Do I need to get rid of this starfish?

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mrbacony

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Not sure what kind of starfish this is and if I need to get rid of it.
E50FF616-0479-451C-BA40-6AEF36D25DEB.jpeg
 
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StlSalt

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I think that's an asterina starfish. I can't tell the size is it smaller than a dime? Lots written about these guys, I had hundreds of them in my tank so I got a Harlequin shrimp to eat them, after he was done I had to take him back to the LFS since they pretty much only eat starfish. I'm starting to see a few again, if it gets bad I'll "rent" a Harlequin shrimp.
 

StlSalt

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If you can remove it I would, a few species are known to eat zoas, or other coral. Don't remove it in the tank if you can avoid it, it can regrow from any tiny piece that might break off.
 
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mrbacony

mrbacony

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Thanks. He is gone. Hopefully I did not break off any pieces. I piece of him must have come in on a frag.
 

Fish_Sticks

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Asterina starfish. Harmless detritus and diatom grazer. A myth floats around that they eat zoas, but I've never seen this actually documented, or in my own aquarium.

If some do, it would be because the tank is too clean, but, again.... never seen this documented or in real experience.

Edit: I have the self duplicating type, so that explains why they arent interested in zoas, and most likely are Aquilonastra.
 
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Saltyreef

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Asternia starfish. Harmless detritus and diatom grazer. A myth floats around that they eat zoas, but I've never seen this actually documented, or in my own aquarium.

If some do, it would be because the tank is too clean, but, again.... never seen this documented or in real experience.
They like to eat the zoas that are recovering in my systems. The ones that arent the healthiest but still have a fighting chance. I have multiple photos of them wrapped around the tips of the polyps and the specific polyp their on always melts away after removing the starfish or the starfish eat a few polyps overnight.
 

CanuckReefer

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Yup Asternia....I picked them up about 6 months back as hitchhiker I assume. Mine is not overrun with them yet, but I do remove 3 or 4 every few days. They are basically just a pain in the butt as far as I have seen thusfar.
 

Timfish

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No. It's an Aquilonastra spp. starfish and is a great scavenger. The whole discusion around them seems to me excellent examples of misidentification, mistaken behaviour and assumed causality based just on heresay without looking at the research. Asterina spp starfish are preditary but only reproduce sexually and are shortlived so while it's possible some might get into a tank even if it did happen it's not going to be around long. Aquilonastra are one of the uncommon species that reproduce fissiparous or by splitting so are easy to identify by the different sized legs regrown after splitting. They perform an important function not only feeding off algae films but also feeding off microbial films including those on corals (at least ones that don't sting). FYI the mucus coating on corals ages and corals have to periodicely shed it to renew it and maintian healthy microbial processes (Ref 1, Ref 2). If Aquilonastra are feeding on zoas or softies I'll argue they are either benign or even beneficial as they may be reducing the unhealthy older mucus which can be full of unhealthy microbes which the animal is trying to get rid of and are far more likely to be the actual problem.

Here's an example, this Toadstool is doing one of it's periodic sheddings. The Aquilonastra have been in this system for years but only climb onto the Toadstool when it's shedding. In the first picture you can see the old mucus film, Aquilonastra starfish and areas they have cleaned off. The second picture shows the Toadstool a week later.

Aquilonastra on Toadstool 20200928_170048.jpg Toadstool 20201005_170214.jpg
 

Pistondog

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whatever he is, I had dozens which allowed me to get a harlequin. Now , 3 months later they're mostly gone. The harlequin gets a leg from chocolate chip or sand sifting starfish every 3 or 4 days.
Never bothered the corals, just ate coralline.
 

Pistondog

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No. It's an Aquilonastra spp. starfish and is a great scavenger. The whole discusion around them seems to me excellent examples of misidentification, mistaken behaviour and assumed causality based just on heresay without looking at the research. Asterina spp starfish are preditary but only reproduce sexually and are shortlived so while it's possible some might get into a tank even if it did happen it's not going to be around long. Aquilonastra are one of the uncommon species that reproduce fissiparous or by splitting so are easy to identify by the different sized legs regrown after splitting. They perform an important function not only feeding off algae films but also feeding off microbial films including those on corals (at least ones that don't sting). FYI the mucus coating on corals ages and corals have to periodicely shed it to renew it and maintian healthy microbial processes (Ref 1, Ref 2). If Aquilonastra are feeding on zoas or softies I'll argue they are either benign or even beneficial as they may be reducing the unhealthy older mucus which can be full of unhealthy microbes which the animal is trying to get rid of and are far more likely to be the actual problem.

Here's an example, this Toadstool is doing one of it's periodic sheddings. The Aquilonastra have been in this system for years but only climb onto the Toadstool when it's shedding. In the first picture you can see the old mucus film, Aquilonastra starfish and areas they have cleaned off. The second picture shows the Toadstool a week later.

Aquilonastra on Toadstool 20200928_170048.jpg Toadstool 20201005_170214.jpg
Looks like you have a mushroom problem.
 

Timfish

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People are just trying to be helpful.

I've seen lots of well intended people kill my animals out of ignorance over the years. I prefer to learn as much as I can before deciding to removing something, continue to look at current research and pass on what I'm learning.
 
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