Some starfish questions

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Aquarium Advice Freak
May 29, 2003
I'd like to put a starfish in my tank. I've read the CMR, but I still have some questions.

1. What are the mostbeginner-tolerant reef-safe species? Fenner mentions Fromias, (tried one, it eventually died :( ) but they seem more sensitive to salinity changes than other species. I love the blue linckias, but they don't seem to survive long.

2. Now when picking out a specimen at the LFS. I see lots of starfish stuck to the front glass of the aquarium. Are they as firmly attached to the glass as a snail would be? The reason I am asking is that I saw someone gently remove a starfish at the LFS from the glass with no effort. It seemed like there was very little suction going on.

3. Sticking my nose to the glass, some but not all of the little feet were actually stuck to the glass. Is that a bad sign, or does it mean nothing in terms of health?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Blue linkias are supposed to fair pretty poorly in captivity. Orange linkias are supposed to be hardier. They are pretty sensitive to changes in ph,sg, etc. A little bump is about all it takes to get them to drop off of glass. For a good beginner, look at serpents and brittles.
Hey indy, thanks for the tip. Now I am tempted to try an orange linckia, the LFS had two the last time I was there. :)
I saw a small "normal" 5-legged orange star the other day at my LFS. Which star would it've been?
Hey Marks, does this look like the one you saw?
If so, I have had one of them in my system for over a year. Quite hearty and no maintainance. You can see our "Peach" in my gallery. Not a linckia, more of a "classic star".
leafyseadragon, this would be a good one for you, the problem is that they seem to be rare. I have only seen one around here in the past year and seems to nearly always be out of them.
Yep that was the one :p

Do they need target feeding?

Do they harm corals/fish/mobile inverts?

Do they add much bioload (compared to a similarly sized fish) and/or produce much waste?


No, target feeding, doesn't bother a thing, no work at all. She's an algae eater from what I can tell.
Mine is about 3" and stayed that way. No bioload problems at all.
I say, go for it. I've been looking for another for a long time now, seem to be quite rare. :D
Cool - they do seem to be the only "normal" star I've seen! Not really into the others, apart from the marble sea stars, which apparently are a different kettle of... :p

Thing is, I'm up to my limit for fish, perhaps slightly over it. In my 40US gal I have a ocellaris clown, banggai cardinal, and soon to be royal gramma and coral beauty.

I reckon the extra "fish" could take me over the edge...
Your OK, inverts don't really count in your bioload tally. I think is would fit nicely in your system. :wink:
Rekcon??!!.......didn't know this was a word in the "real" english language. :king: :D
Hehe, well it'd help if you spelt it right! :p

A starfish will produce more waste than a hermit crab or a shrimp though I'm guessing??

I don't have any "true" liverock (just baserock that's been seeded). Bagged live sand.
Apparently, I need a "larger, well-matured reef tank" to be able to sustain the echunaster. My tank is only 40G, and is 7months old. And, I dont have much rock (soon to change, along with soft corals being added) and none of it was bought as live (just basrock).

Apparently "They feed primarily from algae film and bacterial slime so a smaller tank would not be able sustain it long term. Generally speaking a larger (100+ gal) system loaded with LR would be a better option for this star and similar species."

(quoted from steve s :p)
Seriously, the star will add nothing substantial to your bioload.... I reckon. (better?) :)
You'll be fine with this little guy.
And, reefrunner: "The thing about these stars is feeding them, you gotta know what they eat. It looks like a linckia to me, and linckias eat bacteria and bacterial slime, they need a tank of no less than 100g full of mature LR. If you can provide this, one star should do fine after proper acclimation."
This is definitely not a Linckia. I am not even willing to try one of those in my system. I've seen both and if the one you saw is the same as what I have, it is not a Linckia.
From what I understand, they can take meaty food too. I have just never offered mine any. I put her in there when the tank was pretty new(not knowing better) and she has been fine.
Maybe I'm wrong( or just lucky), just sharing my experience with this star.
If you want, start another thread, link to my picture and get some other opinions. If you do that, I have another picture I could add to your thread. :wink:
Okay, back to my thread. Can anyone tell me how to distinguish between the Orange Sea Star (Echunaster) and the Orange Linckia? The starfish at the LFS were on the glass, so all I saw were the tube feet against the glass.

The LiveAquaria page on the Echunaster says that tablets can be placed under the starfish for supplementary food. Does anyone actually do this, and is it effective?
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