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Banded Longspine Urchin

(Echinothrix calamaris)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 3"
• Diet: Juvenile: Herbavore, Adult: Carnivore   • Aquarium Level: All   • Minimum Tank Size: 12 gallons
 • Reef Compatible: Yes, with caution   • Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
• Supplements: None   • Coloration: Black, Brown, Tan, White
• Origin: Indo-Pacific • Family: Diadematidae   • Species: Urchins

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Banded Longspine Urchin native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Banded Longspine Urchin, which is also commonly known within the aquarium trade as either the Longspined Urchin or Hatpin Urchin, has a dark brown central body with alternating brown and white striped spines. These long and sharp spines can sometimes reach lengths of up to 9 inches. The spines are generally thick and hollow, yet very strong, while some of the spines are shorter and less thick in size.

This species is found living in Indo-Pacific reefs, where it spends the daylight hours in dark crevices and comes out at night to feed. During the daytime some species of small fish utilize the spines of Banded Longspine Urchin for protection from larger fish species. In the wild it is common to find large aggregations of Banded Longspine Urchins living together in a small area.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Banded Longspine Urchin in the home aquarium.

The Banded Longspine Urchin will spend much of the daylight hours hiding in between rocky crevices. The aquarium should have stable rock work and some shaded areas, with large enough crevices for the Banded Longspine Urchin to comfortable wedge itself into. During the night, the Banded Longspine Urchin will come out to feed, with juveniles foraging the reef for algae and adults preying on invertebrates. It is best to feed this species small bits of meaty foods about an hour after the aquarium lights have been turned off.

This species should be kept with care with other invertebrates as it will try to feed on certain species of small invertebrates. Smaller fish, such as the Banggai Cardinal, will often seek shelter among its spines during the day, leaving their protection at night to eat. Like most invertebrate species the Banded Longspine Urchin will not tolerate copper-based medications and needs low nitrate levels.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Banded Longspine Urchin.

In the wild the Banded Longspine Urchin consumes primarily algae while a juvenile, forging on the reef during nighttime hours. Adults of this species in the wild, become carnivorous and will feed on small invertebrates. In the aquarium, meaty foods can be placed near its spines or even on them, with the spines having the ability to transport the food to its mouth. Adults may be fed meaty foods such as mussel or clam meat 3 to 4 times a week.

More Information

Use caution when handling the Banded Longspine Urchin.

Use caution when handling the Banded Longspine Urchin, as it is capable of delivering a painful sting similar to that of a wasp.

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