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FAQs about Sea Star Trauma  

FAQs on Starfish Disease: Seastar Disease 1, Seastar Disease 2, Seastar Disease 3, Star Disease 4, Star Disease 5, & Asterina Disease, CC Star Disease/Health, Fromia Disease, Linckia Disease, Sandsifting Star Disease,
FAQs on Starfish Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environment, Nutrition, Genetic (poor species selection for captive use), Pathogenic Disease (Infectious, Parasitic), Predator/Pest, Treatments

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.

Rest, acclimation... between "chains of custody" in collection, wholesale... and your isolation/quarantine to assure good health

Oh, and cover those ding dang intakes of pumps, overflows, powerheads...

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 Thorny Star Sickly?   2/7/12
My boyfriend and I (Okay, mostly I) have a serious concern about our red thorny star "Sonny"!
<Echinaster echinophorus?>
He's usually quite the mover. He's always making his way around the 20 gallon tank,
<... too small. Tiny volumes are inherently too unstable, hard to keep optimized water quality wise, don't provide enough food and means for removing metabolites, pollution for such animals>
 around the walls, live rock (around 15 pounds of it), and generally being active.  The last three or four days I've noticed that he's been unusually still and uncharacteristically boring.  He's wedged himself in between two of the live rocks and stays there for hours and hours (to the point where I had my boyfriend reach into the tank to make sure he wasn't actually stuck between the rock). 
<Don't do this!>

We picked him up, put him on the sand with a piece of shrimp underneath
him and he just sat there and slowly (slowwwwly) moved across the sand.
He's now, 24 hours later, wedged himself between the same two rocks, and isn't moving around like crazy anymore.  We did a 5 gallon water change tonight,
 and before doing that tested the water temp, and salinity and they both read completely normal (on the green line of the floating meter, the number I can't remember off hand).  I know stars are sensitive to changes in salinity, but he's been in the tank with no changes in fish (a clown, flame angel, and a six line wrasse), rock, or coral, for four months now and is just now acting like this.  It's very odd. His body doesn't seem to be decomposing. I don't see any open sores or tears, his "thorns" look normal, and his coloration is good, but I have noticed that his legs seem a bit chubbier and less slender than normal.  I think this is because he's not as stretched out when he's just sitting (or wedged) as he normally is when he's in active motion.  Is he sick?
<Can't tell... but this is a poor choice of species, setting. Read here:
and the linked files above>
 I know that's such a strange question for the complete lack of viable information I can really provide-
<Well put>
 but when you watch a tank for an hour a night for months at a time, you definitely notice when a critter is acting funny! I hope he's going to be okay! Any suggestions? We do not have an quarantine tank at this time.
<A bigger, better world... Bob Fenner>

Injured Starfish: Starfish Injury\health. 9/22/2009
Hi Crew..
<Hi Jennifer.>
Got an emergency..looked through the website but couldn't find anything on an injured starfish.
My orange Florida Seastar (can't think of technical name) was found today in the MaxiJet pump. He was curled up sucked up in the bottom at the intake portion of the pump. I turned it off and loosened him from it. He didn't move for quite a while. I put him in a small Rubbermaid container and let it float around the tank. After about 45 minutes I noticed he was moving but he has white stuffing or cobwebs all over him.
<Good that it is moving, the "white stuffing" is not a good sign at all..>
He is moving but it looks like one of his legs is bent backwards. First of all what can I do to facilitate recovery and what is the prognosis?
<Time and excellent water quality.>
Should I put him in the refugium (it has liverock)?
<Certainly could not hurt.>
The tank is about 3 years old, I've had him for 1 1/2 years.
<Have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastarfaq5.htm >
Thanks! Jennifer
<My pleasure, MikeV>
Re: Injured Starfish: Starfish Injury\health. 9/23/2009

