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Old 07-21-2005, 02:45 AM   #1
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Serpent Star lost 3 legs...HOW?

I'm scratching my head again. My perfectly-healthy Banded Serpent Starfish, a very nice 12" across with 5 legs last night suddenly showed up in the fuge, on it's back, with 3 legs down to about 1" long.

This is in the refugium, so there are no fish or crabs. Only occupants are 1 turbo snail, 1 choc chip star and a bunch of pods. There is a small crop of Caulerpa and some live rock. There is no powerhead or other mechanical device they could have gotten caught in. I don't have a clue what happened.

Did she maybe get tangled in the Caulerpa and have to leave them behind (although I can't find them in the tank)? I know the CChip Star will eat anything it can catch, but the Serpent can move really fast, so I don't think she was ambushed.

Can anyone come up with a theory of what happened? The only thing that has happened differently lately is that she comes out and roams around when the lights are ON. I target-feed her regularly, but lately she hasn't been eating the food after she takes it. TIA.

--Aquabear
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In order of setup:

FW1-16g, 5 Zebra danios, 4 Pristella Tetras, 4 Black Skirt Tetras, 2 Gold Barbs, 1 Brush-nose Pleco
FW2-5g, 1 Baby Gold Marble Angel (raised from fry), 6 Zebra Danios
SW1-75g, (80# LR), Scarlett hermits, Turbo snails, Percula Clownfish (Gizmo), Oscellaris Clownfish (Whizzer), Indian Yellowtail Angelfish (Mikado), Royal Gramma (Orpheus), Black Sailfin Blenny (Casper), Yellow Tang (Pele), Racoon Butterflyfish (Raptor), Lyretail Anthia (Juliette)
FW3-30g, 2 mated Gold Marble Angels (Oscar/Yenta)
SW2-20g, QT, currently empty
FW4-30g, currently empty
FW5-20g, 2 Gold Angels (non-paired)
SW3-35g (REFUGIUM for SW1) - EVIL ChocChipStar, Nassarius and Turbo snails
SW4-55g, 4 BlueGreen Chromis, King's Crown snail.
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Old 07-21-2005, 11:18 AM   #2
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I know who it was. I had the same thing happen. The choc. chip star ate them. I would bet my life on it. I have a spiny brittle star who was/is huge one leg is probably at least 8 ish maybe bigger and she lost 2 legs one night i couldn't figure it out then the next day i have some other just regular stars i don't know what kind but the are small well that one had 3 arms eaten off (he didn't make it) then i had two sand sifter stars and the next day i caught the choc. chip star on top of one and 4 of the legs were already gone. I now call my choc. chip star EVIL because he is. I put him in my refuge and he started to polish off my algae growing down there and i even try and feed him frozen squid but he is too stupid to eat it. so now he is QT to the refuge where nothing is but rubble and is given squid or shrimp to eat. My big brittle star is alive and well she now has little nubs ... I am surprised how long it takes to grow back there arms because this happened probably like feb. they are coming along they went from completely gone to about 2 inch or so.
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Old 07-22-2005, 12:25 AM   #3
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They have co-existed without incident for a while, but I have to admit, I tend to believe you. But since the Serpent can move so fast, why couldn't she have just gotten away instead of lying there and letting the CChip do it? I had someone at work call her CChip a "cannibal", so I guess that makes sense.

Tonight, I looked and the Serpent is now down to ONE leg and some nubs, so while the CChip is hanging around the top of the tank, waiting to be fed, I'm going to go grab her and move her back to the main before she can finish off the Serpent. I was concerned that the Raccoon Butterflyfish would pick at both the starfish, that's why I moved them over to the fuge to begin with. But if the CChip is that aggressive, she should be able to hold her own with a fish.

Is there anything I can do to help the Serpent recover quicker, or is it strictly a matter of time?

--Aquabear
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In order of setup:

FW1-16g, 5 Zebra danios, 4 Pristella Tetras, 4 Black Skirt Tetras, 2 Gold Barbs, 1 Brush-nose Pleco
FW2-5g, 1 Baby Gold Marble Angel (raised from fry), 6 Zebra Danios
SW1-75g, (80# LR), Scarlett hermits, Turbo snails, Percula Clownfish (Gizmo), Oscellaris Clownfish (Whizzer), Indian Yellowtail Angelfish (Mikado), Royal Gramma (Orpheus), Black Sailfin Blenny (Casper), Yellow Tang (Pele), Racoon Butterflyfish (Raptor), Lyretail Anthia (Juliette)
FW3-30g, 2 mated Gold Marble Angels (Oscar/Yenta)
SW2-20g, QT, currently empty
FW4-30g, currently empty
FW5-20g, 2 Gold Angels (non-paired)
SW3-35g (REFUGIUM for SW1) - EVIL ChocChipStar, Nassarius and Turbo snails
SW4-55g, 4 BlueGreen Chromis, King's Crown snail.
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Old 07-22-2005, 12:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Is there anything I can do to help the Serpent recover quicker, or is it strictly a matter of time
Target feeding it meaty foods like small pieces of shrimp, krill, silversides, etc. a few times a week may help. Serpent stars are pretty tough. Good luck.
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Old 07-22-2005, 03:59 AM   #5
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Thanks. Actually, I think it might be too late. I just looked in the refugium and the Serpent is laying on the sand pretty motionless. The pods are crawling on her, and there's this little "cloud" of tiny things buzzing around one of her stubs, much like a swarm of gnats buzzes around a dying animal.

