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FAQs about Linckia Sea Star Compatibility

Related Articles: Linckia Stars, Asterina Stars, An Introduction to the Echinoderms:  The Sea Stars, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers and More... By James W. Fatherree, M.Sc.

Related FAQs: Seastar Compatibility, Linckia Stars 1, Linckia Stars 2, Linckia Identification, Linckia Behavior, Linckia Selection, Linckia Systems, Linckia Feeding, Linckia Disease, Linckia Reproduction, Sea Stars 1, Sea Stars 2, Sea Stars 3, Sea Stars 4, Sea Stars 5, Seastar Selection, Seastar Systems, Seastar Behavior, Seastar Feeding, Seastar Reproduction, Seastar Disease Asterina Stars, Chocolate Chip Stars, Crown of Thorns Stars, Fromia Stars, Sand-Sifting Stars,

Compatibilities! Arrr, Linckia and Sand Beds 5/6/10
Avast Ye Crew!
During my sailing I've noticed that nothing is moving the sand in my aquarium, and it is getting dirty! Since dirty sand is no good and I personally care to not have Green Sand, I was hoping a starfish might help me with my problems.
<Often not the best solution.>
Sounds almost good? Maybe? . . . hopefully?
<Unfortunately not.>
But not any starfish will do, as I have anemones, and prefer for the future crew member to not eat an expensive snack. Do you have any suggestions?
<A serpent star might work in the tank, but won't do much as far as helping with the sand.>
I've researched a few, and noticed the Orange Linckia and Blue Linckia are both Reef safe. That's good no?
<Poor survival rate in aquariums, and not really helpful for the sand bed.>
I'd love to have the Blue one, but it says 6-11 inches!!!! My tank is a 29
gallon, and my main worry is that it may be too small. Is this the case?
The website lists it as needing a 25 gallon tank at least.
<More like 100 with lots of live rock in my opinion.>
Also I have no corals, a nice sized hermit, (fits in a moon snail shell, medium sized) a 3-4 inch sand bed, Engineer Goby and alas! a lot of rocks.
I don't know the pounds, I (do you too, ever find it hard to capitalize your I's?) am eternally sorry :(
And if I cannot receive a Blue linckia (its actually spelled linckia on the sight but I've seen it spelled Linckia and Linckia, any diff?)
<Named after J.H. Linck, so Linckia would be the preferred spelling.>
Would I be able to house two Orange Linckias? They seem pretty cool.
<Look nice but will most likely starve within 6 months to a year in this sized tank.>
Any suggestions or help would be great! I'm open for any other cool starfish species you might pick from your brain :) I bet you guys have tons of cool nifty things in your arsenals.
<Serpent star are generally hardy, but are fish eaters at times and won't help much with the sand bed, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestars.htm .
Nassarius or Cerith snails may be more of what you are looking for.
/CerithF1.htm >
I also plan on getting a mandarin soon, any conflicts?
<Needs a much larger tank to find sufficient food.>
Thanks and Bye!

Blue Linckia eating plating and encrusting Montipora sp.   11/19/09
I've done lots of "Googling" to see if anyone else has had this experience and from what I can find nobody has.
I realize that the diet of a Linckia starfish is unknown, and that they typically die of starvation in captivity. As I evolve into a more aware and responsible reef keeper, I now know that this was a purchase that never should have been made.
I'm certain that my Linckia is eating two different types of Montipora. I have orange Monti. cap. and encrusting "superman" - blue with red polyps. Both of these corals are extremely healthy, grow rapidly, and have been fragged multiple times. In the past couple months, but never before, I have been catching my blue linckia on top of these corals. If I catch him soon enough, the corals are fine, but if he is allowed to remain on top of the coral all night, a significant part of the coral is completely bleached and all tissue is gone from that area. Could he actually be eating the coral? I thought these were "reef safe"
<Could be and are not>
Is he starving and resorting to whatever he can get? He is about 1 year old now.
<Mmmm, maybe>
Should I get rid of him? (give him to a friend that doesn't keep SPS)
<I would likely>
Since apparently very little is known about this species I thought you would be interested to learn this. Also I thought maybe you would have a different perspective on the situation.
Aaron Chandler
<Thank you for sharing your observations, speculations. Bob Fenner>

Linckia Starfish And Possible System Poisoning -- 02/15/08 Dear WetWebMedia crew (what should we do without you?), <<Hello Michael>> I have a question concerning my Blue Linckia starfish. <<Mmm, okay 'but be advised, this is a species better left in the ocean>> I have been reading a lot of FAQs concerning starfish, and I must say that I am a little worried. <<Indeed 'these starfish have a dismal survival rate>> I have an 80 G reef tank, with various fish and corals. I also have 2 seastars, a Blue Linckia and a Fromia. <<The latter is a much more aquarium hardy species>> But for what I have been reading my tank is too small for a Linckia, <<Yes 'but only one of many issues re the survivability of this starfish species>> and that if it dies it can wipe out my entire system? <<Can decompose and pollute a smallish system very quickly 'and not likely to be quickly consumed/appreciated by the scavengers available in your system. But I'm doubtful of an entire tank wipeout here 'though this is much dependent on existing filtration>> Should I remove it? <<Is up to you 'maybe you can return it for store credit>> I have had it for 10 months. <<Well, I must admit this is surprisingly long 'especially considering the size of your system>> Thank You, Michael Fick Denmark <<Happy to share. Eric Russell 'South Carolina>>

Re: Linckia Starfish And Possible System Poisoning -- 02/16/08 Hello Eric, <<Good morning, Michael>> Thank you for your reply. <<Quite welcome>> Eric, let me ask you more directly. Would you remove the Linckia, if it was your system? <<Hmm'¦ Well Michael, considering this animal has been in the system for ten months now 'with a good protein skimmer installed, I would leave it be unless it is showing or begins to show signs of decline (degeneration/loss of limbs)>> My system (my first) is a year old. <<I see 'and was (still is) much too new when you introduced 'this' starfish. Yet, it is still alive after ten months in your system so I'm guessing you got one of those 'very rare' individuals that make the adaptation to captive life'¦and'¦you are doing something/there is something about your system that is keeping this animal healthy>> The plan is to upgrade the system to 140-150 G. <<Sounds great... Am sure you are aware but, do be cautious during the move and reacclimation to prevent exposure of the starfish to the atmosphere>> But that is not before in a year's time. <<Ahh, the anticipation 'and good time for researching the livestock you think you might want 'before you buy [grin]>> Thanks, Michael Fick Denmark <<Happy to help. EricR>>

R2: Linckia Starfish And Possible System Poisoning -- 02/16/08> Hi Eric, <<Hello Michael>> Thanks again for your (quick) reply. <<Always welcome>> Yes, you're absolutely (unfortunately) right, I knew very little about this starfish when I bought it, which is why I was a little reluctant to write, because I knew that I could come in "trouble" for that. <<Ah, yes 'but only a minor scolding this time 'just make sure you learn from the incident and don't become a 'repeat offender' [grin]>> But you are absolutely right, I should never have bought it without doing research first, and then I should still not have bought it. <<Untold animal lives and hobbyist anguish could be spared with but this one simple rule 'and oh yeah, a comprehensive application of prophylactic freshwater dips for our piscine friends'¦>> And that is one of the reasons I really like you guys, I can trust you, you are not trying to make a buck off me. <<Indeed 'and 'thank you' for the vote of confidence>> I am very happy that I stumbled upon this site four months ago, purely by accident; you have saved me a lot of grief, a thousand thanks. I am very grateful. <<We too are pleased you have found us and to be of service>> Michael Fick Denmark <<Be chatting, my friend. Eric Russell>> P.S Do you know when the new edition of Bob's book is out? <<Hmm, I believe I saw where he stated it had gone to the publisher some weeks ago 'so maybe soon. Perhaps Bob will see this and elaborate. EricR>> <I know naught... should be any time now... RMF>

