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FAQs about Sea Star Identification 2

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 Star ID 1, Sea Star ID 3, Sea Star ID 4, Seastar ID 5, Seastar ID 6 & CC Star Identification, Linckia Identification, Sandsifting Star ID, & Sea Stars 1, Sea Stars 2, Sea Stars 3, Sea Stars 4, Sea Stars 5, Brittle StarsSeastar 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,

Variable but "variations on a theme" the genus Fromia are gorgeous. Here Fromia monilis.

Identifying Seastars (5/3/04) Dear WWM crew, <Steve Allen this evening>   Thanks so much for all you do for the hobby. Without you guys, I would have abandoned the hobby- but instead I have a beautiful, enjoyable aquarium. <Glad to hear.> I was wondering if you know of any good resources for identifying seastars. <This is a toughie. Do a Google search to see what you can come up with. About the bet source I'm aware of in the hobby literature is volume 4 of "The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium" by Nilsen & Foss? Expensive, though.> I really enjoy them <me too>, but have two with no identities. <Many do not yet have species names because there are so many different ones.> I'm sending the pics, hoping that perhaps you can ID them. The reddish star is about a foot across, the yellow one about 4 inches. <I'm not sure on the "yellow" one. I have one in my tank and it was sold to me as a Batik Star from the Indo-Pacific. I have never been able to name it. I do know that it is probably not reef safe. I got lucky on the red one. It is almost certainly a Mithrodia, though not certain of exact species. These are discussed on pp 287-8 in the aforementioned book. Can attain diameter of up to 40cm and probably not reef safe.>  Thanks so much, and I'm sending you guys a donation <much appreciated> - I want you to stay around forever! thanks, Tom L <A pleasure>
Hi! The Sea Star is Giving you the finger!  >Hi.  >>Hello Bernd, Marina today. How are you doing?  >I'm Bernd from Honduras. I received a live rock from a shallow reef here and on it was a tiny sea star. Brown, diameter the size of a nickel. No bumps or spines on the back. 5 legs, one of them about 2" long and thicker than the others. It looks like the star of Bethlehem. What is it and is it reef tank compatible?  >>I can't say for sure what it is, but appears to be related to Linckia spp. At this point all I can say is it doesn't *appear* harmful, but I can't be sure.  >Also in the rock lives an animal that throws long white thread like strings all over the tank. They can be 20" long. It moves inside the rock because the threads are sometimes coming out one hole, the next time another hole. Does it belong to the family of tube snails?  >>My apologies, but again, I can only guess, and the name's escaping me completely! I want to say "Terebellid", a worm that sends out threads that catches detritus, but I'd hate for you to rely on that. However, I doubt it's harmful.  >I have those, but their threads are gossamer compared to the new animal's. Thank You and sorry to always keep You bothering. Bernd  >>You're welcome, and never a bother. Marina

Asterina Stars (4/10/04) Hi Wetweb media crew !! <Steve Allen here.>   I have an animals in my reef tank, who seams to be a kind of starfish. It is going out at night. One month ago I had 2 of them and now there like more than 8 of them. I have attached 3 picture of these animals. The diameter of it, is 1/2 inch. I would like to know if you can say what it is and if it's a good thing to have or if it is a pest? Thank you very much for your help <These are Asterina stars. They don't get much bigger than 1/2" and are not harmful (probably helpful), but can occasionally proliferate to plague proportions.  Search WWM for info. Of interest to me is the fact that these stars are seldom fully-formed. You rarely see one with 5 full legs.>
Some strange starfish Hi Wetweb media crew !! I have an animals in my reef tank, who seams to be a kind of starfish. It is going out at night.  One month ago I had 2 of them and now there like more than 8 of them. I have attached 3 picture of these animals.  The diameter of it, is 1/2 inch. I would like to know if you can say what it is and if it's a good thing to have or if it is a pest ?  Thank you very much for your help <Go to the WWM homepage and plug in the term "Asterina" in the Google search tool at the bottom. Bob Fenner>

