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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I lost a squamosa clam for no apparent reason :confused: I see several mini stars on the shell of my big clam and I am wondering if they are known predators or what?? I have been losing clams over the past several months and I thought it was from bristleworms when they were dieing in my seahorse tank. They probably did die from bristles in that tank but now this one died in my big tank like overnight!! I saw it at 10pm and it was perfectly fine by 9am this morning all closed up and shrunken in its shell. I am not happy!! :mad: All I noticed were these mini stars on the shells of the clams. Has this happened to anyone else? Carrie
 

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Neither bristleworms or mini stars kill clams.

What is your lighting like? How long have you had these clams? How big were they? What are your parameters? Have you checked for pyramid snails? Are these clams from a common source?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Parameters and lighting are good, and yes I checked for pyramid snails. I always thought bristleworms were ok too, until I had an overabundance of them and they definately will start eating the foot and eventually kill a clam if they get big enough and hungry enough. I know most books say they are ok but I found out the hard way they arent. They are not a problem in my big tank so I dont know what may have killed this particular clam, unless the huge clam shaded it-I just dont know.
 

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If they were eating the foot your clam was in trouble. Amphinomids find their food by smell. They have no way to recognize a clam as food unless it smells dead.
 

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I lost a squamosa clam for no apparent reason :confused: I see several mini stars on the shell of my big clam and I am wondering if they are known predators or what?? I have been losing clams over the past several months and I thought it was from bristleworms when they were dieing in my seahorse tank. They probably did die from bristles in that tank but now this one died in my big tank like overnight!! I saw it at 10pm and it was perfectly fine by 9am this morning all closed up and shrunken in its shell...
Hi Carrie, neither the ministars nor the bristleworms are problems for the clams, although if the clam dies, they will eat the dead tissue until there is nothing left but the shell. These creatues act to clean up dead tissue in the system and usually locate their food items by the presence of decompositional byprducts like putrescene, amino acids, DOC's, etc. in the water column. The mini brittle stars generally are film and detritus feeders, and they will clean up protein films and particulates from the death of the clam, as will most oppertunistic omnivores including hermit and other crabs, polycheates, many species of omnivorous snails (Nerites and Ceriths, for example) and many Class Ophiuroidea brittle stars over the entire range of sizes including the mini stars.

Their specialized feeding apparati prevent anything much larger than particulates from being ingeseted. Unlike sea stars, a brittle star doesn't have a groove on the underside of its rays (arms). Their tube feet emerge from holes between the ossicles (bony plates of the dermis) in the arms. These wipe off food particles stuck on the hooked or mucous-coated spines, or collect particles off the substrate (occasionally suspended particulates from the water column in some spp.), and pass these on to the central mouth. Other brittle stars are omnivo9rous carnivores that use their arms to sweep amphipods and other microbenthic creatures to their central os. There are others that feed by using their "lantern of Aristotle" to grind food off hard or semi-hard substrates to use the tube feet near their mouth to gather lose detrital materialis. Some brittle stars use their tube feet as sensory organs to sense chemicals released by their food items. Unlike sea stars, the digestive system of brittle stars doesn't extend into their arms. Like the feeding apparatus of the urchins, the Lantern of Aristotle is a single opening for both intake and export of food items, consisting of a circle of five large toothed plates that meet in the middle driven by the surrounding oral musculature. Unlike sea urchins, the jaws cannot be extended outwards to do much more than pull some materiai off hard substrates.


Hope this clarifies the issue, these creturese do not aggressively attack living organisms much larger than microcrustaceans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What about ministars that arent bristlestars? These are white with pinkish body, they are small but fat, are these harmful?
Carrie
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, some of them got a little chopped on by the pump but for the most they are five stars.
 

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Are you referring to Asternia Stars Carrie?
 

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Many species of bittle stars...



probably Ophiactis sp. courtesy Ryan Detzel.

This six armed specie of mini brittle star often has banded arms which are only apparent in an aboral view of the specimenm and can often be seen extending arms from the surface of live rock into the current to filter feed on suspended materials. A very Kewl acquisition, I am searching my files for a pic of the seastars feeding from the edge of a sponge. Note that the sea star is regenerating new arms from the oral disc that hae been lost to either accidental trauma, escape mechanism, or predation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great, these are the red speckled asterinas which are coral predators. I thought they were cute so I got a bunch of them from Mike. I have a bunch of them now :arg: I suppose I will be getting several harlequins but I will have to do some research on them also. Thanks for all the info and links!! Carrie
 

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I thought they were cute so I got a bunch of them from Mike. I have a bunch of them now :arg: I suppose I will be getting several harlequins but I will have to do some research on them also. Thanks for all the info and links!! Carrie[/quote]



Were you told that they are reef safe?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No, he just said they were all over his fuge and they would make it into his tank from time to time. He hates zoos so maybe they eat them and he didnt care about it?? Or I have been told that some of the asterinas are harmless but these have the red/pinkish center and are not safe apparently. I have pulled about 50 out and still have more.
 
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