Where could we get some dried starfish for his models? <Might I ask what you want the dried starfish for? Are they for modeling, drawing, examination? I would take a look through the many resources on the Internet if so. Bob Fenner>

- Seastar Questions - Greetings one & all! <And hello to you, JasonC here...> I am constantly impressed with your expertise & charm!  We have a 29 gal that includes 2 Choco starfish.  The tank has been running since mid Nov.  This am one of our stars is on the side wall facing out so I can see the feet, etc.  There are some of those stringy thingies that I have read about and the mouth area is covered by this blob-like thing.  It's dark in color and looks like waste. I have no clue. <I'm not sure I do either based on the description.> I just gave it a gentle nudge and now he's moving.  The feet show activity as do the little feeler ones on the tips.  Help?! <I'm not sure you need it - the seastar is likely fine, and just noticed something about their structure. I'm not sure your observation has been a sign of something bad.> Thanks bunches, Heather (a newbie :D)    <Cheers, J -- >

Baby starfish god your going to get tired of me. <Naaaaah!!> I was looking at my tank AGAIN and found a baby starfish on the back wall. well ecstatic is not the word for it. what do i feed it how much light does it need how do i take care of it. HE'S so cute tks misty <Starfish eat just about anything...especially chocolate chips. Read at Wetwebmedia for all the details about starfish. David Dowless>

Starfish breeding, barnacles swimming How do star fish mate? and if a barnacle attaches to a whale would it be a benthos or a free swimmer? please reply <Please see here re the seastar reproduction: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm and barnacle larvae that settle on whales are planktonic (not capable of locomotion beyond the currents, and adults not ever benthos (stuck on the bottom). Bob Fenner>

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 star fish. 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>

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