Anyone have an Asterina Starfish problem?

Discussion in 'Fish and Invertebrates' started by Vhuang168, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Since I'm prevented from adding more fish due to an ich outbreak that wiped out almost all my fish stock, and I can't seem to catch my Melanurus wrasse so I can leave my tank fallow to rid it of ich, I want to add a few more shrimp to the tank. I've added 1 Sexy shrimp (Thor amboinensis) to the current Blood shrimp (who I never see except during feeding) and I love it. May add more later this week.

    I'm thinking I want to add a Harlequin Shrimp next. But I don't have any Asterina starfish or ANY starfish for that matter. I may buy Chocolate Chip stars if I can't find a steady supply of Asterina.

    So if anyone wants to get rid of a bunch of Asterina stars, I'll take them off your tanks and seed my tank with them. Part of me is thinking I'm getting into some deep doo doo but Harlequins seem to be able to keep them in check so hopefully I won't end up with a tank full of Asterinas!

    Now, if only I can find something that will eat Vermitid snails!
  2. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member

    I did and still have some but that is why @wpeterson is holding on to my Linka starfish as I didn't want him to be food for the Harlequin that I picked up to remove my asterina starfish issue...

    The harlequin has done a great job....
  3. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    I think Harlequins Shrimps are cool but I don't like that they're dependent on eating starfish.

    If you really like them I guess you can keep some chocolate chip stars in your sump and feed them those. Or culture a bunch of Asterina Starfish in your Quarantine/Frag Tank?

    More food=more starfish.

    As for ich, you'll encounter two major schools of thoughts

    1) People who believe Ich goes away with a healthy tank.
    2) People who believe Ich can be eliminated and prevented from entering your tank.

    I've definitely seen tanks where all the fish broke out with Ich and are scratching and a couple weeks later the white spots are gone and they're fine.

    I've also heard of several cases where people's fish just broke out in Ich and they all died.

    The steinhart aquarium staff will tell you Ich is in their system. Once in a while a fish will have died from ich (but its probably from other factors, old age, illness, etc).

    Personally I believe ich can be eliminated and prevented to an extent. I'm doing 2 week long tank transfers to rid my fish of ich....but honestly if I came home and saw my tang with ich. I would just do a good water change and feed my fish well. No more fallow period/tank transfers.

    But for now, all my fish go through tank transfers.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
  4. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Condolences on the fish. We just don't have the space and resources to run a separate QT here and we paid for it. We got a horrible infection from LiveAquaria that killed half of our fish overnight last spring. We were able to setup a hospital tank and save some, but it moved faster than any infection I've seen before. We ended up keeping our tank fallow for about 5-6 weeks.

    The harlequin shrimp seem like interesting critters, but I don't know about having to feed them so many starfish. I think I'd rather keep the starfish than feed them to a shrimp.
  5. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    If you're willing to travel
    I've got plenty!
    Vhuang168 likes this.
  6. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Lol. Berkeley is not that far. I'll just have to plan a biweekly trip and hit the cheese board too!
  7. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    Hit me with a PM
    I have a steady population of asterina stars
    Personally, I'm partial to Gioia pizza. But the ladies in my household do dig the cheese board
  8. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Thanks @KensingtonReefer for the stars! Was nice meeting you today and seeing your tanks!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  9. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member


    A buffet!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Enderturtle likes this.
  10. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    Thanks for making the journey
    Got more where they came from!
    wpeterson likes this.
  11. D0661E750

    D0661E750 Guest

    Same here man, got some if u want more. Wish I could keep H shrimp in my tank but got a predator Snowflake eel.

    Hayward hood here
  12. humu

    humu Guest

    [QUOTE="Vhuang168, post: 268212, member:

    A buffet!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk[/QUOTE]


    Would love to video of him choking down.
  13. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    I've not actually seen him eat 1. But there definitely less visible stars. Either he's eating them up or they are hiding. Also found a small brittle star hiding underneath my trachy so that's another food source. But I may need more stars soon.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Enderturtle likes this.
  14. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest


  15. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    I got a fair amount as well
  16. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    Ick ... I've heard the way to deal with it is
    1) Move all your fish to a QT tank of appropriate size with NO SAND
    2) slowly lower the salinity in the QT to (??? salinity???) make it hyposaline (ie less salty)
    3) leave the main tank alone ... do this for (???) months


    The hyposalinity apparently is not good for ick parasites, but fish are much more adaptable, it may cause the parasites to jump off the fish.
    In their natural life cylce the parasites will leave the fish and enter the sand, then change into some other form, then jump back onto the fish. By having no sand, they can't do whatever they do there so they die off the fish.

    The tank, without your fish will starve the parasite but also break their life cycle since any parasites in the sand will have no hosts.

    Then at some point, you put the ickless fish back into your ickless tank!

    I had something in my tank I thought was ick, but it's gone and has been gone (as far as I can tell) for 2 years or so.
    I didn't do anything to make it go away.
  17. sjbro

    sjbro Supporting Member

    @Vincerama2 you are right, I also used the hyposalinity treatment against ich successfully in the past.

    Yes, I had to catch all fish, including the ones that show no ich signs and move them to a QT. There are various ways to setup the QTs, most recommend not to use rocks & sand. AFAK, that is because of few reasons:
    - medications usually attach to rocks and sand, so the soluble percentages change & dosing becomes tricky. For example copper will attach to rocks and sand, then slowly leak back in the water, so if one would use copper to treat ich it will have to dose more initially, but then the copper leak from rock/sand could bump the concentration over the safe levels.
    - rocks & sand are a very good medium for bacteria and critters, but the fish medications or hyposalinity are very likely to kill those, so the result is a high level of decomposing organics which means a surge in toxins
    - some believe that parasites such as ich need rocks & sand to attach during their life cycle when they multiply

    In my case the QT was a 30G tank with an overflow and a 20G sump. The equipment consisted of return pump, heater & ATO. I also had a skimmer on hand, but it is useless when doing hyposalinity, because the air mix with low-salt water doesn't produce the needed bubbles to pull out the nutrients.
    I had a think layer of sand in the sump, it was a freshly rinsed sand, not a "live" one. In my case the sand became "live" with bacteria that formed during hyposalinity, and it helped with the nitrogen cycle throughout the treatment.

    I followed the process explained by Leeb on various forums such as this one:

    I lowered the salinity to 1.008-1.009. The ATO was critical in this process: it helped me keep the salinity low & it also served as the perfect way to slowly dose baking soda to keep the pH swings in check.
    I kept the fish in low salinity for 1 month.
    The recommended time to keep the tank free of fish is at least 2 months. That actually matches the hyposalinity treatment timeline, which in my case was 2-3 days to lower salinity from 1.025 to 1.008, 1 month at 1.008, then 2-3 weeks to slowly bring the salinity back to 1.0.25 & monitor the fish (the way down to 1.008 can be pretty fast, but the way back to 1.025 has to be very slow).

    The hyposalinity works because the marine ich can't survive in low salinity water as most inverts cannot either. Also 1.008 is considered the lowest limit for fish so it is a bit dangerous :).
    While the ich is attached to the fish, it is safe in its shield. Once the ich reaches maturity, it has to detach to complete the multiplication process. That's when it swims in the water to find a place where to attach and shield again. While it swims it is vulnerable and is cannot survive long in low salinity water.

    There is also a "good" side effect of hyposalinity: all my fish got super fat - imagine the tangs getting obviously rounded ! :)

    I did some reading on it, I say it's from 2 combined reasons:
    1. I fed the fish more while they were in QT so they can fight the disease better
    2. Low salinity water means the fish need less energy for their metabolism, so they burn less fat & calories

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