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I have a 26 gallon bowfront aquarium. I currently have no cuc! I used to have a peppermint shrimp and a few hermit crabs but these have slowly died. I want to get a fresh start at my cuc. So, what should I have? Could I do a serpent or brittle star?

Thanks
 

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they serve no substantial purpose.
I disagree. A horde of hermit crabs and snails will assist in keeping your tank looking better by eating algae and reduce waste by leftover food your fish missed. Everything in the ocean serves a purpose, from the big to the small, the more of these gaps we can fill the less work it is for us to compensate.

I do agree that OP should figure out why his CUC died off though.

Skierboi, if you've never ordered from them, look at IPSF's $99 kit. I've ordered it a couple times and always been happy. Wonder mud and live sand activator are amazing. Be careful if you order the sea gapes or feathery calulerpa, both can become weeds. Mine have finally started to die off.
What do you feed your fish? There's nothing better you can do for your tank than giving it the best food you can. Blackworms are probably the best and easiest, but I kept fish for years on frozen brine. I feed my shrimp blackworms at least a couple times a week right now.
 

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Cuc

I agree in having a cleanup crew. They do serve a purpose in a tank. As for the last clean up crew dying off I would check temperatures in the tank and stress levels. Crustaceans don't take well to quick changes in water. You may want to look at temperatures of your tank as well as the change water.
 

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zacharY
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I disagree with your disagreement. :)
While hermits may scrape some detritus off the rocks and snails/hermits may eat algae, if it eats it poops. So even after the algae is eaten, the CUC will poop almost all the nutrients out, fueling additional algae growth. I'm not knocking CUCs here, I'm just saying that you clean the tank 2000% better than even the biggest CUC can because only you, a skimmer, waterchanges, and maybe a settling tank (if you have one) can physically remove detritus (and nutrients) before algae start growing.
 

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+1 yrahcaz...Your cuc died slowly, could be you run a clean tank and they just passed from old age or lack of food...I have a 145 gallon system, no clean up crew at all. Yes, I do have a few snails, some brittle starfish, and no doubt some worms and other sundry critters that came in as hitch hikers...
 

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+1 to yrahcaz. there is some argument to be made that cuc members incorporate some % of what they eat into their body mass, but it seems we couls never nail down any particular %, but in general, it was pretty low. take a cerith snail, for example.....mine are constantly on the move eating algae, but they are not growing a commensurate amount. in fact, once they get to a certain size, they aren't growing at all. so most of that algae is ending up right back in the water as nutrients for more algae.

another argument in favor of cucs is that they take algae and make it into an easier to remove substance(snail/crab poo). this I can somewhat agree with, but in the end, as yrahcaz suggested, it is still up to you to remove the poo.

I had 4 ceriths and about 9 hermits in my 40b when i first started stocking it about a year ago. atm i have 0 ceriths and maybe 6 hermits and no real nuisance algae.

ill probably pick up some more ceriths, though, as i did like watching them do their thing.

and another +1 to figuring out why they died before replacing them with anything. do you have any other inverts that have died or are dong poorly? what kind of water are you using? have you used any copper medications or anything?
 

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Salt Viking
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Clean up crews are like locking a maid inside the house they are cleaning.. All the stuff the maid cleans isn't gone, it's just moved around until the trash can be taken out..

They should be referred to as "Tidy up crews"

I personally have a bunch of snials hermits and various other nonsense.. I don't have them for their cleaning abilities so much as it's just more fun stuff to look at. Especially when the White leg hermits go flying across the tank at 800mph for no apparent reason..

Whether you have them or not, they won't really add or subtract to your tanks problems, they are just there doing stuff.
 

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What you get in an aquarium is algae ( producers) and detritus. Nutrients are locked in both of these. Unfortunately, both are unsightly, unless you like your tank looking like an overgrown lawn with trash and leaves strewn across if.

What the clean up crew does is consume the algae and detritus. Most of the consumption ends up in the water column ripe for nutrient export.

But the nutrient export is our job. We can do it by

Running filter socks and changing them often
Running a robust skimmer.
Having a refugium with macro algae to suck up the nutrients.
Water changes.

Hopefully, one does most of the above.

The clean up crew does its job, but we have to do ours. If only we could train them to poop into little commodes.
 

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zacharY
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What you get in an aquarium is algae ( producers) and detritus. Nutrients are locked in both of these. Unfortunately, both are unsightly, unless you like your tank looking like an overgrown lawn with trash and leaves strewn across if.

What the clean up crew does is consume the algae and detritus. Most of the consumption ends up in the water column ripe for nutrient export.

But the nutrient export is our job. We can do it by

Running filter socks and changing them often
Running a robust skimmer.
Having a refugium with macro algae to suck up the nutrients.
Water changes.

Hopefully, one does most of the above.

The clean up crew does its job, but we have to do ours. If only we could train them to poop into little commodes.
The problem with this way of thinking is that you believe that the CUC eats algae/detritus and releases nutrients like nitrate and phosphate (which is true), however, you don't end up with nutrients floating in the water waiting for you to remove them. Instead, algae quickly and efficiently take the nutrients to grow, literally sucking most of the nutrients out of the water as soon as they're available. This is why you see so many threads saying "My tank tested for 0 phosphate and nitrate yet I still have algae help." These nutrients are used by the algae before we can test the water for nutrients, therefore it's likely that there's more nutrients in your tank than you test for - they're just binded in algae.
 

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Underwater Demolitions
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I do like dwarf Cerinths, as they can get in the spaces between rocks that nothing else can. A good member of your "tidy up" crew.
 

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+1 w/Helen , I always tell people to get the "smallest" in size hermits they can find as well as small snails, I have several bumble bees. The whole idea to me is that they are able to access the really tiny areas around your rocks ect,,, to remove any thing that gets stuck there. If they are too big they are a nuisance and can be destructive to some coral. That said, I have a friend that has a hermit that is the size of a softball that he loves, to each their own
 

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Clean up crew SUCKS but i love the nassarius snail. They do your sand bed good. If you get enough of them they will clean underneath your sand bed and sometimes on top The others SUCKS!!!!!! Go get yourself a goby to clean your sand just make sure you feed him because he will eat himself out of a tank. To clean rock just use a turkey baster.
 
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