Puck the Sea Urchin

Discussion in 'New Hobbyists' started by Reay, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. Reay

    Reay New Member

    Puck the Sea Urchin has a very funny story. He was left over from a reproduction lab (note: the urchins WERE NOT HARMED in any way, we were simply discussing their reproduction habits). Anyway, my lab instructor didn't have any use for them afterwards, so she let me take home the one I had taken a shining to--enter Puck. Now, I've had aquariams my whole life, but I am now stepping into the realm of salt water aquariams. I've tried looking up information about sea urchins, but most of what I have found has been one academic instructional article about how to conduct in vitro fertilization and a whole lot of information about how best to eat them (which I definitely don't plan to do).
    Now, I'll go ahead and say he's lost some spines, so I need to start addressing that right away, but again, I'm less than a novice. Any and all help is welcomed and appreciated! :)
  2. silverado61

    silverado61 Well-Known Member

    Assuming you have a tank already set up, explain your tank situation as it is right now.

    How long has it been running?

    What are the parameters? We need numbers, not, "fine' or "spot on".

    What else is in the tank with the Urchin?

    What type of Urchin is it?

    Were the spines missing when you got it or did it start losing them after you brought him/her home?

    What percentage of spines are missing? 5%/ 10%? 50%?

    Is he/she still losing spines?

    Of the spines that are missing, are they scattered throughout it's body, are they missing in spots, or from one general area?

    Did you acclimate it before you put it in the tank, if so, how did you acclimate it and over what period of time? In other words, how much time did you take to acclimate it?

    I ask these questions because Urchins are very sensitive creatures and need pristine water conditions. They are also very sensitive to stress.

    Unfortunately, once an Urchin starts losing it's spines, the majority of the time the prognosis is not good. But depending on your answers to the previously asked questions, there might still be a chance to save the little fella.

    Time is also critical.
  3. Reay

    Reay New Member

    Well, I could answer the questions, but as of now, they're irrelevant: Puck has gone the way of the ocean :( Woke up this morning and he had lost almost 50% of his spines (before I would say it was barely 5%). I had him for an afternoon and into the night, so I think the conditions he was in before (6+ days) is probably what did him in.
    (Oh, and as far as acclimating him, he wasn't even officially in the tank yet, he was still in his water in a transition tank within the tank (if that makes sense?))

    Now, this is not the end for me. I want to keep trying to have a saltwater tank, but I want to do it right. With that, I've got a series of follow up questions.
    I don't really want anything else other than urchins/echinoderms, but should I have something else?
    What parameters should I have? I'm used to freshwater, not saltwater, so it's all new to me.
    What types of urchins are there? Where can I find them? Ha, I'm kind of land locked...
    Should I start developing a tank now, then get an urchin, if that makes sense?
  4. silverado61

    silverado61 Well-Known Member

    I myself am a big fan of Invertebrates. That's pretty much all I keep in my tanks.

    There are many different types of Sea Urchins:

    Diadema spp (Long Spine Urchin) These are my personal favorite as their spines come in many different shades. Their spines can be anywhere from black with grey bands to gray with black bands to all black. I've even seen them with all grey spines. Their spines are also very thin, very long, hollow and have barbs so if you handle them wrong they will puncture your skin and break off. The more you try to dig them out, the deeper they will go so make sure you wear thick rubber gloves when handling them. I had one of these that grew to about a foot in diameter.

    Echinometra Lacunter (Short Spine or Rock Urchin) These eat coral rock and will actually bore their way into a live rock where they will live out their lives never coming out of their home.

    Mespillia Globulus (Tuxedo Urchin) These are also beautiful creatures and come in many different colors.

    Tripneustes Gratilla (Sea Egg or Collector Urchin) These are the decorators of the tank as they are constantly picking up anything that's not nailed down, including some corals, and cover themselves with it. And they're always discarding one piece of decoration in favor of another.

    Eucidaris Tribuloides (Pencil Urchins) These are the bulldozers of the sea and will push everything around in your tank including corals.
    Asthenosoma spp (Fire Urchin) These deliver a very painful sting and are not reef friendly as they will even sting corals.

    Toxopneustes spp (Flower Urchins) Don't let the name fool you. They also deliver a very painful if not deadly sting and are highly discouraged.

    Pretty much all LFS's sell some form of these and I've seen them for sale on all online merchants.
    There are more but we need to move on.

    First off, do your research. Build your tank around the livestock you want to keep. Not the other way around. You can keep quit a few Invertebrates in a small tank though I wouldn't recommend anything smaller than a 30 gallon. The reason being that the smaller the tank, the faster things can go wrong so I would say get as large a tank as you can afford including a sump/fuge.

    So for now do your research. Read as many books and online articles about starting up a saltwater tank. Setup, cycling, parameters and on and on. Get a list of questions together and come back here and ask them. There are hobbyists here that can contribute a wealth of knowledge. Professors, Scientists, Chemists and even a fish doctor. Some with 40 or more years of experience in the hobby.

    There are countless ways of setting up your tank. You just need to find out what works best for you so again, and I can't stress this enough, do your research before you start buying anything. There's a lot of articles and posts here in these forums to help you get started.

    I'm big on supporting my LFS as far as buying any livestock but I never ask for their advice unless I know for a fact that they know what they're talking about because when it comes down to it, they're in the business to make money so most of them will tell you anything you want to hear and sell you anything you want to buy just to make a buck.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  5. Well, that figures.

    Sorry to hear about what happened with Puck, Reay. I wish you best of luck with the next one. I don't see invert-only tanks too often, so it's always exciting to hear about those.


Share This Page