I found another tenant in the aquarium this weekend.  A very small starfish.  I think he’s about a quarter inch across.  He is blue, with five tiny legs.  He’s right about in the middle of the picture below, on the lip of the large shell.

Tiny Blue Starfish

Tiny Blue Starfish

If you look closely at the picture above, you’ll also notice a number of white splotches in the Coraline algae.  For months, that’s been perfectly pink. But now, that shell has a number of tiny white splotches where the Coraline algae was eaten.  Now, who could be doing that?  Oddly, the spots are kind of pentagon shaped, and similar in size to the starfish.  Coincidence?

I didn’t think so either…

Although starfish are very cute, and do like to eat algae, not all are considered reef safe.  We had a Chocolate Chip Starfish with the original fish only version of the aquarium.  He was a very good-looking invertebrate, and Mrs Salty Geek would love to have one again.  But, Chocolate Chip Starfish will often eat corals.  So, I don’t plan on getting another one.

There are reef safe starfish as well.  My favorite fish store has some small red starfish that we may buy at some point.  I’m told they are reef safe.  I don’t know if it would eat Coraline algae, however.

I haven’t positively identified the starfish above.  All I know is, it is blue and seems to eat Coraline algae.  Since I knew that some starfish will eat corals, I decided that this starfish had to go.

Now, I was intending on just throwing the starfish, and two other even smaller starfish I noticed on the same shell, in the garbage.  But, Governor Mrs Salty Geek decided to give the three starfish a pardon.  So, the tiny starfish went into a small Ziplock bag along with some aquarium water.  We were already planning to go to the ocean that day, so the starfish came along with us.  I don’t know if this starfish can survive in the cold Pacific Ocean at Carmel, California.  But, they have a better chance than they would have at the garbage dump.

I’d like to say this is the last I’ll see of the starfish, but more than likely there are lots more of the tiny invertebrates in the aquarium.  If all they eat is Coraline algae, that wouldn’t be so bad.  I’ll just have to keep an eye out for them.  I’ll be watching corals closely, looking for brown spots.  Or, of course, starfish actually on the coral.

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