Sand Sifting Sea Star
2 likes Starfish
(Astropecten polyacanthus) Easy Peaceful 10" Omnivore Bottom 75 gallons Yes 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025 Iodine, Trace Elements Tan, Brown Fiji, Soloman Islands, Pacific Astropectinidae Starfish The Sand Sifting Sea Star (Astropecten polycanthus) is a highly sought after sand sifter for hobbyists with well established reef aquariums or community FOWLR aquariums. Sand Sifting Sea Stars are excellent at keeping a deep sand bed turned over so that anaerobic bacteria and pockets of toxic gases do not form in the sand bed. However, they are fairly voracious eaters that often wipe out the food sources that they prey on when housed in aquariums that are too small or not well established. Hobbyists who utilize refugiums with their aquarium, have larger aquariums (greater than 75 gallons) or who have well established aquariums will be better able to house Sand Sifting Sea Stars as their system will support higher levels of the critters that Sand Sifting Sea Stars feed on. In addition to a plentiful food source, Sand Sifting Sea Stars need stable water parameters including: salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature and nutrient levels. Hobbyists looking to keep Sand Sifting Sea Stars need to have a deep sand bed in the aquarium both to provide cover / habitat and to provide plenty of habitat for the small organisms that the Sea Star preys on. The beneficial nature of the Sea Star occurs as its moves through the sand bed in search of food, which serves to loosen debris from the sand where it can be either consumed by other organisms or removed from the aquarium via the mechanical filtration. Sand sifting also servers to release pockets of gas that can build up in an aquarium with a deep sand bed. Most hobbyists under estimate the effectiveness of the Sand Sifting Sea Star in its ability to clean the aquarium of small worms, detritus and small crustaceans. This often leads to aquariums that are over stocked on Sea Stars or Starfish being added to aquariums that are too small to support them. Tank mates should consist of peaceful community fish species, corals and other peaceful to semi-aggressive invertebrates. Natural predators to Starfish like Sharks, Pufferfish and Triggers should not be housed with the Sand Sifting Sea Star. Sand Sifting Sea Stars (Astropecten polycanthus) feed on small organisms like worms, copepods, amphipods and other small crustaceans found living within the sand bed of an established aquarium. It is extremely important that aquariums housing Sand Sifting Sea Stars have a deep sand bed of 3 inches or more and be well established. In a well established reef aquarium, hobbyists can expect to successfully keep one Sand Sifting Sea Star per 75 gallons or so. This should provide enough food for the Starfish to survive and the creatures that it feeds on to flourish in numbers large enough to support both their colony and the Sand Sifting Starfish feeding on them.
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Gary Wayne
Blue Linckia Sea Star
1 like Starfish
(Linckia laevigata) Expert Peaceful 12" Omnivore Substrate & Rocks 55 gallons Yes 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4 None Blue Indo-Pacific Ophidiasteridae Starfish The Blue Linckia Sea Star, Blue Sea Star, or Blue Starfish is typically found in reefs and reef fringe areas, constantly foraging for food on live rock and sand. Blue Linckia Sea Stars grow rather large reaching 16 inches in size, making them suitable for only very large aquariums. This species can be difficult to feed as they generally will only consume algae and microorganisms that they find while foraging on live rock. Expert reef aquarists with very large aquariums, excellent water conditions and a lot of live are most likely to have success keeping this species. This species does have brilliant coloration that ranges from almost violet to a bright blue color sometimes with red or purple spots. This species is a good candidate for larger expert reef aquarists as they will not harm other invert, coral or fish species and have a peaceful disposition. In an aquarium setting it is important to have excellent lighting and large amounts of live rock to provide enough algae and microorganisms to provide enough food to sustain this species. Excellent water conditions, live rock and live sand coupled high oxygen levels and stable pH are necessary to attempt to keep this species in the home aquarium. Rock formations should be built very solidly as this species will spend a lot of time moving about the rock and with its large size it could dislodge unsecured rock pieces. In the wild, the Blue Linckia Sea Star is capable of regenerating a new starfish from almost any portion of its body that might break off; however, in the home aquarium, this is far less likely. It is important to acclimate the Blue Linckia Sea Star very slowly to a new aquarium over the course of many hours. This species is far more sensitive to water chemistry changes than most any other species found in the marine aquarium hobby. Blue Linckia Sea Stars forage the substrate and live rock for film algae and microorganisms. Due to the overall size of this specimen and the amount of live rock needed to provide them with enough foodstuffs, the Blue Linckia Star is not suitable for most home aquariums. Expert aquarium hobbyists with very large aquariums and large amounts of live rock / live sand may be able to provide enough food options for this species to thrive. This species generally does not accept meaty prepared foods.
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