Red Fromia starfish
Written by Dan
The Red Fromia Starfish is a striking addition to any tank but is often a casualty of owner knowledge insufficiency. In this article we cover some key points you will want to be mindful of so yours lives as long as possible.
What this article covers
- Where is the Red Fromia Starfish Found?
- Are Red Fromia Starfish reef safe?
- What do Red Fromia Starfish eat?
- Acclimating Red Fromia Starfish
- What type of behavior can you expect from a Red Fromia Starfish?
- How do Red Fromia Starfish reproduce?
- What are some good Tank Mates for the Red Fromia Starfish?
- What is the Lifespan of a Red Fromia Starfish?
- What Tank size is recommended for this fish?
- Color Variation
- Signs your Red Starfish may be dying
|Minimum Tank Size||Opinions Vary, See below|
|Water Conditions||Temp 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025|
|Max Size||6 inches|
|Natural Habitat||Indo-Pacific and other varied tropical locations|
|Scientific Name||Fromia milleporella|
Red Fromia Starfish, Red Starfish, Black spotted starfish, Black spotted red starfish
Where is the Red Fromia Starfish Found?
The Red Starfish is found in many ocean regions. They are most common to the Indo-West Pacific waters from Madagascar to the Red Sea. They are also known to inhabit waters near Sri Lanka, Bay of Bengai, China, Japan, Northern Australia, Philippines, and Maldives.
It can readily be found at depths ranging from a few inches to about 220 feet. You will commonly find these around coral inhabited areas.
Are Red Fromia Starfish reef safe?
Yes, the Black Spotted Starfish (Red Fromia) is reef safe. It is not known to cause issues with most tank inhabitants. When these become sick or start to die it is recommended that you remove them from your tank and quarantine them, especially in a small tank. This really applies to any dying or dead creature in your tank though.
The quote below comes from a forum thread where several reef keepers were discussing and documenting their experience with keeping this sea star. It was a follow up to his description of losing his newly added Red Star after just a couple days.
..I”ll add one last note. A dying sea star is not a good thing for your tank. Despite ’emergency nano procedures’, I lost about 30% of my zoos…closed up and never reopened. SH – steelhealr
What do Red Fromia Starfish eat?
This unfortunately, is what makes keeping these starfish such a crap shoot. They are by all accounts omnivore. But no one can really pinpoint a specific diet to help keep them alive and healthy.
They have been documented to eat algae film, sponges, asternias, and detritus. I have heard of people spot feeding them flake food also.
Most accounts indicate that it takes a while to begin noticing that the star is dying of starvation. It is most likely that these feed on a microorganism as its primary food source. These microorganisms will be found in established tanks. This means that the more established your tank the better, and that overtime if the tank cannot sustain the population of these microorganisms, your star will in turn run out of food and starve despite your efforts.
Acclimating Red Fromia Starfish
These starfish seem to be even more susceptible to stress caused by moving from tank to tank than other invertebrates and special care should be taken when acclimating.
Like all invertebrates a long drip acclimation is recommended. I would actually recommend letting these drip for 3-4 hours if possible rather than the customary 2 hour drip.
To perform a drip acclimation setup a bucket or bowl housing the star in the water it came in but with enough room for a good bit of water to be added. Take water from your tank and slowly drip it into the bucket. This causes the water parameters in the bucket to gradually match the water in your tank. Allow them to drip for a couple hours to be safe.
There are several ways to drip water from one tank to the other. You can purchase specialized drip hose clamps which have a clamp, which crimps down on a hose reducing the possible flow. These are good to easily allow multiple drip speeds.
If you don’t have one, a great DIY option is to tie a knot in one end of an air hose. Place the other end in your tank and start a siphon. You can tighten or loosen the knot control your drip speed.
When moving the star to your tank, it is best to do so without fully removing it from the water. Place the bag or bucket into the tank and allow the star to enter the tank w/out being exposed to air.
What type of behavior can you expect from a Red Fromia Starfish?
Like most starfish, these will roam all over the tank. You will find them on your rock, glass, and even filter equipment and overflow boxes.
Since they are also constantly on the hunt for food and do not have eyes, other than their light sensing eye spots, they can end up hiding from you in your rock work at times as they search for food.
How do Red Fromia Starfish reproduce?
Red Fromia Starfish do not typically reproduce in aquariums. Possibly because the short life span in captivity or that keeping a mated pair is hard since identifying the sex of specimens is not easy via a visual inspection.
Some species of starfish have been documented to reproduce with a mated pair. The female releases eggs and the male inseminates them. Chocolate chip Star Fish do this. Others like the Three & Three starfish will divide in half and each half will continue on as a separate creature.
If you have had any luck breeding these starfish, please share your experience in the comments section below.
What are some good Tank Mates for the Red Fromia Starfish?
Let’s rule out the obvious bad tank mates like Harley Quinn, I mean Harlequin Shrimp. Outside of that its fair game. Just be mindful of any predatory fish in your tank. All fish are different, and some are just flat out bullies, so we always have to be mindful of that.
Fish such as puffers and trigger fish that are known to harass tank mates and nip at them should also be avoided or at least monitored very carefully at first to see if there is any harassment going on.
What is the Lifespan of a Red Fromia Starfish?
For a lot of aquarists these barley make it a week. That is due to poor acclimation processes and bad handling by the fish store and distributors they get them from. Be careful when picking your new critter. Look for ones that are climbing and moving around.
It is very easy to spend 30 plus minutes at the fish store. Walk by the tank that has the sea star you are interested in several times during your visit and see if you notice it moving around and in different spots. An active sea star will move around the tank a good bit.
When you make it past the initial acclimation you can expect these to survive about a year, or just under. The largest contributor to this short life expectancy is starvation. The larger the tank the better. More rockwork, more glass, more algae, and more microorganisms all add up to a better chance for these to survive.
How long have yours lived? Let me know in the comments .
What Tank size is recommended for this fish?
I have seen online fish stores say as little as 10 gallons. Because of the tendency of these to die off due to starvation though, I personally say 60 gallons minimum. And I would not recommend keeping them with other starfish who may compete for food unless you giving them each about 40 – 60 gallons worth of tank to sustain a food source for them along with what you add to the tank.
Typically these sea star will be all red with tones of black dots over the top. Some will have that same body with black tips on the ends of their legs
Signs your Red Starfish may be dying
Many starfish have a tendency to begin to dissolve when they die. Most people who have experienced this in their tank describe it as looking like the sea star is dissolving. This is a common thing with Fromia also and is a sign that you should quarantine your star.
To conclude, these are a very striking addition to your tank. There are not many reef safe species that have a true red color and similar hue of the Red Starfish Fromia. Take extra time and be careful when acclimating them. Try to spot feed when possible and give them a large enough environment for a natural food source to grow for them and you will be happy.
What is your experience with this starfish? Let me know in the comments below.