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FAQs about Sea Stars 3

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

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

Chocolate Chip Starfish Hello, I am the new owner of a beautiful 4 inch (from tip of leg to tip of leg) pale red chocolate chip star. The lady at the LFS told me the star would be compatible with the hermit crab I currently house in my 29 gallon aquarium. <Compatible... maybe... but these stars are not often hardy> I acclimated the star to my tank by letting it sit in the water for 20 minutes before I started adding water. Then I added water on and off for another hour. <Good... often need even more time... drip technique... and careful matching of new/old water quality> The tank also houses 2 dime size domino damsels and a lone 2 inch percula clown that lost its mate, as well as rather large snail that has been with me for two years since the tank was established. <The Dominos are going to be trouble (aggression) as time goes forward... eventually only one will live there... killing the other... and most any other fish added> I noticed that the hermit was showing a little interest in the star. Not nipping while I was watching but staring at him none the less and trying to walk all over him. Is the star going to be safe with this hermit crab or am I going to have to bring the crab home and place him in my yellow-tail damsels tank? Which I don't want to do due to having a decorator spider crab in the tank with them. Thanks, Heather <Only time, experience will tell... understand that there are many species of Hermits... some much easier-going than others... You would do well to study ahead of purchasing livestock... not rely on the store OR our input alone... Please read here re others experiences with Choc. Chips: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chocchipfaqs.htm and elsewhere on WWM re your Dascyllus... Bob Fenner> 

- Neon Gobies & Seastars - Hello Crew, I have a few questions today... <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have a 55gal FOWLR with the following inhabitants:  a maroon clown, a green brittle star, a purple pseudo, an x-mas wrasse, a striped damsel, a pink and green cucumber, a pincushion urchin, a small red starfish, two peppermint shrimp and some turbo and Astrea snails.  On this tank, I run a CPR backpack skimmer 24x7 and have two power heads for circulation.  First, I am interested in neon gobies and am double-checking to make sure they will fit in with these tank mates. <I don't trust that green brittle star too much, you probably shouldn't either. They are known to prey on small fish.> Could I add 2 or 3? <Probably only one in a tank of this size unless you had a definite male/female pair. In spite of their size, neon gobies can be relentless on the low man in the pecking order, even in large tanks.> Can I put different neon gobies together? <You mean like yellow vs. blue? I don't think so... same problem would result.> I have possibly overlooked it, but I don't see anything on WWM about their feeding habits. <They will eat pretty much anything.> I currently feed my tank once daily and offer a wide variety of foods (frozen Mysid shrimp, finely chopped krill, Nutrafin flakes and granules, freeze-dried daphnia and plankton, dried seaweed and shrimp pellets, all soaked in Zoe.  Will this routine work for the neon gobies? <Perfectly.> Also, in what I've read, I gather that neon gobies do not really require quarantine periods.  Is this true? <No... all incoming fish should be quarantined.> Next, my red starfish doesn't seem to move around much and I never really see him feeding.  Is this normal behavior?  His physical health looks ok, he is just not very active and I worry that he may not be eating well. <Hmm... the description 'red starfish' doesn't really tell me enough. By any chance do you have the common name or even Latin? It would help determine whether or not it's care requirements are being met.> Any particular food items that this little guy would prefer? <Hard to say. What did you try?> I don't find much info on the web about the red starfish in particular. <Perhaps that's because that's not its proper name.> Finally, I am also thinking of adding a cleaner shrimp to this mix and want to make sure he'll be ok with the peppermints. <You could try, but you are coming very close to the edge of being overcrowded. Everyone in the tank has established territory which they will see as being under threat as you add more life to the tank. Do reconsider...> These are all of my questions for now.  As always, I sincerely appreciate the time and effort put in by all of you to educate and support the amateurs.  Thanks a million!! <You are quite welcome. Cheers, J -- >

