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Spiny Sea Cucumber

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Species group:

Other common names: Pink Sea Cucumber, Pink and Green Sea Cucumber

Scientific name: Pentata anceps

The basics:
The flamboyant Spiny Sea Cucumber is a show stopper on the reef and in the aquarium. However, this delicate filter-feeder is best reserved for folks with a serious interest and a good deal of experience.

The Spiny Sea Cucumber is native to Eastern Indo-Pacific Region, where it dwells on and near coral reefs, in areas with moderate to strong currents.

Appearance / health:
The bright green and yellow body is covered with numerous vivid pink thorn-like projections. Long, feathery yellow and pink tentacles are extended when the animal is feeding. Spiny Sea Cucumbers reach 5 cm (2 in) in length.

The Spiny Sea Cucumber is very sensitive to ammonia and nitrate levels in the water and prone to malnourishment and starvation. Filter intakes must be modified so as to prevent Sea Cucumbers from being pulled in and injured.

Behavior / temperament:
The Spiny Sea Cucumber’s tank-mates must be chosen with great care, as stressed individuals, and those that expire, release powerful toxins that will kill most marine creatures.

Housing:
Spiny Sea Cucumbers demand excellent water quality and vigorous currents. Live sand and live rock, which helps to provide the micro-organisms upon which these unique creatures feed, should be included in their aquarium.

The following water quality parameters should be maintained for Spiny Sea Cucumbers: Temperature: 23-28 C (73-82 F); Salinity: 1.023-1.025; pH: 8.1-8.4; Alkalinity 8-12 dKH.

Diet:
In addition to the micro-organisms provided by live sand and rock, Spiny Sea Cucumbers require frequent feedings off liquid plankton preparations. Trace elements should be added as directed by the manufacturer.

Breeding:
Reproduction is asexual (via fission) and sexual, but is unlikely in home aquariums.

Written by Frank Indiviglio

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