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How to Care for African Starfish
written by Dave Burr
A good choice for a peaceful community aquarium, but not for a reef aquarium. The African Starfish may eat corals, clams, sponges, anemones and ornamental invertebrates. It is one of the easier starfish to keep and can do very well in established aquariums when provided with live rock and live sand to forage through. Maintaining proper pH, Ca, Alk, & Mg levels is important for starfish.
Predators: Triggers and puffers may pick on African Starfish. More than one individual may be kept in larger aquariums of 80 gallons or more.
Feeding: Provide the African Starfish with bits of meaty foods such as chopped shrimp, clams, or silversides. It will also scavenge the aquarium for bits of food missed by the fish.
Acclimation: Take the time to do a drip acclimation with any starfish as they do not tolerate rapid changes in water chemistry very well.
Care Level: Moderate
Reef Compatible: Not good in reef aquariums
Range: Indonesia, Africa, Maldives
Water Conditions: 75-80° F; sg 1.024-1.026 (1.025 is ideal); pH 8.1-8.4 Ca 420-440 ppm, Alk 8-9.5 dKH, Mg 1260-1350, Nitrates <10ppm, Phosphates < .10ppm
Water Chemistry: It is important that proper calcium (420-440 ppm), alkalinity (8-9.5 dkh - run it 7-8 if you are carbon dosing) , and magnesium levels (1260-1350 ppm) are maintained. Raising magnesium levels gradually up to 1400-1600 ppm can help to combat algae outbreaks, just keep CA and Alk in line as you raise the Mg. Nitrates should be below 10 ppm and phosphates should be below .10 ppm. We recommend doing a water change when Nitrate levels rise to 10 ppm. It is important to replace your phosphate media when phosphates rise to .10 ppm. Media Reactors make the most efficient use of your phosphate media by fluidizing it.
Dosing: Vivid Aquariums uses and recommends dosing pumps to automate the dosing of additives and keep your levels more constant. A dosing pump can alleviate the chore of manually dosing your aquarium with Ca, Alk, & Mg 2,3, or 4 times per week and will benefit your aquarium by keeping your levels constant through frequent small additions of Ca, Alk, & Mg. Our tanks all progressed when we switched from 3 manual dosings per week to 70 automatic dosings per week and we got a lot more work done.