- Re: Neon Goby & Red Seastar - Thank you so much for the prompt response. <My pleasure.> Maybe I'll forego the neon goby and opt only for a cleaner shrimp.  OR, maybe I'll move the brittle star to my 120 gallon tank where the smallest fish is a blue banded sleeper goby. Would removing the brittle star and adding one neon goby and a cleaner shrimp even things out enough? <Well... seastars by themselves do little to the bioload; there really so little to them. My comment about crowding has more to do with available space rather than bioload. A Seastar wouldn't impact this, but a cleaner shrimp would likely [and by accident] infringe on the territory of the peppermint shrimp and that could be the end of the cleaner shrimp. Not a certainty that this would happen, mind you, but something to consider.> Would the green brittle star be ok with the young snowflake eel that's in my 120 gallon tank? <I think so.> Also, I believe the proper name for what my LFS calls the "red starfish" is Fromia Milleporella. <Ahhh... that helps enormously.> Maybe I am being neglectful as far as his feeding is concerned because my experience with starfish is limited to the green brittle star, who actively comes out at feeding time and takes whatever he can get his hands on, and a chocolate chip starfish, who actually comes to the top of the tank at feeding time and turns himself over, letting me feed him shrimp pellets directly by hand. <I wouldn't expect the Fromia to do this on auto pilot. You might try offering it a pellet directly.> I do not see the red starfish making any moves toward food at feeding time or actively scavenging at all. <You may not have enough fauna growing on your live rock. These seastars tend towards bacterial detritus as their primary food source. That doesn't mean it won't eat a pellet, but it might need some convincing.> Does this info help you at all in assessing my concerns? <Yes, and having the Latin name will help you find more information about it on the Internet. Here's a good place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm > Again, thanks for the information and support. <Cheers, J -- >

Eastern Sea Star Where can we find information on Eastern Sea Stars? We found lots of interesting things about sea stars living in eastern areas, but there are several types of sea stars listed. I got the feeling from this assignment that there is one specific type of eastern sea star that we are supposed to write about. Thank you, DD_ <Are the Seastars of the genus Asterias what you are referring to? You can use the Google Search tool on WetWebMedia.com (the home page, bottom) to see what we have... or the search engines on your computer with the genus name... Bob Fenner>

Teeny Sea Stars I have a question about some teeny starfish I recently acquired-- they are about 4 millimeters across, most are missing limbs and I have been told they only get to the size of a dime and multiply like crazy. I have been trying to find out their species and nature...we have a brand new reef tank, 7 weeks old. Thanks for your help, Lizzi <I would agree with all of the above. Look up Asterina species here in our WetWebMedia.com archives and beyond. Any references you see about them eating coral are mostly bunk in my opinion. Very rare. They are only a nuisance for fast propagation. Great algae eaters and little harm else wise. Best regards, Anthony>

Snail and star identity Hello all, I am having no luck finding the identity of a snail the hitchhiked on my rock, as well a sea star.  I have looked at e-tailers and this site with no luck.  Can you give me some more suggestions that can help in the search? If not, I will email you a couple of pictures to see if that will help. Thanks, Kim <hmmm... depends on the local of the rock. Atlantic or Pacific? Seek Humann's references if Atlantic (Reef Creatures)... Pacific will be more challenging/ Perhaps a photo will be best for all. Do look up Asterina species for the sea star by the way. A common incidental. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Saltwater smells bad, Linckia Seastar Wow thanks for the quick response.  To respond to a few of your questions... on over 3 weeks! so orange Linckia star <Are you target feeding this guy?> I have tried and he blows right by or over it...no interest.  he has been very active until today and he has disappeared into the rocks.  I cant find him at all...could he be the source of my smell? <Not likely but I would want to find him and get him out if he has expired> My dog faced puffer who was a gem in my reef tank (again I am lucky or maybe a case of ignorance is bliss, who knows!) just passed last month at 10.5 captive years. It smells musty and stinky like something rotting.  When I first got my live rock I cycled it in Rubbermaid containers in the garage with a heater and power heads...smells like cycling rock just not as pungent.  I'm not sure if any of the corals are dead, I don't think so, but I do see them spewing a clear slimy looking material that looks to have little white specs in it. <Don't like this...It may just be corals that are expelling waste and but it could be something worse. A while back I had a few mushrooms that let go of their rock...They were dying when I saw them spewing stringing stuff. Either way, if your corals are closing and opening with regularity, they aren't dead> It only comes from one section of the coral....first it was the mushrooms a couple of days ago then today I saw my cabbage doing it.  All the corals have their polyps out and feed and then retract normally after lights out. How can I tell if they are dead and do you have any idea what they are shooting out?   <Could be their symbiotic zooxanthellae. Or it could be simply waste materials. If you feed them regularly, it may be excretion. If you aren't target feeding it's probably not excretion> I once saw on discovery channel that corals reproduce once a year by shooting hundred of spores into the water could this be what mine are doing? <Never say never in this hobby but I'm afraid that it's not very likely> I have two cap 1200 power heads in the tank facing each other to create a random current.  The current is very strong throughout the tank and the surface turbulence is high. <Good!> I am attaching the pictures again they are in jpeg format, I'm not sure what I did wrong but hopefully you will get them this time. I am also adding one more of a bristle worm I found crawling about in broad daylight today that doesn't look like a friendly.  Can you confirm if it is or not please? <Yep...bristle worm. Bristle worms are okay unless it's really big...like big enough that it could eat something that you don't want it to eat> I really appreciate your time, thanks again! <You're welcome! In regards to the smell...Look around on the floor and be sure nothing has jumped out of your tank. This happens to everyone from time to time. Also, I'm not that worried about the sponges, but give the mud the old "sniff test" and see what it smells like. Check your livestock carefully to be sure that nothing has died underneath the rocks or in a dark corner. And finally, keep doing those water tests...especially ammonia. If your smell is coming from something in the tank that's dead, you will (sooner or later) get an ammonia spike. Be watching for it. If it happens, do a water change and take out whatever is necessary to find the dead critter. If the water smells like something has died, then something has most likely died. You've just got to find what it is and where it's hiding. Hope this helps. David Dowless> Terre

