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FAQs about Linckia Sea Star Selection

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

Blue Linckia starfish... no reading, clue   3/13/10
I bought a Detritus cleaner pack that included a blue Linckia starfish.
<... not a good choice>
Everything else in the pack was easy care level. But the care level it needs, says expert and I consider myself a novice tank keeper. Is there anything you can suggest.
<Yes. Return it... the chances of it living are near zip>
I've checked my PH, alkalinity, ammonia and calcium. Every thing is fine.
But I still have fish dying on me off and on.
<... Did you search our site before writing? Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Dusty tank in Sing., freebie Linckia HH  01/13/09 Hi Mr. BobF, I recently sent u an email from Singapore, regarding my "dusty" water. Well, I was doing routine maintenance, changing my carbon, adding some microbacteria to boost my biological filtration, and the next day, my water became crystal clear again!! <Ah yes... as I had told you> I have no idea what caused this, maybe it was just a coincidence! Im so happy now. Ok, now here is a problem. I purchased some new fully cured coralline encrusted live rock from a LFS. When I got home, I found a blue Linckia starfish under one of the rocks. <Wow!> Perhaps the shop keeper did not see it. I am unsure if I should keep it or return it. I called the fish shop and he said I could have it. I have read on your website and other places that Linckias are very hard to keep, more than 95% perish etc etc. What should I do now? <I would return this animal myself> It has been doing great so far, crawling all over the tank at night, and only at night. I never get to see it in the morning.. for some reason. How do you advice my problem? <Return it. Bob Fenner>

Blue Linckia and Water Changes -- 05/05/08 Hi WWM Crew, <<Hello Cameron>> I introduced a Blue Linckia to my 75 gal reef tank a few weeks ago. <<Mmm'¦>> My LFS owner assured me that this species is hardy if properly acclimatized, <<I disagree 'I don't think we know enough yet of this creatures needs>> although I note from your site that Blue Linckias are best left in the ocean. <<Yes'¦'any' Linckia species really. Better to choose a starfish from the genus 'Fromia' for captive reef care>> I allowed it a couple of hours to acclimatize and it seems to be doing okay and from time-to-time it moves around the tank. However, usually (say, 80% to 90% of the time) it is attached to the glass at the top of the tank, near the water's edge and possibly collecting protein off the surface. <<Mmm, do'┬Žbut is probably either looking for food (Your tank is not large enough to contain enough live rock from which this animal needs to graze to survive), or trying to escape an environment too toxic for its liking>> Whenever I'm ready to change the water, the blue star is inevitably at the top of the tank <<Not a good sign>> - i.e., above the water change level. I've been reluctant to detach it from the glass because the little critter grips on very firmly. <<Indeed, but allowing the water to fall below the starfish creates the possibility of introducing air to its vascular system. Lethal'¦>> Finally I decided to be more forceful and worked it off the glass and lowered it to the bottom of the tank. However, small white spots remained on the glass where the star's suckers were and I am concerned that this procedure of removing it might cause physical damage. <<Most certainly'¦ And adding to its stress/shortening its life even more>> I would appreciate your thoughts on this. <<As with most all these creatures in captive care, I think it is only a matter of time (weeks to months) before this animal succumbs altogether. Perhaps you can return it for a store credit'¦>> Thanks in advance for your help. Regards, Cameron <<Happy to share. EricR>>
Re: Blue Linckia and Water Changes -- 05/06/08
Hi Eric, <<Hey Cameron>> Thanks for getting back to me so quickly - much appreciated! <<My pleasure>> Sounds like the situation for the blue linckia is grim. <<Its 'chances' are indeed slim>> I can add more live rock and I will upgrade to a new filter system. <<Likely only delaying the inevitable my friend>> The tank is stocked with a blue tang, yellow tang, lipstick tang <<Yikes! Only the Yellow Tang is really suitable to your 75g tank 'the other two Tangs need larger quarters>> , red Hawkfish, Dottyback, yellow goby and 2x maroon clowns. They are all well established in the tank with the newest member (the tiny yellow goby) having been introduced about 12 months ago. My tank is an Aqua One complete unit. One of my concerns is that it is quite tall (70cm or 28inches), which I understand affects the oxygen level and I added an internal power head to try to improve this by increasing circulation. <<Mmm, yes 'the taller tank (as opposed to longer or wider) means a decreased surface area which effects gas exchange 'but adding/increasing water flow as you have done will help with this>> The tank has a built-in spay bar filter (98cm or 39inches long) in the hood and an external canister filter (Aqua One CF1200). I'd like to replace the canister filter and would be interested in your thoughts. I tend to balk at customized systems and want to keep it simple and compact. Do you think an Eheim Wet/Dry 2227 filter is suitable for my system? <<Not really 'not for a reef system. These filters are very efficient at processing Nitrogenous waste, but can't metabolize it down to Nitrogen gas the way live rock/sand can. As such, they can easily overwhelm the processing capacity of the rock resulting in greatly elevated Nitrate levels 'not as much of a concern in a FO or FOWLR system (where a wet/dry is best utilized), but can be problematic to a reef system. I think your canister filter is of better use, but not for filtering particulates. Use the canister filter for chemical filtration (carbon and/or Poly-Filter)'¦rinsing the media weekly and exchanging it monthly. Also, reducing your fish load (by two Tangs worth [grin]) would be of benefit>> Thanks again for your help! <<Hope I have!>> Regards, Cameron <<Cheers, EricR>>
R2: Blue Linckia and Water Changes -- 05/07/08
Thanks Eric, there is nowhere else that we can get this sort of advice and you've probably just saved me quite a bit of money! <<You're quite welcome, Cameron. Eric Russell>>

Tamaria stria vs. Purple Linckia  12/20/06 I've been searching for more information on the purple Linckia starfish that have come in at the LFS.  So far, it seems there is a lot of confusion between the actual purple Linckia and the Tamaria stria. <Similar in appearance.> I was wondering how to tell them apart?  One site mentioned that the Tamaria stria has orange feet and possibly eats soft corals and that the purple Linckia has clear feet.  <Tough to tell the difference, not much study on these animals.>  Also, what is the tank size and age requirements for the purple Linckia?  <Not really appropriate for captivity.>  Most sites tend to say 75+ gal and 6 mon. + for the Tamaria stria.  <Minimum, however what they eat is still debated/mostly unstudied.>  Right now I have a 29 gal., up for 6 weeks, crushed coral sub, some live rock, and 1 damsel, with wet/dry, trickle under it with live rock, live sand, and some algae (mixed of Chaetomorpha & some Caulerpas).  I plan on replacing the damsel with a frogfish (Antennarius pictus or Antennarius maculatus) and NO other fish.  Would the starfish be ok with him?  <Not really, neither of these stars have a good survival rate in captivity.>  If not, I am also going to be setting up a 65 gal. that he can go into.  Much appreciated!  Nicole <Best to leave these stars in the ocean, too much unknown about them and they have a dismal survival rate.  For more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars2.htm  > <Chris>

Linckia Problem/Aquarium Suitability - 07/28/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I have a blue Linckia that has been happy in my tank for several months.  I have a 20 gal tank, with 20 pounds of Live Rock. <<My friend...suitability of this animal for aquarium use aside, this tank/volume of live rock is much too small for the continued good health of this animal>> The only other inhabitants are two Ocellaris Clowns.  The Starfish has always been extremely active and even now is climbing one of the intake pipes in the tank. <<Mmm, indeed...furtively searching for food...starving...>> What I am concerned about however is what looks like a white cut or graze on one of the legs.  He is still quite active but I am wondering what this is likely to be, and whether or not it is treatable. <<Likely the result/culmination of nutritional deficiency...adding/changing out old for new live rock may help but these stars rarely recover in aquarium settings.  Even so, you would only be delaying the inevitable.  This genus of starfish has a dismal survival record.  Those that survive the collection/shipping process still acclimate poorly...those that survive acclimation are usually doomed to slow starvation.  This starfish rarely, if ever, accepts offered foodstuffs (clam, shrimp, whatever), and thus requires large amounts of live rock in order to meet its nutritional requirements...which may also beg the question "is this animal truly reef-safe" as it will surely scour the emergent life from your rock.>> My nitrates are 0.0, but my SG is slightly high. <<Tells me nothing...what is "slightly high"?>> Any suggestions would be appreciated. <<Unfortunately there's probably little you can do for the star at this point.  But for future reference, I would like to suggest one of the smaller and hardier, easier to feed Fromia species would be better suited to your tank>> Regards, Simon Ashby <<Cheers, Eric Russell>>

