Red African Starfish (Protoreaster linckii)
Max Size: 1 foot
Reef Compatible: No
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
The Red Knob Sea Star, also known as the Red Spine Star, African Sea Star, and Red-knobbed Starfish, displays a distinct appearance with its thick, gray body adorned by multiple bright red tubercles extending upward along each of its five arms. These tubercles are connected by red stripes, creating an intricate grid-like pattern on its back. This species is commonly found in shallow tidal pools and reefs up to 100 feet deep in the Indian Ocean.
For optimal care, the Red Knob Sea Star requires a spacious aquarium with plenty of live rock. When small, it will primarily feed on algae. However, as it grows older, it becomes unsuitable for a reef tank as it tends to consume soft corals, sponges, tubeworms, clams, and other invertebrates. It is essential to avoid housing it with pufferfish due to potential conflicts. Moreover, the Red Knob Sea Star is highly sensitive to copper-based medications and intolerant of high nitrates levels.
Breeding this sea star in an aquarium is incredibly challenging, as there are no distinguishing characteristics to differentiate between males and females.
Maintaining stable water conditions is crucial for the Red Knob Sea Star, as it is very intolerant of sudden changes in oxygen levels, salinity, and pH. Therefore, the drip acclimation method is highly recommended to facilitate a smooth transition. It should never be exposed to air during handling, as this can be harmful.
In the aquarium, the Red Knob Sea Star's diet should consist of chopped clams, shrimp, fish, and squid, fed once a week to ensure its nutritional needs are met.