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Black Cucumber - Holothuria atra - Black Sea Cucumber

Black Cucumber - Holothuria atra - Black Sea Cucumber
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Care level:
Expert Only!!!
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Maximum size:
24 inches
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Taxonomy: Black Cucumber belongs to the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Echinodermata, Class Holothuroidea, Order Aspidichirotida, Family Holothuriidae, Genus Holothuria and Species atra.

Scientific names: The scientific name of Black Cucumber is Holothuria atra.

Other common names: Black Cucumber is also commonly known as Black Sea Cucumber, Black Sea Urchin and Lollyfish.

Origin or natural range: Holothuria atra originates from the Indo-Pacific region including the Red Sea and Hawaii.

Size: Black Cucumber grows up to a size of twenty-four inches.

Color: Holothuria atra occurs in black and brown colors.

Compatibility: Black Cucumber is non-aggressive towards the other marine aquarium invertebrates.

Habit & Habitat:

  • Holothuria atra is found partially burrowed in sand at the bottom of its habitat, on reef terraces.
  • When Black Cucumber is attacked by a fish and is injured, it takes out its internal organs which may be poisonous for the predator fish. Black Cucumber then escapes and regenerates its organs.
Morphology: Black Cucumber has a long body which is black in color with some light colored spots.

Growth enabling environment in your marine aquarium: Your marine aquarium must meet the following environmental specifications to successfully host Holothuria atra:
  • Temperature of water: The temperature of your marine aquarium should range between seventy-two and seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Specific gravity of water: The specific gravity of your marine aquarium’s water should range within 1.023 to 1.025.
  • pH of water: The pH value of water should scale between 8.10 and 8.40.
  • Habit & habitat:
    • To host a Black Cucumber, you should have a reef type marine aquarium with sand at the bottom of it so that the cucumber is able to burrow itself in it and also feed from the sand.
    • The members of your marine aquarium must be non-aggressive in their temperament.
    • Do not keep too many Black Cucumbers in your marine aquarium.
    • Ideally, twenty gallons of water is required per three inches long Holothuria atra.
    • Black Cucumber grows up to a maximum size of two inches in a marine aquarium.
    • Holothuria atra generally does not regenerate its organs in a marine aquarium, if they are hurt.
    • If threatened, Black Cucumber defends itself by secreting poisonous membranes.
  • Feeding & Nutrition:
    • Holothuria atra is omnivorous in feeding habit and eats detritus and algae present in the sand at the bottom of the marine aquarium it inhabits.
    • As Black Cucumber is not able to choose its food from the sand, it eats sand and expels pellet shaped clean sand after digesting the food particles present in the eaten sand.
  • Benefits:
    • In the search of food, Holothuria atra ploughs the sand, thereby aerating it.
    • Black Cucumber eats algae and therefore, keeps your marine aquarium free of algae and detritus which would otherwise decay, eventually contaminating the tank water.
  • Black Cucumber is very difficult to maintain.
  • The Nitrate level in the water should not be high as it will be very detrimental for the health of Holothuria atra.
  • Avoid the exposure of Black Cucumber to too much of copper as the element may harm the cucumber.
  • Holothuria atra is poisonous in nature and therefore, should be maintained and handled by the expert aquarists only.
  • If threatened or if it dies, Black Cucumber may throw out poisonous membranes which may be lethal for the fish in your marine aquarium.
  • If Holothuria atra dies in your marine aquarium, change its water several times and place some carbon tied in a net near your aquarium’s filter to eliminate toxins completely.

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