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Old 03-30-2010, 08:13 AM   #1
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Sickly red star

Hey guys,

Just new to the forums. At the moment I have a very off colour and a bit sickly red star.

I'm running a red sea reef max 34 gallon tank that is mature.

Tuesday 30th March 2010
Salinity: 1.021 Rectification: None
Temp: 28c Rectification: None
Ph Level: 8.4 Rectification: None
Alk: Normal Rectification: - None
Amomia: 0 Rectification: - None
Nitrite: 0 Rectification: None
Nitrate: Normal Rectification: None
Calcium: Slightly Low Rectification : Added calcium drops

Current stock:
Live rock
Live substrate
2 red small sea stars
1 large blue sea star
Elegance Coral Large
Magnifica Anenome
2 Turbo snails
1 Hermit crab
1 Sucker crab
1 Yellow long nose Butterfly
1 Lunar Wrasse
2 Clownfish (paired) (standard nemo variety)

The most recent addition to the tank was Magnifica Anenome, which I put smack bang in the middle of the live rock and let itself move to what it felt was the best position.

Since then my Elegance (pink) coral has been highly aggressive and expands itself quite a bit. Most of the fish seem to not be worried by the Elegance, but one of my red sea stars has been sickly since the introduction of the Magnifica. He's lost colour and would move for about 3-4 days.

It's only just now that he is back out and about foraging, but he is still brown and not red.

Does anyone know if certain corals and anenome's dislike each other and take a poison stance when in the same tank? None of the other fish or inverts seem affected. I have read so many articles about corals and anenome's competing for space but my tank is far from overstocked.

And thankfully I haven't had a single loss so far.

I tried to move my little sea star but he would not be moved from the live rock so decided to leave him there. He moved around a bit.

Could his friendly coral be stinging him? The big blue sea star regularly climbs over the Elegance.

Some help and suggestions would be nice. My little red sea stars I am fond of as they were the first in the tank.

Warm regards,

Michael
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Old 03-30-2010, 11:48 AM   #2
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How long has the tank been set up? I know you said that it's "mature"... but is that "10-years mature", or "2-months mature". And how long have the stars been in there?

Reason I ask is that it seems like its tough to keep enough food in a system for a starfish in less than a 55 gallon tank. And that's just for a single star... and you have three in a 34g? Hmm.

Also kind of curious what your actual nitrate values are. Your definition of "normal" and other's definition may be very different.

Another factor could be salinity, as yours is kinda low - normal recommendations for a reef is 1.026.

I really don't think your corals are bothering them, but I'd be more apt to think they're starving to death.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:59 PM   #3
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Thanks for your response Kurt,

The salinity is about right for the reef, a little higher than 30.6 ppt as the temp in the Tank hovers high. I have had the water professionally tested on numerous occasions and all different places have said I have the right salinity.

(I don't trust that many test kits.. But my red sea ones seem to be spot on.)

I'm careful to watch it as we have coolers on in summer and heaters in winter that take water out of the air.

By mature I mean 2 months of Cycling, and adding only a few inverts over a few months then fish, so the tank is 10 months in the making in total.

The red stars are small, only 2 inches toe to toe. Plenty of food for them and I haven't had any problems so far till now.

As I said earlier I haven't had a single loss so far (touch wood), which I am thankful for. I've been very selective and definitely haven't overstocked, the largest is the blue seastar.

The nitrate levels are OK, right to keep the algae growing that the various species like and the food is two types of dry and 2 frozen and on the odd occasion some live hatched brine. Plenty of algae and debri's for everyone!

I keep the skimmer clean and pads for that rinsed out with RO water everyday.

No problems with O2 levels either.

Hope this helps you further in answering my question. No-one is starving,

I forgot to add that I keep the lighting on for 13 hours to encourage algae growth, very strong lighting.

Warm regards,

Michael
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:12 PM   #4
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Also most places say that you should not expose your starfish to air. When you added him to the tank was he exposed to air. I also agree with Kurt about how small the tank was.
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by melosu58 View Post
Also most places say that you should not expose your starfish to air. When you added him to the tank was he exposed to air. I also agree with Kurt about how small the tank was.
The starfish haven't been exposed to air, and have been with me for at least 5-6 months, when I mean't O2 levels, I was talking about the oxygen level in the tank water.

The two hermit crabs are to be removed soon to be put in the hospital tank, which died when we were flooded out recently in Melbourne (I keep a back up generator for the main tank and fridges, but not the hospital tank.)

Remember the two red stars are quite small. No problems until I introduced the anenome and only one of the red stars seemed to be stung by the elegant coral , including myself.

