Do I need Velcro or silicone StarFish clamps? Can I swap between them? Can I buy replacement straps?

Both the 5-way and 3-way StarFish clamps are available with either silicone or Velcro straps.
  • RR95400: Telescopic 5-way Clamp inc Velcro
  • RR95405: Telescopic 3-way Clamp inc Velcro
  • RR95410: Telescopic 5-way Clamp inc Silicone Strap + Long Handle
  • RR95415: Telescopic 3-way Clamp inc Silicone Strip + Long Handle


The silicone rubber straps are recommended for the lower StarFish clamp.  They grip glassware, and are very durable.  The silicone clamps have a handle for lifting glassware away from the heat. We additionally offer Viton straps as an alternative to the silicone straps, for increased chemical resistance.  The part number for the straps is:
  • RR95444: Viton Strap 200 mm (Pack of 5)
The Velcro straps can be used for the upper clamp.  They are designed to not grip glassware tightly, allowing condensers to slide through the straps when glassware is lifted (by the silicone clamp), whilst still offering some support.  Please note the Velcro straps are not suitable for suspending unsupported glassware.  The Velcro can be weakened by exposure to high temperatures, chemical vapours or sunlight.  Velcro straps and pads are consumable items that should be replaced as required. Velcro part numbers are:
  • RR95430: Replacement Self Adhesive Velcro Pads (Pack of 10)
  • RR95440: Replacement Velcro Loop Strips 200 mm (Pack of 5)

Starfish velcro

It is possible to convert from a Velcro clamp to a silicone clamp using the RR95450 kit, composed of:
  • RR95412: Clamp Long Handle
  • RR95432: Strap Securing Pins (Pack of 10)
  • RR95442: Silicone Strap 200 mm (Pack of 5)

What tubing should I use with StarFish?

For both the water and the gas/vacuum manifolds, we offer:
RR95540: Tubing for Manifold inlets 15 m x 8 mm
for connecting the water source/drain or gas/vacuum source to the single large quick connect fitting on the side of the manifold.
RR95535: Tubing for Manifold outlets 15 m x 6.4 mm
for connecting each of the (up to) 5 condensers to the smaller quick connect fittings on the top of the manifold. Both sizes of tubing are Tygon.
Huber Unichiller and Starfish condensers

How many manifolds do I require for my StarFish system?

One of the advantages of StarFish is that you can mix and match parts to build the system that suits your application. Manifolds are optional parts, but are generally included when using flasks in StarFish.

Starfish manifolds

If you would like to have water condensers in your StarFish system, you will need two water manifolds (one for water in, and one for water out). If you want to use vacuum or inert gas too, then you will also require a gas/vacuum manifold.

Starfish manifolds

Can you supply handles for StarFish so I can pick up the base plate before it’s cooled?

We offer optional insulated handles that can be fitted to any StarFish base plate: RR95100: StarFish Base Plate Handles (Pair) These allow the base plate (and MonoBlock/PolyBlocks etc. on top) to be safely picked up when hot.

starfish handles

NB. Extreme caution should always be used when lifting hot objects.  Please check with your laboratory safety officer to ensure that you are complying with all relevant safety procedures. Many laboratories do not allow the handling of hot liquids or objects, and so the use of the optional StarFish handles would not be permitted.

I can’t screw a rod into a StarFish base plate. What’s wrong?

If you cannot screw a rod into a StarFish base plate, this indicates that you are using an incorrect rod:
  • If you have a RR95666 650 mm Split Rod, ensure that you insert the bottom half of the rod into the base plate.  The top half of the rod can only fit into the bottom half of the rod, not the base plate.
Starfish Rod
  • We sell other support rods, such as for attaching to stirring hotplates for holding temperature sensors etc., so it could be that the rod you have is actually one of these rather than a StarFish rod.
If you need any further assistance, please contact us with photos of the ends of the rod and its length measurement, and we would be happy to help you identify which rod you have.

What are the well dimensions of StarFish MonoBlocks and PolyBlocks for tubes and vials?

We offer the following StarFish MonoBlocks and PolyBlocks for tubes and vials. Starfish Well dimensions

In addition, we offer RR95152: MonoBlock for 16 x 28 mm Vials and RR95252: PolyBlock for 3 x 28 mm Vials, both of which have a well depth of 27 mm.

