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Obstinate urchin

Posted 03/08/2011 at 03:05 PM by sacremon

I bought another urchin, which arrived today. This one is in the sump rather than the display tank, as it is too dangerous for at least the eel. It is a flower urchin, Toxopneustes pileolus. This is one of, if not the, most venomous of the sea urchins. It is reputed to have caused human deaths, and laboratory experiments with the toxin have demonstrated it to be very potent, at least in mice.

In any event, I got the urchin in today and set about acclimation. I use a bucket from salt, tilted against the stand with a towel underneath, and a length of tubing with a knot in it so that I get a controlled drip. After about an hour, I went to move the urchin to the sump. I had a glass measuring cup that we use for various aquarium-related chores and a plastic cleaning tool. With urchins I have had before, I just nudge them with a stick and they let go of the bucket, I float them into the measuring cup, and I transfer them to the tank. This time the urchin was not moving. I remove the measure cup and start prodding the urchin with the stick.

The urchin had no intention of being moved.

Eventually, by both exposing it a bit to air and working the flat part of the cleaning stick under the urchin, I convinced it to let go, and I was able to get it into the sump. This was really the worst urchin to put up that kind of resistance, as I could not bring my hands to bear on the job.
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