Anyone know if a purple urchin from the Cali coast can survive in tropical water temps?

Discussion in 'Fish and Invertebrates' started by gaberosenfield, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. gaberosenfield

    gaberosenfield Juvenile Chromis over an Acro in the Red Sea

    I'm planning on getting my rescue diver certification in about a month, and I was thinking that I'd like to take something from the local coastline while diving for my tank. I recently got a pencil urchin to help mow down some algae and it is clearly the best member of my CUC so far. So I want to try and collect a purple urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) from the coast and put it my tank.


    I figure this won't be an environmental issue because ever since we hunted the sea otter population to near extinction, the urchins have been growing out of control and damaging out kelp forests, so it shouldn't hurt anything to take one for my aquarium. However, I'm not sure if an urchin that lives in 50F water can survive at 75F. I know that local anemones and crabs can survive at 70F because one of the teaching labs at UC Berkeley has a room temp aquarium that has kept these creatures alive for years.

    Does anyone have any thoughts about this? Of course I will be careful to test whether these urchins are reef safe before dropping one in my display.
  2. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Just make sure you don't take it from a marine sanctuary :D

    I would also worry about what other nasty stuff is in the water that might make it along the ride. Any reason why you want to keep one, other than it's free?
  3. gaberosenfield

    gaberosenfield Juvenile Chromis over an Acro in the Red Sea

    Just that there's something fun about collecting something for my tank while scuba diving. It's also cool to have something local. Of course I could always buy a tropical one from an lfs. But that would be way too easy!
  4. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    Dont get busted.

    Fish and Game Wardens are constantly watching divers along the california coast in case they poach Abalone.

    I was fined 600$ for targeting Carp on the guadalupe river. It was closed to fishing 2 days prior to me going out and I didnt know. Carp being an invasive non-native fish, that most people dislike.

    Technically you would need a fishing license and I advise checking the regulations.
  5. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member


    I get stopped quite a few times while returning from diving for Abalone. At least once each trip. They've met us at the car as we are coming back from the water a few times and they setup road check points during busy weekends.
  6. gaberosenfield

    gaberosenfield Juvenile Chromis over an Acro in the Red Sea

    Thanks for the info everyone. @Enderturtle: That sucks! Why would they ever fine you for fishing an invasive species?!

    I looked it up. It seems that purple sea urchins are some of the least regulated animals in California waters. The bag limit is 35 per person per day, no size limits, and the only places you can't collect them are some marine protected areas (some allow taking of only urchins). However, I would still need to purchase a fishing license, which is ~$15 for a one day license, which is the same cost as just buying a tropical urchin from an lfs... So now I just have to ask myself whether I would rather spend the $15 on a license to collect my own urchin that may not survive long term in tropical water, or just spend the same amount on a tropical urchin that was collected from the tropics. Hmm...

    Edit: I can collect one for free on a free fishing day! Looks like I'm going diving for urchins on July 2nd :)
    Enderturtle likes this.
  7. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    This is a cool idea and I'm jealous of your dive training.

    I do think you'll always have a better experience with fish/coral/inverts that can survive in someone elses tank vs. wild caught. Some folks seem to put a premium on wild specimens, but I'll always prefer ones that have proven adaptability to hobbyist tanks.
  8. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    If it will survive the temperature I love this idea! Good luck with it.

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