View Full Version : Strainge problem with star. Lots of pics!

11/30/2009, 09:43 PM
I have 2 green brittle star fish that were healthy for years. I went out of town for 2 days and came back to this. Both move around some but look terrible. I do not know what little brown things on the body are. On the one with three legs left most of the main head is gone. What is interesting is the legs look to still be alive and move around some. Nothing new has been added to the tank in months. They are in the 90g alone with nothing else. What do you think is going on here?
Here are some pics of the legs that have no head

12/01/2009, 12:11 AM
have you added anything new like rock , maybe a hitchhiker off of something

12/01/2009, 03:17 AM
I'm not sure about warm water starfish but I know some species of cold water starfish reproduce by splitting (like some anems). That may be a possibility but that is just a suggestion. I'm not an expert so I don't know.

Captain Amazing
12/01/2009, 11:10 AM
I had a starfish do that once. It looked as though it was eating itself from the inside. I figured it wasn't getting enough to eat. It never recovered, and was eventually just a few legs.

12/02/2009, 07:51 AM
Same thing happened to a star I had, I ran it by one of the keepers at my aquarium and he suggested it was some type of infection. If I remember right he said it was most likely a viral infection which leads to rapid tissue necrosis. If you caught it earlier then you might have had a chance to stop the infection by arm amputation followed by iodine application but it looks like it has advanced too far. I could be completely wrong but that's what it looks like. Nothing you can really do if that's the case. :( Sorry for the bad news. Again this is just a suggestion.

12/02/2009, 11:47 PM
I have a harliquin star that has a hole in it much like the pics you show. I have only noticed it two days ago and I suspect it is that I havent fed it in a month. Or I do have a pistol shrimp that may be roughing it up. I am going to find some fresh food and hopefully a few good meals will get it back in good health. My concern is if it can digest food being that I can see into its body cavity and if it is already too far gone. Good luck with your stars.

12/03/2009, 07:56 PM
Update. The one star now has no main body it is completely gone. Interestingly all of the legs of that star still have good color and still move around the tank. Are the legs still alive? One leg has been detached for several days. Do they reproduce this way? Or is death inevitable?

12/04/2009, 06:18 AM
Unfortunately, this is the common mode of death for sea stars and serpent/brittle stars. It is not specific to any cause of death. Most often though, it's either due to poor acclimation, quickly changing parameters (particularly salinity), or starvation.

The legs are still alive and they will continue to move around for a week or two until they run out of energy. However, they are not viable. While some species of true sea stars can regenerate from parts of a single leg, brittle and serpent stars cannot. The general rule is that any fragments with less than 3 legs attached to the disk will not survive. You may as well just toss them now unless you like phantom legs roaming the tank.

12/05/2009, 09:18 PM
It looks like one is completely with out a head. The other one seems to be healing nicely. I will try to get new pics.

12/11/2009, 12:50 PM
The hole in my starfish has healed with time.