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Old 03-14-2007, 12:20 PM   #1
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Sand sifting star mysteriously losing limbs

Hi all!

I'm new to the forum and recently purchased a sand sifting star. I have a 30gal tank with some LR, a percula clown, a tomato clown (they actually get along!), a royal gramma, cleaner shrimp and a peppermint shrimp. As well as a regular cleanup crew with snails and some blue legs.

I was kind of thrown into this hobby a couple of years ago when a roommate aquired a 20gal SW tank and had no idea what to do with it. In order to keep the percula clown that came with it alive I started reading and have managed to keep him with me for the past 2 and a half years. =) But I am far from expert at this stuff, constantly learning from mistakes.

So recently I purchased a small sand sifting star from a pretty reputably fish store. I dont have a hospital tank and placed the star right in (I know this is a big NO NO). After just a few days the star was doing it's thing and I noticed a small tip of one of it's legs appears to have been bitten or ripped off. I thought maybe I had overlooked it when I purchased the star but the next day a much larger section was missing! At this point I started watching the tank and noticed my peppermint shrimp taking small peices from the leg. I removed him thinking he was the culprit but the next day the whole leg was missing!! =( Do you think I could have a mantis shrimp in my tank? Or would this more likely be some sort of fungus that the star came with? My water chemistry appears to be perfect.. I know stars are pretty sensitive to water changes and have made sure to match the levels. Can someone help?? I feel so bad =(

Sorry about the long post!
-Taylor
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Old 03-14-2007, 12:38 PM   #2
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Hi Taylor, welcome to AA!

When you were transporting the star from the store to home, did you expose it to air at all? How did you acclimate it to your tank? How long did you do it for?

Sometimes, simply being exposed to air can be a big no no for starfish, and usually they don't recover. Shock from differing water parameters between what he was kept in in the store and what your tank water is, could be a contributing factor as well.

Some more info on your water readings would help.
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Old 03-14-2007, 01:20 PM   #3
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I think your saying you didnt acclimate the star at all? That would shock the star pretty bad IMO. I acclimated my sand stars for almost 3 hours.
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Old 03-14-2007, 01:53 PM   #4
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=( I tried acclimating the star a little by added little amounts of the tank water to the bag it was in.. and I sat the bag in the tank for temp. But yea that wasn't exactly a good job at acclimating it. Now I feel awful. Could that really cause the limbs to start eating away? just one leg was affected too. The reason why I asked about the mantis shrimp was because I've had fish disappear before.. its been awhile since one did.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 03-14-2007, 02:08 PM   #5
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WELCOME TO AA!!

I drip acclimate all of my inverts for at least 2 hours. This gives them time to adjust to my tank's parameters.
What kind of star? As Lindsay stated, some starfish can not be exposed to air, like Linckias.
At this point, your best bet is to keep your water in pristene condition.
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Old 03-14-2007, 02:12 PM   #6
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Its a sand sifting star.

http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/p...cfm?pCatId=572

Also how old is your tank? These stars need a fairly aged sand bed to feed on. Despite what LA says, they dont feed on detritus.
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Old 03-14-2007, 02:16 PM   #7
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Per liveaquaria.com:
"The Sand Sifting Sea Star is very intolerant of sudden changes in oxygen levels, salinity and pH of the water, and cannot tolerate copper-based medications. The drip acclimation method is highly recommended for all Sea Stars due to their intolerability to changes in water chemistry. It should never be exposed to air while handling."
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Old 03-14-2007, 05:46 PM   #8
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Not providing proper acclimation is probably the largest reason for Sea Stars and really all mobile invert deaths. Especially within the first 72 hours. Often the inverts seems fine for hours and sometimes even a couple of days but the shock of the ph/sg change catches up eventually and most die.

Quoting my post on Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank

Quarantine tank / Acclimation
The use of a QT tank while not mandatory is highly recommended as well.

Drip acclimation is only needed in a QT for invertebrates preferably for 2+ hours. With fish, you need to get them out of the transport bag as quickly as possible. Test the transport water for temp, salinity, pH and so on. Then manipulate the QT parameters to match. Once done, the acclimation timeframe can be greatly reduced. Temp, pH and salinity being the main concerns. Bring the QT sg/ph/temp up to the main tank over the 6+ weeks kept in QT and increase the sg/ph slowly and every 3+ days to avoid stress.

See Help setting up a QT tank & Equipment for drip acclimation.
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Old 03-14-2007, 06:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roka64
Per liveaquaria.com:
"The Sand Sifting Sea Star is very intolerant of sudden changes in oxygen levels, salinity and pH of the water, and cannot tolerate copper-based medications. The drip acclimation method is highly recommended for all Sea Stars due to their intolerability to changes in water chemistry. It should never be exposed to air while handling."
What Scott quotes here is a big part of what is happening. Keep a close eye on him.

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Old 03-14-2007, 06:56 PM   #10
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Thanks to Marc118, I must not have read what kind of star it was.
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