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Old 05-16-2011, 10:35 PM   #1
Vac7369
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Crabs or Snails?


I have a 90g reef tank. I started off with a mix of both snails and crabs but they died over time and i need more. what do you guys think will be the best for i herd that the crabs will kill the snails.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:07 PM   #2
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depends on what your calling a crab. yes a hermit crab will kill snails for their shell.
while crabs in the mithrax family (like an emerald crab), or the Porcellanid family, they are not likely to kill snails.
some people feel that because crabs are herbivores they may try to eat a fish. In my experience they will only eat a fish if its dead, and they are great at devouring decaying matter.
snails are great because they are really reef safe, but i feel they are not as productive as a crab. (most species).

In my tank I use snails and emerald crabs.

I think it comes down to personal opinion.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:30 PM   #3
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Hermits tend to kill snails for their shells, so you put in a bunch of empty shells and they are less likely to go after the live ones. I have mostly crabs - scarlet, blue legged hermits, and a couple of emeralds. I have three snails roaming around and the crabs are not bothering them at the moment. I am in the process of getting a couple of fighting conch to keep my substrate clean. The crabs work both rock and sand. Snails work the glass.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:34 PM   #4
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red legged crabs IME are more likely to kill snails, never had a scarlet hermit kill a snail, or a blue legged crab, but I also had shells, as for the red legged, didn't mater if the crabs needed shells, they still killed them, good eats I guess....
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Old 05-18-2011, 10:48 AM   #5
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Fun topic....I personally don't like hermits for multiple reasons: killing snails, damaging softies as they walk on them, etc. Larger hermits can attack and kill fish, so stick with smaller hermits if you go that route. Snails will affect different areas. Turbos and astreas will clean the glass and rocks, but not really the sand. Cerith snails can be found cleaning everywhere, including the sand. Hermits can be everywhere. I have tried having extra shells and still found hermits killing snails.

dmora, I know what you meant, but had to laugh anyway....crabs are omnivores, so eat both plants and animals. Herbivores would eat plants.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:00 AM   #6
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So what would be the most productive crab for a mixed reef?
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:04 AM   #7
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In my opinion? None. I prefer a mix of snails and shrimp. That being said, I have had emerald crabs and they are fine....BUT you need to be sure you are buying an emerald crab. They are technically still omnivores, but tend to only eat algae. There are many crabs that look similar and some of them are not as nice to their follow denizens.
I do have a FOWLR that has hermits (kids tank and they REALLY REALLY wanted hermits). I keep the population small (5 in a 55g) as I use them for aesthetics as opposed to function. I rely on the snails and shrimp for function.
To be fair, there are many on here with lots of hermits and their tanks are fine. As mentioned by someone earlier, it comes down to personal preference. I think everyone would agree to avoid larger crabs in a mixed reef environment. Beyond that, there are few right or wrong answers...it is more personal preference and comfort level.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richkor View Post
Fun topic....I personally don't like hermits for multiple reasons: killing snails, damaging softies as they walk on them, etc. Larger hermits can attack and kill fish, so stick with smaller hermits if you go that route. Snails will affect different areas. Turbos and astreas will clean the glass and rocks, but not really the sand. Cerith snails can be found cleaning everywhere, including the sand. Hermits can be everywhere. I have tried having extra shells and still found hermits killing snails.

dmora, I know what you meant, but had to laugh anyway....crabs are omnivores, so eat both plants and animals. Herbivores would eat plants.
good catch, i even thought to my self "how do i spell herbivores" before i wrote it. when i stared the sentence in my head i said omnivores.

I do not like turbos at all. they crash systems by falling over and dieing, they poop all over the place, they knock corals over, and i have found them up side down on the lid of my tank.

I now only use Cerith snails because they clean everything and they have the ability to get up by them selfs. and if one does happen to die, they will not crash my tank.
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:42 PM   #9
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I use some turbos in the 175g because a death won't affect much in there and they eat a lot. I prefer smaller snails in the 55g for the same reasons you just mentioned. I would prefer to get cerith's over turbos and astera's, but they aren't as easy to come by.
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:59 PM   #10
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i thought that fighting conchs arent reef safe? i might of herd wrong since everyone says different things. What do you guys think about Sally Lightfoot Crabs? So far from what you guys say i should get more snails and a few of the blue leg crabs?
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:02 AM   #11
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some Sally Lightfoot Crabs can get "bad" when they grow, but some people don't have problems like others...
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:12 PM   #12
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some Sally Lightfoot Crabs can get "bad" when they grow, but some people don't have problems like others...
+1. SLF's tend to be ok when younger, but when they mature, they go on a diet of steroids (at least it seems that way). They bulk up and tend to get mean. Some report that they have even gotten pedatory towards slow moving, or sleeping, fish. I sent mine to the Live Sump.
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