Starfish aquarium

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Sep 21, 2004
Albany, NY
I would like to start a saltwater aquarium in the 20-30gal tank range just for starfish. What would be your recommendation? Seems everyone has their own opinion when it comes to these little guys. Thanks

No replies :(... If it helps... I have very little exp. when it comes to aquariums. I had once maintained a freshwater 20 gal aquarium 5 some odd years ago but would like to try my hand at it again. Being that starfish are low maintenance (or so I'm told) and I like the little buggers I'd like to start there. Any help would be appreciated
Actually what you suggest would depend largely on the species you choose. Overall, the more decorative and "visible" species would make it impossible for a small tank. For an even marginal chance at success with the more spefered and colorful species, you'd need a tank several 100 gallons well matured and loaded with LR.

If you stuck with more predaceous species that can be target fed, you'll have much better success. The main drawback there is most are quite drab and will spend most of their time hidden.

Maybe do an invert tank. Expand out and include some snails, hermit crabs, cleaner shrimp and maybe a small brittle star.
On exception to what Steve said is the orange star fish. Its stays small and I have rarely ever target fed it. You can see mine in my gallery.
The above listed would be a low maintainence tank. Still would need some live rock and sand though.
Would I be able to keep that kind of star comfortably in a 20-30 gal tank?

Also, why would I need a tank that is several hundred gallons for most stars?
I think you could because they stay small. Mine is the same 2" now that she was a year ago.
Many of these species need a lot of live rock to thrive and super water quality, plus they get big. Thus the need for a larger system.
scrupul0us said:
Would I be able to keep that kind of star comfortably in a 20-30 gal tank?
I wouldn't, their requirements are the same as Linkia and Fromia.

Also, why would I need a tank that is several hundred gallons for most stars?
A well matured large reef system would be the only way of providing enough of a sustainable food supply long term. Except for predaceous stars, most feed primarily on algae film and bacterial slime. Generally speaking an 100 gal reef system would about get by for even just one. They cannot be effectively target fed.

Marble sea star, Orange sea star, Double sea star, red and black sea star (Formia milleporella), Sand sifting sea star, all completely doable in a 30G tank. Can you keep 1 or two of those in a 20G? Sure. Couple issues with smaller with all 'micro/nano/pico' environments, water quality and stocking are an issue. Have to stay on top of the water quality if your going for the 20G tank..Its really considered by most standards, a nano environment in marine tank terms. I have a friend with a big ole trigger in a 20G with about 15G usable space. (He made his own filtration system in the tank) is the fish happy, he** ya. Is it pretty? Not always (triggers are pigs). Would I do it? he** NO. If you want to keep 3 or four of the ones I listed, you should consider a 30G min tank. Any smaller and you risk a crash practically over night. I don't know if this is your 1st tank, but ask anyone thats been doing this a while or is well read on the topic. Smaller tanks = more work. Same goes for a starfish only, fish only, invert only, etc tank. All the stars I listed above (except the sand sifter) is about 3 - 5". Very attainable IMHO in a 30G tank. You would need to consider compatability, feeding requirements, lighting, etc, but based on size alone, no reason I wouldn't fire up a 30 tank and drop 3 or 4 of those bad boys in it. (With some crabs and snails to boot of course)
I pretty much disagree with the entire post above. With the exception of predaceous stars as I mentioned earlier, they cannot be target fed effectively. If you attempt this you will be disappointed. Stars are also not a consideration to the bioload, only available space.

Well after a trip to both petco and petsmart I think im gunna go with a 55 gal tank, nice size and will fit perfectly on this hunking solid oak dresser/thing I have in one room.

Both salesmen we're in agreeance with what I've read and was aformentioned, the bigger the tank, the easier it is to keep environmentally stable (temp and chem wise).

As for setup, I've been told that with any starfish I'm going to need a good amount of live rock, I was also told something about live sand. Also told that starfish can be fed a diet of brineshrimp and in some cases bits of frozen shrmip :):shrugs:: this is just what I've read)

Also, starfish and other inverts can be the carriers and common caus for "ich" which sucks b/c I'd like todo some seahorse and possibly other fish. But if I'm going for starfish I can go with the other critters suggested a few posts back.

I don't know, maybe am I trying to go way to overboard for my first saltwater tank? Or will my drive to succeed pay off? One things' for sure, I'm in no rush and want to get a good read and understanding for the basics befire I start pulling out my creditcard.
scrupul0us said:
Also, starfish and other inverts can be the carriers and common caus for "ich" which sucks b/c I'd like todo some seahorse and possibly other fish. But if I'm going for starfish I can go with the other critters suggested a few posts back.
Inverts are not hosts for parasites. However it is a good idea to qt them first just to shake the bugs off, so to speak. But no parasitic treatment is necessary, please don't do.
Excellent decision on the larger tank. With the caution you seen to to have employed, I believe you will have much sucess.
Keep us posted!!
One more thing. If you area has dedicated stores for fish, I would consider using them instead of the national chain stores. These big chain stores have a tendancy for bad advise and bad livestock. In other words, shop around first.
Yes, the guy @ petsmart recommended a place bout 15 mins away from there that sold saltwater fish and so on.

And yes I'm definately shopping around. This project by no means will be cheap and on my budget will take so time to get going. Even after I get the tank (100$ for a 55gal glass) Then I gotta get me some sand (Suggestions? I really like that one green 'martian moon' sand I think saw on a pic here somewhere, kinda darkish blue green) then figure out a good rock/reef structure. I'm taking live rock, being alive, has to be kept submerged i.e. not needed until I intend to fill the tank with water. Then the pumps/filters/skimmers. oh my! I don't even know where to begin with all that.

Oh well I'm getting ahead of myself again. Yes, I'll definatly keep you guys updated as I'm sure I'll be need plenty of help. Gracias
just as an aside......seahorses are not for beginners. Their requirements are demanding.
other things to consider

Be sure you understand what you're getting into...

Have you considered these:
A stand. you can't put a 55g on a table.
A skimmer. backpak or remora are recommended here.
Live sand: Many recommend "tropical playsand" (argonite) as a "base" and then add some purchased live sand to "Seed" it

Go slow. Read a lot. The Conscientious Marine Aquarist is a good read.

As for a stand, this thing is solid oak and weights about 400lbs... but I might as well not cheap out and do it right.

Will those skimmers take care of all my filtration needs including protein skimming if needed? (I'm just asking caus seen bits and pieces about protein skimming and so on)

As for the aquarium floor, I wanted to use tahitian moon sand... would that qualify as live sand?

And yes, before I buy anything I'm going to read read read and write out what I want and most likely sketch my setup and make sure it's up to par with what I've read and others opinions.

Last thing I want is an 800+ (easily) investment to be wasted on carless rushing.

So even for the most basic SW setup:

Tanks - obvious 55gal
Stand - Duh
Base and sand layer (how deep? like 1/2"-3/4" base 1/2" sand?)
Filtration - backpack or remora per jaiden
Therm/Hydro/Saline meters - ?
Heater - ?
LR - Whats a good amount for a 55 gal tank
Lighting - ?
Occupants - Would like starfish / snails / hermits / shrimp / other fish

I'm sure I'm missing tons, but off the top of my head thats all I can think of.

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