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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm beginning to look forward to assembling my cleaner crew for the 57g tank. (It only has live rock presently, about 80-85 lbs, plus one emerald crab stowaway.) May I ask what you all recommend, in terms of composition and numbers? For that matter, how many should I have in the 20g?

Thanks,
Starr
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the input Tcamos!

Starr
 

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I do not recommend turbo snail
I begg to differ....

I personaly love my turbos. I have 3 large ones, and countless baby turbos (large ones had babies). They do an excellent job in ridding the tank of algae. Now yes, occasionally il come one one day and a coral frag will be laying on the sand bed... but that is an easy fix. Other than that, no major probs... I aslo have 3-4 hermts (getting more soon) 1 skink shrimp (who loves cleaning the coral beauty)... I was aslo looking to expand my cleanup crew... so il be following this thead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My 57g has a bit of late afternoon sun hitting the side of it, so I imagine I'm going to be fighting algae some. I think a couple of turbos are destined for its future. I hope to find *small* ones! My LFS guy who's been helping me the most tells me that the corals on that side of the tank will be really happy. Hopefully he's right.

Starr
 

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I begg to differ....

I personaly love my turbos. I have 3 large ones, and countless baby turbos (large ones had babies). They do an excellent job in ridding the tank of algae. Now yes, occasionally il come one one day and a coral frag will be laying on the sand bed... but that is an easy fix. Other than that, no major probs... I aslo have 3-4 hermts (getting more soon) 1 skink shrimp (who loves cleaning the coral beauty)... I was aslo looking to expand my cleanup crew... so il be following this thead.
You're very lucky, T. fluctuosa doesn't usually breed in captivity. I would love to see some photos of the little guys!

Yes, they do eat the algae, but they are large and when they die, that's a lot of meat to rot. I've found that smaller snails cause less of a problem. I'm not saying the turbo isn't a good snail, it is, but I've decided not to put such a large snail in my tank. I simply don't have enough algae to keep it alive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Tcamos, I'd still love to hear about the specialties of each of the CC members, if you're game to explain.

Thanks,
Starr
 

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Sure thing...

hermit crabs - These don't need much explanation, they eat all sorts of stuff in the tank. They eat algae, detritus, leftover food, dead fish or snails etc.

peppermint shrimp - These are actually part of the cleaner shrimp group, even though they don't have the typical white antennae. As such they will clean fish or dead scales and parasites. They also eat the pest anemone Aiptasia. On top of that they are great at cleaning out rocks. Their long legs (with claws on the ends) can get into places a hermit crab just can't and because they have no shell they can move easily into cracks and behind rocks.

emerald crab (hey you got this covered) - eats algae, even bubble algae. Will also scavenge leftover food.

cerith snails - these are algae eaters but what makes them special is that they 1. readily breed in the tank and 2. will actually dig a little into the sand to eat algae that isn't at the surface. This allows them to get the algae off the glass that is just under the sand where you can't scrape it.

nassarius snails - these guys are meat eaters. They are great at cleaning up leftover food and if a fish dies you will see these guys all over it. Their most unique property is that they live under the sand and only come out to feed. I call them zombie snails because when you put food in the tank they rise up out of the sand like so many zombies! This action is not only fun to watch, but it helps keep the sand turned over and cleaner.

nerite snails - these are algae eaters. I like them because they are very small. I keep them in my refugium. They are able to get into areas that other snails can't get. They can also be acclimated to freshwater though they can only breed in salt.

trochus - this is your underwater goat! It eats algae like crazy, especially the longer kind. It really is a lawn mower. I like it, as mentioned above, because it is smaller than the turbo, doesn't knock things over. I really don't feel like my tank has enough algae to keep a turbo fed so the trochus is a better fit for my tank.

So the idea is that each one of these cleans a slightly different part of the tank and don't over compete with each other for resources. I've come to this combination by trial and error over the years and it's the most stable CUC I've had. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes in this department so this is my opinion and what works for me. Perhaps if I got a different tank I might make modifications...for example if I had a really large tank I might add turbos back in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Tcamos! I'm printing that out to keep with my aquarium notes. I have most of those in my 20g, but wasn't clear on what each did. Now, I need to look up the snails so I can recognize the varieties...I love the analogy of the nassarius snails to zombies. :) And yes, I've seen these in action...I had a feather duster 'bite the dust' in the 20g and that called up the under-sand lurker fast.

Ya know, about the emerald crabs...I supposedly have one in my 20g, but he's certainly not green. He's tan with some darker tan marks on his back. Is he a deviant, or do I have some other kinda crab critter on my hands?

Starr
 

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Emerald crabs (Mithraculus sculptus) do come in other colors, like reddish/pinkish, white, tan, black, and I've seen one orangeish too. I have two green, a black, and a tan one.

However, I wonder when you mention the darker tan marks on this back. None of mine have this and it makes me suspect. There may be other Mithrax crabs that have this pattern but I haven't seen them.

If you can get a photo (use the macro mode on your camera) then that would help.

There are tons of crabs and tons of types so we can't always be certain about them.

This web site (http://www.chucksaddiction.com/hitchcrabs.html) is one of the best quick references for crab identification there is. Browse it and see if something there looks like your crab.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I didn't see anything that looked quite like him, so I'll try to get a pic of him next time I see him out and about. (Great site...thanks for the link!)

Starr
 

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tcamos is right on getting a good variety of snails and inverts. I would agree that the 20 gal is borderline small for a turbo but the 57 G, i would definately recommend one, maybe 2. Definately want to glue frags though, they are bulldozers! but still awesome!
 

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For the hermit crabs, I find the blue legged ones seem to do a better job.
The red legged ones seem to get picked off more often by my fairy wrasse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My crab was out and about last night so I got some pics of him. Heh, it looks like he has E.T. on his back. Here he is...emerald crab that isn't green...

Side-view of him:


His back with E.T. on it:


Is he really an emerald crab?

Starr
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Okay, thanks Tcamos!

Starr
 
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