Feather star diary...

Discussion in 'General Invert Forum' started by Gweeds1980, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. Gweeds1980

    Gweeds1980 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    516
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    I picked one of these up yesterday... I knew what I was getting into and I know it's chances of living are pretty slim. So I thought I'd share my experience at the very least to put others off buying one!

    Should I manage to keep it alive, then this will hopefully become a useful bit of info.

    I will try to keep this thread as up to date as possible, with regular picture updates.

    First up, I believe it is a Himerometra robustipinna - red feather star - hereforward referred to as FS... unless someone wishes to name it ;)

    Acclimation:
    Drip acclimated over 4 hours.

    Quarantine:
    Not quarantined as I felt it needed to be in the DT asap.

    DT params:
    Temp 81f
    Salinity 1.025
    Ammonia & nitrite 0
    No3 5ppm
    Ca 440
    Mag 1380
    Alk 8.8dkh
    pH 8

    Tank specs:
    320g, 8'3" long.
    Skimmer
    Caulerpa refuge
    Biopellets, GFO and carbon via fluidised reactors

    Flow provided by a jebao cp55 on intermittent wave mode and max wavelength and power, 3 x 6000lph wavemakers and 1 20000lph wavemaker all on permanently.

    On introduction to the tank I released the FS midwater and allowed it to settle wherever it wanted. It selected a spot with good flow, midwater under a slight overhang.

    After giving it a couple of hours to settle, I attempted to feed it... I was worried it wouldn't have been fed sufficiently in the LFS and understood that the vast majority of these die from starvation.

    I fed my own homebrew frozen food (basically a load of seafood with all the horrible bits left in, blended up with Caulerpa and omega 3 oil). To my surprise I could see the FS catching particles and passing them down channels at the centre of each arm towards the mouth. The items captured were just big enough to make out by eye, but to small to capture properly on camera. I would guess around 0.1/0.2mm.

    I fed twice on day one and had the same feeding response each time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
    johnzena, Vincent100 and Salahunreal like this.
    Tags:
  2. Gweeds1980

    Gweeds1980 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    516
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Day 2.

    Fed as per day 1 first thing in the morning. Noticed the arms were loosely coiled up before feeding, but unfurled within seconds once food was added.

    Having read more overnight, I decided to diversify the food a little and picked up some Zooplanktos-S and Reef Blizzard-O, both made by Brightwell Aquatics. The Zooplanktos-S (ZS) was my own choice, based on foods being acceptable in the size range of 100 to 400 microns from my own research. I bought Reef Blizzard-O (RBO) based on the packet telling me it had the right size food particles for crinoids.

    I have fed homebrew twice today, RBO twice and ZS once so far today, with another feeding around 10pm just after lights out.

    At each feed a clear feeding response can be seen, with the FS unfurling it's arms to begin feeding. It's impossible to observe actual feeding on either ZS or RBO due to particle size.
     
    dricc likes this.
  3. Gweeds1980

    Gweeds1980 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    516
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Pics from day 1 and day 2:[​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Ranjib and Salahunreal like this.
  4. PSLReefer

    PSLReefer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2017
    Messages:
    280
    Likes Received:
    198
    Location:
    Port St. Lucie
    Nice, but hope it lasts
     
    Gweeds1980 likes this.
  5. Gweeds1980

    Gweeds1980 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    516
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Picture update... managed to get a pic of feeding... if you can make out all the little white dots, they are RBO particles which the FS has caught.[​IMG]
     
  6. ebulldog

    ebulldog Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2015
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Miami, Florida
    Had the same star about 2 months ago. Once they start losing arms its downhill from that point. I read everything i could find on it and they seem to be near to impossible to keep long term because of their feeding requirements. They are also very susceptible to changes in water parameters. My was fine for about 2 weeks and then i found one arm off one day, then 2 the next. At that point it stayed in one spot and just kept losing arms every 2 or 3 days.
    Good luck but the outlook on these are not good. Really should not be sold IMO.
     
    samnaz and Gweeds1980 like this.
  7. mort

    mort Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2015
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    229
    Location:
    England
    Whilst of course I hope it survives and does well unfortunately I don't think two feeds a day are anywhere near enough. The ones I have seen living more than a few months are in dedicated nps tanks where feeding is either near constant, or in such away that the food hangs around.
    When I started I was given a green crinoid that was hitched to some zoas I wanted. The guy in the shop said it would die but he couldn't get it off as they were so sticky. 3 years later I saw it finally gave up the ghost. Over this time it had shrunk but I had found nothing to sustain it (tank was run naturally with no skimmer and large refugium) but I also only saw it a few times over that period which makes feeding even harder. Everything I read then suggested that getting a feeding response was easy but actually getting them to eat is the problem. It seems they take suitable items and bring them to their mouth before deciding if they are worth eating. This means only a small fraction of what moves to the mouth is taken, hence the need for almost continuous feeding.

