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  1. #1
    Senior Member wend121's Avatar
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    cleaning crew question?

    So about a week ago I bought 110 Astrea Snails...and I can't even begin to describe how from going from 0 cleaning crew to 120 snails has done to my tank...I'm completely amazed...not one inch of green hair algea to be seen...I haven't had to clean the glass in a week...wow...anyway, my question is, do I have too many? Can they starve?

  2. #2
    Member nano-king's Avatar
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    What is your tank size?
    Dont forget about hermits for the live rock.Get some sand shifting stars and narssarius snails to keep your sand bed shifted and healthy.
    That is a little much for any tank under 100g but if you have somthing between 100g to 200g you should be fine.I have never heard of snails starving.

  3. #3
    Senior Member kjasjg's Avatar
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    I have about 20-30 in my 125 Gal but I will be getting a dozen more or so. Astreas can starve (if you have a smaller tank than mine some will) and I would throw a few different species of snails in too (trochs, tectus, turbo) they all have their benefits.

    I have always preferred to get a few then more etc until the tank is clean.

    hermit are a big help with the rock as well as a few sand cleaners. Nassarious (don't think I got the spelling right) snaills are good but you need quite a few as they are small. I have a few but I prefer my Conch as it only eats algea, detitus and diatoms.

    I also have a pistol shrimp and there is nothing better for moving the sand bed. the tank might cloud up for a month or so but after that the sand bed is spotless and well mixed.

    Sand sifting stars don't live very long so I have always avoided them but they also move the bed nicely. They do however consume some of the beneficial critters.
    Its the early bird that gets the worm, but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

  4. #4
    Senior Member wend121's Avatar
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    I have a 77 gallon...I too have heard that sand stars don't live long...my sand bed has actually improved since I got the snails, even though I have not seen any of them on the sand...I don't really want to get hermits...I have heard more negative than positive in regards to them...



    so I got 2 response so, 1 says yes, 1 says no...hmm

  5. #5
    Moderator Krugar's Avatar
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    Yes they can & will starve, but they tend to balance out over time.

    I really tried to go hermitless. I had to admit defeat. I now have more hermits than snails in my tank. You really need both to keep everything clean. Hermits eat stuff snails at best run over.

    I recommend largely blue legged, but add a few scarlets to the mix. Scarlets are the only thing I've seen eat the species of hair algae I have in my tank.

    Cheers!
    There is nothing so permanent as a temporary measure.

  6. #6
    Senior Member geekreef_05's Avatar
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    110 snails in a 77 is quite a bit. I think about 10-20 snails in a 77 is about the average, depending on your particular tank. The cleanup crew is dependant on your overall bioload/lbs of rock/algae growth rate; so your 'perfect number of snails/crabs' will differ from everyone else's depending on how your reef is setup.

    As Krugar said, this number will eventually level itself out. But if you want to avoid having a bunch of snails die in a relatively close timeframe then selling maybe half your batch is a good compromise.

    As for hermits its nice to have a few around to get into the areas that snails cant reach; and they may eat things which snails generally wont touch. For the most part, Id agree that hermits can sometimes be irritating. If you dont want hermits get a large emerald crab or two...they'll keep your rock free of bubble algea and still eat junk from the rock.
    "Mmmm...Skimmate"

  7. #7
    Senior Member kjasjg's Avatar
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    You can't beat a good mixture of cleanup and if you keep enough empty shells in the tank it will greatly cut down on the hermit's agression.

    Jer
    Its the early bird that gets the worm, but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Zookeeper's Avatar
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    My thoughts on clean-up crews:

    I've always read that you should have 1 algae eating snail/hermit crab per gallon. My tank is now 7 years old, and honestly, to really keep it looking it's best, I'd recommend a ratio of about 1.25 per gallon.

    Types:

    Separate your cleaning crew into two categories. Those that eat algae, and those that scavange. The algae eaters will remove algae that is already growing, and the scavengers will remove the nutrients that feed the algae.

    Algea Eaters:

    Snails: These include Astrea, Trochus and Turbo. Keep a mix because some perfer the glass over the rocks and vise versa. The downside to these, is short lifespan, so the need to be replaced often.

    Urchins: I love these and keep two Tuxedos. They eat alot and work both the rocks and the glass. The downside is the are bigger, and can knock stuff over, and in the case of the Tuxedos, pick stuff up and leave it elsewhere.

    Algae Blennie: Also known as a "Lawnmower Blennie". Constantly picks at everything, glass and rocks. A very good citizen in the tank.

    Scavengers:

    Hermit Crabs: My favorites are the grey and white "left-handed" which Ivan can get for you. I also keep blue-legs. The downside is that these guys will kill snails for their shells if you don't keep them well supplied with empty shells. Also, Blue-leggs don't seem to live that long, nor do Scarlets.

    Brittle Stars: I've always kept a black brittle star (currently on #2).

    Snails: Nassarius, Conch's and Olive. Both primarily work the sand. I don't keep either because they don't seem to last.

    Shrimp: Pistols will work the sand endlessly, and live a long time. Cleaner Shrip are also good scavengers. I currently keep a Coral Banded.

    Cucumbers: IMO nothing beats Tiger Cucumbers for keeping a sand bed clean. They reproduce in the tank and live a long time. Downside is that there have been lots of reports about cucmbers dying in tanks and killing fish. I've only ever added one Tiger and I have at least 6 currently, and have never had a problem.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ricepicker's Avatar
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    my cucumber killed all the sps in my tank...

    up to you if u wanna take the risk really.

    i would go with a mix of narssarius, cerith and astrea

  10. #10
    Moderator Krugar's Avatar
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    What kind of cucumber? Tiger cukes aren't going to kill anything when they die. I have no idea how many I have personally, I started with the 3 liv gave me over a year ago ... they're like coat hangers in a dark closet.

    Anyway I'm sure a few have shucked this mortal coil with no ill effect to my tank.

    Cheers!
    There is nothing so permanent as a temporary measure.

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