Reef Janitors-What to add/How many/When to Add?

han012

Member
I'm in the process of setting up a 55 FOWLR & I was wondering how many snails/hermit crabs I need to add. I know I need to add them after the tank cycles but do I add them before or after the fish go in? if it's before, how do I feed them? my LFS has this package but I think it's overkill (& expensive!):

50 Gallon Reef Janitor Package:

20 Margarita Snails
10 Turbo Snails
20 Blue Leg Hermit Crabs
2 Sally Lightfoot Crabs
2 Serpent / Brittle Stars
2 Mithrax Crabs
 

atmmachine816

Member
I would add them before fish, they are hardier than fish in the first place and can be added sooner to combat algae.

I wouldn't get that package. Margarita snails like cooler temps 70-76tops so unless your tnak stays cool I wouldn't get any. I would get:
20 astrea snails
20 cerith snails
5 turbo snails
(not sure how many) mithrax crabs
10 blue leg hermit crabs
2 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp
2 peppermint shrimp

From my knowledge that's what I would get, maybe add more snails if you feel you need more. Somebody else should be around soon to confirm that or change it. I wouldn't get anything yet until they do.
 

Gozer_1

Member
atmmachine said:
I would add them before fish, they are hardier than fish in the first place and can be added sooner to combat algae.

I wouldn't get that package. Margarita snails like cooler temps 70-76tops so unless your tnak stays cool I wouldn't get any. I would get:
20 astrea snails
20 cerith snails
5 turbo snails
(not sure how many) mithrax crabs
10 blue leg hermit crabs
2 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp
2 peppermint shrimp

From my knowledge that's what I would get, maybe add more snails if you feel you need more. Somebody else should be around soon to confirm that or change it. I wouldn't get anything yet until they do.
I would suggest 20-40 nassarius snails. They are good for stirring the substrate. Also, astrea snails can sometimes have a bit of trouble flipping back over if they fall on their backs. They may need a little help. I'm thinking about some trochus snails. They are similar to astrea I think, except with a little better flipping over ability. Hope to have some ordered this week. I'll post what I think of them sometime lol.
My plan for my 55 FOWLR is:
50 Nassarius snails
15-20 Trochus Snails
5-10 Astrea Snails
30 Cerith Snails

I can't keep crabs or shrimp because my fish would eat them.

If anyone knows anything about Trochus Snails, please let me know what you think.
 

atmmachine816

Member
nassarius, ya that's what I was missing. Aren't trochus a bit larger type of snail, but not quite as large as turbos? I've heard of them but haven't seen any by me. And ya, that's a good point, my astrea snails have fallen a couple times and I've had to flip them back over, can be a pain in the butt some times.
 

Gozer_1

Member
From what I have found online (which isn't really much) Trochus are a little smaller than the Mexican Turbos at, around 1" dia compared to 2" Turbos. I don't know how big Turbos really get, so I can't verify this "max size". Apparently they are very similar to Astrea snails, but their shell is pointier so they can flip themselves over much easier. This ability comes at a price of a dollar extra per snail though. The Astreas are about $2 and the Trochus are $3. I also just found some "Tongan Super Nassarius" snails on Drs. Foster & Smith. They get to be 1" instead of 1/2". I think I'm going to go with some of those. Same deal there $2 normal $3 Super, although I got my nassarius snails on Ebay for $0.75 each. Funny how your plans can change with even 10 mins of reading about this hobby. lol

My future list is now:
15 Trochus
30 Cerith
10 Super Nassarius
20 Nassarius
Maybe a couple Turbos
And the Astreas I have now.

I'm going to order mine in portions so I don't end up with too many. I'm probably going to order 5 or so trochus snails and some Ceriths today. I'll see what that many can do and add as needed. I think that's the best way. Those "Clean-up crew" packages always seem to be a lot of animals and every package I've looked at has 1 or 2 that I just don't want in my tank, like conchs, Brittle stars, and Arrow Crabs. Conch's get HUGE. I have heard that Brittle Stars can eat themselves out of food fairly fast, and I hear Arrow Crabs will eat featherdusters. I like my featherdusters. lol
 

atmmachine816

Member
Ok sounds about right. I've heard brittle stars aren't too bad but it isn't that good of an idea to add them because they are starfish and like you said. Ya I think arrow crabs can be mean to other things too, and they get fairly large too. The snails your getting are the one's I'm waiting on still. Turbos get 2-3" I think.
 

Gozer_1

Member
I just found the "Build Your Own" janitor deal on Drs. Foster and Smith. Some snails are on sale. I purchased 30 Ceriths 10 Nassarius and 2 Turbos. $60 with free shipping. You have to order at least $60 to get free shipping. $1 each Nassarius, $1.50 each Cerith, $2.50 each Turbo. Pretty good deal especially with free shipping. If you haven't purchased any janitors or need more $60 for free shipping is a great deal.

They don't offer Trochus snails in the Build your own, so I decided to go with these guys. I figure after I have them for a month or 2 I will have a pretty good idea of how many to get.
 

atmmachine816

Member
lol too bad I only need 4 more snails tops for my tank, don't think I could get free shipping on that. Good find though
 

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