View Full Version : Tuxedo Urchin and Coralline

01/06/2007, 11:13 AM
I just set up a 120G with not much liverocks (see pictures).


In the process of stocking up clean up crews I got myself a tuxedo urchin which was recommended by an LFS I trusted as a diatom eater. I've been in the hobby for a few years, but frankly I don't know much about urchins as I've never thought of getting one. All I remember was it is one of the Echinoderms, eats algae and is venomenous. After reading reference material I realised that I missed a key point that it eats coralline algaes. The lesson here is memory isn't the most reliable tool.

My question is how aggressive does it consume coralline? I don't mind if it eats a little. But I certainly want my liverocks covered in coralline for at least 95% of its external surface.

Lev F.
01/06/2007, 11:29 AM
They do eat Corraline, but they move so slowly that the corraline should grow back within a day or two, if you have the proper conditions for corraline to grow.

Nice tank BTW.

01/06/2007, 11:36 AM
My tank is less than two weeks old so there isn't much coralline. It has been in my tank for a day now and I think it has munched about 1" square of coralline. I hope it doesn't do this everyday, or else I'll have to move it to my refugium, at least till coralline covered my display.

Thanks for the kind words. :) I think the diatom is spoiling everything. :D

01/06/2007, 01:13 PM
I agree with Lev F - my Tuxedo Urchin just doesn't eat enough coralline algae to make a noticable difference. Every now and then I do notice that he has picked up a couple of zoas, but again, I don't notice them missing from the parent colony. You will want to protect any frags you have for this reason.

01/06/2007, 02:32 PM
Tuxedos are definite coralline algae munchers. All my rock is pretty much covered and established with purple coralline so it doesn't make much of a dent....it grows back within a couple of days.

As Liesl_s said, they will pick up anything small and unattached. Mine has developed a liking to zoas, shrooms, and even SPS frags...



01/06/2007, 04:28 PM
Thanks guys. How much liverocks do you guys have, would mine be sufficient so that it won't make a noticeable difference?

01/07/2007, 01:35 PM
anyone else? :)

01/11/2007, 02:18 AM
My tuxedo seems to munch up a good sized patch of coralline wherever it goes. Right now I move it to the glass when ever I see it "straying" to the LR. I hope I can stop doing this when my coralline takes off.

01/11/2007, 03:31 AM
Mine is not a tuxedo, but he does eat a decent amount of coraline here is a pic of one nights work for him. I have been told they also eat algae but this tank has none so it's coraline only for him.


01/11/2007, 03:40 AM
I was told that tuxedo eats algaes, but apparently it prefers coralline than other types of algaes.

01/11/2007, 06:25 AM
I have a carrier Urchin that is very similar to the tuxedo in the coraline eating aspect. I actually got the urchins b/c I was getting sick of having to scrape the coraline off the glass every week. He did help out as I don't get the matt of coraline that I used to it is more broken up and splotchy. But like others that posted here my coraline grows so fast I can only see his 'trails' for a week or so, and then they are re-encrusted.

One of my urchins has been carrying around a Zoa frag for a couple of weeks now. The coral seems to be doing fine so I let him have it. They also love to grab my glass thermometers and carry them around for weeks on end.

As for you Navy I would let him eat away. They seem to actually help spread the coraline. Don't quote me on this but I think what they poop out has some viable coraline in it. So whenever they poop they are seeding for more coraline growth. I don't have anything to prove that but that's the way it seems in my tanks.

Also!! I almost forgot. Get a stalk of Brocoli from the store (fresh or frozen) let it thaw and wash it thoroughly and give it to your urchin. Mine freakin love the stuff. They will camp out on a piece of the stuff and eat it for days on end. You may be able to use it to keep them off your coraline until it gets established.

01/11/2007, 06:57 AM
Thanks Rusty, I hope the urchin poop will really spread the coralline. I'll try the broccoli trick. Your comments seems to be my only hope right now. :D

01/11/2007, 09:54 AM
I used to feed fresh water plecos zuccini. You boil it, drop it in some ice water, it sinks. Throw it in the tank and the pleco wont leave it till its gone.

I might try this just to give him a treat.

01/11/2007, 10:14 AM
If you are worried about Coraline gorwth, try this...
IF you have some corralien growing on the glass (front, back, sides... whatever) Scrape a good portion off and try to siphon it up right away. Then put it in a small container and either hit it with a hand blender, or use some sort of morter and pestal (sp?) to pulverize it into paste.

Then, turn off your sump and all but maybe one Powerhead/steram. Pour in the corraline mush and let it kinda settle on your rocks. After an hour or so, go ahead and turn on the sump and your flow. The corraline shoud take off soon after that.

01/12/2007, 04:29 AM
Have you ever seen a tuxedo urchin trying to flip a piece of broccoli? :D


The trick seems to be working. :)

01/12/2007, 06:12 AM
hehee!! yup that's it. Mine seemed to prefer the heads of the brocolli more than the stalks. I had to rubberband the heads to a rock for it to sink. But either way it looks like yours is 'bout to have a feast!!! If you have hermit crabs they also enjoy the brocolli as well.

Awesome pic!

01/12/2007, 06:31 AM
Thanks. :)

Seriously, I've always assumed that you meant the stalk of the broccoli, as I can't imagine the sight of an urchin over a broccoli head. :D Yep, this thing tend to float away but I got the urchin to hold onto it. :D

01/12/2007, 06:40 AM
Once they get ahold of it, they usually don't let it go until they either get their fill or it's gone!

01/12/2007, 07:33 AM
It's just hours since I put the broccoli piece and its poop started piling while it is feasting. This guys is a broccoli to poop converter. :D

01/12/2007, 07:38 AM

01/12/2007, 11:47 AM
My coraline algae was growing out of control. It grew about 1/2 inch thick on the overflow partition.

After I bought 10 tuxedo urchins, the coraline algae is finally getting more under control. I simply love the clean look of the overflow and glass.

What will be the problem if I buy another 10 and make the tank sparkling clean of coraline algae?

I'm not sure why so many people worry about growing coraline. Having it cover the back glass and the bare bottom simply look too untidy to me.

01/12/2007, 12:03 PM

It sound like that you have a very serious coralline problem.

I do prefer a black background than a coralline coloured one, but IMO, white rocks are less attractive than a pink or purple rock.