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jon69
10/09/2004, 09:10 PM
I recently boutgh a Blue Starfish and realize at home that the end of one of it five tentacle it white for almost one inch (start at the end of the tentacle). I just want to know if it commun to see this or if I will get problems to handle this Blue Starfish in my aquarium.

Thanks in advance

greenbean36191
10/09/2004, 09:23 PM
I'm assuming you have a blue linkia starfish since they are the most common blue starfish in the hobby. Yes, unfortunately the white area is common. It's not a good sign. It usually means that the starfish is dying and is usually a result of bad acclimation (several possible places this could have happened between the ocean and your tank). Starfish are very sensitive to quick changes in water parameters.
There isn't a whole lot you can do now besides keep the water stable and wait, but in the future here are some tips. Do lots of research before you buy anything so you know of any special needs it may have and how to deal with them. If you want to get another starfish, have the LFS hold any they get in for a few weeks so you can watch to see if they show any signs of deterioration before you buy it. This will help you avoid MOST starfish that have been improperly handled. When you bring the starfish home acclimate it over a period of several hours using the "drip method." A quick search on the drip method will give you more details on how to do it.

rshimek
10/10/2004, 04:33 AM
Hi jon69,

<img src="/images/welcome.gif" width="500" height="62"><br><b><i><big><big>To Reef Central</b></i></big></big>

As has been indicated the white areas you are seeing is probably an indication that your sea star has suffered some damage during transit or acclimation. Such damage is generally fatal. The survival rate of these stars in the hobby is very poor. Probably less than 1 in 10 that are collected will survive to live in a hobbyist's tank. They should probably neither be imported nor purchased. If you decide you wish to have a sea star, the multicolor Linckia described below is a much better choice. :D

Here is some information on these type of sea stars; first some general information and then some specifically about the star you have purchased, including some advice on how to acclimate them in future.

Linckia stars Leiaster speciosus = "Red Linckia", Linckia laevigata= "Blue Linckia," Linckia multiflora = "Multicolored Linckia"

The sea stars known as Linckia (even though at least one of them is not in that genus) are amongst the few stars that survive for any period in some reef aquaria. These are animals taxonomically grouped in the Family Goniasteridae which are characterized by sea stars that cannot extrude much of their stomachs. These particular species are also characterized by a small, or almost absent central disk. In essence, they look like five legs joined together. All of them probably are predatory on small sessile animals or even algal and bacterial films on the substrate surfaces. As such, they seem to be harmless to many of the animals that are kept in reef aquaria. There is one potential drawback to them, and that is that they may eat juveniles of animals that are reproducing in our systems. However, such predation is generally unnoticeable.

Leiaster speciosus, the so-called "Red Linckia", is characterized by "Linckia-like" long arms, small central disk, and bright red color. The bumps on each arm are arranged in rows.

Linckia laevigata is the "Blue Linckia" commonly seen in the hobby. As the name indicates it is blue.

Here is an image of the common blue star, Linckia laevigata
http://reefcentral.com/gallery/data/500/41LINKIA.JPG

The blue coloration ranges from aqua to almost violet. There is a great deal of evidence that what hobbyists are calling Linckia laevigata, may encompass several species, however, these species appear to be ecologically similar and it is unlikely such differences that exist are important as far as the average hobbyist is concerned. Both the blue and the red Linckia may get very large, over 40 cm in diameter. At such sizes they really are not suitable for most aquaria.

Linckia multiflora, the "Multicolored Linckia", is much smaller, seldom exceeding 10 cm across. The basic body proportions are much the same as in its larger cousins, however. These animals are typically mottled red, white, orange and sometimes blue coloration.

Individuals of Linckia species, particularly Linckia laevigata, are profoundly and seriously harmed by rapid changes in salinity; additionally they appear to suffer "shipping" stress as well. As a result these animals need to be treated VERY carefully during acclimation to the home aquarium. This acclimation should be done slowly, often acclimations of more than six to eight hours are required. The water the star is shipped in should be tested for salinity, and once that is established and compared with the salinity of the destination aquarium, the length of acclimation may be estimated. Changes should be no more rapid than one part per thousand salinity in three or four hours.

All of these species do best at standard reef temperatures, around 82 deg. F, but they can withstand a bit of variation in this parameter as long as the salinity is kept at reef normal levels.

Once established in aquaria, Linckia generally do well for a year or so, and for large animals are surprisingly benign. They seldom knock over rockwork, and do not harm most other animals. They may be attacked by hermit crabs, true crabs and some fishes. They are also the host of several species of parasitic snails. To ascertain if the snail is infected, the aquarist should examine the tube foot rows on the bottom of the rays, particularly in the area around the central mouth. Often small snails may be seen embedded in the star's flesh. The snails do some harm, and if the aquarist is concerned, the snails may be removed with forceps. The wound left should heal in a few days.

Interesting or Useful References:

Williams, S. T. 1999. Species boundaries in the starfish genus Linckia. Marine Biology. 135:137-148.

jon69
10/10/2004, 10:29 AM
How long it take before the blue starfish will die in aquarium after I see the white part on their body. CAn I do something or I just wait and let thing happen. When it die does it make a raise of amonia in the aquarium...

thanks

rshimek
10/10/2004, 02:15 PM
Hi,

If the internal damage was only partial, it might recover. That could take weeks. Generally, if they are going to die, they do so within a week. Yes, the death will increase the ammonia levels.

incrediblekarma
10/17/2004, 08:20 PM
what do blue linckia eat? So this species will get two feet in diameter? whew.

Marion

c. dawg
10/17/2004, 09:01 PM
incrediblekarma - I think Dr. Ron said ...

"All of them probably are predatory on small sessile animals or even algal and bacterial films on the substrate surfaces. As such, they seem to be harmless to many of the animals that are kept in reef aquaria. There is one potential drawback to them, and that is that they may eat juveniles of animals that are reproducing in our systems. However, such predation is generally unnoticeable."