The Sand Sifting Sea Star, also known as the Starry Sea Star or Astropecten polycanthus, is a popular invertebrate among marine aquarists due to its ability to help maintain a healthy sandbed in the aquarium. Here is an overview of the Sand Sifting Sea Star.
The Sand Sifting Sea Star has a distinctive star shape and can vary in color from tan to light brown. It has a central disk with five arms that are covered in short spines. The underside of the arms has tube feet that are used to move along the substrate.
As its name suggests, the Sand Sifting Sea Star is a natural burrower and sifts through the substrate for food. It feeds on detritus, uneaten food, and other organic matter that collects in the sandbed. This behavior helps to keep the sandbed clean and prevents the buildup of harmful bacteria.
The Sand Sifting Sea Star is generally peaceful and can be kept with other invertebrates and small fish. However, it may prey on small snails and other small crustaceans.
The Sand Sifting Sea Star requires a sandbed of at least 2 inches in depth to allow it to burrow and sift through the substrate. It is also important to provide plenty of hiding places in the aquarium as it may become stressed if it does not have a place to retreat to.
The Sand Sifting Sea Star is hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water parameters, but it prefers a pH of 8.1-8.4, a salinity of 1.024-1.026, and a temperature of 72-78°F.
The Sand Sifting Sea Star is a scavenger and will feed on detritus, uneaten food, and other organic matter in the sandbed. It does not require supplemental feeding in most cases.
Overall, the Sand Sifting Sea Star is a low-maintenance and beneficial invertebrate that can help maintain a healthy sandbed in a reef aquarium.