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Blue Tuxedo Urchin

 
Also known as the Blue Pincushion Mespilla globulus is a small urchin that is fairly easy to care for. They are one of the few urchins generally considered reef-safe.


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One of my favorites featured

Comments I kept one of these little guys in first a 65 gal and then moved it to a 29 gal to take care of an algae problem. It is a fascinating little critter, as well as very pretty with its deep blue body offset by salt and pepper spines. It did a great job cleaning up algae - too good, in fact. You will have to supplement its diet with seaweed to keep it fed.

One of the fun aspects of keeping one of these is its habit of collecting bits of coral, especially zoas, as it cruises through the tank. My kept a little colony of blue zoas in his spines. The only down side to keeping him in a reef tank was that he was quite the little bulldozer. If your corals are not (very) securely attached, they will get knocked over. Once the colony has grown over the original plug and into the live rock, it should be fine, but until then expect it to get knocked over.

They do need good water quality. Keep an eye on him and if he suddenly stops collecting items to carry and/or loses spines it is a sign of stress.


Liked about it Really interesting behavior, especially when you put a sheet of seaweed in the tank for him to eat.
Other tank inhabitants leave it alone.
Will take care of your algae problems quickly.


Didn't like Can be a bit of a bulldozer. Other than that, a great addition to your tank.


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5.0
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5.0

By jnotjane
Sep 15, 2013
 
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Shot spines, small body, and won't knock over your rocks featured

Comments One of the main foods of the Tuxedo urchin is coralline algae. One of the reasons I purchased mine was so that it could eat it. The coralline had built up so much that a chisel (literally) wouldn't remove it. I was a bit disappointed however as it chose softer algae to eat rather than the coralline. I have read reports where people lost all their coralline to this urchin but that is not my experience having owned two of them over the years.

In terms of urchins, I really love this one because of the soft velvet blue bands on its test. The spines are short and non-poisonous. Because they are so short they don't get in the way of fish, I'm not afraid anything (including my hand) will get pricked by them.

This urchin has the unique habit of taking bits of stuff and sticking it on itself. This is to protect it from bright light as it is sensitive to UV radiation. If you have loose corals they will stick those on as well. I've had some zoanthus on my urchin but mostly they stick bits of rock, shell, or macro algae on.

If you notice your urchin without this protection that is a signal that something is wrong. Another sign that something is wrong is if you notice loose spines in the tank. When this urchin becomes stressed or sick it will drop its spines.

Some things to look for are when buying a blue tuxedo urchin are:

1. Spines in tact. A stressed urchin or one that has not been acclimated properly, will often lose its spines.
2. Bits of debris stuck to the top of it. the urchin puts this there and a lack of such cover is often a sign of an unhealthy urchin.
3. No damage to tube feet. These urchins have tube feet all over their bodies.

It is important to drip acclimate this urchin slowly over the course of a 1.5 to 2.5 hours because it is very sensitive to changes in salinity, temperature and water quality. My first Tuxedo urchin died when there was a salt spike in my tank when. They also do not tolerate nitrates or poor water quality in general. Regular water changes are a must and good skimming helps.


Liked about it 1. Small size
2. Won't knock over rocks.
3. Very attractive blue color.
4. Eats algae, including coralline which can thickly build up on your tank. I do find this urchin on top of my Koralias cleaning them off for me.


Didn't like 1. Will sometimes stick soft corals to its test.


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5.0
Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0
Would consider buying it again:
 
5.0

By tcamos
Sep 24, 2010
 
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