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The first picture on this page shows starfish that reproduces at about the size of a dime. This starfish is capable of destroying large colonies of Acropora. If you notice that your Acropora colonies start to turn bright white at the base in a sharp edged pattern you may have an infestation of the starfish. It is important that you remove the coral and search under the base for these starfish. This damage looks different from bleaching because the damage is very localized and it increases each day. This damage can cause bacteria to infect the damaged areas and this can cause the lose of the entire head. Many of the starfish varieties prefer Stylophora and Pocillopora. It is important to watch for white patches at the base of these corals.
Sally Jo's I have been using harlequin shrimp to control the starfish for over one year. When we first introduced Harlequin shrimp to a new reef tank we feed it starfish with tweezers for several weeks. After the shrimp becomes acclimated to the reef tank it is able to find starfish for itself. Sally Jo's shrimp have survived in her reefs for over 8 months.
Several people have argued that these starfish are harmless, but we have yet to find any that will not eat coral polyps. It is our recommendation that if you discover this type of starfish in your reef aquarium that you remove it as soon as possible. We have documented these type of starfish eating small polyp stony corals, Xenia , green stars, and several types of soft leather corals.
Here are some great e-mails that we received in answer to our questions about the starfish and the source for tweezers.
From: "Jeff Reed"
Subject: Starfish that kill coral
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001 03:14:59 -0500
I, too, have had the exact same experience with these little critters except mine were a blotchy tan, black-spottedİand cream color. I noticed an area of my tannish-green acropora dying at the bottom where it was attached to the live rock. After looking very closely for about 2-3 minutes I finally saw the starfish and immediately pulled it off the coral and dried it for a keepsake. The starfish I found was a little over a half of an inch in diameter and blended in well with the surrounding coral and rock. Keep your eyes open if one of your Acroporas starts dying around the base, it's probably a starfish like these.
----- Original Message -----
From: "C. Madsen" Sent: Wednesday,
Subject: Re: StarfishI have these little blue and white starfish in my tank. They don't look as
large as the ones in your tanks. They are white with tiny blue spots on them. I don't
have any SPS coral, but I do have some Zoanthids and sea star. I haven't noticed them on
the coral, and they have been in the tank since before I added any corals. The largest
one I have seen is about .25" maybe even .50". They are really small, but a couple of
them have different length legs, but most of them are symmetrical. If these are a danger
let me know, if not I think they are kinda cool and would like to keep them. Thanks.
PS. I've emailed before about Sarcophytons
We are very interested in getting some of these for our research.
I was thinking of a possible solution to the problem. Have you tried a harlequin
Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2000 21:46:20 -0700
From:"Chubby and Imogene Tatum"
Subject: Re: Coral eating starfish
I have asked many different people about these starfish trying to get help and they
enjoy reading your article and seeing your pictures.
In the article I just read again about your findings of harmful starfish, you asked if
From: "Jose A. Venereo"
Subject: Stainless Steel Tweezers
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 09:17:27 -0400
I was reading your article on Marine Fish Monthly. You requested if anyone had
information on a source of high quality steel tweezers,
to let you know. Well, here it is:
This company is widely used by Veterinarians. The item you specifically want are the
Jose A. Venereo DVM
I still have some green slimers for you.
I still have some green slimers for you.
From: Gerald Heslinga
Many years ago I worked with my sensei Dr. Masashi Yamaguchi in Guam and Palau on
The starfish is Asterina anomala and is common on many reefs in the Indo-Pacific.
FROM THE WORD FISSION
*fis0sion (f3é4sh2n) n. 1. The act or process of splitting into parts. 2. A nuclear reaction in which an atomic nucleus, especially a heavy nucleus such as an isotope of uranium, splits into fragments, usually two fragments of comparable mass, with the evolution of from 100 million to several hundred million electron volts of energy. 3. Biology. An asexual reproductive process in which an organism divides into two or more independently maturing organisms.
We are having a special on all of the coral cuttings. WHEN YOU PURCHASE 5 AT THE REGULAR PRICE OF $100 WE WILL GIVE YOU TWO FREE CORALS!. We will continue to provide the most current data on reef farming for both education and profit.
The GARF staff knows that each aquarium is different and they will ask about the size, lighting, and age of your reef. Summer is the most important time to add extra janitorstm because there is more light and the reef will be a bit warmer. When you order any Reef Janitor pactm you can pick a free coral or two pounds of GARF's FAMOUS GRUNGE LIVE SAND ACTIVATOR Reef Janitors tm or call toll free 800-600-6163.