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Sand Sifting Star (Astropecten polycanthus)

 
Cleanup crew addition.


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Searched Sand Sifting Star (Astropecten polycanthus) in Reviews
 

 

Easier to keep than most people think but does require work featured

Comments This is a relatively hardy sea star as far as water conditions are concerned. Perhaps living in the sand allows it to tolerate less than pristine conditions. However, like all sea stars it is sensitive and you can't let things get too far out of hand.

The sand sifter feeds on infauna found in the sand bed and on top of it. It isn't aggressive, as such, but will eat small crustaceans. I've never had problems with hermits, or cleaner shrimp being prey though. If you have a large and deep sand bed, say 125 gallon tank, you will probably be able to place this in your tank and forget about it as it will take care of itself. The one I have was living in just such conditions when it was given to me by a fellow reefer. He said he had it for three years and never paid any special attention to it. My tank is smaller than that, so I have to take care to make sure it eats, otherwise it will starve to death. Fortunately they will take meaty foods so can be fed. Mine is fond of mysis. Being a nocturnal species, or at least being most active at night, you will want to drop in the additional food (not too much) a little bit after lights out, when the other tank inhabitants are resting or better yet, asleep so there isn't too much competition for the food as the sand sifter isn't an aggressive eater.

The previous owner of my specimen told me it doubled in size in the three years he had it. That might be fast growth, since his tank was particularly well designed for such a creature to thrive, but you can count of decent growth which will eventually top out at one foot from arm tip to arm tip. That size can be pretty shocking, but it will take a good many years to get that large and in the average aquarium it won't ever reach it (you can expect about half that size), just interesting to know they can really grow! At that size, of course, you will need to watch out for your larger shrimp and mollusks.

Have a good sand bed, feed at night.

As with all sea stars they require a long and careful drip acclimation. Often when we introduce new arrivals to our tanks we turn the lights off to make them comfortable, in this case, leave the lights on. The sea star will burrow into the sand and remain there while the lights are on and not come out until lights out.


Liked about it 1. Affordable
2. Relatively hardy for a sea star
3. Will take supplemental feedings insuring its long term survival to the careful aquarist
4. Very interesting behavior
5. Cannot climb on rocks
6. Keeps the sand bed turned over


Didn't like 1. Must be fed in a smaller tank (under 125 gallons). Which can cause extra nutrients to enter the tank and require more frequent water changes.
2. Mostly nocturnal (though sometimes comes out at feeding time if the food is right) and remains hidden in the sand much of the time.


Overall rating:
 
5.0
Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0
Would consider buying it again:
 
5.0

By tcamos
Jun 10, 2010
 
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Don't Buy

Comments These are very hard to take care of. They need 100+ gallon tanks with a very large and deep sand bed. Many LFS and websites will tell you that they are beneficial to your clean up crew. They are not. They go through your sand bed, eat all the micro-fauna, and then starve and die. They aren't helpful and very detrimental. Do not buy them! I have been suckered into buying a couple of them, all who starved within months. They may look cool, but do not buy them.


Liked about it They look cool.


Didn't like They are very detrimental to your tank and are not helpful at all. They also almost never survive except in large tanks with deep and large sand beds.


Overall rating:
 
1.0
Overall satisfaction:
 
1.0
Would consider buying it again:
 
1.0

By wii64brawl
Mar 28, 2013
 
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Hardy and a good sand sifter!

Comments The sand sifting star is probably one of the most hardiest stars that I have ever had in my aquarium. I have never had a problem with keeping them alive and they almost always find food anywhere. The sand sifting star also looks really nice, as it makes that nice, "reef tank" look. However, my sand sifting star did eat one of my hermit crabs while the hermit crab's shell was upside down.


Liked about it 1. Nice looking star
2. A good sand sifter in addition to nassarius snails
3. a good addition to the clean up crew
4. Turns over the sand very well.
5.cheap
6. will not climb out of tank


Didn't like 1. Only eats during the night, it doesn't do anything during the day.
2. it eats my hermit crabs
3. if it dies, it will create a nitrate spike, just like most creatures in the aquarium
4. not very entertaining because of it's slow movement


Overall rating:
 
4.8
Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0
Would consider buying it again:
 
4.5

By Silentdea
Mar 20, 2011
 
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Always have a bright white sandbed!

Comments I have always had a sand shifting star in all of my aquariums.
They really do a great job keeping the sand stirred and the top layer clean!
As for color they are rather bland. Just white and gray. They grow to only about 4" across and are very hardy. Add only;y to a well established aquarium. They eat nutrients in the sand bed and a new aquarium does not have any nutrients accumulated yet.

Is taken care of these guys can live for a few years or more but are very sensitive to drastic water parameter changes.


Liked about it These guys do a great job keeping the sand clean
They are affordable at about $10 everywhere I have ever seen them.
They live a ling time I have had mine for about 3 years at the longest.


Didn't like They are not very colorful but we do not but then to entertain us they are workers.


Overall rating:
 
5.0
Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0
Would consider buying it again:
 
5.0

By ckusnierek
May 28, 2010
 
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Sand Sifter

Comments To keep a Sand Sifting Sea Star, you should have a well established Fish Only Marine Aquarium or a Reef Type Marine Aquarium with aquarium of minimum eighty gallons. Sand Sifting Sea Star eats detritus along with mainly consuming crustaceans found on the sandy bottom of the marine water bodies, such as, Amphipods, Spaghetti Worms, Copepods, and Tube Worms. They especially like to eat the microscopic critters in your sandbed. They need a sand bed of at least a couple inches. They will deplete this food source pretty quick and will need to have supplemental food source. They are are carnivorous and will readily eat what your fish eat. Parameters should be: 72-78 F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025. Sensitive to temp and salinity change. Never expose directly to the air. Do not house them with natural predators such as puffer fish.


Liked about it Sand Sifting Sea Star works the sand while searching for food in it or when stressed. The search process aerates the sand well.Keeps it nice and clean looking. Very peaceful.


Didn't like As this star grows. Which can get 12". When they resurface he sometimes upends my corals.


Overall rating:
 
5.0
Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0
Would consider buying it again:
 
5.0

By rugman7
Apr 23, 2010
 
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cleanup crew must have

Comments the sand sifting starfish is probably one of the most useful invertebrates that one could have in an aquarium. its a must have specially if you have a big sandbed, since this starfish will keep ur sand stirred and healthy. this creature is relatively easy to keep and will eat anything you throw at it, and its this reefers choice for a healthy cleanup crew


Liked about it -hardy
-easy to care for
-keeps the sanded stirred


Didn't like -can grow quite big
-will sometimes move rocks and corals
-if it dies on ur tank, the remains can cause a system crash


Overall rating:
 
4.0
Overall satisfaction:
 
4.0
Would consider buying it again:
 
4.0

By gabranth17
Jun 17, 2010
 
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