Starfish, Linckia comp. & hair algae, cont.  01/14/2008 <<Hello, Andrew here>> I have a 92 gallon corner tank with 50 lbs of live rock. I have had the tank set up for 5 years. I have a small red sea star. I have a lot of coral (mainly soft), a clam (about 7 ') and a sponge. I have a refugium system with skimmer, metal halides, etc. I have two questions: <<ok>> I am considering purchasing an orange linckia sea star. Everything I have read says that it is reef safe. What about sponges -- will it eat my sponge? Thoughts? <<Yes, they are reef safe, however there are many variants which are sold under the two colours, you need to get a specific ID on what it is your purchasing. These mainly feed on detritus, algae etc etc, can also be fed some small meaty chunks. Should be fine with the sponge, however, there is no guarantee. Read here for more information. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/linckiastars.htm >> I have a green hair algae problem. I added a sea hair about 3 weeks ago. I guess that he is SLOWLY taking care of some of it. I also added a couple reef safe hermit crabs that I read eat hair algae. Any other suggestions? <<Both will attack the green hair, however, I would suggest that you look to source of the hair problem, as well as dealing with the outcome. Look towards nutrient levels in the tank like phosphates and nitrates, old light bulbs etc etc. All these can contribute to plague algae>> Thanks, Todd <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>

Coral Eating Blue Linckia... Diet Is Not Well Understood 11/13/2007 Heya WWM. crew. <Hi James, Mich here!> I've had a Blue Linckia Starfish in my system for a little over a year now. <Mmm, These typically don't do well in captivity. Their natural diet is not well understood. They seldom live over 18 months in captivity, typically dying from starvation.> While everything has been great with him/her up until last week. When I was doing my daily inspection of the tank and residents, I noticed my starfish was at the base of my Kenya Tree coral. I thought nothing of it and went about my business. The following day I noticed that the Kenya Tree appeared "withered" and upon closer inspection it looked torn and "chewed". I decided to keep a close eye on the coral and within a week it seemed to heal itself and was happy dandy. <These are pretty hardy corals.> Yesterday while doing my inspection I noticed the Blue Linckia at the base of the coral again (this time on the other side of the Kenya). And upon waking today see that the coral is wither and chewed again. <Linckia sounds like it's trying to find food wherever it can.> Is this common with Blue Linckia Stars? <I have not heard of this.> Or do you think there is something underneath the coral he/she is trying to reach, and basically "chewing" the coral out of the way? <Perhaps... again the foods necessary for survival are not documented.> Thanks in advance, <Welcome!> James

Damage to Blue Linckia Star -- 07/18/07 I have a 90g FOWLR system that I set up in October 2006. I've gone extremely slow with it because we've been adopting a child from Russia, so I've only added fish over the last 5 months. So at this point the tank has only a Cardinal Banggai, a Percula Clown, and a Gold-Headed Sleeper Goby ... plus a Camel Shrimp, Peppermint Shrimp, Cleaner Shrimp, a Chocolate Chip Star, a Sally-Lightfoot Crab and a bunch of snails. I have a Bicolor Pseudochromis in quarantine, and when I bought the Bicolor I also brought home a Blue Linckia. I know the likelihood of survival is small, but I was up for the challenge. <The stars you list are not easily kept...> What I wasn't expecting based on everything I read was for the shrimp to feast on the Linckia. <If it is damaged, yes, easily> They didn't bother it for the first 2 days, but last night I noticed the Camel Shrimp was picking at it something fierce. So I moved the Camel Shrimp to the Q-tank. At that point I didn't see any noticeable damage, but it was obvious that if I didn't move the Camel Shrimp it was only a matter of time. Then tonight I came home from work and the Peppermint Shrimp was on it and picking at it - and they must've been doing it all day because the damage was obvious on 3 of the Starfish's arms where there are white "welts" about 1/4" in diameter. So I grabbed the Peppermint and moved him to the Q-tank too. I realize this Star is likely to die regardless of the damage, but if I am the rare exception and can keep this star alive, does that damage heal? I assume so. But how quickly? Chris <It may rally... though this is rare... generally takes weeks to grow over... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/linckiadisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Another "Good ol" Linckia question ... health, comp.  11/21/06 Hi Bob, Hope you don't mind being emailed directly, but I'm a bit desperate (and I do realize you must get a LOT of mail) <Mmm, some, some days> I have been reading your pages for years now, but have never actually asked a question before ( your FAQs are so comprehensive, I've always found what I'm looking for, thanks for the years of valuable passive assistance). However, I'm stuck this time and hope you can help. My Blue Linckia (WAIT!! ....please keep reading) <Heeeeee!> who I have had happy and healthy for about 2 and a half years now in a  FOWLR 90 litre tank lost a leg last week after I added a Valentini Puffer,  a Dragon Wrasse , and a turbo snail  (yeah, I know.. I  bought the Wrasse on a whim , with no research, just advice of LFS, stupid!), <A Novaculichthys will get too large for this volume... the Toby and it will easily pick the Linckia to bits...> a Domino also died with in  2 days, with a very minor abrasion on one side. The leg was quite mangled and half of it was in the bottom of the tank ( I suspect the puffer , but can't prove anything),  I removed him and cleaned the leg up to a tidier cut just at the disc with a scalpel hoping he would grow it back, then put him back in. Then I noticed the puffer having a go at the "Manky bit" and don't know if it's because it is a tempting wound now , or if she was responsible in the first place. <Too likely this latter> So I upended a small 5 litre tank inside the main tank and put him in there with some live rock, because I was afraid she would not let him regenerate. <Not at all probable to happen...> He wandered around inside the little tank for about a week looking pretty good , but this morning I found him curled up and flaccid on the bottom, and another leg seems to be exuding the same white fibrous material from a new small wound that  the original damaged leg had coming out of it, and the damaged limb is showing no sign of repairing itself, he looks in bad shape, staying rigid with few "feet" coming out or moving around, can't even feed him because he won't relax over the food , which disappears immediately to a fish . I was afraid he was starving in his small enclosure, so I have put him back in the main tank to "take his chances" with the puffer What should l I do, please help. can't bear to lose him? <... another tank...> My tank is something of a miracle anyway , since it has no skimmer , is only 90 litres with a basic trickle filter, but he has been so healthy for so many years , he obviously finds it ok, <Yes... much preferred to a too-sterile typical reef setting for this Asteroid> as does my clown . Pseudochromis bicolor and other anemones etc. <Other anemones?> The ammonia and nitrites are still nonexistent , PH is fine and so is salinity , only the temperature is varying by about 2 degrees daily at the moment as we are having a very hot spell ( any tips for cooling a tank?) <Posted on WWM> Thanks for the help in advance Cheers, Rama <This Linckia is very likely a goner... your "luck" with this sort of mixing is nearing an end. Bob Fenner>