Creature ID Just thought about that too... Ok here it is.. Little white bugger to the left. <despite the image quality (I know its tough to take a good shot). I can ID this sea star as an Asterina species. They have a mixed reputation. I personally like them just find. Find them to be harmless and mildly irritating at best. They are very good at eating brown algae. They also breed prolifically. This irritates some people and they call them a plague. In rare cases they will nibble coral. I have literally had thousands of these sea stars grown in my facility and home tanks, and I've had more coral than you could count in with them in ten years... only once did I find one star that seemed to nibble on a soft coral. No harm done.> Also I found today I have another hitchhiker.. well it looks like a big hairy spider from a distance, but up close it a crab of sorts.. I'm trying to snap a shot of him too, but he's camera shy! :-) <bait him with smelly frozen food at night. Hairy can be dangerous to corals... in fact: almost no crab is reef safe. I don't even recommend reef safe hermits for most reef aquaria. They are almost all omnivores> Thanks for the help (AGAIN) :-) <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Starfish Missing In Action? Hello all- Hope you folks had a good weekend. <Yes, thank you! Scott F. with you this morning> Could you tell me if I should be worried about a black banded star fish(5" dia) that I acclimated the recommended way by FFE and put in the tank(125gal fowler,135lbs LR) on Friday and have not seen him since Sunday? I could see him under a rock on Sunday but can not find him anymore. The rock he was under has been filled back up with a little sand. I can't imagine he became buried alive. Could he?  It is a very fine sand. <I'm sure that he is simply inside the rockwork or beneath the sand surface somewhere. Not an unusual behaviour for these animals> I know that they are nocturnal ,so I came out with my little flashlight at 4:30 this morning and still no luck. I have checked in all of the holes in the LR that I can find. I don't want to upset the whole tank on a hunt if not necessary. I do not have anyone that would eat the little guy. Just tangs and shrimp mostly. ammonia, nitrite are 0 nitrate is less than 5ppm. Thank you in advance. Dennis <Well, Dennis, I don't think that you should give up hope yet. Many types of starfish tend to exhibit secretive behaviours. They are masters of disguise, and you sometimes may not see them for weeks at a time. However, I'd keep a watch out for him, and monitor water chemistry carefully...If he did die somewhere, you may get the news simply by looking at your water chemistry, or the function of your protein skimmer (if it starts going crazy all of the sudden, there's a good chance that something died and is decomposing in the system). But don't lose any sleep about it just yet, okay? Good luck! Scott F.>

Little Dingy White/light brown starfish What are the little (1/4 inch) brown starfish that are so abundant in my 180 gal reef tank?   <likely you have an Asterina species. Do use this name to do a 'Net search for photos to confirm. They are prolific and actually useful for eating diatoms (algae). Some people culture these to feed the magnificent Harlequin shrimp which can live well and breed in captivity if provided a natural diet of sea star tube feet. As you have noticed, they can reach plague proportions. Some say they can eat coral... this is very rare. Aside form being prolific, they are quite useful. SPS keepers just like to use them as an excuse for why their corals are dying ;) These sea stars are merely scavenging the necrotic tissue of an already dying/infected coral. Best regards, Anthony>

