How do you know when a starfish is dead?

schlitz

Member
I ordered a red starfish from liveaquaria and it arrived on Tuesday. I acclimated it and gently placed it on a rock. Since then it has moved only a few inches and some of the arms are curling upward. Is it dead? Should I remove it? The fish and crabs have not bothered it at all.
 

swordtail123

Member
you might want to touch it but be careful because if it has very delicate skin then you shouldn't
 
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ryanr

Moderator
Member
Hi, sorry you're having trouble with your seastar.

Have you checked your parameters?
Does the system have a protein skimmer? (helps oxygenate the water) - stars are sensitive to water parameters and oxygen levels.
Was the star exposed to air? Many believe sea stars should never be exposed to air, especially those that live deeper on the reef.

On to the positives:
Not all stars move a lot, and if there is a lot of algae in the tank, it may have found a spot it likes.
The curling legs - could be a sign of feeding, or looking for food. If there is minimal algae, you can try broadcast feeding mysis shrimp, and also target feeding with thawed mussel, prawn, maybe norI To target feed a star, place the food under it's centre, or very close to it.

Note: I don't have direct experience with stars, but the above seems to be common consensus amongst those that do (within various reefing communities).
 

windy

Member
When putting a star in the tank you should place it in upside down ( if exposed to the air) this helps the star to expel any air that has gotten inside of it. they are very capable of turning themselves over. has there been any change in the stars coloring? if not then I would let him be for now. check your water parameters as well. I also recommend drip acclimating stars slowly.
Have you checked your parameters?
Does the system have a protein skimmer? (helps oxygenate the water) - stars are sensitive to water parameters and oxygen levels.
very much agree^^
 
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schlitz

Member
Thanks for the responses. I did drop acclimate and he was not exposed to air. I do have a protein skimmer. His bright red color has not changed. What has concerned me the most is that I do not see his tiny "legs" moving at all. The rock he is on does have some algae. My parameters are good except my nitrates were a little high so I did a water change yesterday.

I guess for now I will let him be. I just didn't want to harm the rest of my tank if he is dead.
 
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ryanr

Moderator
Member
It's often a game of patience.
Marine specimens don't always like being handled and moved. Stress is one of the biggest issues to overcome.

Give it some time, keep an eye on your star, maintain excellent water quality, and hopefully everything will be ok.
 

windy

Member
If he dies believe me you will know it, they decompose very quickly, by the description you gave I am assuming you have a red Linkia star? hopefully this link works it's a good article on the Red Linkia. I have kept red, blue, and purple they are amazing stars. hope yours is doing better after a little more time in the tank
 
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schlitz

Member
He still doesn't seem to be moving. His "center" is sometimes off the rock and sometimes on the rock. Sometimes his arms are curled and sometimes they are not. However, he hasn't traveled. That aside, he is still bright red and has not shown any other discoloration or decomposition. Thanks for the quick responses b/c I was close to just removing him from the tank b/c I was afraid a dead starfish would harm my other fish.
 
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ryanr

Moderator
Member
Sounds like your star is fine.

As I said, not all stars move a lot, and it may have found a spot it likes. The curling is likely feeding. Given the colour is still full and bright, I don't think you have anything to worry about
 
  • Thread Starter

schlitz

Member
Happy to report that my star moved from the rock to the glass. He tends to find one spot and then hang out there for several days but he looks cool.
On a different note, I found my sandsifting star on the glass the yesterday. I have never seen him leave the bottom. He quickly moved back to the sand and buried himself once I turned on the light.
 
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ryanr

Moderator
Member
Good to hear.

It's interesting what occurs at night in the reef. There's so much nocturnal activity that we rarely see.
 

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