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Pencil urchin - reef safe?

  • reef safe

    Votes: 9 45.0%
  • reef safe only while small (< quarter sized)

    Votes: 3 15.0%
  • never reef safe

    Votes: 8 40.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bought a pencil urchin at the LFS today (went for a Tux but they only had one left and I wasn't too sure about that one), then promptly returned it when I got home, looked it up, and realized there is some debate about the compatibility of this animal in reefs.

I ended up swapping it for the Tux, but honestly, once I got the pencil I really, really liked it, and wished I could have kept it instead.

So, a poll. Just wondering your thoughts on the pencil urchin. Friend or foe to the reef aquarium?

PS - eating coraline algae is not what I mean by "not reef safe". I read many people had trouble with them eating zoas and a few other inverts and corals.
 

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I would like to say they are a "hit or miss" but most likely they will eat something you don't want them to ,like zoas and paly . most def the most expensive/favorite ones that you have. I believe you want the small tuxedo ones. I think that's what I have ,often labeled as "fancy" .
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, I'm not worried about the Tux. I had one in my last tank (three years ago) and he was a work horse and never bothered anything. Never even messed with any rocks (I've read that because of their small spines they just don't have the power behind them that the longer and/or thicker spined urchins do so that may be the case - I don't know for sure, but mine never toppled anything). I'm comfortable with the Tux in my tank, I just really liked the pencil and the one I had purchased was very active, both at the LFS and in the bag when I brought him home.

And LOL - I was thinking the same thing as far as eating anything; that it might be hit or miss, but if it's 'hit' then it will undoubtedly be the zoas that I absolutely love. :)
 

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Tuxedos can be sensitive, e.g. did not do well for me in a nano. Given targeted feeding or a large enough tank (e.g. no parameter swings) they are a solid choice. Short spine black urchin may be a good choice for a smaller tank - didn't seem to bother any of my corals, though experiences vary, and very hardy, e.g. my salinity spiked when I was gone for a week and he survived just fine.
 

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I have a huge pecil urchin that is bannished to the sump after eating a small colony of zoo's. They are opertunistic eaters for sure.. He keeps the sump algae free and eats the cheato before it can grow..

---Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow! I didn't know anything would eat cheato! I'm thinking the little pencil I originally brought home would have been good just long enough to lull me into a false sense of security before eating my lovely little zoa frags. The Tux is doing his thing and leaving my frags alone so even though he's a little boring, they are the only ones I have previous experience with and they're easy enough so ~shrug~ I like 'im. :) Oh, and (random) he looked black in the store and I was curious about it, thinking it seemed reasonable that some might be black instead of blue, but not really wanting a black one. Must have just been a trick of the lighting though because he seems to look bluer and bluer to me every day. :)
 
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