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Chocolate Chip Starfish behaviour
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Jon_Lacey
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Joined: 08 Jun 2006

PostPosted: 2006.06.08(Thu)18:10    Post subject: Chocolate Chip Starfish behaviour Reply with quote

Hi to everyone on the forum. This is my first posting and I'm looking for some info on some odd (to me, anyway) behaviour from my CCSF, Sonia. (What? Don't you name your starfish?)

First, lemme tell you a bit about my tank. It's a ten gallon tank with about two pounds of live rock in it. I've had a yellow-tailed damsel and another black-and-white striped damsel and a hermit crab who came with the live rock from the beginning which would be about 7 months now and I added a cleaner shrimp and Sonia about 8 weeks ago or so.

Just last night, I came home to find Sonia, who is otherwise usually at the top of the tank hanging on the glass, at the bottom, lying on her "belly" with her legs curled up at the ends, looking very much dead. I picked her up and put her in a separate container. As I picked her up, I noticed she had some white specks coming out of her legs where the suction arms are. She seemed to go back to normal in the container, so I put her back in the tank and she now seems fine.

If anyone knows what this behaviour means, please share and let me know. Also, I noticed a tiny, white starfish on the side of my tank a few weeks ago for about an hour and I haven't seen it since. I'm guessing this is Sonia's offspring. As I've not seen it since, does anyone know if CCSF eat their young?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

JL
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2006.06.08(Thu)21:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your starfish is probably slowly starving. Like many Echinoderms they are generally poor candidates for the average marine system. More info at the links below...
http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-12/rs/index.php
http://www.aquahobby.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=31617&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
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Jon_Lacey
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Joined: 08 Jun 2006

PostPosted: 2006.06.11(Sun)12:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

And then it occurred to me [light bulb sound effect here]; I can use inexpensive salt water snails as feeders for the starfish. I asked around at my local pet stores and they say this is a viable option. Also, one guy says it's also possible to put some seafood on a skewer and hang it in the water near the top of the tank. This is how he fed his, apparently.

I'm on my way to the pet store to buy half-a-dozen of the most inexpensive snails they got. If it works like I think it will, they should do a fair amount of cleaning before they are picked off one-by-one. And I'll get to see some cool inside-out tummy action from my starfish.
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2006.06.11(Sun)13:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck with the snails, get some pics if you can and record your success including longevity of your starfish so others may benefit.
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Jon_Lacey
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Joined: 08 Jun 2006

PostPosted: 2006.06.11(Sun)19:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks.

The first thing I can report is that the starfish didn't go after the snails right away like I thought she might.

As I was doing a water change, I took her from the top of the tank where she likes to hang out by the filter and put her on the bottom. I put the snails in and they started roaming around. As for Sonia, she made a round of the tank, bumped into one of them and went back to her favourite spot at the top.

Right now, she's canoodling with one of them. She hardly looks the voracious predator I've read about. I don't know if she just doesn't like these snails or if she's waiting for night or what. Guess I'll sit back and watch.

Even if she doesn't eat them, at least I'll get my tank cleaned.

Another guy at the pet store suggested putting a piece of food at the bottom and placing the starfish on top of it. This poses a problem for me, as I prefer to keep my hands out of my tank as much as possible.

If I had the money, I'd buy feeder sponges and stuff, but that would cost a small fortune.
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sunshine84
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Joined: 25 Jan 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: 2006.06.11(Sun)19:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm... maybe try buying some muscles/oysters from the supermarket and then chopping them up and placing them on the bottom. Then place your star on top. I don't know whether this will work, but it's worth a shot.

I had a biscuit star, and couldn't get it accepting any form of supplementary feeds. Hopefully, you will have more luck.

Let us know what happens anyway Smile
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2006.06.12(Mon)16:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Chocolate Chips I have kept always accepted thawed chunks of frozen shrimp (not cooked) target fed on a pointed wooden dowel. However as I have already stated, I do not feel this will sustain them for long. To insure a better lifespan for your starfish you would need a constant supply of fresh live rock. Most of these are already doomed from salinity changes and shipping stress by the time they show up at the retailer. I suggest returning it to the LFS where pehaps someone with a large reef system could at least offer it a better chance.
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