Can you supply a custom Heat-On block or StarFish MonoBlock or PolyBlock?

It's best to use a standard Heat-On block or StarFish MonoBlock or PolyBlock if possible, as that would be the cheapest and quickest option for you.  You may wish to purchase replacement glassware if required. However, we can supply custom if needed.  If you would like a quotation, please email us with your full specifications, including quantity required.  Please also send us samples of the glassware you want to use with it.

I need a central support rod for my StarFish system. What is the part number?

We supply rods to screw into the StarFish base plate and provide a support for water and gas/vacuum manifolds and clamps for condensers and flasks. We offer you the option of:
  • RR95665: 650 mm Rod - this is the standard length and is lower cost.
  • RR95666: 650 mm Split Rod - this two-piece rod has a slightly higher price, but gives you the flexibility to use a half-size rod for shorter systems.

What is the footprint of a StarFish system?

StarFish base plates are all 248 mm in diameter.  This is normally the width of the system, as almost all MonoBlocks also have a diameter of 248 mm, and the PolyBlocks additionally give this diameter. The exception is the RR95125 MonoBlock for 3 x 500 ml Flasks, which is slightly larger, at 262 mm, so this would be the width.
If you install the optional RR95100 StarFish Base Plate Handles, the width increases to about 375 mm.
The depth of the StarFish system will depend on the hotplate used.  The approximate depth when using a Carousel Stirring Hotplate is around 310 mm, or 320 mm if using the 3 x 500 ml MonoBlock.

Can I use any flasks etc. with StarFish?

You should use round bottom flasks in StarFish systems.  Placing conical (Erlenmeyer) flasks (or beakers) directly on the base plate is not recommended, as the magnetic stirring will not be as good as with round bottom flasks. We sell a range of round bottom flasks that can be used with StarFish, but you can use round bottom flasks from the Carousel 6 Plus (or Classic) or from other suppliers too. StarFish is compatible with round bottom flasks from 5 ml to 500 ml. Various sizes of tubes and vials may also be used with StarFish. If you would like well dimensions for any StarFish MonoBlocks/PolyBlocks to check for suitability with your glassware, please feel free to ask us.

I’m struggling to boil water (or another solvent). What am I doing wrong?

This is a very rare situation that we have come across once before with a StarFish set-up. The customer wanted to boil water in 5 flasks, but reported that the water could not reach 100°C and was not boiling, despite the hotplate temperature being high. Unusually, they were not using condensers, or stirring. After investigation, we discovered that the cause was open side arms of the flasks they were using.  With the open side arms, there was a lot of evaporation, which cooled the water, and meant there was water loss without boiling.  When the side arms were stoppered, the water was able to boil. Another potential cause if you are having issues reaching temperature is poor contact between the flask and well, e.g. if you are not using the correct insert for your flask size, or if your flask is misshapen.  It's also possible you have not set the hotplate temperature high enough - it needs to be above the boiling point, as there will be some heat losses.
A variety of different glassware can be used with StarFish.  The stirring bar recommended depends on the glassware you are using.  For flasks, we suggest: For 500 ml flasks:
  • RR95920: Oval Stirring Bar 40 mm (Pack of 5)
For 250 ml, 150 ml and 100 ml flasks:
  • RR99064: Elliptical Stirring Bar 25 mm RE (Pack of 10)
For 50 ml and 25 ml flasks:
  • RR98097: Elliptical Stirring Bar 15 mm RE (Pack of 20)
  • RR98091: Cross Shape Stirring Bar 16.5 mm RE (Pack of 20)
For 10 ml and 5 ml flasks:
  • RR98075: Cross Shape Stirring Bar 10 mm (Pack of 40)

Can I evaporate solvent in StarFish using the gas/vacuum manifold?

The StarFish gas/vacuum manifold is designed to be used to remove air by vacuum to replace with nitrogen, to work under an inert atmosphere. StarFish’s gas/vacuum manifold should not be used for evaporations.  The manifold is not suitable for any significant quantities of corrosive chemicals to pass through it.