Sand Sifting Star fish...dying? Hi, I have a 55 gal FOWLR and some inverts - cleaner shrimp, peppermint shrimp, snails and hermit crabs, and two sand sifting stars. One of them is acting odd. It is rolling over exposing its underside. It's legs aren't really twisted or curled much. Not much movement on it's suction thingies either. But if I flip him he'll move around a bit and flip again. I can't compare him to the other, because I can't locate him. I do a 20% change every week to 2 weeks. My nitrates hover around 20 to 25, but other than that my readings are all right on. My cleaner shrimp molted last night, so I think the water is okay. I did recently loose a urchin. My yellow tang picked the spines off and finally ate him. Some of those spines are still mixed in the substrate. Is it possible that the star 'stung' himself? Will those spines break down and raise my nitrates? Have any thoughts on getting them out? Tweezers? I also just recently added two large wads of Caulerpa, but the star (my son calls him Patrick - from Sponge Bob) was acting odd before that addition. Thanks for your input, Mike <I would advise you lower your nitrates to accommodate inverts. Check any sponges, filters, etc. and clean regularly (at least weekly). You don't mention the type of substrate, but if it is coarse and can trap a lot of waste, take care of that. Do test for ammonia and nitrite.... I would remove the spines, perhaps with a net?  Maybe think about adding live rock and sand to keep inverts with lower nitrates. Hope this helps! Craig>

Little red starfish help Greetings crew, I am having a bit of an issue with a little red starfish that we have. I have 4 green spotted puffers and a figure 8 puffer in a 75g - marine set up. I have converted everything from Brackish to Marine over about 10 months so I have been . They are normally well behaved but after 10 months of peaceful existence with the rest of the tank inhabitants I fear that they have decided to try to eat a little red starfish that we have. What does it look like when a starfish's health is failing? does it's outer shell degenerate in a specific area or could this be the work of nippy puffers? I understand that these species normally should not coexist but I think that I have to choose which species I would prefer to keep. I would prefer to have a more peaceful reef setup with some more delicate species like soft and stony corals I wouldn't mind giving my puffers to the LFS I got them from but my girlfriend is really attached to them. I do have a quarantine tank that I could put them in but I want to reserve that space for quarantine treatments. I don't really know what to do in this case - do you have any advice on an issue like this? What can I do to encourage the healing process of my starfish? <Hmmm. Some surprises here for both you and your girlfriend! Tetraodon biocellatus Tirant 1885, the Figure Eight Puffer. Asia: Indochina, Malaysia and Indonesia. ******Freshwater********; pH range: 6.5 - 7.5; dH range: 5.0 - 12.0. A fish-biter. To a little over two inches in length. Aggressive fish tanks only. This is true for your Green Puffers too, they are FRESH WATER and should be removed from your marine system. The QT will be too small so.... Please read about FW puffers at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpuffers.htm  Just one more suggestion...use Kalk in your top off daily according to daily usage (calcium test. Using it every two weeks is going to bite you one day and 1. doesn't provide enough calcium and 2. spikes your pH once every two weeks. Inconsistent and unstable...not good. Read more about dosing Kalk at WetWebMedia. Hope this helps you out! Craig

Unknown Starfish Hey Bob, <Steven Pro in this morning.> I purchased a candy cane coral Sunday evening and when I got ready to put it in the tank I noticed what I thought was some sort of a sea slug on the base of it. But in looking at it closer it turned out to be a star fish, one I have never seen before. This little guy is only about 3/16 across arm tip to arm tip, however it's one arm is about 1/2 long by it's self. The star fish is blue in color, but the long arm has a almost snake skin pattern to it. Any idea what the little guy is? Thanks, Robert <No, but he sounds really cool. Can you get a picture and send it to us for further help? Something in the 400 KB range would be nice. -Steven Pro>

Re: Blue star I pulled the streamers from the sea star last night and it looked like a brownish fleshy material that was the shape of the legs and the spider web of the bottom of the stomach ? If that makes any sense? No, it doesn't look good !!! I hate seeing animals die. It looked so healthy! Do you think it is doomed or should I give it a few days? Thanks again for your input, Debbie <as long as you see movement in its tube feet, have hope... but do at least move it to a quite sump or refugium if inline on this system. This animal really could have been better observed and possibly saved if it had gone through quarantine first. I cannot emphasize it enough my friend. No matter how good they look at the pet shop, the chance of morbidity or mortality can be high. Stores do no and cannot disinfect their hands, nets, etc with all of the tanks they go in and out of every day (with sick and healthy animals). Every new fish, coral, invertebrate, live rock, etc that you bring home must be placed in QT for 2 to 4 weeks. It saves lives (the new imports) and spares many others (full tanks that could be infected if you don't QT). Please take the time to browse those links mentioned in the last e-mail and the rest of the site and archives as well (QT protocol and beyond). Indeed, being an educated consumer/aquarist is your best defense. Beyond isolation, there is not much to be done for this sea star besides good water quality and feeding. Know too that such sea stars need tanks with a lot of live rock and microalgae that are mature (older than one year established) and large (over 100 gall) per sea star. Better starfish are the Ophiuroids (brittle and serpent stars).... they can be kept more densely and more easily and can even be hand fed! Best regards, Anthony>