Thanks Mike.
<Hi Jennifer.>
.I put him in the refugium last night and is doing a lot of moving around the tank.
<A very good sign.>
He ate a little last night. Is there anything I can put on him..antibiotics or anything to help him heal?
<As long as it is moving around, eating, and not showing any signs of getting worse, I would leave him be for now.>
Thanks again! Jennifer
<My pleasure, MikeV>
Re: Injured Starfish: Starfish Injury\health: Recovery\great news. 9/24/2009

<Hi Jennifer.>
He's looking great! He's eating and moving and even the white cottony stuff is gone.
<Excellent News!>
I think the crabs may have helped out on that front.
<Possibly. You should take some credit. Keeping a Seastar for over 1.5 years is no small accomplishment.>
Thanks for all of your help!
<My pleasure as always.>

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>

Injured Chocolate Chip Star (10/21/04) Hi! <Hello. Steve Allen tonight> I am still very new to saltwater systems but learning more every day, thanks to your great site.  I have had a Chocolate Chip Starfish since almost the beginning of the 75 gallon set-up but have since learned that he will not be reef safe :(  <This is true, but they are cool to have in a proper system.> In any event, I recently purchased a Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish and was told that they would be compatible.  Two days after putting them together I noticed that my CC Star looked shriveled and one leg was white and deteriorating...he was at the time attached to my powerhead and my husband surmised that he must've gotten his leg "stuck" somehow <Possible, this does happen and can result in injuries that easily become infected.>...24 hours later when I woke up the Lion was aggressively checking him out as the CC star was attached to the front wall of the tank.  All levels in the tank have been perfect, a protein skimmer is running, and all the other fish (copper banded butterfly, velvet damsel, who I realize is not a great choice now, and a Protoreastor lincki sea star, <Another beautiful star--also not reef safe.> also live rock about 50 lbs.) are doing o.k. but the other star is not as active as the choc chip ever was.  Is the lionfish the problem with the CC star and is that the reason that the other star is not as active too? <I doubt the lion is the problem. A Trigger yes, a Lion no. Did you quarantine the lion first? I'd be suspicious of some bacterial pathogen introduced with any water that got in there from his bag. Are your water parameters proper and stable? I would consider removing the star to a quarantine tank and treating with a broad-spectrum antibiotic.> Thanks a lot you guys are the best! Carol <Hope this helps.>

Fromia starfish falling apart... Hello I need some help with a Fromia 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

Injured Chocolate Chip Starfish Hello, I purchased a chocolate chip starfish two days ago. The starfish is about 2 inches across. Also in my 45 gallon non-reef tank is a Banded Coral Shrimp, of moderate size, and several dwarf hermits. The starfish was fine for the first day, then I noticed a small chunk had been taken out of one of his legs. I'm not sure if whether the hermits or the shrimp should be my prime suspect. I've since isolated the chocolate chip star with a divider, and noticed the small chunk has gotten larger and the wound looks worse. Why is this happening? Is it some type of infection, and should I worry about that affecting the other animals in the tank? How long, with proper water conditions, would it take for the star to grow that leg back? And finally, is there anything I can do??  <I'm suspecting shipping is what caused this wound as there are very touchy shippers.  There is not much you can do for him except keep him isolated and keep your water quality good.  Also make sure your salinity is ok since they are sensitive to low salinity.  Cody> Thanks. a.h.

Starfish Dying Hi. I've got excellent water quality parameters in my reef tank (my SPS corals are thriving) but as it comes to getting a starfish they day in several days after introducing into the tank. What could cause this problem? Thank you. Oleg <<Probably the initial quality of the animals you're getting... many are in very bad shape (doomed) due to the rigors of handling, shipping.... Another possibility is that something is eating them... any marks on their bodies? Another is that the species are not suitable for your type of environment... the trade sells a bunch of cool/coldwater animals... unfortunately... Do you know what species these Stars are? Bob Fenner>> Bob, I've tried blue, maroon Linckia and marble starfish. I don't know whether or not they are cold water species. What kind of starfish would you recommend best for a reef tank? Thank you. <The best, bar none in my opinion are the smaller specimens of the genus Fromia... they seem to ship well and come in without weird (fungal et al.) pathogens... Bob Fenner>

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