Why can't I keep Blue starfish?

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If attempts at keeping these lovely starfish in your reef tank end in failure, what could be the cause? Nick Jones has some advice.

Blue Linkia sea stars can suffer for several reasons. Firstly if your star isn’t lasting more than a few weeks it’s probably due to incorrect acclimation. All echinoderms are extremely sensitive to changes in salinity and require a long dripping off process to get the water it arrives in to the same salinity to your aquarium, this can take up to as long as five or more hours. If your star begins to lose legs or fall apart this is sure sign of salinity shock.

Linkia require a lot of rockwork to survive long term, at least 100 kilos per star.  No one is exactly sure what they eat but they get their nutrition from something on the rocks themselves, possibly bacteria or detritus, but whatever it is it’s the amount of live rock that keeps them alive.

This item was first published in the November 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping. It may not be reproduced without written permission.