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Old 11-11-2008, 10:21 PM   #1
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Brittle Stars Dangerous?

I've had my aquarium up and running for around a month now, everyone seems to be happy.

I decided it's about time to clean out the filters again. My overflow box had a sponge/filter in it to avoid any large particles from ending up in my overflow box...

I took the filter out and tonnes of little arms are waving back at me. There must be at least 40 of them on that little sponge. Up until now I've never seen a brittle star in the aquarium.

So, I would like to save some of them from ending up in my wet/dry and possibly dying on the return trip in my sump... how can I remove them? Can I use my fingers (they dangerous at all?.. I see all those little spike things on their arms)... Most of them went deeper into the sponge/filter as soon as I took it out of the water.

They look like tiny versions of this star here: http://www.pieraquarium.org/resource...ttlestar3A.jpg

Thanks,
Justin
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:46 PM   #2
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It looks like you have an abundance of them crawling in your sponge filter. Well from the pic at least. They will not harm you. However do not harm them! DO NOT expose them to the air. This is bad for any Sea Star. Also having your tank for a month, Sea Stars do not like changes in water chemistry make sure not to use copper based meds. Also when transporting use a bowl with the same tanks water and you must capture will under water with net or "device". Put bowl underwater and place sea star into bowl/bucket: resume transport.
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:47 PM   #3
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Did they come from live rock or your live sand?
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Old 11-11-2008, 11:39 PM   #4
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Thanks... they came from my live rock, I didn't buy live sand. My rock came from an established aquarium.

I've been lucky in terms of water quality, my live rocks also came with a lawnmower blenny and a sand sifting star... both of which are thriving in the aquarium. (I do hand-feed the star when he surfaces, and I add an algae clip to some rocks for the blenny until the aquarium gets established.)

I made a mistake then, I exposed the serpents to air for about 20 seconds while I dunked the sponge in a bucket of water (from the aquarium) to clean out some solid wastes. I couldn't get any stars out though, they snuck deep in the sponge.

I won't be using any copper meds ever... I plan on maintaining inverts.

The picture isnt' from my aquaruim by the way, it's a pic I found on google ta looks similar to the stars I found. (except my stars are striped.)
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:55 PM   #5
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Do not quote me on this but Sea Stars are like earthworms and will grow back from nearly nothing.... Wink Wink to get most if not all out of your sponge you could try cutting it or tearing off small chunks...(ONLY IF YOU FIND OUT IF YOU CUT ONE IT WILL REGENERATE) but look into it!! It would be cool! But make sure you have a replacement sponge haha or no filter for you!!!!
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:44 PM   #6
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Brittle stars are not considered sea stars nor has brief air exposure proven to harm any starfish like salinity, temperature, and pH changes. Having a limb severed from any starfish or brittle star is extremely stressful and although the likelihood of a brittle star regrowing theirs due to their hardiness (part of their defensive system), most sea stars will not in the home aquarium nor can they regenerate without the central disc intact.
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Old 11-13-2008, 11:33 PM   #7
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I'm guessing these are very small stars about the size of a quarter?

I have them all over my system. They are just part of the life that appears in a SW tank. Nothing to worry about.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:56 AM   #8
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I was wrong... then. Ive heard not to let air get to them but its not proven that this stresses them out correct.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:53 AM   #9
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I've got lots of them, little guys, no bigger than a dime from tip to tip.

They're all over in my sump too. My blue trigger will eat them up in one slurp if they get into the water column, but he seems to leave them alone otherwise.
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostKnife View Post
I was wrong... then. Ive heard not to let air get to them but its not proven that this stresses them out correct.
I dont know about the proven part but I tend to err on the side of safety for these stars. Liveaquaria says " It should never be exposed to air while handling ". Saltwaterfish.com says "It should never be exposed to air while handling". And the list goes on and on. Not trying to dispute anyone but due to my experience and warnings that are on the web I`ll tend to err on their side. I have three stars and will not let them be exposed to air. JMO
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