I also found a small part of one of her legs. And I noticed a couple bristleworms (the red kind) coming out to scavenge. I thought the CChip had killed them all. Bristleworms couldn't have been a party to this, could they? I just don't understand how things could have gone so wrong so fast...2 days ago I had a beautiful starfish, now I have a decomposing quadraplegic.

I guess this is the downside of the hobby. :-(

--Aquabear
__________________
In order of setup:

FW1-16g, 5 Zebra danios, 4 Pristella Tetras, 4 Black Skirt Tetras, 2 Gold Barbs, 1 Brush-nose Pleco
FW2-5g, 1 Baby Gold Marble Angel (raised from fry), 6 Zebra Danios
SW1-75g, (80# LR), Scarlett hermits, Turbo snails, Percula Clownfish (Gizmo), Oscellaris Clownfish (Whizzer), Indian Yellowtail Angelfish (Mikado), Royal Gramma (Orpheus), Black Sailfin Blenny (Casper), Yellow Tang (Pele), Racoon Butterflyfish (Raptor), Lyretail Anthia (Juliette)
FW3-30g, 2 mated Gold Marble Angels (Oscar/Yenta)
SW2-20g, QT, currently empty
FW4-30g, currently empty
FW5-20g, 2 Gold Angels (non-paired)
SW3-35g (REFUGIUM for SW1) - EVIL ChocChipStar, Nassarius and Turbo snails
SW4-55g, 4 BlueGreen Chromis, King's Crown snail.
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Old 07-22-2005, 03:41 PM   #6
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sorry for your loss. you never know she might make it but it is going to take forever for her to recover. your thoughts about why the serpent star didn't move considering they are fast were my same thoughts but i know now that choc chip stars are evil and so do you so hopefully your other stars in the future won't be demolished. my choc chip star got sucked into my power head once when he was still in my main tank and the powerhead sucked some of his insides out and i thought he was a goner for sure but he survived and recovered in like a week so i doubt the butterfly fish can do that much harm. i have a banner butterfly and he didn't bother him when he was in my main tank.
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Old 07-25-2005, 02:18 AM   #7
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Mystery solved. Tonight, I switched on the light in the fuge and the Serpent was nowhere to be found. The CChip was huddled in the corner, not moving. About an hour later, I decided to move the CChip out of the corner and found what was left of the Serpent. I didn't move it the other night, because I wanted to do a water change first, to lower the nitrates. So my delay has cost me...the Serpent's center disk is already firmly lodged in the CChip's mouth.

I'm going to move the CChip the next time she's hanging around the top of the tank. I will eventually replace the Serpent star but only with another Serpent star. The CChip can fend for itself. It's too mean to leave in the fuge...refugiums are supposed to be safe from predation.

This was my first, and most beautiful, starfish. I raised her from 6" with only 4 legs and nursed her back to health, so this really stings.

--Aquabear
__________________

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In order of setup:

FW1-16g, 5 Zebra danios, 4 Pristella Tetras, 4 Black Skirt Tetras, 2 Gold Barbs, 1 Brush-nose Pleco
FW2-5g, 1 Baby Gold Marble Angel (raised from fry), 6 Zebra Danios
SW1-75g, (80# LR), Scarlett hermits, Turbo snails, Percula Clownfish (Gizmo), Oscellaris Clownfish (Whizzer), Indian Yellowtail Angelfish (Mikado), Royal Gramma (Orpheus), Black Sailfin Blenny (Casper), Yellow Tang (Pele), Racoon Butterflyfish (Raptor), Lyretail Anthia (Juliette)
FW3-30g, 2 mated Gold Marble Angels (Oscar/Yenta)
SW2-20g, QT, currently empty
FW4-30g, currently empty
FW5-20g, 2 Gold Angels (non-paired)
SW3-35g (REFUGIUM for SW1) - EVIL ChocChipStar, Nassarius and Turbo snails
SW4-55g, 4 BlueGreen Chromis, King's Crown snail.
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