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Tuxedo Urchin Shrinking 12/6/13
Echinothrix calamari question, cause for concern?
Need help with my
Urchin Breaking Spines --
cushion sea star... beh...
Pencil urchin on top of my
emerald crab 5/8/2009
Pincushion Urchins, Spine Dropping 9/5/07 Hi. <Hello> I have two pincushion urchins in my 55 gallon tank. I have had them about 5 months and they have been doing very well. However, following our last water change they began to lose spikes. I think it is because of summer, it got hot in the room where the tank is and the temperature went from 78 degrees to 84 degrees in less than a day, when I wasn't home. <Most likely the cause, they are very sensitive to environmental changes.> I of course made sure the water was the same temperature at the time of the water change as what was in the tank (it was 78 at that point) and the salinity is fine. All other water tests are fine as well. I know that losing their spikes probably means they are going to die, but I am wondering if anything can be done for them. <Provide good water quality, stability is about all.> I am currently treating some new fish in my quarantine tank so I can't move them to that tank. <Moving them now would probably do more harm than good.> Also I have a maroon clownfish I got at the same time and he has been burrowing in the sand for the past 2 weeks. He doesn't appear to have white spot or velvet and neither does the other fish in the tank, a lawnmower blenny. He still eats very well and seems to be doing fine otherwise. Is there something wrong? <Clowns dig, Maroons more than most, is a natural behavior.> Thank you for all of your help. It is appreciated! <Welcome> <Chris>
Black long-spined urchin. Urchin Dropping Spines 7/12/07 Hi, my name is Angie. <Hello> We have owned Fresh and Brackish tanks for many years but recently had to give them away as we moved out of state and could not guarantee their safe travel. <Tough to move tanks, especially over any great distance.> We are now settled again and began a Salt tank. After about 4 weeks we got a Black long-spined urchin. <Probably too soon, they are very sensitive to water quality/changes. Also, there are many urchins that go by this name, see if you can determine the species so that it does not outgrow your tank.> The dilemma is that after we had him about one week he began dropping spines and literally has about 7 larger ones left and a few lil ones that are new. (This has been going on for almost two weeks now). We don't have much in the tank with him. We have an 80gal tank. About 20lbs of live rock which has begun turning pink on one whole side and has some green spots. <This is probably not enough to sustain him long term, think about adding close to 50lbs. for both the tank and urchin's health.> About 20 lbs of live sand and we also have a very archaic cleaning crew of snails and crabs. There are no fish in the tank with him yet. The brine shrimp we have been feeding him are the frozen cubes. <Switch to something better than brine, is the potato chip of the sea. Mysis is much better.> Our LFS told us that feeding him Algae tabs (like you would use for Plecos) would be fine and I was also going to get him some dried krill. <Will help.> He is still very mobile but drops spines constantly. We have tested our water several times and also had the fish store test it to be sure and ALL the levels are fine. <What is fine, numbers please.> They aren't sure why he is dropping spines, but they know it can't be good. About two days before he began dropping his spines we noticed some spots on the glass that we found out were hydroid jellyfish. We have been told repeatedly that although no one knows why 'Spike' is losing spines, it isn't because of the hydroids. <Unlikely.> The hydroids are pretty much gone now, and Spike is still losing spines. One actually broke off while he was eating some dried seaweed and he began eating the spine! I have looked at him very closely and I don't see anything on him, like a bug or parasite. If you have any suggestions we would so greatly appreciate them. We just don't know what to do with the lil guy and we really don't want to lose him. Thank you so much for any help you can give! Angie <Losing spines is never a good thing, usually caused by stress or illness. Double check your water parameters, and make sure your pH and SG are stable, small swings in these can negatively effect the urchin greatly. Otherwise take a look at our urchin FAQs and see what applies. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/urchinfa.htm .> <Chris>
