We saltwater aquarists have a tendency to spend A LOT of money on our hobby, especially when it comes to the colorful and interesting livestock. But sometimes its what we don’t buy that ends up being more interesting, such as this little fellow right up there!
Asterina Starfish are common in saltwater aquariums, often introduced as stowaways or hitchhikers on the Live Rock we use to biologically filter our tanks. Most of them are harmless and feed on algae and detritus, but unfortunately some species do have a taste for corals and in that case need to be removed. Under some conditions they can also multiply extremely rapidly asexually through fission (Whereby the animal literally splits its oral disc in two after which each section will regenerate the missing parts) which some people find undesirable, and thus might resort to introducing a Harlequin Shrimp to cull their numbers. (Please Note! Harlequin Shrimp specialist feeders that pray exclusively upon Echinoderms, and will starve if not having access to an ample supply of starfish.)
For the most part the Asterina starfish found in aquariums are very small, usually around 1/4″ to 1/2″ in size. Measuring in at around 3/4″ makes this fellow stand apart from the norm.
Truly amazing are the things one continues to discover in a saltwater aquarium. And if you ever wondered how starfish get around? Then check out the video below. 🙂