Re:New. Looking for now.

Pete Giwojna

Dear addicted:

Yes, a Sand Sifting Starfish (Astropecten polyacanthus) is safe to keep with seahorses, but is not the best choice for a conventional setup. They won’t be a risk at all for your seahorses, but they do take a toll on the meiofauna in the live sand and really only do well in large tanks with fairly deep sand beds. I think the Fromia starfish I recommended will prove to be more satisfactory — they are colorful and make better display animals then a sand sifting starfish would.

I would suggest going with a thin layer of live sand as the substrate for your main tank, and a sand sifting starfish isn’t needed for such a shallow sand bed..

The depth of a shallow sand bed like this is a crucial factor. Too deep, and you risk anaerobic dead spots where deadly hydrogen sulfide gas can form. Too shallow, and there will be less surface area to support beneficial nitrifying bacteria and Nassarius snails and other beneficial burrowers may feel vulnerable and exposed. A bed of live sand between 1/2 to nomore than 1-inch deep is just right for the main tank. A properly layered Deep Live Sand Bed (DLSB) 3-6 inches deep with a full complement of sand shifters also works well with seahorses, but is best confined to a sump rather than the display tank due to the seahorse’s heavy waste production. In other words, you can minimize the buildup of detritus in the DLSB by installing it in your sump rather than the main tank.

So I would stick with a thin layer of sand in your seahorse tank, Moon Valley, and then go with one or two of the colorful Fromia starfish, rather than a sand sifter.

Best of luck with your ongoing research! It’s an excellent idea to keep track of the useful information you come across in a notebook as you do more reading and learn more about the care and keeping of seahorses.

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

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