Sea star mystery disease?

craiglanda

New member
Yesterday i looked at my girlfriends tank and noticed something kinda odd. Her sand sifting seastar was missing 2 and a half legs. It looked as though either something was eating it or it was just rotting away while still alive. the only 2 inverts in her tank that would even come to mind as a possibility of eating it is 2 little boxer crabs. I highly doubt that it was them that did the damage to the star because the day before the star had all of its appendages. Other than that the only fish in the tank are a black clownfish, a pink spot gobey, and a tiger jawfish. I dont think it is any hitchhiker that is doing this to the star either because all of her live rock came from my tank and i never had any issues with my star. So i guess it is a disease of some sort?? I then checked all the parameter and everything checks out ok. Has anyone ever seen this happen to a sand sifting sea star? The thing that is really striking me as being odd is that if it is a disease how fast it ran its coarse. two days ago the star had all of its legs and the next day two and a half have just seemed to rot off!
 

Fiziksgeek

New member
Do any aquascaping recently? Unknowingly, I once trapped a star between a couple of rocks. He broke free by loosing a couple of arms. When I saw the damage, I gave the tank a good once over and found his legs between the rocks, so I knew what had happened. We called him stumpy after that...
 

ShiftNation

New member
What size tank ? Regardless if its anything under 150 hes probably starving to death which is usually the case when they start losing legs . I swear that I dont know why stores keep selling these things . They really can strip your sandbed of a lot of beneficial microfauna .
 

seacraze

New member
I have had it happen - and was told thats the dieing process it will keep going until only the little dial body is left
 

craiglanda

New member
it was a pretty small one in a 36 gallon (was gonna move it in the 90 as it grew larger). Ihavent recently moved the aquascape around in that tank so i dont think it was from being trapped under a rock. It really looked like the tissue was rotting away. Maybe a bacterial infection?
 

rexdenton

New member
As mentioned, some crabs, are parasitic to stars, and will eat them into a slow death if there is insufficient food. I had this happen to a red star once, where a hitch hiker Stone Crab was slowly and systematically devouring my star. The crab, interestingly, was really pretty big, but so shy and nocturnal, that he was never even noticed. He finished the star off. Alternatively, it may be starving.
 

craiglanda

New member
Yeah im gonna go with starving. I just dont see it being possible that the 2 tiny crabs devoured nearly three legs in one night. As far as hitchhikers...again all the rock came from my tank and i never had any issues in my system... we noticed what looked like some sort of wierd pod that i have never seen before but again i dont think it would be possible for the star to be eaten so fast. The rest of the rock was dry base rock so that eliminates any hitchhiking predators. I just didnt think it would be able to lose nearly three arms in one night from starving to death...
 

ShiftNation

New member
They drop pretty quick once hes starving , Im almost 100 percent thats your issue . Ive seen it happen to many times .
 

craiglanda

New member
Yeah i did some more reading about it and i think you are right. someone in the inverts forum also said the same thing. I guess its kinda crazy how fast they can deteriorate. I have had my sand sifting star for over a year now and it is still doing fine. It has been with me through the move into the 90 gallon and never showed any signs of being stressed. So I always thought of them as rather easy to keep....Guess i just got lucky with mine.
 

ShiftNation

New member
Yeah sometimes they do fine in bigger tanks , but I hear that the only plus is the sandbed is very clean , to clean though as they pretty much strip most sandbeds of all microfauna .
 
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