Fromia Indica Starfish: Diet, Habitat, and Breeding Tips

Fromia Indica is a species of starfish belonging to the family of Goniasteridae, which is known for its distinctive pattern. The Fromia Indica, also known as the Fromia Indica starfish or Indian Starfish. The common name comes from their resemblance to zebra patterns.

There are many other names for this fish, such as Fromia indica, Zebra Star, Zebra Brittle Star, and Indian Starfish. It is one of the most popular sea stars that is commonly kept in reef tanks. The Fromia Indica Starfish is a colorful variety of starfish species. If you want to add some pop to your tank, this is a great choice.

Appearance & Characteristics

As its name suggests, the Fromia Indica starfish has a zebra-like appearance. It has dark brown bands on a cream-colored body. Fromia Indica starfish is one of the most beautiful starfish. It has a very striking look, and it also comes in various colors. This is why it is very popular among the fish keepers, who want to beautify their fish tank. The color of this starfish ranges from dark brown to black. It has dark blue stripes all over its body.

Not only is this species easily recognizable due to its bright coloration, but it also has an unusual shape. Typically having five legs, Fromia indica’s body has a rounded disc attached to each leg allowing it to move quickly in any direction.

The Fromia indica typically grows up to 5 inches across. The dorsal surface is orange or red in color with several white markings that are often arranged as wavy lines. These markings are more prominent around the central disc, whereas they appear as small dots around the edges. In younger specimens, these markings are irregularly spaced and may sometimes appear as tiny spots. The color of these markings may vary from white to yellow, depending on the location of their habitat.

A Fromia Indica starfish also has an elongated stomach that is slightly darker in color than its rays. One of the most unique characteristics of this species is that they have two eyes located on the tips of each ray. It appears in different shades of orange along with a brown base. Some of them look pinkish too.

Diet & Feeding Behaviour

The diet of the Fromia indica starfish consists mainly of sponges, tunicates, and sea urchins. It also eats molluscs and corals, including the coralline algae that cement coral reefs together. The Fromia indica starfish is mainly nocturnal, feeding at night when its prey is less active or while hiding under coral rubble during the day.

Fromia Indica Starfish have a mouth on their underside which features on its central disc. The stomach extends through their arms and opens on the upper surface at the center of the disc. The Fromia indica starfish do not use their tube feet for feeding, but for locomotion and gripping on to surfaces.

The Fromia indica or zebra starfish is a scavenger and will eat any dead or decaying matter. They are also capable of spending long periods of time without food. It is best to feed the Fromia Indica starfish with small amounts of food, no more than it can consume in a few hours. The feeding frequency of the Fromia Indica is once a week or two weeks.

Its favorite food is pearl oyster. The starfish uses its tube feet to pry open the shell of its prey and then inserts its stomach into the gap between the two shells. Once inside, it secretes digestive enzymes, dissolving the soft parts of the animal and absorbing them through its stomach lining.

The starfish has no brain or eyes but it does have light-sensitive cells on its skin that tell it when it’s day or night. When it’s not hunting for food, it often hides under rocks or in crevices.

Habitat Distribution and Range

Fromia indica is found in the Red Sea, in the Indian Ocean, and in the western central Pacific Ocean. Its range extends from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf, Madagascar and east to Indonesia, north to southern Japan, and south to Australia.

The species is sporadic in northern Africa, from the Mediterranean coast of Egypt and Israel, but extends along the coast of Somalia. The Fromia Indica starfish inhabits coastal rock pools and coral reefs at depths of about 80 feet or less. These sea stars are usually found clinging to rocks or buried in the soft sand. They are nocturnal animals, hunting for food at night.

In the wild, they can be found in a wide range of different habitats. They are typically found on shallow reef flats, and also on shorelines with coral rubble. However, they have also been found at depths of up to 55 meters (180 feet).

Reproduction & Breeding Behavior

The reproduction of the Fromia indica is sexual through the production of gametes and the fusion between the male and female gametes.

The females produce eggs while males produce sperm. A larva will develop after fertilization by a spermatophore produced by the male and it will swim freely in the water column for a few days before becoming sedentary. The larvae of starfish are planktotrophic, meaning that they feed on plankton until they have developed their adult characteristics and can begin to feed on their prey as adults.

The Fromia indica produces both eggs and sperm. The eggs are released into the water where they are externally fertilized. The eggs then hatch into larvae which float in the plankton and eventually settle out of the water onto the ocean floor.

The breeding season for this species occurs between March and April in areas such as the Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba. The females spawn their eggs into the water column during this time, and fertilization takes place externally before the larvae develop into juveniles which settle onto the substrate, usually around rocky outcrops or coral reefs where there is plenty of food.

Predators & Defenses

Fromia indica, or Zebra Sea Star, has very few predators. Small ones are eaten by fish, crabs, and octopuses. Larger ones may be eaten by moray eels and triggerfish. Their main defense is that they can regenerate a lost arm or even an entire body if the central disc is left intact. They often use this tactic to escape from predators by dropping their arms, which then continue to wiggle in order to distract the predator while the Zebra Starfish swims away.

This sea star has a number of predators, including fish, crabs, seagulls, and humans. They are also preyed upon by other starfish and some species of sea urchin. The most common predators of the Zebra Sea Star are the sea otter, the California market squid, and the ochre star. The sea otter will eat just about anything that lives in the ocean and is capable of swallowing a Fromia indica Sea Star whole if it is small enough. 

The California market squid is also a predator of the Fromia Indica starfish and can eat up to two dozen of them per night. The ochre star is also a predator, but will usually avoid eating them because they are poisonous.