Sea Star ID For a Crewmate Greetings Crewmates!  I was wondering if anyone can help me ID these seastars. I am convinced that the one labeled as such is a Pentaceraster, but am uncertain as to the specific species. I have no clue as to the one labeled "Mystery Star." Any thoughts? Do you know of a good source for Seastar ID. Thanks, Steve Allen.  <Hey Steve, where are the pix? Bob>  <<These appear to be Oreastrids, Knobby Seastars... not generally hardy in aquariums. All can "look them up" in Humann's reef guides dealing with the Caribbean, tropical West Atlantic. Bob Fenner>

Identification of Starfish Hello, I recently found a new creature that popped up!  It is a starfish of some kind. I want to make sure that it is not a type of starfish that can threaten my corals.  I did have a couple of sand sifting starfish in the tank at one time.  This one just looks different sort of like a chocolate chip starfish, and I know that those are not good for my reef tank. Please take look at the pics. #1 Just a view of my reef tank #2 A picture of the starfish without the flash #3 A picture of the starfish with flash Thanks for your help!!! <Asterina sp. Please put this name in the Google Search tool on the homepage (WetWebMedia.com) and read on! Bob Fenner>

- ID & Care Requirements - Well it happened again. <It did?> I went into BigAl's' store and bought a fish, a plant and a starfish... without having much clue what they were. First, lets talk about the starfish... <It's a Fromia.> (Please see attached picture) It's orange, it's skin looks like a cross between a velvet surface and a snake skin :-) I was told that it was reef safe and that it would feed on the algae that is present on the aquarium sides. After about 3 days, the edges of the starfish rays seem to start deteriorating... My questions: a) I've never had a starfish... my tank is matured with fish, hard and soft corals, snails, cleaner shrimp and hermit and scarlet crabs. Any special care I should keep in mind? <Very low nitrates, otherwise clean water...> b) Will it really stay on the glass and eat algae? Is it really reef safe? <Yes it will eat algae, which may lead to it spending some time on the glass. Yes, it is reef safe.> c) Why are the rays deteriorating? <Either an undiscovered issue when purchased or perhaps issues with your current husbandry.> OK, now, lets talk about the plant... I've tried so hard to identify it, but I can't... Hopefully you can help me about identification and care of this plant. <It's commonly called a Shaving Brush a Penicillus species.> Is it beneficial in a reef tank? <Not detrimental.> (Nutrient export? Food for tangs? Will it grow fast?) <Not useful as nutrient export unless you export it. I don't think the tangs will eat it. Hard to predict how well it will grow - a lot of dependencies.> Now, for the final question and purchase. I've bought a cleaner wrasse. I was told that it will keep my fish Ich free forever... After I got hope and read about it, it seems that those fish are really hard to keep? Why? <They tend to starve - if they eat only parasites, what's left to eat when all the parasites are gone?> What are their special requirements? <Life in the ocean.> What food should I provide? <Try everything you've got.> Will it feed on Kent's Zooplex? <Not familiar with this product, so I can't predict.> Huge thanks guys,
<Cheers, J -- >

Sea star ID Astropecten articulatus 6/3/03 Anyone out there have a clue about the species of this Star? <looks like Astropecten articulatus, as best I can tell from the long-view. The so-called "Beaded Sea Star"> I have a small starfish from the Central Florida Atlantic Coast area and I have no idea what type it may be. It's a five pointed star and has light orange to beige coloring on the underside and edges of its legs and purple on top. It's small, maybe 3 inches from leg tip to leg tip. Any ideas where I might find species photos online?    <use the scientific name provided here to do a google.com search... many pics to be seen. Also see page 363 of Humann's "Reef Creatures". This sea star is reef safe but difficult to keep alive for more than a year. Most starve to death slowly. They need enormous and deep sand beds. 4-6 feet square and 6" deep minimum in a mature tank. Quite beautiful to see though!> Thanks ever so, Laura Lea <with kind regards, Anthony>

- Mini-star dangerous? - Hello All, First I want to thank all of the WWM crew for their tireless efforts to make the WWM what I consider to be one of the best sources for practical advice on marine aquaria I have come across in the "whole year" I have been involved in the hobby (read that obsessed). <Haha, that's good to hear!> Thank You!!! I have also just received "Reef Invertebrates" By Anthony and Robert, wonderful work and very much appreciated. <Will pass along!> Now for one of many questions, Attached is an amateur photo of the underside of one of several critters I have recently noticed in my 55 Gal. Reef. This animal is approx. 3/8" across and appears to be akin to some sort of starfish when viewed from above. They are somewhat active and I have observed them on my Tridacnid clam shell and some of the LPS coral bases but have not observed any damage done. Any help with ID would be greatly appreciated as I have scoured your site as well as a good part of the net with no success other than continued education. <That's a tiny sea star of the genus Asterina. Most of these critters are simply harmless algae and bacteria feeders, but some have been seen chowing SPS tissue. They are quite common in reef tanks, so don't be alarmed unless you see them cruising over on of your Acros. They reproduce by dropping legs, which explains the odd and highly variable shape!> As of yet I have had some wonderful success with my tank and am involved in propagating LPS and SPS corals, I have 120 lbs LR in a 55G show tank, 1-2" Med aragonite base, overflow to a wet dry with protein skimmer in sump, I have a 10G refugium loaded w/ copepods and all kinds of macro algae which along with the live rock I attribute to the successful existence of 2 fat and happy Dragonets 1 mandarin and 1 psychedelic, <Good to hear of fat and happy dragonets, I hear too much of the other extreme...> I was about 6 months into a FO set up when one of my vendors sold me the contents of his reef tank and thrust me into this wonderful world where I have been scrambling to learn as much as I can trying to keep everything alive with only a minor fatality of SPS along the way. <Sometimes that happens, don't let it get you down. Happy fraggin'! -Kevin> Thanks again for all your work and advice. Best Regards,  Jim

Nardoa or Fromia? 08/09/03 <Hey there, hi there, ho there yourself Todd. PF here with you today.> Hey, there, hi there, ho there, As there are about a million various sea stars in the sea, I have been unable to figure out what species this beauty I picked up recently is. Any ideas? <No, unfortunately I don't recognize the species either. In the future Todd, please research the animal before purchase. Trust me, I know it's hard to say no to an interesting animal in the store, but for its and your sake do so in the future.> Either a Fromia or Nardoa of some sort?  In any case, I'm afraid it's not getting the food it needs in my smaller tank with plenty of live rock and sand, but no corals (20 gallon) and would like to move it to my larger tank (50 gallon), but unsure of it's reef-safe-ness (is that a word?).  Any thoughts?  I really don't know what to feed it despite looking over your FAQ's since it seems totally uninterested in the bits of meaty foods I place on it's legs waving in the water from time to time.  And this thing NEVER goes to the bottom to look for food. It has come down from the glass maybe 3 or 4 times in the last 2 months I've had it.  Y'all are the best, and I figured you'd know what to do. Thanks for all the help, direct and indirect.  You remain inspirations. Todd <Well, my guess is it's eating something after dark or slowly starving to death. You might want to see if a local university or college's biology department could help you ID this animal. As for food, something to try may be a live clam, you can get them at the seafood department of many grocery stores, or at a specialist seafood shop. Acclimate it slowly to the water, and temp, use a drip method. I used to do this when I had an O. scyllarus mantis shrimp, they'd live for a few weeks (before the mantis ate them). I'm not aware of any herbivorous stars, but maybe try a small piece of Nori on the off chance that this is what it eats. As I said before, in the future, please research then buy. Best of luck, PF>

Re: Sea stars ID   1/8/07 I forgot to mention in my last email that I have at least 25 of these in the crushed coral substrate.  There were 12 against the front glass that I could see, and the rest I saw were throughout the tank with their arms above the substrate. Thanks again Eric <Where is your previous correspondence, Eric? When Bob cleans up and posts the Daily Q&A, one of the first things that is stripped and thus lost to oblivion is original email addresses. This is why we respond directly to your email long before the questions are posted on the website, as it allows us to respond to all directly, without risking anyone's personal information. In future responses, please include your previous correspondence for our sanity. Thanks, JustinN> <<I'll say! W/o this and/or the previous subject/title... and that being descriptive... it is near impossible to find/place follow-up queries, responses as well. RMF>> 

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