    I've not read much in the decade or so since so there might be new information. So once again good luck and keep us updated.
     
  8. Gweeds1980

    Gweeds1980 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    516
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Sorry, a little confusion there... It's getting 6 feeds per day. 2 homebrew, 2 RBO and 2 ZS. First feed before lights on, then mid morning, 3rd at midday, again at mid afternoon, then early evening and final feed just before lights out.

    I have seen it move food to the mouth and then the mouth open, so assume it is eating something, although can't be 100%.

    I will see how it gets on for a few days but may well turn the skimmer off, or put it onto a timer to run for an hour before each feed... tricky as I've read they're very susceptible to nitrates BUT do better in a skimmerless system... I have a big fuge and flow through the sump is slow, so am hoping food hangs around in the DT long enough to last out til the next feed.
     
    Salahunreal likes this.
  9. Gweeds1980

    Gweeds1980 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    516
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Day 3... feeding response again on each occasion. Visible particles being moved to the mouth and mouth appears to be open... can't see if any food makes it in though!

    Otherwise, looking healthy today, no arms dropped, good extension etc.

    Evening update pic once I get back home :)
     
    Salahunreal likes this.
  10. Gweeds1980

    Gweeds1980 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    516
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    As promised... a shot of the FS feeding on the homebrew. You can clearly see the particles moved to the centre of the arm.

    Second pic is showing the mouth... poor phone pics in afraid, but you can make out the dark oval shape at the centre of the FS, that's the mouth open.

    Notice the amount of particles in suspension... obviously with no way of measuring this, I'm just trying to keep visible particles in suspension at all times. Thankfully my maroon clowns are helping... following a minor rescape earlier in the week, they've moved breeding sites and are busily digging up the sand under the FS, this is releasing lots of detritus into the water, which the FS will also feed on, apparently.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
    johnzena, Katrina71 and Salahunreal like this.
  11. keddre

    keddre Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2015
    Messages:
    339
    Likes Received:
    135
    Has it been pooping? That would be a good sign of it has been feeding
     
  12. Gweeds1980

    Gweeds1980 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    516
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    I've not witnessed that, but I've probably only been observing constantly for a couple of hours a day, so quite possible it has.

    Now tempted to set up a webcam to watch it... my wife will then know I've lost the plot...

    'Why have you got a webcam pointed at the tank?'

    'Because I want to know when the FS has a s***'

    'Righty o... of course, and that's normal how?'

    Yeah...
     
    tj w, dricc, BluewaterLa and 5 others like this.
  13. mort

    mort Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2015
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    229
    Location:
    England
    You might see more activity from it at night and it's also a good idea to feed then as well. I know you've done your reading and seem to be having good success (long may it continue:)) but if I were doing it I think I'd try laminate flow at night directed towards it (or gyre type flow is probably easier) and a constant drip feed of food from a dripping pot above the tank or atu (think food kalk wasser type thing). This might work well with your zs and rbo foods.
    I say this as I've witnessed them on night dives where they climb the nearest gorgonian and fully expand filter feeding into the water.

    Please keep the updates coming.
     
    AcroNem, eatbreakfast and Salahunreal like this.
  14. 4FordFamily

    4FordFamily Tang, Angel, & Wrasse Addict R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    Messages:
    10,060
    Likes Received:
    11,125
    Location:
    Fishers, Indiana
    I hope it lives long term-- such a beautiful and elegant invert!
     
  15. Gweeds1980

    Gweeds1980 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    516
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Thanks for this, I've already taken your advice! I've just about rigged up a dripper using one of my kids drinks bottles, airline and a airline tap.

