Sea Cucumber - Burnt Sausage
This medium sized sea cucumber gets its name from exactly what it looks like, a burnt sausage. It lives on the bottom cleaning all the detritus from the sand in your tank and is prized in the Chinese market as an edible.
These pliable, soft animals are cylindrical with rounded ends that can expand its body and assume different shapes. It has tube-like feet running along its body which can be retracted and also serve as feeding tentacles. The burnt sausage cucumber is a pinkish mauve colour underneath with a dark red to black shade on the top, resembling an overcooked hot dog.
Although there are 2 distinct sexes, it is hard to spot the differences and breed in the aquarium. What's interesting about this animal is that it can also reproduce by splitting its body in half into two new creatures each one developing its own set of extra body parts.
This unusual animal will crawl along the bottom substrate eating sand and removing any organic matter clinging to it during digestion. The sand is then expelled out of the other end leaving a trail ridge as it moves around.
The Burnt Sausage Sea Cucumber is quite easy to care for, but it may release a powerful toxin when stressed that could quite possibly poison the whole tank. For this reason, when keeping with other fish it is only recommended for the experienced aquarium owner.
They are found all over the Indo-West Pacific Ocean from the Red Sea and South Africa across to Australia, Hawaii and the Philippines. They love to crawl around on sandy bottoms located in reef flats where food is plentiful and have been seen at depths down to 45 metres.
Tank Recommendations for the Burnt Sausage Sea Cucumber
The smallest tank size for one of these cucumbers is 380 litres and will need large areas of sandy substrate on which to feed. Prioritise horizontal space as the cucumber will remain only on the bottom. These should only be added to well-established aquariums as new ones will not have enough detritus accumulated to maintain its eating habits. Pumps and overflow boxes should be kept well covered and out of its way due to the possibility of it getting sucked in and releasing toxins. Be aware that this animal cannot tolerate high levels of nitrates or copper medications.
Suitable Tank Buddies
These are peaceful animals but only one should be kept in a tank at a time due to the risk of starvation from overconsumption. Keeping them with anything that will attempt to eat them or stress them out can be disastrous.
Burnt Sausage Sea Cucumbers will do fine with Clownfish, Cardinals and Blennies. Dragonets, Damsels and other invertebrates which aren't related to them would be a good choice of tank buddies as well. It is possible to keep with live corals also as long as enough wide, sandy spaces are left for the cucumber to roam around.
Smaller Dwarf Angelfish, Batfish, Boxfish and Butterflies may be kept with these cucumbers but should be removed at any signs of disturbance. Other species such as crustaceans, Rays and Anglerfish should also be watched carefully in case they begin to molest the cucumber and cause it to release toxins.
Larger predatory species such as Sharks are a definite no when keeping cucumbers. Other more aggressive types such as Triggerfish, Wrasses and Filefish will almost certainly be extremely curious and bully this creature. Parrotfish, Pufferfish and Hogfish should be avoided also for the same reasons.
Feeding your Burnt Sausage Sea Cucumber
These animals are actually classified as detritivores which means they will survive eating detritus which is decomposing plant and animal matter including faeces. It is common for home aquariums to not have enough detritus to keep a cucumber alive and well. In this situation sinking algae pellets should be added along with the occasional sinking shrimp pellet to provide enough variety for its nutritional needs. This combined with wide, uninterrupted zones of fine sand with enough organic material should give your cucumber the best chance possible.
|Scientific Name||Holothuria edulis|
|Common Names||The Burnt Sausage Cucumber is also known as the Edible Cucumber and the Black and Pink Sea Cucumber.|
|Max. Length (cm)||33|
|Min. Tank Volume (l)||380|
|Water Conditions||23.3-28.3° C (74-83° F), dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.2, sg 1.024-1.026|