Gymnothorax funebris Hello! <Hi April!> I was wondering if you thought a large (about 7") starfish would live with my 2 ft. Gymnothorax funebris? Presently, he shares his tank with several pieces of coral and two cleaner shrimp. Thank you in advance for the help. April  <Hmm, more than likely okay, but eels are individuals too! These guys eat fish so it's not really on the menu, but one never knows. probably not a problem. Make sure the star is friendly to your other inhabitants. Some, like Choc. Chip stars will make quick work of your soft corals, polyps, anemones, etc. Craig> 

Taken from the Sea (LR, sand stars, hermits...) Hi Mr. Steven Pro, Have you been in the Philippines? <No> I've just been on a rocky beach here in the Philippines in Batangas and I took some live rocks. <Insert standard disclaimer: we at WetWebMedia encourage all our readers to follow the local laws, blah, blah, blah...> I would like to know how long would it take to cure my live rocks taken from the sea before I can transfer it to my main tank? <No knowing, when ammonia and nitrite are both zero you are ok.> I took 5 pieces of live rock and it is covered with about 60% purple coralline algae and other life forms. It does not stink but it smells like a rock from the sea (hehe of course that's where it came from). If it does not stink do I still need to cure it? <Yes> Also in its very shallow waters there are numerous numbers of Sand sifting star, they are so many and beautiful and free! I really want to get some for my tank but I don't know if it can live on my bottom gravel since it is not fine sand so I didn't take any for now. Can it live on my bottom gravel even if it is not as fine as the sand what it was used too? <I have seen them kept in what I would describe as coarse sand, but not crushed coral gravel.> What does it eat? <Read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm following on through the FAQ files.> Will they eat my crocea clams? <No> How many would you recommend for a 75 gallon tank? <No more than one.> On the shore I took some hermit crabs, small ones about ? in. But I don't know if they are reef safe. <Me neither.> Since they are living on the near shore where there aren't any corals I concluded that they would not eat any corals or other invertebrates found in deeper waters. But I could not see these hermit crabs on your crabs site. Only two of them are there and are not reef safe. The rest have black legs with gold spots with red (maybe maroon) antennae and two blue little antennae. Are they reef safe too? <One of Anthony's favorite saying is, "Nothing that lives on a reef is reef-safe. They don't order take out. They all have to eat something. It is just a matter of whether we value what they eat."> With Astreas and other invertebrates (corals, anemone, fishes cleaner and banded coral shrimp)? <All crabs are opportunistic omnivores. They will eat anything they come across that they can eat easily. If food is plentiful, they may leave your snails alone. If you practice good husbandry and do not have nuisance algae and uneaten food everywhere, your crabs will become hungry and resort to other prey items.> Could you identify (from my previous description of its appearance)? <No> When I was looking for live rocks, I saw one which has a beautiful shape and covered with coralline I noticed that there is a small banded coral shrimp there. I wanted to take the rock and the shrimp, but I already have a banded coral shrimp which when I add another shrimp of the same species they may fight. <Agreed> So I just returned it the live rock which was its home back together with the shrimp and just let it be as it was and find another rock. I did not know that these shrimps also live in very shallow waters about only 3 feet deep. I really want to return there and get some additional rocks and some invertebrates. And they are free! <Again, look into the local laws protecting the wildlife before you find yourself in a Pilipino jail.> But lots of quarantine, curing and acclimation, but I don't mind. (I will limit on what I take on the wild since I don't really want to damage anything in it). <Agreed> Thanks, Ken Ryan <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Taken from the Sea (Hermits, the P.I.) So all hermit crabs may not be reef safe unless fed properly? <And even then no guarantees.> Sorry, I forgot to write here that the rocky beach is not really a restricted/conservation area. It is actually like a rock farm. Villagers also take care of these rocks and sell them to different LFS here in the Philippines. There is a small LFS there that sell fishes, corals, invertebrates, and live rock. If you don't want to have the trouble of collecting rocks you can buy it there. But if you want free just get your own for free and they don't mind. <I would double check the laws just to be safe. It would be unusual for any government not to have some sort of regulation in place.> LFS owner also told me that they also export marine life to different countries. You guys at WetWebMedia should come here sometime. <I am sure Bob has been there and some of us maybe in the future.> The Philippines has great reefs in its waters. Very beautiful. Thanks again, Ryan <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: My star fish Hi Bob, it's me again. I also have this Sand Sifting Star and never had a problem, it's only that I don't see her much!  <quite common with this nocturnal Seastar> I have her for about 4 month and no problems. Bye, Berta <Good looking, hardy and utilitarian, a Sand Sifting Star, Archaster typicus. As with dealing with all sizable burrowing animals, make sure your rocky habitat is securely placed on the bottom of the tank (not the substrate). best regards, Anthony>

Chocolate Chip Starfish Hello, <<Hi, Lorenzo Gonzalez standing in for the crew, off to MACNA in Dallas>> I have a 12 gallon reef tank and been wanting to buy a starfish for my tank. I was thinking about getting a Chocolate Chip Starfish (Protoreastor nodosus) but I cannot find any specs on the animal.<< see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm  >> I wanted to know if it is reef safe or not. <<Decidedly NOT>> Is there any other starfish you recommend for my reef tank? <<Members of the Fromia, Linckia, Archaster genera will be more appropriate>>Any help would be helpful. Thank You! << Cheers! Lorenzo >>

Seastars Dear WWM crew, <Howdy> Thanks for all the info that you have made available. It has proved of immense value in the successful keeping of my aquarium. I was hoping that you might want to post my experiences with Choriaster granulatus , the doughboy starfish. <Gladly, thank you> What little info I have been able to find is always negative- but I must say that this is the best starfish I have ever kept- and I have kept many! It is much hardier than the Linckias, Fromias, and even the sand sifter. While it supposedly eats corals, I have kept it with anchor and grape corals without incident. It quickly retreats from them after any contact. This may not be true with other corals- I have no experience with them. It happily eats a diet of shrimps and clams, and has been in perfect health for over a year on this diet. Despite its large size (about 8" across in a 110 gal tank) it has yet to disturb any of the decor. It has an amazing ability to mold itself and squeeze through small spaces without disruption. No, I do not sell these starfish!  <Ha! I bet you have a cartload of them!> I do, however, wish they were more available to the aquarist who wants to try his hand at seastars. I enjoy his odd yet beautiful appearance and red tube feet- he has been a perfect addition to my tank. Thanks for your time, Tom L <Thank you for relating this experience. Bob Fenner>

Fromia acclimation Greetings, I purchased 2 Fromia stars from DrsFostersSmith.com last week. I carefully followed the acclimation procedures that were shipped with the livestock. I floated the closed bag for 15 minutes to stabilize temp, added 1/2 cup of tank water every 5 minutes, dumped half the bag when full, continued to add 1/2 cup of tank water every 5 minutes until bag was full again, and finally dumped contents of bag into a net and added star to the tank. Entire procedure took about 1 hour.  <very fine> Instructions specifically said not to add an airstone, due to possible rapid rise in PH. <yep> Well, both stars looked great with no physical problems that I could detect and moved around the tank actively. The next day, one of the stars (which I believe was a Fromia indica) started to dissolve and died the day after that. The other star (Fromia monilis) appears to be fine. Since then I have been researching acclimation techniques specifically for stars and found that many prescribe to the idea of acclimating stars over the course of 4-6 hours due to their sensitivity.  <they are rather sensitive although the other side of this debate is the concern of other issues of water quality with extended acclimation in a confined bag/bucket (unheated, low O2, etc)> This sounded logical to me until I read Bob's article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm regarding generic acclimation procedures and it stated that in cases of prolonged shipping times it may be risky to add any tank water to the shipping water in fear of poisoning the livestock (increase in PH, coupled with detectible ammonia levels in the shipping bag).  <agreed> The stars are being shipped from California and I reside in Michigan, resulting in a shipping time of almost 24 hours.  <long indeed> I contacted DrsFostersSmith.com and I will be receiving a new orange Fromia tomorrow (free of charge). Any advice that you could give me on acclimating these stars to ward off a repeat of the last disaster would be greatly appreciated. <I favor your first acclimation procedure: direct... not too short and not too long> Below are my tank specs: Oxygen - 6ppm Alkalinity - 3.46 Calcium - 310 Ammonia - 0 Nitrate - 2 Nitrite - 0 PH - 8.1 72 gallon tank, 2 months old, 75 lbs live rock, no fish yet, 1 cleaner shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp Thanks, Jeff

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