Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Marine Scavenger Selection: Seastars

Related FAQs: Seastar Selection, Marine Scavengers 1, Marine Scavengers 2, Marine Scavengers 3, Sand Sifters, Sea CucumbersShrimp Gobies, Sifter Gobies Marine Algae EatersHermit Crabs, & FAQs on Scavenger: Rationale, CompatibilitySpecimen Selection, Clean Up "Crews"Worms As  Scavengers, Snail Scavengers, Shrimp Scavengers, Hermit Scavengers, Crab Scavengers, Cucumber Scavengers, Sea Urchin Scavengers, Serpent Star Scavengers, Fish/Groups as Scavengers, Losses/Troubleshooting,

Related Articles: Marine Scavengers Genus Valenciennea GobiesHermit Crabs,  

Nardoas are good choices for large enough systems

Re: Toby puffer/skeletor eel/bicolor angel, now Asteroid Stkg./Sel.   8/27/12
Thank you for the quick reply. I will take your advice into consideration.
One more question for you. Because both the puffer and eel will eat invents I will not be able to keep a clean up crew. Is there any harm in putting in a sea star? If this is possible what type would you recommend?
Thanks again,
<Mmm, read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sndsftstrfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. BobF>

Sea Stars For Reef Cleaners? 7/9/08 I was on your website for quite some time and could not find an answer to my question. My question is, I would like to add some sea stars to my 46 gallon reef tank. I've seen some sea stars that might be appropriate like serpent sea stars or brittle sea stars (except the green ones). <I would stick with the serpents, less prone to being problematic.> I have 40 lbs of live rock in my tank and a sand bed of about 3-4 inches. I would greatly appreciate some advice of what kind of sea stars and how many would be good to add to my clean up crew up. I currently have a scarlet reef hermit crab, a blue leg hermit, about a dozen Astrea snails, about 5 Nassarius snails and Cerith snails, a coral banded shrimp. I was also wondering if sea stars would eat any snails or other critters (including corals) in the sand or among the live rock, because I see that some of them are carnivores so I was just wondering. Thank you for your advice and time taken to help me out. <I currently keep a Ophioderma ensiferum in the same sized tank and it has done quite well, in fact it attempted to spawn two nights ago. The genius Ophioderma are quite adaptable to aquarium life and a good one to start with. However, as part of a cleanup crew they don't do a whole lot, but are interesting and relatively easy. I would just stick with one for the time being in a 46G tank. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestars.htm> <Chris>

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>

Starfish/Urchins in an Aggressive Fish Only Tank  11/23/05 Apologies if you have already answered this but I couldn't find it on the FAQ section.  I have a fish only tank with a Huma Trigger, Snowflake Moray and Lionfish. I have been looking for something to control algae but the trigger keeps biting chunks or any exposed pieces from any snails that I put in there (irrespective of size). Can you keep starfish or urchins in this type of tank? And if so, would anyone have nay recommendations?  <The trigger will eat all inverts!! you better scrub the aquarium by hand!! IanB> 

Micro stars/Detritus Control   3/16/06 Hey crew,  <Hey Eric> Hope you are having a wonderful day.  <Not bad.> I am having a little bit of a detritus build up problem in my tank. Some of the live rock I have has small pockets in the rock they look like small craters, but detritus seems to settle in these pockets and I have to eventually vacuum them.  Well after I vacuum most of these out all my coral and anemone seem to open up a lot more and last for a few weeks (I guess they could be eating this material but I really don't think so). <Correct.> I was wondering if adding micro bristle stars would help keeps these areas clean.  <Will help some.  The best control is what you mention...vacuuming and during every water change.> If you have any suggestions of other organisms that would work better please let me know. 180 gallon 300 lbs live rock 1600 gallons an hours of power head water flow. 4-5 inch sand bed. Thanks,  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Eric Sand Sifting and Orange General Starfish???

Star Problems, Predation 7/27/06 Hello and thanks for taking the time to read and answer my question. <Sure> I have both a sand sifter and an orange general starfish. <Protoreaster lincki?> I've had the sand sifter for about a month and just got the orange general a couple of days ago. Well here's the deal, I went into look at my tank this morning and noticed that my orange general starfish was in the process of eating my sand sifter. <Several species go by this common name, and for some this is not an uncommon behavior.> I know it was too late for the sand star because I could see half of it was already digested and the general was working on the other half. Keep this in mind that earlier that night the sand sifter was perfectly fine. I have FOWLR tank with a porcupine puffer, niger trigger, & maroon clown. <I would guess at some point either the puffer or trigger should have decided to snack on the star anyways.> Water Levels are all ok. I was wondering if this is normal for a general star to do. <Need a scientific name to be sure, but seems likely.> I knew this star wasn't reef safe and thought that it be ok in my tank. Will it try and eat my fish? <Depends on the size of the fish, but I would bet that the problem will be the other way around.> Sorry if this is a stupid question, but my LFS is pretty reliable on the info he gives me, at least I thought he was, and he said this star would be ok in a fish only tank. <Not a fish only tank if there is another star in there, either way those sharp teeth the puffer and trigger have are there for a purpose, and will most likely make short work of any stars in the future.> Just hoping to get a better understanding of the situation. Thank you for your time and effort, James <Anytime> <Chris>

Re: Sand Sifting and Orange General Starfish??? Star Problems, Aggressive tank 7/30/06 Hello again Chris and the Crew, <Hello> Thanks Again for answering my question. <Sure> As far as the Orange General Star goes, I do believe the scientific name is Protoreaster lincki. <Definitely some evidence that it is a potentially carnivorous species.> Sorry I didn't have it before. <No problem.> The fish I have not messed with the star fish so far, but the puffer likes to mess with my snails. This is my 1st aggressive tank, so I was wondering if you have any other recommendations a far as clean up goes for a Porcupine puffer, niger trigger, and maroon clown. <The cleanup crew in mostly going to be you, as most snails, crabs, and shrimp will be lunch for the niger and puffer.  May be able to use burrowing snails but even this is doubtful.> Thanks Again, James <Chris>