Thanks for your reply though, I don't think I am overstocked. Should I take some photo's?

warm regards,

Michael
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Old 03-30-2010, 04:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mx5boy View Post
Thanks for your response Kurt,

The salinity is about right for the reef, a little higher than 30.6 ppt as the temp in the Tank hovers high. I have had the water professionally tested on numerous occasions and all different places have said I have the right salinity.
Sorry to say, but no... it's not about right. 35ppt is the salinity for "natural salt water". But I'm not a professional water tester.

Quote:
By mature I mean 2 months of Cycling, and adding only a few inverts over a few months then fish, so the tank is 10 months in the making in total.

The red stars are small, only 2 inches toe to toe. Plenty of food for them and I haven't had any problems so far till now.
Just curious how you know there's plenty of food? You can't really see what they're eating. Maybe you've had no problems until now because perhaps they just now ate themselves out of house and home?

Quote:
The nitrate levels are OK, right to keep the algae growing that the various species like ...
Hmmm. Guess that means you're not going to help us out with an actual number, eh?

Quote:

Hope this helps you further in answering my question. No-one is starving,
Well then... I guess you answered your own question before you even asked it! To me, the obvious things have handily been discounted or ignored by you, so I guess it must be the corals. Yes... corals can wage chemical warfare on each other without ever touching. But it really shouldn't effect your stars.
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Old 03-30-2010, 04:33 PM   #7
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Good luck with that Elagance by the way. They just don't last long in captivity. Beautiful though.
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:08 AM   #8
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Kurt,

Thanks again for your response. It's all terribly confusing in regards to ppt levels, temps and what salinity to keep it at. I spent countless days reading a monumental amount information and basically took the advice of two of Melbourne's leading Marine Aquariums. Some say 30.6 is right with 1.020 - 1.021 @ 80F (for the Americans).

Others I have read suggest a higher ppt of 35. I was given a slide rule that was supposed to be useful given that specific gravity and salinity are also regulated by temperature.

Who do I believe and who is feeding me trash? One of the reasons I came to this site was for advice.

Whenever I have made a purchase (stock wise) I always take a water sample and current parameters of the tank including current livestock. So far they have been good and consistant, and I have not been sold animals that wouldn't fit into the current tank. They have been quite good in suggest who or what is reasonable to put in and the available space.

Your quote again:

Hmmm. Guess that means you're not going to help us out with an actual number, eh?

The number for my home nitrate test is 0 ppm NO3.

Your quote:

*****Just curious how you know there's plenty of food? You can't really see what they're eating. Maybe you've had no problems until now because perhaps they just now ate themselves out of house and home?*****

There is no need to be sarcastic there. I am a novice to Marine Aquariums, however just like all the other freshwater aquariums, the rabbits, the dog and cat and the two birds I do watch how much and what they eat.

If I wasn't vigilant in that respect I would not have noticed that one of my red stars was sickly.

Your quote:

Well then... I guess you answered your own question before you even asked it! To me, the obvious things have handily been discounted or ignored by you, so I guess it must be the corals. Yes... corals can wage chemical warfare on each other without ever touching. But it really shouldn't effect your stars.

Again, rather than being sarcastic, how about pointing out what exactly I have discounted or ignored? I am a novice (in Marine) and came for advice. Not to be told I am a blithering idiot which is what your above post suggests. I have done the research and found that most things on the web are rubbish / vary widely or *personal views*, hence why I have tended to take the views of my Aquarium specialists.

But it is always nice to get a second opinion and despite your sarcasm, I have looked deeper into a few things try and understand more.

BTW, the red star has moved away and is getting better. His colour is coming back and he's moving around again.

Warm regards,

Michael
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:26 AM   #9
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Just a few quick things Michael.
1) Welcome to AA.
2) I'm almost certain that Lunare Wrasses are not reef safe. Not because of corals but because they enjoy a invert snack. It is possible he has been bothering your star? Also they are recommended for tanks at least 75G as they grow to 6"-8". So when he gets big your gonna need to find him new home. (Good excuse to upgrade the tank)
3) Melb/Syd? Which one lol. Nice to have another Aussie.
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:36 AM   #10
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Good luck with that Elagance by the way. They just don't last long in captivity. Beautiful though.
Yeah I have read a huge amount of information about them and the problems they face. They are relatively cheap here in Australia at 30$ AUD, probably because of the problems many have had with them even though mine is local. Mine has survived for a while now but I keep an eye on it. I feed it every few days with small amounts of frozen food and all the other animals in the tanks don't seem bothered by it.

Warm regards,

Michael
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