Advice about adding cleaner crew

  • #1
I have a 38 gallon FOWLR going through its cycle and it's starting to break into awful brown algae (diatoms?). Looks like some green algae is also blooming. I'd like to know what invertebrates I should add and in what quantities. Is there a general rule of thumb like there is for fish (1/2" per gallon)?
The cleaner crews offered by places like Drs. Foster & Smith seem like overkill but I'm clueless!

Any help and or suggestions will be appreciated.
  • #2
they aren't over kill. with 38 gallons you will want atleast 40 critters dedicated to the clean up crew. I would sugguest 10 turbo snails, 10 nassarius snails, 5 dwarf blue leg hermit crabs, 5 margarita snails, and later on add a britle star depending on the fish yo are planning on having. they are diatoms or cayno bacteria. how long has your tank been up? and its more like 2 or 3 inches of fish per gallon with saltwater.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
The tank has been up and running for about 3 weeks and 2 yellowtail damsels were added early last week. The diatoms or whatever they are have been appearing quickly since about 2 days ago.

I've heard a lot of conflicting info regarding how many fish to add so I'm going with what I think is the lower end just in case. At least for now anyways.

What considerations do I need to make when adding a brittle star in relation to fish? Are there some fish that will eat them? I'm planning on having a community aquarium, only peaceful fish.
  • #4
yellow tail damsels are a more aggressive fish. most damsels are aggressive. as long as there are higing places in the LR a brittle star will do ok. Starfish HATE changes in PH salinity and oxygenation so you could try one and it might do great. But I would wait until things are a little more stable.

3 weeks is about the time the diatoms start to creep in. I know its hard but the best thing to do is just wait until they go away. they WILL go away on their own A reef is like a racecar, the faster you go the harder you crash.

with amount of fish per gallon just to give you an idea I have a 24 gallon tank that has been up for 6 months I keep an ocellaris and black ocellaris clow a 6 line wrasse and a green reef chromis and I do a water change once a month and my nitrates are still 0 before the water change. You can put more fish in but it will make the fish more aggressive and territorial and you will have to do more water changes. But if your willing go for it. I like how my tank runs itself.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks for your input.
I have more questions now. Yesterday I went to a LFS to buy some cleaners and I was told that it's not a good idea to keep hermits with snails because the hermits will kill the snails for their shells. I thought this was controlled or eliminated by providing plenty of empty shells for the hermits to use. Is my LFS correct? Should I keep away from hermits? Are there some hermits less likely to attack snails than others?

Right now I've got 10 cerith, 10 nassarius, 5 nerite, 2 emerald crabs, 1 turbo
I'd like to eventually add some dwarf blue tipped hermits, dwarf zebras and/or red tipped hermits. Perhaps a scarlet or electric blue hermit as well. Would these do OK with the snails and crabs I have?

Should their diets be supplemented or will they strictly eat leftovers and algae growing on the rocks and sand bed?

Sorry for all the questions but I seem to be finding conflicting and often confusing info.
Thanks for all the help.
  • #6
questions is why we have fishlore. ill admit that sometimes....SOMETIMES the hermits will kill a snail for a new shell but if you provide empty shells in the tank this shouldnt be a problem. I have 5 dwarf blue legs in my tank and only one had sacrificed a snail. To be honest the hermits have more personality anyways.

I started off with 2 emeralds also but they ended up tearing up my mushrooms and zoes so I got rid of them. I'm sure it was just those particular ones personality.

Its totaly up to you whether you decide to go for hermits or not. It is your tank and your money. If you do add them throw a good 20 empty shells in the bottom that are bigger than they are now.

feeding your cleanup crew is a big BIG no no. that is the fastest way to have soaring nitrates and po4 which lead to ALGAE!!!! Beware, there is plenty of things to eat on your LR
  • #7
I am a bit nervous now...I just bought two emeralds yesterday and I was told that they wouldn't mess with my mushrooms. I have three mushrooms...I sure hope that they don't go after them...if so...I am so ready to get rid of the crabs!
  • #8
it depends on their temperments some get along fine others are a PITA mine were the latter
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  • #9
Again, thank you so much for the input, Wolfgang. You have put my mind at ease. I will keep an eye on my emerald but I'd hate to ever have to get rid of them. They are awesome! Dare I say, cute! (^_^)

I will definitely be adding some hermits with empty shells! I love the little guys and you're right, they are a lot more interesting to look at than snails. I must say though that my nassarius are awesome! They really like to truck along for such little guys.

OK, this might need a thread all on its own but do you or anyone reading this have experience with marine plants? If you do, any recommendations? I know most require constant pruning but I think the extra work could be worth it considering the supposed benefits. I was looking into adding some shaving brushes, maiden hair and/or red kelp. Any advice or suggestions welcomed!
  • #10
maiden hair is a difficult plant to keep. kelp might get too big buy you could check out caulpera, halimedia, or grape caulpera. they grow fast amd help with nitrates and phosphates. They would be really great in your sump/fuge.
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  • #11
hmm...I don't have a sump or refuge so I was hoping to plant something directly in the display tank. I guess I'll have to give this some more thought.
Thanks for the info!
  • #12
You can add it right to the tank but if your emerald crabs act like mine, then the macro algae will be a new treat for them.

BTW Wolfgang, I don't think your emerald crabs are alone when it comes to corals. I added my first coral a couple of weeks ago. A set of yellow polyps. I'm now down about a 1/3 of them now. I've been trying to add anything to keep them fed well enough to keep them away from the polyps. My LFS gave a bit of macro algae for free (guess I've spent enough there!! ) that they had left over. That lasted 2 days. They weren't interested in the sea weed that I put on a clip. Back to the drawing board.
  • #13
yes! itas not just me I just couldnt stand watching my mushrooms and zoes be shreded. Now I have too much money invested in corals to have them destroyed by a 3 dollar SOB lol

and oil-fan our tanks are stocked the same pretty much.

I have one black ocellaris
1 normal ocellaris
1 green reef chromis
1 six like wrasse.
I had a gramma but he diddnt make it.
  • #14
I pulled my hermit yesterday because he devoured my Nassirius snail and it wasn't for his tiny shell.
  • #15
sorry, I don't mean to thread hijack, but I figured I would ask the question here because its the same as yours. what would you do for the clean up crew in a 3 gallon Saltwater reef pico? I don't intend on fish, just inverts corals and such. I would really love a hermit crab, or sexy shrimp..the question is how many? Thanks in advance
nemo addict
  • #16
with emerald crabs you have to be careful they are fed well or they will turn to corals inverts and small fish ,,
most people use emerald crabs for hair or bubble algae then remove them as they can be a problem ,
caulpera can also become sexual (when it goes white) and realeases all the nitrate back in to the water so be careful

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