Tamaria stria Questions (11/21/04) Hi, <Hi. Steve Allen tonight.> We have a purple Linckia (Tamaria stria) that we really, really enjoy! <Good for you. They can be difficult to establish and maintain. Of course, the common reference to them as Linckias is incorrect because they are not of the genus Linckia.> We're moving him, several fish and corals to a new 200 gallon tank. The new tank will have a 5" deep sandbed. <Great.> We are thinking about purchasing a red serpent star.  However, we want to make sure it will be compatible with the other starfish, corals and reef fish.  I've read that some brittle stars sometimes eat small fish and possibly soft corals. <The green ones, Ophiarachna incrassata, eat fishes. As to whether any Brittlestars eat corals, there is little evidence that they eat healthy ones. Should be no worries with others, though no guarantees.> Don't want to take any chances, but if the Red Serpent is safe it might benefit the sandbed (and be interesting). <Consider also Nassarius snails, great sandbed cleaners that burrow and cruise under the surface like sand submarines.> We are also curious if orange or blue Linckias or another purple Tamaria would work (we know we have to limit the number so they won't starve - so we were trying to decide on only one more to add). <The mortality rate of genus Linckia between collection and tank is at least 95%. The vast majority of the ones at the store are already dying of being mishandled between collection and the store. They must be acclimated over a few hours by drip mechanism if you are to have any success. You should pick one that has no blemishes or any evidence of ill health. Personally, I (and others of the crew) recommend genus Fromia as much more hardy.> Also, how many Nassarius (and what other snails) would you recommend for a DSB in a 200? <I should have read all the way to the end before answering. I'd say there's not a set amount. Get 10 or 12 and see what they, in combination with the Brittlestars, accomplish. You an add more later if needed.> Thanks in advance! Doug <Hope this helps.>

