Short Spine Urchin (Echinometra sp.)
Max Size: 3 inches
Reef Compatible: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
The Shortspine Urchin, also known as the Rock Burrowing Urchin, features a distinctive oval to round body adorned with hundreds of uniform reddish-orange spines. Typically inhabiting the back reef areas, this nocturnal algae cleaner is renowned for its habit of burrowing small niches in carbonate rocks (such as dead corals) to seek refuge.
To ensure the well-being of the Shortspine Urchin in a home aquarium, it's essential to provide ample hiding spots and enough space for foraging. During daylight hours, it tends to seek shelter in caves, and in some cases, it may burrow into dense substrates. At night, it emerges to graze on algae, utilizing its suctorial podia arranged in five double rows to move about.
In the aquarium, it's advisable to incorporate substantial amounts of live rock, which serves as a grazing substrate. These rock formations should be stable and capable of withstanding the Urchin's burrowing behavior as it wedges itself into crevices.
Although Shortspine Urchins are typically solitary creatures, they can tolerate the presence of others of their kind. However, it's important to avoid exposing them to high levels of copper-based medications and elevated nitrates. Poor water quality can lead to spine loss in these creatures.
In cases where there is an insufficient supply of algae for grazing, consider supplementing their diet with dried seaweed to ensure their nutritional needs are met.