Pictured in this week’s AquaNerd POTW is a red mushroom coral. I didn’t choose this picture because the coral is rare, or even spectacularly colorful. Instead, I chose this picture for entirely different reasons. For one, today is Valentine’s Day and the coral is red. The second reason, and one far more relative to the hobby, is the presence of Asterina starfish on the glass.
Asterina starfish are found in many marine aquariums. They typically come in as hitch hikers on live rock, coral frags, or some algae and marine plants. Asterinas do a wonderful job of eating algae that forms on the glass and live rocks. These starfish also propagate very quickly in most aquarium environments, often splitting over and over again. It’s not uncommon to see Asterinas with only one or two legs.