View Full Version : Sand sifting stars

02/22/2006, 11:09 AM
So, I recently acquired a sand-sifting star for detrius removal and general entertainment, and as I've been reading, I'm seeing a lot of people that believe that many stars slowly starve to death in aquariums.

Are there any indicators of sand sifting stars health that I should be especially aware of? I'm trying to walk a fine line between feeding enough that there's leftover food on the sand floor for him, and not overfeeding and encouraging algae growth, so any indicators of whether or not he's really getting enough food would be appreciated.

His behaviour seems normal, though I have little to base it on - he's under the sand about 20 hours a day, coming out about an hour after the lights go out, makes a trip up the glass, across the top, then back down to the sand, where he disappears for a day or so.


02/22/2006, 11:13 AM
cool i want one of them!

02/22/2006, 11:18 AM
Generally, most stars are not adequate for a small reef and will usually starve; However, an established system 75+ gallons should be fine for 1 sand sifting star.

Do not try to delibertly overfeed to get some food to your star. these stars usually scavange for food and microfauna in the sand which are always present in a larger established reef.

Black Phantom
02/22/2006, 01:49 PM
The only way your sifter is going to survive is if you have a very well established sand bed. Thats where the majority of his food will come from.
There is a really good article on this site about stars that you should read. Has a lot more info.
Remember that even a large tank has a lot of space taken up by live rock so figure out how much actual area your sifter has to feed.
Chances are it's not that much.

02/22/2006, 03:53 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6801063#post6801063 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by jjirsa78
makes a trip up the glass, across the top, then back down to the sand

Thoughts? I have one and I have never seen him go up the glass! Can thay do that:rolleyes:

02/22/2006, 03:55 PM
sounds like he's acting normal...i've had mine for a year now and just added another

02/22/2006, 03:57 PM
I wouldn't buy any of these stars. They usually manage to make live sand a lot less live and then starve to death. The process seems to take about a year to a year and a half. I'm not sure that a 75g is big enough on average for a sand-sifting star.

02/22/2006, 04:08 PM
From Dr Ron:

Sand Sifting Starfish eat only worms, clams, burrowing sea cucumbers or other animals living in the sediments. They are not scavengers nor do they eat detritus - only live animals. In nature it takes several dozen to several hundred square yards of animal rich sediments to support such an aniimal. They do not survive for any appreciable period in most marine aquaria.