Blue Linckia vs. The crabs Hi, <Hi Sean, Don here> I found and read your website after buying a Blue Linckia for my 55 gal tank. Too bad I didn't read up on this species first...live and learn <Continue this path>. It was looking and very active for the first few days, but has stopped moving for the past few days. I've tested my water, and all the stats are fine. From what I've read this lack of activity is not necessarily a problem. However my Sally Lightfoot & numerous hermit crabs seem to be feasting on one arm in particular. Is it doomed? <If you leave it in the tank, yes> The Linckia still has it's blue color, but looks deflated (turgid when purchased). Should I remove it for fear of contaminating my water? Or should I let nature take its course and let the crabs feast? <Oh, remove it and find it a new home, maybe it can be saved. Kinda sad to take a remarkable specimen like this to feed your crabs> Thanks for any advise. Sean Gilmore

Linckia questions >Bob  >>Not Bob today, Marina. >This is a really great website. I have fallen asleep many a night reading your awesome information... >>Heh, the dreaded QWERTY disease! Presents itself first with QWERTY embedded on your forehead. >I have two questions I was hoping you could help me with. >>Let's try. >1 - I have a 110 gallon reef tank with a small refugium on it. What is the best macroalgae to use to absorb as many nutrients as possible?  >>Many macros will do this fairly well, but for me, given its propensity to GROW, Caulerpa would be one. However, know that it is toxic, ESPECIALLY if it goes into a sexual reproduction mode (caused by pruning incorrectly - do a search on the site for more), or experiences a die-off. Chaetomorpha is one very popular macro with which you don't quite have the same issues. >Right now I have spaghetti algae in there and have the light on 24/7 and is starting to die so I think I am doing something wrong. Do you have any suggestions regarding algae and light timing? >>I know many people do use constant lighting, I never have (just too cheap to waste energy like that!). You don't say what lighting you have, but some macros do need more than others. Again, with Caulerpa, I did fine with it under a bank of mixed 4'-40W normal output fluoros. I think it would also do just fine under a cool white daylight bulb. >2 - I would like to purchase a purple Linckia star and was wondering if it would be safe with corals, electric scallops, clams, shrimps and snails.  >>To the best of my knowledge it is. >I've heard they are not compatible with clams if they get bigger. What is your opinion? >>First and foremost, that that "if" is a pretty big "IF"! Also, IF it does become a problem, it would really be quite easy to remove. I'm going to assume that you're well-versed in quarantine and acclimation procedures, but will remind you (and everyone reading) that with sea stars, ESPECIALLY delicate species like Linckia, poor acclimation can kill it quick! Even a very slight difference in salinity can cause trouble. >I wish I could be a fraction as knowledgeable as you someday. >>I just KNOW you mean Bob. Sometimes I wonder how (or if) he sleeps, what with all that up there. He probably has THE most wrinkled brain of anyone I have ever known. >Thanks so much for your assistance... Jim Hoffman >>You're welcome, Jim. Glad you're enjoying Bob's love child. Marina

Star Destroyer! Hi Wet Web Crew, My Juvenile (1-2") tank raised Map Angel (Pomacanthus maculosus) just tore apart my orange Linckia star, two legs are now missing. <Bummer) Now I have the star in plastic container inside the tank.  They are both in my 80 gal reef and have been together for about a month.  I have noticed the Angel picking at some other corals (leathers) but not doing much damage but now he needs to be moved. <It's just going to get worse, in most cases. Good idea to relocate him before more damage is incurred> I was wondering if I could put him in my 75 gal FOWLR, the current inhabitants are a 2' zebra moray 18" snowflake moray and a 2" fuzzy dwarf lion (Dendrochirus brachypterus).  They have been with smaller fish before and have been fine (1" blue tang).  Thank you for your reply and providing this great website. <I think that he will be okay for a while in that tank. However, this tank is getting to be on the crowded side. The fishes in that tank are messy, voracious eaters that can degrade the water quality in even the best-maintained aquariums in relatively short time. Plus, the size that the angelfish will ultimately attain dictates a much larger aquarium (150gal plus) if you want him to live a long, healthy life. Good luck! regards, Scott F>

Is the Blue Linckia ( Linckia laevigata) reef safe? Yes, reef "safe" in so much as they don't generally try to eat organisms people purposely keep in such systems (they're detritus, micro-invertebrate feeders... best kept on sandy to rubble bottom systems that have a rich population of infauna...)... but not such good reef organisms in their propensity to die... most often soon after collection/shipping/installation... and pollute system water... If you try this Blue Linckia, get a smaller individual, and keep your eye on it... daily. Bob Fenner

Blue Linckia starfish I am interested in adding a blue Linckia starfish to my 75 gallon reef tank. I do not no anything about them. Will they harm my corals, clams, or fish? Do they require special feeding? Are they difficult to keep? Will they sift my sand? Do they hide a lot? <<Thank you for asking ahead of purchasing your livestock... The Seastars of this genus will not harm corals, corals or fishes... the Blue, Linckia laevigata feeds on microbes and detritus... and some tablet foods... and hence, is best placed in a well-aged, not meticulously vacuumed system... with a fine(r) substrate.  Historically these are difficult organisms to keep... more than half are dead within a couple of months of collection... but a good deal of these "incidental" losses are due to poor handling (from the wild to the end user) and improper husbandry (mainly starvation in too-clean systems)... Wait till your system is a good six months old, growing a steady mix of algae (desirable and a tolerable amount of pest forms)... Oh, and they do hide a great deal, and require plenty of places to do so. Bob Fenner>>

Mystery snail and starfish question Hello all! <Steve Allen>   I have a mystery snail in my reef.  What kind is it?  It's not in any of my invert books.  I removed it tonight, and moved it to a tank without any complicated rockwork, so I could find it again if I needed to. <Does it bury itself in the sand? Looks like some sort of Nassarius (or similar subsurface) snail to me. Generally harmless cleaner of sandbeds. Search WWM & other web sources for pix & info.>   Also, do you know if Linckias are known sponge eaters?  It seems that's all my orange Linckia likes to eat. <Well then yours is, right? The are generally opportunistic scavengers. No real surprise if it eats sponges.>  Everyone I know who has tried one has seen it die fairly quickly. <Yes, which is why I think they should not be sold. Lost a few myself before switching to Fromias> So far, after about a month, mine's still looking chipper.  Could it be the sponge diet? <Perhaps. A month is a good start. Kept your water clean & stable and maybe you will succeed where most fail. My fingers are crossed for you.> Thank you! Vicki Madison, WI <A great town. I travel there twice per year on business. Next trip in 3 weeks.>

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