Linckia Seastar use? >James, howzit? Am writing from reading your piece in the Nov. FAMA (do hope >they are paying you). You plug genus Linckia seastars... "which require, >little, special attention." Do you have any tips on selecting, keeping >these alive? Through my history (to present) they've mostly all died... >irrespective... Bob F Hey Bob, <Hello James, Konichiwa!> I pulled up the article - and I have to agree, that caption was not the best choice of words for that star. Should have used a chocolate chip, <Protoreastor nodosus are FAR more hardy> or at least stated that's the case for smaller ones, as I did in the text. Still, I'm a little surprised that you say they've mostly all died, as they've been fine for me for the most part. Well, I'd say they've done about as well as most other star/serpent/brittle if they made the trip ok. I had a good supplier when I was in retail and some did come in as bags of white mush - but those that made it through the first few days seemed to fare well enough, although there were always a few losses here and there even later. <Man, take a look at the WWM FAQs re the genus: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/linckiafaqs.htm Mostly bad news, reports> I put several in customer's tanks when I was doing maint.. Bought them at a LFS after letting them sit for a week or so usually. Looking for physical activity, moving tube feet, and a lack of white goo was sufficient as far as picking them after the waiting period. Usually kept them in FOWLRs, but not always, with a Choco chip and/or a serpent, and they seemed to do fine. These were always pretty small though, maybe 3 to 5 inches tops. Like I said in the text, the bigger ones would likely need more attention (food). I used to give shrimp and/or shrimp pellets to various stars, brittles, and serpents and sometimes even put them on top of food, but that's about it. <I see...> I've always thought most all of the problems I've ever heard about them were directly related to shipping problems and/or improper acclimation. You didn't say why/when they've died. I know I've read at some point that some stars don't like to eat what you might provide at times, but I don't recall having any specific problems with them... Have I been lucky or is my brain off track? <Hee hee! Maybe both> What do you think the natural life expectancy of one might be? Curious... <In captivity... less than a week in my estimation. Do agree with the origin of difficulties... principally collection, holding and shipping "stress", damage> On the other topic - pay. I remember you (and I assume other writers) had trouble getting paid a couple of years ago, but I thought that had been cleared up... The emails you sent me about the problems were one reason I haven't written anything for them in such a long time. But, now I'm sitting over here with too much free time, so I figured I'd give it a try. <Okay> Susan told me up front that it would probably be 3 or 4 months after publication before I'd get a check, and my first article for them in years came out in July - so they're about due. We'll see what happens I guess. Please tell me you ended up getting all your money and that I haven't made a blunder... <I did eventually get mostly paid up... after about two years... other folks have not been so fortunate. Will cc you a pertinent note/email from Ted Coletti re.> Aside from all that, I have found that I will have at least two weeks with no classes in March - so I can take a good trip or two. Okinawa is a must, as I can get a roundtrip flight and 4 nights in a hotel for $500. Is there anywhere else that you would specifically suggest for diving that won't break the bank? I was thinking maybe Palau, but I don't know much about much over here. There are a lot of dirt cheap deals to go to Saipan or Guam, but I have no idea what I might see there. I've seen some packages to Fiji too, but they're quite a lot more expensive. <There are a bunch of island groups to the south and east of Japan... some have air service, holiday packages... I would get out to as many as you can> Getting about ready for my Xmas trip home too. Take it easy, jf <Hope to see, dive with you someday soon. Bob F>

Re: FAMA realities Well.....XXXX.  I'll keep my fingers crossed and let you know what happens.  They still have 3 articles from me that they haven't used yet, so I guess I'll ask for those back if I don't get what I should, when I should, for the first two. <Yeah... when they returned my work there were about fifty articles, hundreds of slides... all just thrown in a box...> Thanks for the info.  On the stars too.  I seem to get the impression that maybe you think they aren't very hardy ;) <Ha!>   I looked at the FAQs at wetweb and I'll keep your comments in mind if I write anything else about them in the future. Later amigo, j <And a further note. In the COA (Conchologists of America, yes, I'm a shell collector...) there's a note re the genus (and a gastropod, Thyca, which parasitizes Linckia laevigata... stating their lack of hardiness unless placed in a large established system with lots of diatoms and microfauna to eat. Bob F>

Blue Linckia starfish: Help Mr. Bob I need help figuring out why I can't keep blue Linckias.  <Actually... L. laevigata is not easily kept... most do die... mainly from infections, parasites that "take over" consequent to the traumas of collection, shipping, handling... the ones that do "make it" have had better histories in going from the wild to captivity and have been placed in well-established (many months...) large, reef systems...> I have tried 3 so far. One a year and have lost each one. All my chemistries are in check. Nitrates are kept at about .07. the rest is good. I have a reef tank and check for just about everything except oxygen and organics. I have a 105 gallon oceanic show tank. That is actually growing corals for me. I change the water so often I am almost sick of water changes (but it is worth it). Back to the story: I buy a blue Linckia and it usually last for a couple of days. then it kinda become real thin and nasty looking. Then the crabs take over. <The types, numbers of crabs you have may also be big trouble here> Are these not acceptable with a reef and fish system?  <They're on the "just barely" worth trying side IMO... Please read over the survey piece: http://wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm and consider a more appropriate species... like a Fromia...> I only have 4 fish in this set up: Purple tang, 2 clowns, and a flame hawk. Or does the unknown inhabitant of the tank getting it: Bristleworms ETC? Or are the Crabs actually killing it from the word go? <Maybe so, particularly the crustaceans> Thanks for any help you can give me. I would sure like to figure this one out because it is my little girls favorite fish. Kevin Johnson <Do try to interest her in the Purple "Linckia" other hardier species shown on our site. Bob Fenner>

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