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Old 11/23/2009, 08:07 AM   #1
Avi
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Linckia Starfish....they do eat (I guess)

I've been making efforts to keep Linckia Starfish in my 120-gallon mixed reef for years now. Most of the time the Linckias (and also Fromias) didn't live very long. I had a blue Linckia in the past that lived for two years as I recall, and even lost a leg with it having grown it back so there apparently was nutrition available for it in my tank. That one ultimately died, which death I attribute to the dirty-work of a Xanthid Crab that was running rampant in the tank but has since been removed. But, while some of the other Linckias and Fromias that I tried to keep lived for a number of months, most died rather quickly. I can't attribute those deaths to anything in particular...it could have been lack of sufficient nutrition, shipping injuries before I acquired them, etc.

But now this: I've had mottled-blue Linckia in my reef since at least the beginning of February, 2008 and this one has grown and thrived, and I believe I've learned why and how.

In the years that I've been attempting to keep these "reef-safe" starfish, I've done as much reading as I can find, some of it in this forum. The popular...and probably reliably so...wisdom is that no one knows what they eat. One kind might eat a particular "bacteria" and another, "sponges" says the reading material. But, in any event, it isn't likely that what they eat would be in an aquarium so a prevailing opinion is that they shouldn't even be attempted because they would most likely die from starvation.

But, this mottled-blue Linckia at least has revealed itself to be eating....Asterina Starfish.

I had hundreds of them in my reef in the past. I used to have to pick them out of the tank by hand, only to have them replenish their numbers over only a few week's time. I've been wondering what happened to them. Then, one day the past-week, I noticed that the mottled-blue Linckia appeard to be "eating" one. I watched it over a few hours and sure enough, it did seem clear that it had eaten the Asterina.

Here are some photos that show it ingesting another Asterina, which I took after the first one was ingested but on the same day...You can see the Asterina decomposing if you look carefully at its outline...









Here's another example of what appears to be the Linckia ingesting another Asterina on the same day....





...and this is the residue of the Aserina left after that ingestion....



I don't know if this means that all Linckias will be able to ingest, or are dependant upon a supply of Asterina Starfish. It could be that this is the case. Or it could be that only the mottled-blue Linckias consume them, as opposed to the blue, red, brown/red, etc. Linckias which require some other (unknown) food. But, I'm just about convinced that so long as the supply of Aserina Starfish in my reef (that is seriously dwindling) is available, this one will be able to survive and flourish on them.


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Old 11/23/2009, 08:46 AM   #2
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Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing.


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Old 11/23/2009, 08:48 AM   #3
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Neat discovery if it turns out to be verified


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Old 11/23/2009, 09:33 AM   #4
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Awesome catch!

I have a linkia I have had for about a year now. Somehow it got caught on a vortech and really torn up. I turned the pump off and let the star get off on his own. Hid for a week, and is now cruising the tank again like nothing happened. Funny now that you mention it, I used to have a lot of asternia stars as well but no longer do.

We need to get a study going =]


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Old 11/23/2009, 09:57 AM   #5
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Great observation with excellent pics to document. I would have been skeptical just hearing this, but the pictures tell the story.


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Old 11/23/2009, 10:29 AM   #6
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mine has been doing freat for almost 2 years now, must be eating same thing as yours...

thanks for the pics!


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Old 11/23/2009, 01:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkeracer619 View Post
Awesome catch!

I have a linkia I have had for about a year now. Somehow it got caught on a vortech and really torn up. I turned the pump off and let the star get off on his own. Hid for a week, and is now cruising the tank again like nothing happened. Funny now that you mention it, I used to have a lot of asternia stars as well but no longer do.

We need to get a study going =]
Thanks, folks. I guess there are a lot of people that want to keep these "reef-safe" starfish. I wonder if others who have sought some details on how to keep them have found there to be as little information available about them as I have. Still, because of their color and interesting appearance a lot of people do make an effort to keep them alive. I'd really like to hear from others that keep these starfish...right here in this thread, if possible, to keep the information in one accessible place...as to viewing them actually consuming food...whatever kind of food it might be...with posted photos if at all possible as adequate documentation for the cynics out there and so that people that want to try to keep them might know what they need to provide them with to raise the odds of their survival in an aquarium.

By the way tkeracer619, I have a vortech and this Linckia and the Fromia that I added to the tank about 6-weeks ago don't get into it. I did have a lost "arm" in the Linckia that I kept alive for a good deal of time that I had attributed to it being caught and damaged that way, though later on...after it healed...I found it consumed by a Xanthid Crab. Are you sure you haven't got one of those in your reef?


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I'd keep the whole ocean if my den were big enough

Current Tank Info: 120 gallon reef with 210 lbs. of live rock, Aqua-C EV180 Skimmer, Aquactinic double 250W MH with blue plus t5 support; 58 gallon freshwater planted tank using CO2 and T5s; 30-gallon cube with a few fancy goldfish; and a 110 gallon FOWLR
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Old 11/23/2009, 01:46 PM   #8
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tanks for posting , i really want one but was afraid to get one due to thier survival. i think you are on to something . now we have to find a way to harvest asternia star fish.


