Question Newbie Questions About First Stocking

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Hello, my first saltwater tank has just finished cycling (10 gal) and I’m wondering what you guys think I should add first?

I don’t have any algae in my tank... so I don’t really need a cuc however I really love dwarf hermit crabs, so I wonder if I should add them first or add goby first and the hermits later?

Another question, if I do end up adding the hermits first should I also get Nassarius snails (sorry if the spelling is incorrect) or do they eat algae? I thought I read those snails eat left over food and stuff in the sand.
 

stella1979

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Welcome to Fishlore, and congrats on the salty tank!

You can add either the fish or the crabs first, whichever you'd like. Just know that the crabs will need feeding. When fish are in a tank, crabs usually do just fine with leftover foods plus whatever algae they can find. Without either of those things, they'll need to be fed, but be careful because they don't need much.

Nassarius snails are not a good idea as they are strictly carnivores. Even with a fish and thus, leftover foods, my first nassarius snails did not fare well, though I have found success with them after the tank was a little older. I think it's really best to wait until a tank is pretty well established before getting these guys.
 

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Usually it's best to wait until your diatom/algae bloom comes in and then add a few hermits and snails to test the waters and then a week or two later add your first fish. The diatom bloom will keep them fed until you get a fish and start feeding it. Trochus snails are my personal favorite for all around glass and rock algae eaters. Nassarius snails are marginal sand cleaners at best. A single "Fighting Conch" or Dwarf "Fighting Conch" snail will put a handful of nassarius snails to shame as they are much faster sand cleaners and will eat pretty much anything left over including detritus (Fish Poop). I have 5 of the regular sized ones in my 90 gallon tank and they keep my sand bed almost as clean as a Diamond Watchman Goby (without the terrible sandstorm in the tank). Mine also do a little rockwork cleaning as well. In addition the Conch snails are far more visible and entertaining to watch. Just be aware that they tend to bury during the day and do their work at night.
 
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A fighting conch wouldn’t be to big for a 10 gal? I’d much rather have one of those down the road than other snails...

Thank you for your help btw!
 

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I love my nassarius snails. I have 3 in my 39g. They rise from the sand bed every time I feed and are not shy about getting their piece of the pie. They do their fare share of clean up and I like looking for their snorkels. It is true a fighting conch would be really cool, but nassarius are cheap and plentiful.
If you get hermits, keep in mind they will grow and need replacement shells... Where do you think those will come from? You guessed it, your snails. I have only 3 hermits in my tank and essentially I am waiting till those kick it so I can get a wider variety of snails. The only one I won't put in my salt tank are nerite snails. They leave white dots/eggs all over the place. Currently I have nassarius and astrea snails. The hermits kill every other snails I introduce.
If you want to get the fish first, by all means do that if you tank is fully cycled. I absolutely LOVE my goby and pistol shrimp pair. First fish I introduced too. I have replaced his pistol shrimp buddy 2 times but as a pair, they are by far my favorite inhabitants. There are many gobys that will pair with a pistol shrimp. I have a tangaroa goby, I know yellow gobys do it too. There are quite a few more, you'll have to look them up to pick a good set. The pistol shrimp does quite a bit of landscaping so if you like your sand bed undisturbed and flat, I suggest something else. I personally love the vareity to the tank. Every day the sand is shifted and they are in another cubby hole.

Good luck, welcome to the lobby and happy reefing!
 
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I ended up getting the hermits first, and my LFS gave me some shells (5) for the four (dwarf) hermits to move into when they grow. I got one nassarius snail, and it is pretty active. I’m hoping the hermits don’t end up killing snails if I get more. But I also like the idea of getting I conch I just feel like I’ve read somewhere they are to big for a 10 gal....

I saw a wheeler goby and pistol shrimp pair I really liked, but their are also some cool watchman gobies at my LFS I like.
 

Jesterrace

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NPC said:
A fighting conch wouldn’t be to big for a 10 gal? I’d much rather have one of those down the road than other snails...

Thank you for your help btw!
A single fighting conch is 3 inches max and the dwarf variety is just over 2 inches. The dwarf may be better suited for a 10 gallon though and you only need one. Even Turbo snails aren't as quick as the conches are in terms of cleaning. I'm not saying nassarius can't be useful, but most have far more success in terms of cleaning results with the conches in just about every case. We aren't talking about the massive conch snails in the sea here. This is a fighting conch:
 
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Yes, I’ve looked into getting a fighting conch I just felt like I read somewhere they were too big! But now I know! Thank you!
 

Jesterrace

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As mentioned you only need one and a dwarf variety might be the perfect solution for a smaller tank.
 

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Saltwater tanks are only as hard or expensive as you make them. A basic Fish Only With Live Rock tank really isn't that much harder than a freshwater tank provided people take the time to research it properly and don't try and rush into it. I didn't start my first fish tank of any kind until about 2 years ago and it was a 36 gallon saltwater tank. I spent several months researching it before I got it and I was certainly far better off than some of the folks who spent years with freshwater and then tried rushing into saltwater. As I tell people, freshwater teaches you both good and bad habits when it comes to transitioning to the salty side and I have seen some downright boneheaded mistakes from folks trying to convert over that a person who properly researched and started with saltwater wouldn't have made (ie freshies who set up a saltwater tank with gravel, fake plants, bubblers and then simply added instant ocean salt to treated tap water and then wonder why their tank is crashing and have no clue about the function of live rock).
 
