How to get rid of Asterina Starfish

blstravler

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You can also use a nordoa starfish. Their main diet is the small asternias.........you will run into the same issue with harlequins that once the stars are gone it will die of starvation.
ohhh there is a way to keep them alive...

481DC409-1090-4AC2-9268-38043BE804B4.jpeg

People usually just feel bad sacrificing a star every 4 weeks or so.
 
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rc1626

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I have them bad in my 120. I purchased a single harlequin shrimp over the summer and from what I can see it has not even put a dent into the asterina population I have. Going to start manually removing to see if that helps.
 

carmodpg

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They’ll always turn up immediately after the lights go off for the night. Best time to catch them (IMO) is right before (or very close to after) the lights turn on in the morning.
I’ve seen a couple on some zoas that weren’t happy, but I can’t say they were the problem and not me since I usually let them stick around for months before I think twice.
 

Jet915

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I had a decent population if asterina in my 100 gallon and they were definitely eating zoas. I got a harlequin shrimp, its been about 6 months and my population has dropped but not completely gone which im fine with.

20190914_201317.jpg
 

Marie7

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I've been at it for a while, but I've decimated them with a pair of forceps and patience. I just pull them out whenever I see them, and vacuum up stragglers when I clean the sump. I've pulled out over 400 of them during the last 6-8 months, and now I can go days without seeing one.

I think you could control them with a little elbow grease and without adding additional inhabitants to the tank.
Agree on this one, it's the most natural and safe way to do, I even enjoying pulling them out of my tank, at one point I had to many suddenly but i took my tweezers and pull one by one, this days I hardly see any on my tank but as soon I identify one boom it's out! Good Luck
 

Ben Pedersen

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Personally I've had light colored, dark colored and even reddish colored asterina devouring zoas. I believe seeing how many differences members have experienced shows that no one can tell the good from bad asterina. (Asterinidae) typically are herbivores but members of the asterina family are impossible to identify to a species level. Asterina is a family, not a species so there are many among them. Here's a small group of starfish from the asterina family just to give an idea how hard it is to identify good or bad.
Screenshot_20191108-075702_Chrome.jpg
In my experience, all shown above are bad/ coral eating. The only ones that do not eat coral are the solid white or very light gray.
 

gregzz4

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2 tanks ago I bought a pair of harlequin shrimp. They decimated my asterina stars within a month. Then I had to sell them.

Deal with whatever is feeding your stars after you remove them as obviously they are eating something
 

90's reefer

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Had not seen any in my new 120. Saw a few on the glass and sump.
Removes them whenever I saw them.
Just noticed some spots of coralline missing.
Looked closer and its the asterinas.
You will see them at night for sure.
I removed hundreds out of my nano.
I dont think you can ever remove all by hand. Its hard to get in the rock and behind it.
Guess I may have to get a shrimp to do the job.
I have a cleaner and fire shrimp currently. Any issues with the Harlequin shrimp.
 
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Timfish

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Asterinas are more correctly scavengers from what I've seen. The same ones on the glass and rocks in my display tanks are the same ones on the glass and rocks in my cryptic sumps. ANd when there's problems, as there will be periodicly with systems that are decades old, they're the same ones cleaning up comprimised corals. Like this system for example, they've leave the zoas alone for years, then there's a temp, alk, lighting or some other disruption and they'll start climbing over the zoas and when the system stabilizes they crawl back to the glass. From what I've seen it looks to me like they're very helpfull in helping control some of the issues with comprimised holobionts in the surface mucus layer of corals and are unfairly blamed for a problem they helping to take care of.

 

Timfish

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It's been well documented (not just by hobbyist) that starfish of the asterina family are in fact coral eaters and not just zoas. While there are herbivorous ones, there are too many to identify good from bad.
If you're including all the species in the genus Asterina you're absolutely right. But if we look at the taxonomy and the reproductive biology, since the starfish we're discussing readily reproduce by splitting (fissiparous) it's more likely we're dealing with species from the genus Aquilonastra not Asterina and it's not clear at all from the research I've found Aquilonastra eat more than algal and bacterial mats.