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Old 11/23/2009, 08:59 PM   #9
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Maybe we'll have to buy them by the dozen.


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I'd keep the whole ocean if my den were big enough

Current Tank Info: 120 gallon reef with 210 lbs. of live rock, Aqua-C EV180 Skimmer, Aquactinic double 250W MH with blue plus t5 support; 58 gallon freshwater planted tank using CO2 and T5s; 30-gallon cube with a few fancy goldfish; and a 110 gallon FOWLR
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Old 11/23/2009, 09:44 PM   #10
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those picks are awesome! so cool...


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Old 11/24/2009, 03:16 PM   #11
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Okay...some more photos of this same Linckia Starfish today....





And, here's what was left after the Starfish moved when finished...




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I'd keep the whole ocean if my den were big enough

Current Tank Info: 120 gallon reef with 210 lbs. of live rock, Aqua-C EV180 Skimmer, Aquactinic double 250W MH with blue plus t5 support; 58 gallon freshwater planted tank using CO2 and T5s; 30-gallon cube with a few fancy goldfish; and a 110 gallon FOWLR

Last edited by Avi; 11/24/2009 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 11/24/2009, 04:28 PM   #12
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Cool, keep the documentation coming. I know it was stuck to the vortech bc I saw it on there and was really sad since I had this linkia for a while. I just new it was a gonner. That is why i just turned the pump off and let it do its thing. No clue why it would get stuck to it. It was stuck onto it upside down so maybe it was on a rock or the glass and fell off. Got swooped up by the flow and whammo stuck.


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Old 11/24/2009, 04:35 PM   #13
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Here is my Tile/Linkia eating an Asternia.



And here he is eatin some flake food.



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Old 11/24/2009, 05:32 PM   #14
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hey, Avi, have you tried feeding your blue linkia flake food too? BlkTang, how do you feed it flakes? just place it by the foot? or the mouth?


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Old 11/24/2009, 05:34 PM   #15
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hey, Avi, have you tried feeding your blue linkia flake food too? BlkTang, how do you feed it flakes? just place it by the foot? or the mouth?
It feeds itself i dont target feed it.I f i feed flake u goes right to the top,& extends his legs like that.


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Old 11/24/2009, 05:40 PM   #16
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cool pics


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Old 11/25/2009, 07:55 AM   #17
Avi
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Jamie, I've never seen the Starfish take anything but the Asterina Starfish.

Oh, and BLKTNG, that's a Fromia Starfish, not a Linckia, isn't it?


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I'd keep the whole ocean if my den were big enough

Current Tank Info: 120 gallon reef with 210 lbs. of live rock, Aqua-C EV180 Skimmer, Aquactinic double 250W MH with blue plus t5 support; 58 gallon freshwater planted tank using CO2 and T5s; 30-gallon cube with a few fancy goldfish; and a 110 gallon FOWLR
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Old 11/25/2009, 11:01 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Avi View Post
Jamie, I've never seen the Starfish take anything but the Asterina Starfish.

Oh, and BLKTNG, that's a Fromia Starfish, not a Linckia, isn't it?
I bought it as a Tile Star,but idk what it is.I didnt think that Fromia Star's got as big,but i could be wrong.


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Old 11/25/2009, 11:22 AM   #19
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Thinking you will need to set up a species tank to raise asterinas..with the way they divide shouldn't be too much of a task..very neat pictures..


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Old 11/25/2009, 12:41 PM   #20
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Those are some fantastic photos, thanks for sharing!

Is your mottled linckia a Linckia multifora or a Linckia laevigata? I haven't seen a blue multifora, but I haven't seen a mottled laevigata either.


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Old 11/25/2009, 12:51 PM   #21
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very awesome documentation and info!!how to keep a steady amount of those little stars in a tank is beyond me...thanks for the find!-drew


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Old 11/25/2009, 02:17 PM   #22
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Those are some fantastic photos, thanks for sharing!

Is your mottled linckia a Linckia multifora or a Linckia laevigata? I haven't seen a blue multifora, but I haven't seen a mottled laevigata either.

It's L. multiflora...here's its more photogenic side:




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I'd keep the whole ocean if my den were big enough

Current Tank Info: 120 gallon reef with 210 lbs. of live rock, Aqua-C EV180 Skimmer, Aquactinic double 250W MH with blue plus t5 support; 58 gallon freshwater planted tank using CO2 and T5s; 30-gallon cube with a few fancy goldfish; and a 110 gallon FOWLR
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Old 12/09/2009, 12:59 AM   #23
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After seeing this post I have kept an eye on mine and witnessed the same thing. WOOHOO!


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Old 12/09/2009, 01:19 AM   #24
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I wish my blue one would eat them... have the dang things everywhere

been doing great for over a year though,


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Old 12/14/2009, 11:48 PM   #25
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After asking a few hobbyists that have been in the reefing part of it longer than me and listening to their responses one made more since than others. I believe they are going after the biofilm on (mostly) and in the asterina stars


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