Urchin Poo? 4/9/07 Happy Easter to all my fish professional friends! <Thanks and to you as well.> I have a question and have been searching the site for a couple days now but I'm not finding an answer. This is probably really stupid, but I need to know! I have a black long-spined urchin. I have noticed that it drops brown pellet like things out of the "eye" on top. <Well it's actually an anus.....and right there I think we've answered your question but lets continue.......> I have been looking through my fish books and they don't cover urchins well so I'm hoping you have an answer. They're tiny little round pellets, he will drop quite a few in rapid succession. My kids all think it's urchin poo, I'm inclined to agree, what's your take? <Poo it is my friend.> Thanks so much for your time. <Anytime.> Warm Wishes, <To you as well.> Amy <Adam J.>
Skimmer Production/Urchin Behavior - 11/27/06 Hello everyone, <<Howdy>> I have a 100 gal reef tank that's been up and running for 6 months now. <<Neat>> All the parameters are looking pretty good: sg-1.024, pH-8.4, KH-11, cal-440, ammonia & nitrate -0. I run the tank at approx 80 deg +- 1.5 deg. I just recently put in an automatic water leveling system which has kept the sump level constant. <<Excellent> That helped me get a little better production out of my Lifereef venturi 22-1/2" tall compact skimmer. There is no adjustment on the venturi and a gate valve adjusts the output of the skimmer. <<Mmm...you could utilize a "pinch-clamp" on the venturi tubing to make adjustments re>> A Mag 9.5 pump supplies water to the skimmer. However I still only get a cup of dark skimmate per week. Is there anything else I can do to improve the output? <<This may be just fine if you have a light bioload/don't overfeed/have other mechanisms for export. If this isn't the case, then I suggest an upgrade to an AquaC or Euro-Reef skimmer>> All the inhabitants are doing fine, there is 1 yellow tang, 1 ember blenny<<...?>>, 2 Banggai cardinals, 1 Mespilia globulus, and a number of different corals. I have about 200 lbs of rock that the urchin lives in. <<A lot of rock...>> The other day I noticed a white creamy substance coming out of some slits on the top of the urchin, I'm assuming these are gills? <<Hmm...I don't believe so, no>> Do you have any ideas what this was? <<Likely gametes, a product of sexual reproduction...I observe this with my urchins from time to time>> Also there are not a whole lot of green algae for it to dine on and I was wondering if maybe I should sell it back to the LFS? Don't want it to die behind the rocks somewhere and poison the tank. <<In my experience these critters seem to show a preference for coralline algae, but you might try some Nori from the local grocery or some of the "sheet" algae provided by Julian Sprung's company 'Two Little Fishies'>> As always I really enjoy WWM and the crew and thanks in advance. <<Welcome...as always. EricR>>
Echinothrix calamaris (Hatpin Urchin) 1/19/06 Hello Bob, <James today> I work at a small LFS and we the boss picked up 3 "zebra urchins" at our supplier the other day. They are Echinothrix calamaris I believe. My first question is, do these urchins have the ability to "shoot" their shorter spines out? <<No... don't shoot out. RMF>> I touched the longer tubular spines with my thumb while trying to move it (and ONLY the bigger ones, I am positive) but received two of the smaller spines buried in my thumb. Very painful. I've heard from several sources that they may be able to do so but no definitive proof. Second question is, are they reef-safe? They are in our fish-only tanks at the moment because we could not find any information on whether they are or not reef-friendly. <The spines of these urchins have hundreds of alternating light/dark bands, some being strong, thick and hollow and others shorter and finer with all being very sharp. I'm guessing while you were trying to move it the shorter finer ones nailed you. The venom is very much like a bee sting so it doesn't surprise me that it is painful. Interesting urchin as in nature they can attain lengths of up to 9" and Banggai Cardinals often seek shelter among their spines during the day. I did some researching and couldn't find anything as to the urchin "shooting spines". James (Salty Dog)> Thank you and keep up the good work! <You're welcome> Brandon
Urchin Sperm? Good afternoon to all the crew! <Good afternoon, Mike G here> Your site is simply great! I find all the answers to any possible questions I have, except for this one. I've been looking through your info section and your FAQs, but I didn't find anything. <I have just started out here at WWM, and I agree with you 100%.> A few days ago, I was cleaning my tank and my hand hit my long spine urchin (blue spotted I think... not quite sure about the specific kind of black long spined urchin). After a few swearings (... being stung by an urchin hurts....!), the longspine expelled some kind of white cloud. A few seconds later, he did it again. It was the first time I see it doing such a thing. After that incident, everything in the tank seemed under control and pretty much normal. The white clouds dissolved in the water... Is it sperm (Maybe I excited it?! ;)) or a defense mechanism. <I would say it was an Urchin spawning. Check the following link for more information, namely the second to last topic: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/urchinreprofaqs.htm > In the second case, could it be harmful? <I personally doubt it would be, but do not hesitate to do a water change should your livestock begin to show adverse reactions.> Thank you very much!! And again, great site!! <Glad I could be of assistance> Ivan p.s.: I'll probably get rid of the urchin in a few days (trade it for a tuxedo at my LFS) because of my Xenia and LPS corals
Urchin Question My urchin is pretty big he's some LFS purple urchin and we've had him for about 11 months and we just placed him in a smaller rockier tank because of the new addition of a snowflake eel both tanks are regularly tested and cleaned but I'm not sure if it is because its difficult for him to get around (his spike make him the diameter of a soft ball) or what he's starting to lose well the lots about 15% of his spines at the top of him self are kind of making him look like he rubbed to close to the rock and couldn't weave threw but I'm still worried any suggestions would help thanks <I got to tell you my pincushion urchin is a pig and continues to go into places he shouldn't go and breaks his spikes all the time. This is quite common for mine. I am guessing yours is doing the same thing. MacL>
Urchin eggs? <Hi! MikeD here> my urchin which I was told to be a purple urchin is actually brown with purple tips on his spines well anyway he put out say.... 20 yellow tiny eggs it seems to be. it just sits in a hole in the rock which I assume is natural behavior?<While eggs are a possibility, I suspect you've just noticed your urchin having a bowel movement, and don't feel dumb about it, as it's an honest mistake, with most people never considering an animal that eats with its butt and that poops out of its head! Urchins are actually a source of the oceans sand as extra calcium and silica gleaned from the algae is excreted through a small hole on the very top>.he lost 2 spines because my damsel fanned him, but I don't know what the yellow balls are. Thanks for your time<Not a problem, as time is the one thing I have plenty of. You might want to keep an eye out for additional needle drop, as urchins such as yours require good water quality, and shedding being a prime indicator that parameters are dropping. Before the availability of modern dependable test kits, urchins were often used as "miner's canaries" to monitor water conditions> , Aaron
Urchin Question Howdy, Crew! <Cathy> I have a question that I can't find the answer for, and hope you can help. I have a spiny urchin, possibly a Diadema savignyi - well, it's a Diadema, anyway. Which of the three is hard to say. My question is - this guy eats a lot of green coralline. (Fine with me, I'd rather have purple.) However, now HE is turning green! The spines are changing color from the body upwards. When the spines started being striped in color, I wasn't too concerned. But now his 3" spikes are definitely green, for at least 1/2" or so, though the rest of the spikes are each purple. The tiny blue spikes near his body are just fine. He seems fine, too, but is this color change normal? Anyone ever seen a GREEN purple spiked urchin? <Yes. Urchin coloration is something that not much is known about, much debate has occurred over UV blocking pigmentation, attaching shells as an apparent radiation shield, and color changes during maturation (most likely what you are seeing). I wouldn't be too worried> BTW, his name is Get The Point. :-) THANK YOU! -Cathy <>< Fort Worth, TX <Best, Chris>
Urchins destroying reef Hallo! <And you Glen> I'm
living in Papua New Guinea. I'm about to be spending a lot of time
in and around the water diving and catching fish for export. I want to
gain some tools and advanced knowledge in reef stewardship. I have
moved to an area right on the water where there was dynamite used to
build a wharf and also to kill fish. So there is plenty of work to be
done to help the area recover. <Yes, well put.> My biggest
concern I have noticed is the incredible abundance of black long spined
sea urchins, who seem to be attacking the rejuvenating reef with
ferocity - and seem to be winning.. <Only seem to be... these are
likely Diadema savignyi... and their population will abate once the
blasting, construction are over... there are natural mechanisms that
will come into play to delimit their numbers... have experienced this
first hand in Mabul and Kapalai, Malaysia> I want to eradicate these
pests along with the crown of thorns and help educate the people about
the importance of the reef and rejuvenating it to the abundant resource
it once was. Are these urchins exportable? <Not really... are
sometimes traded as ornamentals as very small (less than palm size
overall) individuals... if you're going to destroy these and
Acanthaster, #1 BE CAREFUL! Very sharp (and toxic) animals... secondly,
you'll need to develop and implement a scheme to bring them ashore
and let them dry out in the sun (don't just smash them on the
reef... this will likely just speed up their distribution> I have
been killing a few underwater by smashing their shells, and then fish
come in and eat the insides. Does this cause any further problems??
<Yes... can greatly increase their numbers through aiding
reproduction> Can you suggest any good reef organizations that may
be able to help with educational materials? <There is a huge amount
of older data on the Crown of Thorns, some on urchin removal... that
you could reference through libraries, many "pro-reef"
organizations... but I assure you, better (really) to ignore them...
they will die back in due course and provide valuable service in the
meanwhile. Better to focus on the "human"
"software" issues... perhaps getting folks to place rubble,
rock around where the wharf is being created, develop permanent
moorings... for dive, anchoring purposes...> Thanks for any help you
may be able to give Glen Butler <Good luck, life to you my friend.
Re: Urchins destroying reef Thanks again Bob,,, I'll do my best and take notes of the eventual outcome.. Glen <Would appreciate seeing your input as time goes by. Bob Fenner>
Sea urchin erupting?...sort of! Hello Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> We have what I believe is called a Diadema savignyi sea urchin. <AKA Blue Dot long spine sea urchin> It is black and you can see bright blue in it's body at night. anyway...last night he seemed to have some kind of volcanic eruption. All of a sudden about a million (ok that might be a little exaggerated) tiny white pebble like things rushed straight up and out of his head (or top of him). At first I thought it might be some kinds of eggs but it really looked like tiny bits of rock. and the worms who caught the pieces quickly spit them out with no interest at all. What exactly was that and will he do it often? <excrement...and yes, as often as necessary> Is he special, should I send him to David letterman? <possibly... I have yet to see a powerful, pooping prickly sea urchin on his show just yet> Christina <thank you for the smile... I think I learned this tidbit the same way more than a few years ago. kind regards, Anthony> ps: you usually get much more educated questions from my husband Pat. I really had no interest in this whole fish tank thing until one day I went to a very nice Aquarium and came home with our first creature...a little blue leg hermit. I then realized that sea creatures were extremely interesting and entertaining. (and my husband is learning that they are very essential to any tank) so.. now we are in the process of setting up a reef tank so I can have zillions of creatures! I was starting to throw my husbands tank all out of whack.
Tuxedo urchin I got a blue tuxedo urchin (Mespilia globulus) yesterday. About ten minutes after being in the tank, it made a beeline for the front glass, and crawled up it. It won't come down from the glass, it slowly works its way around the tank, and right now its on the side of the powerhead. Is there any way to entice/goad it down? <yep...Jack Daniels and cigarettes... Thanks for asking> <PS... they often explore their surroundings for the first days/weeks...patience my friend. Anthony>