Since I first read a report in FAMA 2 decades of half a dozen asterina killing a 6" diameter coral overnight I've been dubious. It seemed to me they were guilty by association. I have seen them on every genus of coral I keep and from my experiences in multiple systems a long time ago I came to the conclusion if they're crawling on corals there's something else going on. Since then with the research going on showing how there can be dramatic shifts in the coral's SML and holobiont long before there's any change in the apperrance (change in coloration or polyp extension) just reinforces my belief they are beneficial and might even be used as an indicator there might be something else going on.

My advice to any one who's got "asterinas" is pay attention to them and don't automaticely assume they're killing a coral.
 

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So aqualionastra is the only species that reproduce that way? I get your point but when members including myself have witnessed it first hand, it really does happen. Like I said, plenty of documented information by biologists out there. Also, I agree, not every asterina eats coral, it's impossible to distinguish good from bad.
 
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I feel like the hobby has gone way too far in the direction of "when in doubt, pull it out."
I agree with this, a lot of threads with members removing beneficial worms, etc, that are critical to the biodiversity of a tank. I don't think all asterina are bad, I just know one can't tell if they have a coral eater so use caution.
 

ScottB

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I've been at it for a while, but I've decimated them with a pair of forceps and patience. I just pull them out whenever I see them, and vacuum up stragglers when I clean the sump. I've pulled out over 400 of them during the last 6-8 months, and now I can go days without seeing one.

I think you could control them with a little elbow grease and without adding additional inhabitants to the tank.
I agree. I'd let mine get way out of control and they started munching Rastas and Tubbs. Of course they never bothered the no-name zoa that is all over the bottom half of the tanks.

Couldn't do the harlequin shrimp as I have other sea stars. Never thought I could get them knocked back but sure enough: Long tweezers, 1/2hr a night, 50-80 each night, maybe 5-6 nights. Done.
 

Lovemyreef2015

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If you're including all the species in the genus Asterina you're absolutely right. But if we look at the taxonomy and the reproductive biology, since the starfish we're discussing readily reproduce by splitting (fissiparous) it's more likely we're dealing with species from the genus Aquilonastra not Asterina and it's not clear at all from the research I've found Aquilonastra eat more than algal and bacterial mats.

Since I first read a report in FAMA 2 decades of half a dozen asterina killing a 6" diameter coral overnight I've been dubious. It seemed to me they were guilty by association. I have seen them on every genus of coral I keep and from my experiences in multiple systems a long time ago I came to the conclusion if they're crawling on corals there's something else going on. Since then with the research going on showing how there can be dramatic shifts in the coral's SML and holobiont long before there's any change in the apperrance (change in coloration or polyp extension) just reinforces my belief they are beneficial and might even be used as an indicator there might be something else going on.

My advice to any one who's got "asterinas" is pay attention to them and don't automaticely assume they're killing a coral.
When most people say asterina starfish they are talking about the whole family of Asterinidae. I would love to see the documentation you have that proves that only the species in the genus Aquilonastra eats coral and reproduces by splitting (fissiparous). Because as far as I'm aware that even the scientists that study these stars have a difficult time identifying them down to a species level without the proper microscope and documentation from previous studies. I agree that not all of them in the family Asterinidae eat coral, but there are to many "Species" in question to properly ID and once the population gets to large it is harder to resolve. The OP has the option to either take the advice and remove them or keep them.
 

eschaton

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When most people say asterina starfish they are talking about the whole family of Asterinidae. I would love to see the documentation you have that proves that only the species in the genus Aquilonastra eats coral and reproduces by splitting (fissiparous). Because as far as I'm aware that even the scientists that study these stars have a difficult time identifying them down to a species level without the proper microscope and documentation from previous studies. I agree that not all of them in the family Asterinidae eat coral, but there are to many "Species" in question to properly ID and once the population gets to large it is harder to resolve. The OP has the option to either take the advice and remove them or keep them.
I think his point is most species in the genus Asterina aren't reef starfish. They're coldwater species in the Atlantic, and significantly larger than the little starfish we find in our tanks (though small for starfish). In contrast Aquilonastra tend to be very small and have a lot of reef species.
 
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