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Pencil Urchin

 
The Pencil Urchin of the Eucidaris genera is also known as the Mine or Club Urchin. It has a brown, sometimes mottled body with stubby, thick spines radiating out in all directions. The spines are surrounded by basal plates. Never try to pry it out of a hole, as you will break its spines before it lets go. As it ages, its spines may become covered with coralline and ot... - During the day it will seek shelter in the rocks; at night it will come out and forage for food, looking particularly for algae lawns and smaller invertebrates like sea squirts or sponges. It can be destructive to corals. It requires an aquarium with multiple hiding places and live rock on which it can graze. The rock formations should be sturdy, since the Urchin could dislodge rocks as it moves around the tank. The Pencil Urchin is very sensitive to high levels of copper-based medications and will not tolerate high levels of nitrates. If water conditions are poor, it will shed its spines.


Price: $4 to $4 at 2 stores
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Beautiful, but NOT Reef Safe! featured

Comments I purchased one of these early in my saltwater tank tenure. At the time I had only a few mushroom polyps, and he didn't seem interested in them at all. My family and I really enjoyed watching his movement all over the tank, including up the glass! It's really quite amazing how these creatures can move! The pencil urchin we had was beautifully colored with red and light gray stripes on his spikes, and a deep red color to the "fuzzy" part of him near the base of the spikes.

When I added a live rock with some green starry polyps, zoas, and an orange sponge, things got interesting....within a few days "Arch" (as my 9 year old named the urchin) began feasting on the sponge. I had heard that dying sponges could poison a tank, so was naturally very concerned. I moved Arch away from the sponge and the next day he started in on the starry polyps, then the following day the zoas. It became a several-times-daily task for me to check the tank to ensure the safety of my new additions, then he also ate fully one-half of my largest mushroom! :( I live about 2 1/2 hours away from the lfs, so it's not like I could just run him back. In the end, my children's science teacher, who has a SW tank in her classroom, agreed to take him as she doesn't have any soft corals. He does fine there, except that he did eat the only feather duster that she had, and attempted to eat a small rock anemone.


Liked about it - beautiful colors with interesting body shape
- fun to watch it move around the tank
- easy to care for - requires no special feeding
- eats algae


Didn't like -attacked and ate several of my soft corals
-attacked and ate a feather duster and rock anemone at his new home
-did knock a few rocks over


Overall rating:
 
1.8
Overall satisfaction:
 
2.5
Would consider buying it again:
 
1.0

By baboo11
Apr 30, 2011
 
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Easy to keep urchin but not reef safe featured

Comments I find this to be one of the easiest urchins to keep and because it doesn't grow very large (5" compared to 24" for a long spinned urchin) can fit in smaller tanks, like a 30 gallon. The larger the tank the less trouble it will give you and the less likely you will need to feed it.

This urchin is an omnivore and that's where part of the trouble comes in. It will eat algae, small invertebrates, sponges, sea squirts, tunicates, and corals. I've not kept one with corals because of this, but have been told that if they are well fed on other items the corals are the last thing they will chose. In a large enough tank this probably won't be a problem, but if it is you can try adding some food about a half hour after lights out since this guy only comes out at night. If you are brave enough to try it in your reef tank let the TRT forums know how it goes.

During the day they hide in crevices in the rock. In this way they often arrive as hitchhikers in people's tanks. They can hold themselves in and you will destroy their spines before you pull them out. If you need to move it out of the tank, just wait until night.

Because they get into the rock work to hide, this could result in them knocking rocks over.


Liked about it 1. No sharp, poisonous spines!
2. Smaller size means easier to keep.
3. Long lived and tends to find its own food.


Didn't like 1. Not reef safe.
2. May knock rocks over.


Overall rating:
 
3.8
Overall satisfaction:
 
4.0
Would consider buying it again:
 
3.5

By tcamos
Sep 21, 2010
 
Last updated: October 05, 2010
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Pencil Urchin

Comments This is an easy pet to care for, little is needed to successfully grow this creature with a few exceptions;
1 - a large enough tank for roaming
2 - no rock formations to dislodge
3 - no leather corals to munch on


Liked about it Great curiosity factor, fun to follow around the tank, very different from everything else


Didn't like Moved all of my LR all the time, ate my leather corals


Overall rating:
 
2.5
Overall satisfaction:
 
4.0
Would consider buying it again:
 
1.0

By aiaman
May 19, 2010
 
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Cool litte creature

Comments Pencil urchins are pretty hardy. They will consume hair algea and coraline algea. These urchins are not reef safe. I have had one eat a gaint feather duster. These guys dont grow too quickly but they can get pretty big. They would be a good addition to a FOWLR's clean up crew if you dont ming them eating coraline algea.


Liked about it Good algea eater, easy to care for, inexpensive.


Didn't like Eats coraline algea, not reef safe


Overall rating:
 
3.3
Overall satisfaction:
 
4.0
Would consider buying it again:
 
2.5

By fishoutofwater25
Nov 02, 2010
 
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