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Sand Sifting Sea Star - Astropecten polycanthus - Sand Sifting Starfish

Sand Sifting Sea Star - Astropecten polycanthus - Sand Sifting Starfish
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Expert Only!!!
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Maximum size:
12 inches
Reef compatibility:
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Taxonomy: Sand Sifting Sea Star belongs to the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Echinodermata, Class Asteroideas, Family Astropectinidae, Genus Astropecten and Species polycanthus.

Scientific names: The scientific name of Sand Sifting Sea Star is Astropecten polycanthus.

Other common names: Sand Sifting Sea Star is also commonly known as Sand Sifting Starfish.

Origin or natural range: Astropecten polycanthus originates in the Eastern Pacific Ocean including Fiji and Tonga.

Size: Sand Sifting Sea Star may grow up to a size of around twelve inches.

Color: Astropecten polycanthus occurs in Cream, White, Tan and Brown colors.

Aggression: Sand Sifting Sea Star is non-aggressive towards the marine aquarium invertebrates.

Compatibility: Astropecten polycanthus is reef compatible.

Venom status: Sand Sifting Sea Star is non-poisonous in nature.

Habit & Habitat: Astropecten polycanthus burrows itself in sand when disturbed or when stressed and when it needs to digest its food.

Morphology: Sand Sifting Sea Star has teeth or spine like structures in lateral arrangement, running along the outer edges of its five arms. The spines help Astropecten polycanthus to perform its sand related activities such as, locomotion, burrowing and searching for its food.

Growth enabling environment in your marine aquarium: Aquarium habit & habitat:

  • Tank type: To host Sand Sifting Sea Star, you should have a well established Fish Only Marine Aquarium or a Reef Type Marine Aquarium with a water capacity of minimum eighty gallons.
  • Aquarium set-up:
  • Keep a five inches thick layer of sand in your marine aquarium.
  • Place ample sand inhabiting live marine invertebrates in your tank as food for Astropecten polycanthus.
  • Temperature of water: Seventy-two to seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Specific gravity of water: 1.023 to 1.025.
  • pH of water: 8.10 to 8.40.
  • Acclimation: Use the Slow Drip Acclimation Method to slowly acclimate Sand Sifting Sea Star to your marine aquarium’s environment. The slow acclimation process requires a minimum time period of two hours.
  • Aquarium activity:
  • Astropecten polycanthus can exhaust the food resources of its marine tank within a few weeks time from its introduction.
  • Once Sand Sifting Sea Star is through with all the food in its marine aquarium, it takes refuge under sand and dies of starvation.
  • Feeding & Nutrition:
  • Diet: Astropecten polycanthus is Carnivorous in feeding habit.
  • Food content: 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 to name some.
  • Supplements: You may supplement the diet of Sand Sifting Sea Star with the meaty bits of fish, sea urchins, shrimp, bivalves and other small sized starfish.
Breeding: Astropecten polycanthus generally does not breed in captivity.

  • Sand Sifting Sea Star ploughs the sand while searching for food in it. The search process aerates the sand well.
  • Astropecten polycanthus eats detritus and therefore prevents your marine aquarium’s water from getting contaminated by the perishable organic waste matter.
  • Astropecten polycanthus is difficult to maintain.
  • Sudden fluctuations in the pH and the temperature of your marine aquarium’s environment may give pH shock and temperature shock, respectively, to the Sand Sifting Sea Star therein.
  • Nitrates and Copper in any form in your marine tank may prove lethal for the Astropecten polycanthus in it.
  • Do not keep Puffers and Sand Sifting Sea Star in the same marine aquarium.
  • Do not expose Astropecten polycanthus to air as the sea star cannot tolerate the sudden fluctuations in the oxygen levels. Therefore, keep Sand Sifting Sea Star under water even while handling it.

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