    Interestingly there seems to be more activity from it during the day than at night, although that could well be because the food is more available during the day...
     
  16. AcroNem

    AcroNem Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    1,105
    Likes Received:
    1,041
    Location:
    United States
    I'll add my thoughts to yours if that's alright. At the facility I work at we have a specialized 550gallon reef wall with constant upwelling current that we experiment with non photosynthetic and filter feeding husbandry techniques. Among other things we have 7 bright red crinoids (the same species as yours) and 1 black crinoid that are housed in this system. We've had them for about a year and a half now and have had great success. The black one seems to be able to handle a food size up to a couple hundred microns, but the red ones show the best feeding response with much smaller foods at around a 50 micron maximum. The best food (as it seems to be consistent with a lot of specialized feeders) seems to be Diatoms. Thalassiosira weisflogii and T. pseudonana specifically have shown to produce the best feeding response along with a powdered Paracoccus bacteria, although there are a lot of other small foods that we feed to them. The system is automatically fed a small particle food slurry every hour by a doser fed from a modified BRS reactor, and the crinoids are target fed 3-6 times daily as well. This keeps the water slightly turbid at all times, which is key to keeping them long term. I hope that made sense, let me know if any of it needs clarification. And of course, a couple pictures below. I wish you the best of luck with keeping yours, I hope you can maintain it long term.

    20170422_093620.jpg
    20170422_093633.jpg 20170422_093629.jpg
     
  17. Gweeds1980

    Gweeds1980 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    516
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Stunning! Thanks for this info, really helpful. I still have access to some lab supply firms who can supply specific bacteria strains, so I will contact them.

    I am keeping suspended particles in the water at all times which seems to be doing good.

    From your experience is the upwelling current important (I know on the reef this is where the majority of marine snow comes from, so assume it may be)?

    I'm happy to change flow patterns to accommodate this beautiful animal... I feel somewhat obligated to given I've purchased it!

    Do you use any proprietary foods or is it all cultured / produced in house? Would be great to know if I could get hold of the same foods.
     
  18. AcroNem

    AcroNem Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    1,105
    Likes Received:
    1,041
    Location:
    United States
    The upwelling reef wall was actually made for the purpose of keeping Dendronephthya, which will be the next group that's added to this system. But yes they do usually live on slopes that have constant lateral flow. You actually don't have to go as far as contacting any labs. The bacteria powder we use comes from brine shrimp direct, and reed mariculture sells both species of Diatoms separately. Although if you're willing to pay a little extra I would just use their "shellfish diet" as it contains both species of Diatom as well as several types of green phytoplankton. It's a good mix. We also add two sizes of golden pearls, 5-50 micron and 50-100 micron, and frozen L-type rotifers. The bioload it adds to the system is ridiculous, but is necessary. Be prepared for extra work to maintain water quality.
     
  19. Gweeds1980

    Gweeds1980 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    516
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Fantastic. I'll check out a UK supplier as I reckon shipping from the states could be costly...

    Extra work with nutes I can deal with... my intention is to set up constant feeding using a drip and then a doser soon straight into the return chamber. That way I figure I can leave my skimmer running which should help with the bioload. I have a big fuge (120l) rammed with Caulerpa and I run biopellets too... I did drop the biopellets by half recently to get nitrates back up to 10ppm, so I should have room for more export if I need it. I also run a 3 stage fluidised reactor for gfo and carbon, this could be dedicated to gfo to keep po4 in check if need be.

    I'm going to reangle one wavemaker to create an upwell in any case, with the amount of sand the clowns are moving about, the detritus kicked up can only be a good thing.

    I never wanted crystal clear water anyway lol.
     
    eatbreakfast, BluewaterLa and AcroNem like this.
  20. AcroNem

    AcroNem Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    1,105
    Likes Received:
    1,041
    Location:
    United States
    *a note on my previous comment*

    I do need to mention target feeding with Diatoms though, and warn about how thick of a paste you're feeding with. Diatoms have been known to cause problems in too high of concentrations so you'll just need to be cautious about it. Most non photosynthetic and specialized filter feeding organisms feed at a specific particle density, and higher densities (above 50,000 cells per cubic centimeter) can actually cause adverse reactions, it can "clog up" or damage the pinnules they feed with. So just be aware when target feeding to not make it too thick.
     

Share This Page

Loading...