Starfish must be one of the most unique and recognizable sea creatures known to man. Stunning in appearance, you can’t even tell if they are alive most of the time, but they’re sure intriguing to watch when they do move.
Many hobbyists enjoy adding starfish in aquariums, but here’s a fair warning: starfish are not for beginners. These creatures are very particular about water temperature and quality, so a great deal of skill and experience is required to care for them.
What can we say? Just like some other stars, they can be rather high strung and enjoy being the center of attention.
If you are a longtime hobbyist who is considering obtaining your first starfish, on the other hand, here are a few fun facts and care tips you should know.
1. Don’t let that smooth, calm, innocent demeanor fool you. Starfish will eat just about everything and destroy anything that gets in their way, including coral and even other starfish.
2. You will need a huge tank. At least 100 gallons is ideal.
3. The scientific name for the most common types of starfish (sea and cushion stars) is Asteroidea. Truly, has the scientific name of anything ever made more sense?
4. Two other types of starfish are Ophiuroidea (brittle, serpent, and basket stars) and Crinoidea (feather stars and sea lilies in the subclass Articulata).
5. Their tanks should include rock, coral, and sand, which they like to kick up and play in.
6. Some starfish will eat algae, but generally, be prepared to give them the good stuff. Even frozen fish food like clams, shrimp, or other meats might not satisfy their appetite, but you can feed them these.
7. Salinity levels should be almost untraceable. Generally, aim for 1.023 to 1.026.
8. Starfish come from the ocean, but they can be in tropical climates or arctic climates. For that reason, the temperature that starfish prefer will vary. Typically, the temperature should be between 72 and 78 degrees, but speak with our aquarium maintenance technician to determine the perfect temperature for your tank.
9. Based on a recent study, it’s dangerous if a starfish’s core rises above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. As seen during the study, to protect itself, it seemed to divert heat to its arms. If an arm stayed too warm for a few days, the arm would become soft and fall off.
10. A starfish has five eyes: one at the end of each of its arms. Talk about having eyes around your head.
11. Speaking of a head, it doesn’t actually have one. It doesn’t have a brain either.
12. Things are rather upside down and twisted in its world. Its mouth is on the underside of its body, and its bottom is on top.
13. They are covered by spiny skin.
14. A starfish has hundreds of tube feet that it uses to move around. They’re a little like suction cups on an octopus, but in a long, tubular form.
15. There are approximately 2,000 species of sea stars.
16. They do not have gills, scales, or fins, which brings us to our final facts about starfish. …
17. We’d hate to burst your bubble, but we just have to tell you this. Starfish aren’t fish at all. They’re actually called echinoderms and are related to sand dollars, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers.