Tuxedo Urchin (Mespilia sp.)
Sea urchins are considered by marine ecologists to be keystone species in tropical seas, as they promote the development of reef-building corals via the intense grazing pressure they exert on benthic algae. As such, they are an indispensable herbivore in any reef aquarium clean-up crew. Highly valued for its beautiful appearance as well as for its ability to eradicate filamentous algae, the tuxedo urchin has long been a reef aquarium hobby favorite.
Though less active during daylight hours, it emerges at night to feed on a wide variety of algae. Particularly in smaller tanks or where benthic algae growth is minimal, it will eventually require supplemental feedings in the form of dried algae or offerings of live material from the refugium.
The blue tuxedo urchin (Mespilia globulus) bears broad, velvety, dark bluish bands between rows of short spines. An equally attractive reddish variety (Mespilia cf globulus) is currently believed to belong to the same species.
These captive bred specimens are considerably hardier than those we’ve used in the past. Available in both blue and red color forms.
See below for more information.
Size and Care Requirements
- Purchase Size: ~1″ (length)
- Max Size: 3″ (length)
- Water Parameters: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.2-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
- Color: Blue or red (see above)
- Reef-Safe: Yes
- Diet: Herbivorous
Tuxedo Urchin Species Information
The tuxedo sea urchin occurs on shallow reefs, rubble flats and seagrass beds throughout the Indian Ocean and the Western Atlantic Ocean from Indonesia to Southern Japan.
The Benefits of Captive Bred Urchins
Captive-bred invertebrates provide a huge advantage over wild-caught specimens. Because they are cultured under captive conditions, they are better adapted to living in an aquarium and tend to be more disease resistant. They are also better able to handle shipping/acclimation stress. By purchasing captive-bred sea urchins, you are supporting the aquaculture of marine organisms and helping to make our hobby sustainable!
AlgaeBarn keeps these tuxedo urchins in an invertebrate-specific system to minimize the transfer of fish parasites and other unwanted hitchhikers.
100% Alive on Arrival (AoA) Guarantee
We guarantee that every tuxedo sea urchin we sell will be Alive On Arrival and in good health. Should any arrive in any other state, we will either replace them free of charge (including shipping). If the total livestock loss is less than $40, we will issue store credit. For more information, please also visit our 100% Alive On Arrival Guarantee page.
heatherz95 (verified owner) –
Love these cute little guys. Had a red tuxedo for a long time but he one day died. Have gone through 4 others (from other locations and not tank raised) who just didn’t travel well and did not survive. This little guy arrived hardy, tentacles waiving about and has been doing well the few days he has been in my tank. Thank you SO much Algae Barn! I will be ordering a red tuxedo soon.
nicole navarro (verified owner) –
I’ve had mine about 4 weeks now, he is the cutest little guys. He’s already cleaned up half of my rock! Love him. Would trust to buy any captive breed fish from algae barn!
CBO (verified owner) –
First one was unfortunately DOA even though it was very well packed. Algae Barn sent a replacement and the new one arrived in great shape, tube feet all extended, and it went straight to work, picking up a variety of shell hats (and maybe a few snails) along the way. Very fun to watch.
JoleneKRettig (verified owner) –
I received an red tuxedo urchin last week. This was the last one I would order as I tried before with another company and he did not make it. I believe that captive raised helps these critters to be tougher and also decrease disease spread. I am happy with my purchase.
Cynthia A Crewdson (verified owner) –
Looked forward to receiving my urchin and mandarin, was not disappointed! Once urchin (who I named “Spike” acclimated he picked up a few pieces of shell to camouflage and went to work eating algae. Just in the few weeks, both have grown and done well.
Larry (verified owner) –
I ordered two of these about 2 months ago. When they arrived, they were quite tiny and not all that colorful. But after a month, they almost doubled in size and they are gorgeous. So much so, that I ordered 2 more. Honestly, these guys are great. You will not be disappointed.
Jake (verified owner) –
So neat! Fascinating to watch and they eat nuisance algae all night long. Also you can put hats on them! Just go ahead and buy some! Just keep in mind they don’t do well with high Nitrates.