Large linkia Q's..potential xmas gift


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I got a gift certificate to my LFS from my sister (wahoo!!) and told her she needed to come with me to pick out the coral she liked best. Turns out she spent an hour in the store and already knew she wanted me to get this large purple linkia they have. It's maybe 5-6" across, from tip to tip. I've seen it there before and it looks to be in good shape so far. I've already got a little blue one in my tank at home, and it's been doing fine for the several months I've had it.

So my question to you all is, are there any special concerns about the starfish given it's size? Will it be any more or less prone to acclimation problems? And since it's so big, will I need to directly feed it? And if so, how and with what. I don't currently feed the little blue guy. I don't have much for algae in my tank, macro or micro...just diatoms. But do dose with DT's every other day and tend to feed the fish heavily (frozen bs and OSI flakes).

Any and all opinions welcome, as well as any other words of advice regarding having a large starfish and lots of rocks in a glass box :). It's an incredibly beautiful creature, but I'd hate to bring it home only to kill it.
michelle ~ linckia stars dont get much larger than the one you see at the lfs & are "considered a good choice for reef tanks. linckia species seem to feed on algae, detritus, & microbes on the rocks & sand" (as per Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Fenner). two blue linckia stars would probably be fine in a well-established at-least-50gallon tank with a live sand bed & live rock. ive got a sand-sifting sea star who nearly ate himself out of home; began to starve & dropped two legs, so i started feeding him DTs phytoplankton concentrate (squirted underneath him w/a pipette) & frozen mysis shrimp. lesson about the quick depletion of LSB learned the hard way (starfish still recovering). the good news for you is that linckias are a much better choice than sand-sifters. ive also got a HUGE black spiny brittle star, at least 6 inches across, who i feed by hand (1/2-cubes of various frozen foods/wkly) due to her large size. i love my brittle star ! what about compromising since you've already got a blue linckia & getting a (black, not reef-unfriendly green) brittle (aka 'serpent') star? a good way to test the strength of any seastar (while at the LFS) is to flip it on its back - if it flips back over within a minute & all else looks good, it's most likely healthy.
...this is my limited knowledge/exp. w/starfish; try a linckia article search too & get a few opinions on having multiple specimens in a single tank. hth ~ robin
Hello Michelle,
Here's my concern:

That the not-so-wee purple beastie ISN'T a Linckia at all. Some so-called "Purple Linckias" for sale are actually the faster-moving, more aggressively-predatory, orange-tube-footed

Tamaria stria

Unlike the sluggish, glop-and-algal-slime-eating true Linckias, T. stria is less than benign when hungry, and can go snacking on any soft corals, molluscs, etc. It is best provided with food to keep it from giving tankmates unwanted attention.

A true Linckia has gazillions (my technical term) of clear-white tube-feet under/within each arm to crawl with, and it moves very slowly. It's prolly important to I.D. your potential purchase positively, and you can look up pictures on the net to get a better idea.

Whichever it is, you already know to acclimate it carefully. But IME, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" sadly applies to stars. The very small ones seem to tolerate an environmental beating better than the larger ones, so take extra care with Mr. Big.

hth, happy holidays, and good luck,

come visit!


[Edited by horge on 12-26-2000 at 07:30 AM]
Thanks folks - great advice from you both :)

Robin - I actually have 2 large black brittle stars. They came in on the LR (completely creeping me out at the time :)) and have been doing great for most of a year now. I also have 2 large pinkish serpent stars who are also doing well. All of the above get silversides about 2x/week with the anemones. Thanks for the advice on how to feed them..the linkia I have is pretty non-reactive to food I try to give it, unlike the serpents and brittles. My tank is a 90g with gobs of LR, and will be upgrading to a 120 w/sump and refugium sometime this coming month. Excellent advice about flipping it over. Will definitely do that and see what happens.

Horge - Thanks for the warning - I wasn't aware that there was a similar predatory seastar out there. While I can't swear to it (but will definitely check) I don't believe it has orange feet. I think when I saw it it was walking along the front glass of the tank and had white/clear feet. Haven't been able to find any pictures, or other info for that matter, on the net regarding the Tamaria. But orange feet sound pretty distinctive.

Will be heading out to the LFS today, so will find out if it's worth trying to bring home, assuming it's even still there.

Thanks again!!
A quick FYI...

A quick FYI...

Just got back from the LFS. The purple seastars they had turned out to have orange feet, so I passed on them :(. Instead, picked up a beautiful white pipe organ on a rock about the size of a softball.

Thanks again Horge - you saved my coral's butts! :D
I hate to disagree with Beanbrrd, but I believe Linckia stars (at least the blue ones) get bigger than 5-6". A lot bigger! I've seen them in a LFS at least 12"-15" and they may grow bigger than this size. I believe Biogeek said as much in one of his famous posts on Aqualink some months ago. IME they grow very slowly--mine hasn't grown noticeably in over a year--but I've seen the big ones so I know it will be bigger in years to come.