View Full Version : sand sifting star Q.

03/06/2007, 05:44 PM
I have read many posts lately about these stars starving after decimating the substrate. I've had mine in a 75g for 3 yrs and in a 150g for 2 yrs before that. I would think that after 3 yrs it would have decimated my sand bed by now.

In the fuge I have millions of pods and mini-stars. Do you think their reproduction is providing enough food for this one to live off of?

Also, this star has only grown maybe an inch on each tenticle in it's 5 yrs with me. Do any of you think that growth rate is about right, or is this creature only barely surviving and not able to produce growth?

When I first got it, I just thought it was cool. Did a little research, but not much was known then. I read that it ate detritus from the sand bed. Nothing was ever written about it surviving solely on pods. I'm not trying to stir anything up here, just wondering if that much is really known about the sand sifting star in a reef aquarium.

03/06/2007, 06:16 PM
Part of the problem is lumping them as if they were one species. There are at least two genera and who knows how many species sold as sand sifting stars. Since they're essentially impossible for a hobbyist to identify, they get lumped together. Behaviorally that causes problems because they don't all act the same. Most are very specific predators feeding only on certain microscopic snails, worms, or crustaceans. Seeing "pods" and stars means essentially nothing about the availability of food for them. On the other end of the spectrum are the few species whose diets are so broad that they are actually used as a way to sample benthic life. Obviously they're much easier to keep alive.

They are pretty much universally discouraged because most fall into the first category. Even if they are one of the generalist species they don't do anything good for the tank, which is what most people expect from them.

03/06/2007, 07:05 PM
That is certainly what I expected; a cleaner. I will say this little guy works his tail off. Always going from one end of the tank to the other, always about half buried.

I understand what you mean about the species being grouped together. I do know that when something happens to this one, I won't be looking for another one.

Mine must be on that other end of the spectrum as I have done nothing special as far as care goes. Thanks for the info.