- Seastar Questions - Hi crew, Long time reader first time writer. I just want to make sure my last purchase is a smart one. <Ok.> First I'll start off with some tank facts. Saltwater 55 Gallon FO ammonia- 0 nitrite- 0 nitrate- 0 pH-8.3 Sal. - 1.023 don't test anything else carbon run 24x7.  protein skim with a Versa-jet skimmer (cheap I know, but actually has wonderful performance for me, about 4-8 oz of dark skimmate daily.) 3.5-4" crushed coral substrate cheap lighting (perfecto strip of I would guess two 15" fluorescents) Inhabitants - a few damsels clarkii clown Pseudochromis very small valentini puffer. I am looking into getting a star, particularly the chocolate chip star. I would like to get this star to help clean my substrate and glass. <Not a sure thing.> Also I have heard its very hardy. <Hardy in what sense? All Seastars could be lumped into the category of 'not hardy' although some may tough it out longer than others.> Are my conditions good enough for this star to thrive? <Hard to be certain - are many variables, health of organism on arrival, appetite of that puffer, available food, etc.> There is plenty of algae that I have to clean biweekly to weekly off the substrate and glass. <Can't guarantee that this Seastar will eat this.> Will this be enough for him along with the left overs from my fish feeding (frozen krill, frozen brine shrimp, dry blood worms, flake, frozen silversides, frozen clams)? <Well... I'm sure you know that these animals don't move very fast, so it may not get the opportunity to get to all this food or clean the glass as quickly as might be useful for you.> Would you suggest a different star (although I would like to stay with a hardy specimen) <Again, really no such thing as a hardy Seastar in the pet-fish trade - are all delicate and responsive [in a negative way] to water quality issues. There are others, like the general star that are impractical to keep that would rate higher on the hardiness scale than a chocolate chip star.> I would love to add some live rock too but I know my lighting wont be sufficient for the invert. <Wouldn't be so concerned about this - live rock with or without lighting will provide benefit to your tank.> hitchhikers and coralline growth.  So I think I will wait for better lighting till I get the LR. <I wouldn't wait if I were you.> Thanks, APM <Cheers, J -- >

Sandsifter in 40gal? Hi there <Hello> We have recently changed the substrate in our 40 gal 1 year old system. It is about 1 - 1.5in deep sand bed covering the front half of the tank (3 ft. long). I have been thinking of adding a sandsifting star as our crabs tend to be a little lazy and prefer the LR at the back. My question is, would a 3-4in star be too big for the tank and is it likely to starve once it's cleaned the sand? Thanks Jo <Is right about the minimum size for one... Please read through the FAQs here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sndsftstrfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> 

Re: Sandsifter in 40gal? Thanks Bob <Welcome> I read the FAQ about the stars and although I have one reserved in a shop, I guess I better tell them I've changed my mind. Just one more thing, if the star is out of question, what would you recommend to turn the sand? <... Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ put the term "sand sifters" in the Google search tool........> I love gobies but don't like the way some of them take a mouthful of sand and chuck it all over the LR... Great and a very useful site by the way! Thanks again, Jo <Please use it. Bob Fenner> 

Clean up Crew I'm putting together my clean up crew for my 46 gal. tank w/ 65 lbs. of live rock with lots of Algae. Would you recommend a combo of Turbo and Trochus or Turbos and Astrea snails? How many of each for my size tank? Thanks, Rob O. >> Well... you've asked a pointed, defined question... So... I'll gladly respond in kind. I don't encourage the stated stocking density of Trochus genus Snails, and I do favor the use (if being utilized) of Turbo and Astrea genera gastropods over the use of Trochus... (though in Europe... there are some collected/collectable Trochid family members that are desirable...). Bob Fenner Thanks Bob for answering the question of what kinds of snails. How many would you recommend for my size tank?  <Oops, sorry for missing this part previously... IF I was using snails, five or ten of  Astreas and Turbos... Some Blue Legged Hermits... again five or ten... depends on the types, amounts of live rock used, lighting... other algae eaters... am a bigger fan by far of using fishes... like Ctenochaetus Tangs, Blennies...> I also really want to get some starfish. I was thinking (1)Blue Linckia,(1)orange marble and (1)brittle starfish. Should I purchase these when I get my clean up crew or should I wait until my tank is more established? How many would you recommend for my size tank? Right know the tank is 6 wks. old with lots of Algae mostly brown). <I'd only consider the middle species... and you can place it now... or wait Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Rob O.

Hired help for cleaning Hello Mr. Fenner, Short questions today. I've read the articles on starfish, and I want to put some in my 100G. reef tank. I'd like to put maybe 1 blue Linckia, and some Fromias, but in your opinion, how many starfish would you put, I now have 1 brown brittle star, 1 peppermint shrimp, 2 cleaner shrimp 4 red-legged hermits, 2 blue-legged hermits, and 2 big turbo snails along with the fishies, and also what do you think is the most efficient detritivorous cleaner for a reef tank. I know the Fromias are detritivores, but also need supplementing with meaty foods, are they my best bet, or would you recommend something else? ( strictly for detritus, not concerned about algae). I do also clean the bottom, but I just want something that I could say is a live-in maid, if you know what I mean. Greg N. <Three, four small stars total is about the limit. Marine scavengers are covered on the WWM site. Bob Fenner>  

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: