Sea urchins, while not for novice marine aquarists, can be an excellent clean-up crew addition for intermediate tank owners. They love to scavenge their way through the tank looking for left-over bits of food and renegade algae. It is important to be careful with urchins as their spines are quite sharp and they can puncture skin without really trying. Remember, most marine invertebrates are intolerant of copper based medication and very sensitive to changes in the water. If your urchin begins to lose spines then you will need to address your water quality. While urchins are solitary animals, they don’t tend to be aggressive with one another and more than one can be housed in a single aquarium as long as there is enough room for them.
Sub-Species for Aquariums:
Red Tuxedo Urchin – The round body of the Red Tuxedo Urchin is blue, but the spines of this lovely creature are a deep blood red tipped in white, giving it a more formal appearance.
Blue Tuxedo Urchin – This specimen is nearly identical to the Red Tuxedo except that its spines are a duller brown or red.
Purple Short Spine Pincushion Urchin – A striking addition, this puffy-looking urchin is white with purple tipped spines. It is nocturnal and will hide in rocks and crevices during the day.
Urchins should be kept in a tank of at least 20 gallons with water between 72-78˚F in temperature and 8.1-8.4 in pH. Be sure you provide them with lots of spots to burrow and hide. Remember, if your urchin begins to lose its spines then your water quality is very poor and should be fixed immediately.
These urchins are all scavengers, happy to eat leftover food and algae. However, if your algae levels are low you will want to supplement the diet of your urchin with seaweed.
Size: 3 Inches
Freshwater/ Saltwater: Saltwater
Reef Compatibility: 5
Tank Mate Compatibility: 5