Sand Sifting Starfish (Astropecten polycanthus)
- Care Level: Easy
- Temperament: Peaceful
- Diet: Carnivore
- Reef Safe: Yes
- Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
- Maximum Size: Up to 8 inches
- Water Parameters: pH 8.1-8.4, Salinity 1.023-1.025, Temperature 72-78°F
Sand Sifting Starfish (Astropecten polycanthus) – Comprehensive Guide:
The Sand Sifting Starfish, also known as Astropecten polycanthus, is commonly found in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region. It inhabits sandy areas, where it burrows into the substrate to search for food.
The Sand Sifting Starfish is considered reef safe as it primarily feeds on detritus, uneaten food, and small organisms in the sand. It does not pose a threat to corals or other invertebrates.
Yes, the Sand Sifting Starfish is considered a beneficial reef cleaner. It helps to keep the sand bed clean by consuming organic debris and preventing the buildup of detritus. This promotes a healthier and more balanced aquarium environment.
The Sand Sifting Starfish can grow up to 8 inches in diameter. It starts off small and gradually increases in size as it matures.
There is no visible sexual dimorphism in the Sand Sifting Starfish, making it difficult to determine the gender of an individual without specialized techniques.
The average lifespan of the Sand Sifting Starfish is around 3-5 years, although with proper care, it can live longer in captivity.
Diet in Aquariums:
In aquariums, the Sand Sifting Starfish primarily feeds on detritus, uneaten food, and small organisms present in the sand. It uses its tube feet to sift through the substrate and extract food particles.
The Sand Sifting Starfish is not commonly aquacultured, but it is occasionally available to hobbyists through specialized suppliers. It is more commonly collected from the wild.
Compatibility with Tankmates:
The Sand Sifting Starfish is generally compatible with peaceful fish, invertebrates, and corals. It is a peaceful species that does not bother other tank inhabitants. However, it may accidentally disturb small or delicate organisms while sifting through the sand.
Five suitable tankmates for the Sand Sifting Starfish are:
- Clownfish: They are hardy and peaceful fish that can coexist with the starfish without any issues.
- Snails: Snails help with algae control and do not compete with the starfish for food.
- Hermit Crabs: They scavenge for food and occupy different areas of the aquarium, minimizing competition.
- Gobies: Gobies are small, peaceful fish that can cohabitate with the starfish and help keep the sand bed clean.
- Soft Corals: Certain species of soft corals can be kept alongside the starfish, as they are not at risk of being disturbed by its activities.
The Sand Sifting Starfish has a peaceful temperament and does not display aggressive behavior towards other tank inhabitants. It spends most of its time sifting through the sand in search of food.
Other Common Names:
The Sand Sifting Starfish is also known as the Sand Starfish or the Sand Dollar Starfish.
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Popular Questions and Answers:
Q: Can the Sand Sifting Starfish be kept in a reef tank?
A: Yes, the Sand Sifting Starfish is reef safe and can be kept in a reef tank without causing harm to corals or other invertebrates.
Q: How often should I feed my Sand Sifting Starfish?
A: The Sand Sifting Starfish primarily feeds on detritus and small organisms in the sand. It does not require regular feeding, as it will find enough food in a well-established aquarium. However, you can supplement its diet with occasional feedings of meaty foods like shrimp or fish if desired.
Q: Will the Sand Sifting Starfish reproduce in my aquarium?
A: While it is possible for Sand Sifting Starfish to reproduce in captivity, it is relatively rare. The conditions required for successful reproduction are difficult to replicate in a home aquarium.
Q: Can I keep multiple Sand Sifting Starfish in the same tank?
A: It is generally not recommended to keep multiple Sand Sifting Starfish in the same tank, as they may compete for food and territory. It is best to provide each starfish with enough space to sift through the sand and find food.
Q: How should I acclimate my Sand Sifting Starfish to my aquarium?
A: When introducing a Sand Sifting Starfish to your aquarium, it is important to acclimate it slowly to prevent stress. Float the bag containing the starfish in the aquarium for about 15-20 minutes to allow the temperature to equalize. Then, gradually add small amounts of aquarium water to the bag over a period of 30-45 minutes. Finally, use a net to transfer the starfish from the bag to the aquarium, avoiding any sudden changes in water parameters.