Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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bobo 03-19-2008 10:37 AM

sea urchins
do longspined sea urchins clean up brown algae?

bettababy 03-20-2008 04:49 PM

And be careful if working in a tank with a longspine urchin, or attempting to handle one. The spines contain a venom that can make getting stuck by one of them very painful. The toxin will also cause swelling and numbness which can last for up to a week. Elderly people and small children are much more likely to get very sick from such a thing, or anyone with a compromised immune system. Anyone allergic to the toxin (no way to know unless you get poked) can suffer severe health problems.

Also important to know: Broken spines in the sandbed or on rock will still have venom. Be careful not to come into direct contact with them, but most of all be careful not to let any of them pierce the skin.

bobo 03-21-2008 02:23 AM

i`ve had lots of experience with many types of sea urchins since i was a young age (i loved collecting them at the beach) so i`m quite used to the way their spines work.

So would adding one to my tank just mean i lose most of my coraline algae? :/

My brown algae is cleaning up greatly with only just a bit left on the back of the tank, i thought the sea urchin might just pick those up.

bettababy 03-21-2008 01:14 PM

I have not known longspine urchins to eat coraline algae either. They tend to prefer green algaes... hair algaes, green slime algaes, etc.

I'm just curious, can you post a pic to make sure we're both talking about the same urchins?

In all of my experience with urchins, I haven't found one yet that thrives on brown algaes. Usually if I find something that will touch the brown stuff it's a starfish or snail, and even most of those won't touch the brown either.

bobo 03-22-2008 11:21 AM

no, i think you lost me somewhere :) I havent purchased the urchin yet but my algae is cleaning out by itself, i just scrubbed it off and it never came back. I also cut down on feeding and got a purple lobster and a few more blue legged hermits to help clean up any left over food.

bobo 03-22-2008 11:22 AM

so is a longspine urchin a nice addition? what do they eat apart from algae?

bettababy 03-22-2008 12:22 PM

There is no way for me or anyone else to say if it's a good addition to your tank because we don't even know how big the tank is...???

Or what's all in it besides the lobster and a few hermits...??? Can you please list all of the tank inhabitants, how much live rock is in there, what substrate you're using (live sand or crushed coral), temp, etc. ?

How long has your tank been set up? What is your spg/salinity? Water params?

Please be aware, the purple lobster, while thought to be reef safe, also has the ability to eat small fish and other inverts, especially bottom dwelling fishes such as gobys. The lobster is a carnivore, and if it feels crowded, it will fight back and kill whatever it needs to while protecting its terriroty. Consdering they get about 6 inches long, it should be kept in a good size tank... at least 55 - 75 gallons if mixing in other animals, and it should have lots and lots of live rock in the tank. They are primarily nocturnal feeders, so if its going to cause a problem in the tank, it is most likely to happen during the nighttime hours. If the tank is large enough and has compatible tank mates, a longspine urchin should do just fine. The lobsters are very sensitive to any change in water params and salinity levels, so you'll want to test often for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, calcium, and iodine, and you'll want to really stay on top of feedings and water changes.

Longspine urchins thrive strictly on algae, including macro algaes... (caulerpa)

bobo 03-23-2008 05:08 AM

the tank is a 32 gallon - inhabitants - 2 small small crabs which i`m sure the lobster will get to - 4 blue legged hermits - a number of snails - 2 shrimp (one camel one skunk) - 2 clarki clows - 1 bicolour blenny - 1 cleaner wrasse.

I am upgrading a second tank - 15 gallons. and a wall inbuilt tank of 60 gallons is now in the process of being made. I plan to make the 15 gallon for 2 occelaris clowns and a few shrimp.

I am also condisdering getting a 20 gallon for 2 seahorses.

The main tank (the 32) also has a carpet anemone - but thats moving to a friends tank soon.

bobo 03-23-2008 05:15 AM

forgot to add - tank has been setup nearing 2.5 months now.

salinity is at 1.203
ammonia 0
Ph: 8.4
nitrites 0
nitrates 10(but dropping - had a nitrate spike problem due to excess food in the tank but ever since i got the lobster he cleans up nicely)

i use r/o di water- and the levels of iodine are good i guess since i`ve had lots of molting from my cleaner shrimp and i think from one crab (unless i had 3 crabs in my tank and one died)

The lobster has pitched up nicely in a cave for the last week - however long i had him and just wanders around at night. The clowns are in the anemone and the blenny and wrasse are kind of hard to reach at the moment for him.

where do you think the lobster should go when i upgrade my tanks? :o

bettababy 03-23-2008 05:37 AM

The lobster by itself can stay in the 32 gallon... but at the moment that tank is quite overcrowded. Considering your list of animals, if you attempt a longspine urchin, I would put it in the 60 gallon with the fish, but not the lobster. With that population list, the 60 gallon would be about full other than some snails and maybe something like an emerald crab.

Saltwater tanks can't be stocked like freshwater tanks. In 60 gallons expect about 4 small fish and some inverts... but not much more.

Did you have a typo for the salinity? Is it 1.203 or 1.023? 1.203 would be extremely high, and not safe for those animals.

As for the seahorses... unless you're experienced long term with saltwater and have a great eye for detail, and a good size pocketbook, you might want to consider something else. Seahorses are very difficult to keep, and yes, I've had them. I had a pair that lived 2+ yrs, spawned once, but died during my move last summer. They need a very specialized environment and have very few options for food. Most seahorses won't take frozen foods until they learn... which can take 6 months to 1 yr to teach them. Some will never take anything but live food... and water quality must be perfect all the time, so lots and lots of water changes, lots of water testing, and good filtration with little current in the water are needed. It's a lot of work and even then, very difficult. Please be careful.

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