Thanks Floridaboy! now that's the "hard info" I needed... This confirms Kdodd's fear that even a 200g reef tank is not going to help much...
Any thought on target feeding this star?
Here's my thoughts... If I setup some long shallow tanks with heaters and lights and grow algae on plates of glass... like this /////////
I can essentially feed the star a plate of glass. Star eats too much, setup another tank of glass plates. I could produce and endless supply of algae.
The problem I am faced with is no one seems to know what "film algae" these guys eat. how do I farm the right kind of algae if I can't find out what one to target...
This tank was intended as a starfish only tank back when I thought I could at least feed one. No fish! This way I can concentrate on the asteroid.. or so the cunning plan went till I realized that nobody knows %@$% about this animal... _________________ "Just don't look in my fish room honey... it's just better for all of us. "
"The epibenthic feeding asteroids evert their stomach over the felt and digestion occurs externally. These asteroids rely on enzymes to complete the digestion process but there are few known eucaryote enzymes which are capable of chemically digesting cellulose walls of algae. Diatoms, which are common in the epibenthic felt, have siliceous walls and the chemical digestion of this material, by any organism, would seem impossible. It is apparent, however, that many species of asteroid coexist on this same resource and further work is needed on possible dietary (enzyme) specialisation. "
Also, would the addition of Marine Snow, Marine Seafood & Marine Trace Elements along with daily feedings & plenty of live rock, be enough to replicate their natural food source?
Well Susan, under your Florence Nightingale care regimen, they would certainly have a better chance... but the sad fact is; most aquarists simply don't have enough time or concern for their charges. In my opinion, many of the bottled products of goo claiming to be "quality invert food" are worthless and only add nutrients to your tank water. Although often thought of as passive, boring creatures, many inverts like starfish, snails, shrimps, anemones, crabs, gorgonians, etc. are actually voracious predators, constantly hunting for live microfauna they can trap, corner, snare, grab, spear, etc... it all happens so slowly and on such a small scale, it's hard to see it, much less understand... but rest assured, if they were bigger and faster, we would be in trouble! I have seen a time lapse photo of the sea floor covered with starfish... some types will eat anything they can trap, others only sponges, some will wipe out an entire coral head (I was poked by a Crown of Thorns a few months ago--ouch!) some will slowly pry open clams and oysters so they can eat the animal inside... it's amazing how much constant and aggressive activity is going on there.
More info here:
http://www.vsf.cape.com/~jdale/science/ecology.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fromiastarfaqs.htm _________________ Keepin' marines happy for 25 years
Last edited by FloridaBoy on 2006.04.01(Sat)14:33; edited 1 time in total
Maybe I could try putting a mussel/oyster in for it every day. I never would have thought they could pry them open and then extend their stomach inside to eat the contents! My gosh.
I've also found this supplement that increases the growth of microalgae, so hopefully that should help as well. I think the idea of setting up a feeding area could prove useful...maybe freezing some brine shrimp, mysis, shredded nori & marine green mixed together - and then putting it an an empty oyster shell.
And then also adding either a mussel/ oyster as well. Could I use a mussel/ oyster from the supermarket, or do they need to be alive?
This is a bit of a trial idea... but I'm hoping something like this may work. What do you think?
Hmm, maybe... then again, please understand; I'm not even sure if Fromia spp. will eat bivalves... (published data suggests tunicates, sponges, other living microfauna) ... my point was merely that seastars can have different specialized diets and voracious appetites. The facts are not clear on this, so my suggestion to you is... no, the substitute foods you mention will not sustain it for more than a few months to a year. What's worse is, like many anemone species, if left in the wild they may live for many, many years on the reef.
This was the whole purpose of my involvement with this forum; to bring to the hobbyist's attention the terrible mortality rates of this industry and certain animals that should be left in, and observed in the ocean. I highly suggest that more aquarists become divers; once you see these creatures in the wild it gives you a whole new respect and sense of importance and stewardship toward their threatened environments. Not to wax poetic, but the psalmist put it this way...
"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep." Psalms, 107:23-30, KJV
How absolutely depressing...
Like Sunshine, I would take responsibility for my new charge... I would pay the $ and feed this guy sponges, tunicates, etc. but can find no info on how or indeed if offerings of sponges would be eaten.
All I can say is this will be the one and oly SW error... further purchases will be researched and then screened on here while on hold at the LFS...
thanks for the help. _________________ "Just don't look in my fish room honey... it's just better for all of us. "
Rest assured, we learn from our mistakes my friend... and I have made far more in this hobby than most. On the upside, the very fact that you posted the question, exposed the data, will hopefully save some poor starfish in the future. You could always try the Ophiruoidea; I hear the Green Serpent Star will eat anything, including your fish! _________________ Keepin' marines happy for 25 years
Thanks for all of the information... I only wish more people were aware of this. I had no idea that sea stars could require such a high level of care. It's frustrating to think that lfs will happily sell unsuspecting customers livestock that are more than likely to perish in captivity.
I went to the lfs about a month ago and they had about 10 Mandarins and I asked to see them all eat. There was only one that would accept frozen brine shrimp. So, for the 1 Mandarin that may actually survive in captivity, there may be 9 others that don't.
What's really upsetting is the fact that some of them were quite large and it makes you wonder how many years they'd been happily living in the ocean before being caught. It hardly seems fair - either for the fish or the person buying them. People need to be educated about the level of care required for each species before making the purchase - and many lfs simply won't tell you this stuff.
I understand what you mean when you say these creatures are better left in the ocean. Aquaria should be about providing safety, care and good homes to these creatures, not simply 'keeping' them. I guess thats why it's always important to do your research before buying any new livestock.
But even then, you can still make mistakes. I know I certainly have. I'm glad you asked the question Number6, because otherwise, I probably wouldn't have realised what was involved with these starfish. At least now, we can prevent similar mistakes in the future.
Anyway, once again, thanks for the advice, it is very much appreciated
I hear the Green Serpent Star will eat anything, including your fish!
Hey guess what snuck in on some live rock today!? A Green Serpent Star! I can't believe it. The first thing I thought of is what you said in your post FloridaBoy
Thankfully, I noticed the two hairy, green arms sticking out of a hole in the rock. I think it's a Green Brittle Star anyway - so far it hasn't completely come out. I decided to test it by putting a bit of frozen brine shrimp on it's arm and it rolled the brine shrimp up and then retracted it's arm back into the hole. I've never seen a brittle star eat - it was strange.
It's in the 10G tank - along with my 3 hermit crabs. I hope it doesn't eat my hermit crabs! Do you think it's safe in there?
Also, guess what else came in on the live rock? A medium sized shrimp (it's clear with green stripes) - no idea what it is - so it's in the hang-on container until I know whether it's safe. And a little white crab with red eyes. So, that's in a hang-on container in the hermit crab tank. I don't know what type of crab it is - but I have a feeling it's not reef safe. I think I saw a similar one eating snails.
Anyway, just thought I'd tell you - I can't believe you made a passing comment about a green brittle star and then I get one
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