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Well, I didn’t specify but it’s not my first tank, I do have some freshwater. It’s just my first saltwater. I didn’t feel like it was important for me to say “I have freshwater tanks” to get a question answered about first stocking of a saltwater one...
 

Jesterrace

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NPC said:
Well, I didn’t specify but it’s not my first tank, I do have some freshwater. It’s just my first saltwater. I didn’t feel like it was important for me to say “I have freshwater tanks” to get a question answered about first stocking of a saltwater one...
I have to admit that I do find it amusing that most who spout off those kinds of comments about saltwater have Zero actual experience with it themselves and are only spouting off what they have heard from other folks who are limited to freshwater experience. Can't tell you how many times I have seen the following:

1) Saltwater is only for experts
2) Saltwater is only for people who have X number of years of freshwater experience first
3) Saltwater is too expensive

I just roll my eyes.
 

david1978

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When ever one of my friends is having an issue with their tanks it seems they ask me. Freshwater no problem. Saltwater first forget everything you know about freshwater tank then its easier to figure out. I have to agree on the more expensive part. Harder not so much just different.
 
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I have been doing a lot of research and it doesn’t seem all that difficult if you just put time into learning what you are going to be doing.
 

Jesterrace

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NPC said:
I have been doing a lot of research and it doesn’t seem all that difficult if you just put time into learning what you are going to be doing.
And that's really it. The expense also has opposite ends of the spectrum just like freshwater (although it is more expensive overall). You can have everything from a 10 gallon FOWLR tank (no corals) with a Firefish and a Goby to a 125+ gallon full blown reef tank with Tangs, Angels, etc. Kind of like Comparing a betta in a 5-10 gallon tank to a 100 plus gallon planted Discus Tank. Different people want different things.
 

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I'm going to throw a little something in here too, I have a 29 gallon and love my trochus, nassarius, and bumblebee snails. I have 2 turbos and if I had it to do again I wouldn't get them, probably way too big for your tank anyway but I hate that they seem to love trampling my corals, and when I have corals acclimating, not glued down yet they will almost always knock them over.

As Maggie321 says, hermits have their drawbacks. I loved them when they were one of the first things in my tank, but I have to stand at the tank sweeping them away from my corals during every feeding which is pretty obnoxious. It takes next to forever for a ricordea to eat a shrimp, lol, & I stand there the whole time knocking the crabs back over and over so it can eat.
Trochus snails are cool looking and don't bother my corals
Nassarius sails show up every feeding time and are excellent little cleaners
Bumblebee snails are fun to try and spot - they are very small and are usually tucked into every tiny little spot & clean the nooks and crannies that other CUC members can't reach.
I saw a youtube video recently with a guy in front of this huge (roughly)180gal tank and he was talking about how his wife's favorite fish in this awesome massive tank filled with my dream fish (tangs, triggers & butterflies, oh my!) was a yellow clown goby. A tiny little goby that apparently has a wealth of personality. I would do that and a firefish if I was stocking a 10g.
 

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2 Turbos in a 29 gallon is definitely too much. I had one decent sized Mexican Turbo in my 36 gallon and it could clean my entire glasswork in about an hour and yes they will knock your corals over if they aren't glued down. In a 10 gallon, a few Trochus would be more than adequate to get the job done. As for Nassarius, just me but I don't care for them. I feel that a single Fighting conch or Dwarf Fighting Conch will do far more for a sandbed in a smaller tank than the nassarius will. They are also incredibly adaptive, hardy and eat a wider range of things (ie left over food, algae, detritus, etc.). They also are far more entertaining to watch. As for hermits, it depends on how many you have in your tank and what size it is. I have a big left handed hermit in my tank that comes running during feeding time and several smaller red legged hermits that work on the rockwork but they all leave my corals alone (I tend to feed pretty well though). I definitely don't do the one per gallon type rule on my hermits though, I think I have less than 20 in a 90 gallon tank with 90lbs of live rock.

I agree on the Clown Goby and Firefish for the 10 gallon. Incidentally I did a review on the fighting conch and if you fastforward to the 4 minute mark you can see where the name comes from:

 

LyssahBlue

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Wish I had known more about conches when I was stocking my CUC! I have no experience there at all. I wish I had a way to get rid of my turbo snails, they were the first snails I bought and I had no idea what they were or anything about different types of snails at the time. I probably should have asked someone
I'll check out the video later tonight, right now I'm slacking at work and youtube is blocked :bigtears:
 

Jesterrace

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Turbos should be pretty easy to get rid of, especially at night since they usually go on the glass near the top of the tank.
 

LyssahBlue

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Jesterrace said:
Turbos should be pretty easy to get rid of, especially at night since they usually go on the glass near the top of the tank.
Mostly I meant who would want them? lol. Maybe I'll post on Boston Reefers and see if anyone wants them.
 

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