The defensive capabilities of the Fromia indica or Zebra Sea Star make it a difficult animal for predators to hunt and kill. The Fromia Indica starfish has several defenses that it uses to protect itself from predators. These include its bright coloration, which makes it more likely to be noticed by potential predators, and its spines, which allow it to inflict pain on any animal that steps on it.

Care & Requirements for Keeping Fromia Indica in Aquarium

The Fromia indica is one of the most popular species of sea stars. They thrive in tanks with stable water parameters and plenty of places to hide. Fromia indica is relatively easy to keep in captivity as long as you provide them with a high-quality environment with stable water conditions and plenty of places to hide when they need it. These starfish are not aggressive towards other tank mates but will eat small crustaceans such as copepods and amphipods if given the chance!

Tank Size

Fromia Indica starfish need a tank of at least 30 gallons, with a recommended tank size of 55 gallons or more. A reef environment is ideal for Fromia Indica starfish and the smaller the tank you have, the less space there will be for the Fromia Indica starfish to move around. It may turn aggressive toward other sea stars in small tanks.

Tank Mates

Fromia Indica starfish are peaceful and they can be kept with other peaceful fish and invertebrates. They will fight with other sea stars and can aggressively take over the entire tank. They can also eat very small fish, so they should not be kept with fish such as Pygmy Seahorses. This also means that you should make sure that there are no fish or invertebrate eggs in your tank, as these will be eaten by your Fromia Indica starfish if given the chance! You might want to keep your Fromia Indica starfish in a species only tank if you have other animals in your aquarium that it can easily eat.

Water Flow

Fromia Indica starfish love strong currents and good water flow, although this should not be directly pointed at them from powerheads as it could cause damage to their sensitive bodies. This starfish can live in any type of water you have in your marine aquarium. It can also survive in brackish water (conditions where water salinity is between fresh and salt). It is easy to feed as well as maintain.

The water temperature should be between 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit and the specific gravity should be at 1.020 to 1.025. The pH value should be maintained between 8.1 and 8.4, while the water hardness can vary from 8 to 12 dKH.

Lighting & Decoration

The lighting in the aquarium should be dimmed because the starfish likes dark areas in the surroundings. You can decorate the aquarium with rocks, corals, and other invertebrates like sea cucumbers, snails, and crabs. The Foram Indica is not aggressive towards fellow tank mates, but it might feed on them if they are dead or dying.

Cool Interesting Facts

  • Fromia Indica also known as the Zebra Starfish is a vivid and stunning starfish to keep in your aquarium. It comes in a vibrant red color with black spots that look like zebra stripes, which is why it is called the Fromia Indica starfish.
  • The Indica Starfish has a range of colors including brown, red, orange and yellow. These colors can be either solid or banded.
  • Fromia Indica starfish can regenerate their arms if they get damaged or lost. If a predator eats an arm, the arm will start growing back!
  • Fromia Indica starfish do not have blood like you and I. Instead, they use water as blood.
  • Fromia Indica starfish eat clams by prying open the bivalve with their tube feet and then digesting the clam with their stomachs. During this process, the stomach comes out of the mouth and into the shell of the clam!
  • The name ‘Zebra sea star’ was given to this species because of its distinctive pattern which is similar to the zebra stripes.
  • The Fromia Indica starfish is a creature that has specific physical characteristics, which makes it easy to identify.
  • This species is a predator and plays an important role in maintaining the balance of the reef ecosystem.
  • Fromia Indica feed on sponges and soft corals, so they should not be kept with corals that they might eat. They help keep the aquarium clean by eating excessive algae growth.

Fromia Indica starfish- Related FAQ

Are Fromia Indica starfish good for beginners?

This species is a good candidate for beginners, which is why it is popular among hobbyists. It is very important to know that these starfish need to be fed directly. Hobbyists should make sure that they feed them at least once a week with frozen or fresh food. This is a small starfish species that is ideal for beginners.

Is it OK to touch Fromia Indica starfish?

It is in fact OK to touch Fromia Indica starfish. They do not sting and will not harm you in any way. When you are touching a Fromia Indica starfish, you can feel how tough and solid its skin is. Their skin is not slimy, it is more like a smooth leather feeling. Most of the Fromia Indica species do not move very fast, so it is easy to catch them. Even though they do not move very fast and they do not have any kind of venomous toxins, their skin can be very sharp to the touch. If you are planning on holding one of these starfish, you should use something like gloves or tongs.

Are Fromia Indica starfish reefs safe?

Fromia Indica starfish are reef safe and they are a great addition to any saltwater tank. They love to feed on algae and if you have an algae problem this starfish may be just what you need.

These starfish will enhance the look of your tank as they come in various colors, including red, green, and orange. They also have a unique body shape, which makes them very attractive.

Can Fromia Indica starfish be poisonous?

Fromia indica starfish are not poisonous. They are safe to touch and handle but do not do that very often as this may hurt them. Fromia indica starfish can be kept with other species of saltwater fish and invertebrates in the aquarium. However, they should never be housed with corals, clams, and anemones as they will eat them.


Fromia indica starfish, Zebra Sea Star is a marine starfish with unique color variation, which makes them very attractive to aquarists. The Fromia Indica starfish is a very distinctive and rather attractive echinoderm. 

It is usually bright orange with five to seven black bands running across its arms. Its distinctive coloring makes it extremely popular in aquariums.

This sea creature has pretty and attractive colors which contrast with each other. In vogue pet lovers in those countries that have easy access to this beautiful species, consider this starfish as their first choice for pets. It is indeed attractive and fascinating.

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