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Thread: clean up crew

  1. #1
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    Talking clean up crew

    Hello all,
    I'd like to start by saying I'm looking forward to being part of the group and hope to be part of many discussions. However my question for the day is what size/type of clean up crew should I have for my 90 gallon reef tank? Right now I've got under 20 astrea/turbos and they are not cutting it, I've got to clean the brown/red slime at least once a day. I was thinking of adding about 100 nwe crew to teh tank a mix of snails/crabs but what percentage/combo should I use? Is 100 to large? to small? As for what's in the tank as I mentioned it's a 90 with a 20 gallon sump and a 5 gallon refugium at this time I have 9 fish 4 anemone and 12 - 15 different frags of coral. As mentioned it's a reef wall set up with easily over 100 lbs or live/condtioned rock. I've got a decent amount of water movment and am using 2 250 watt M.H. with 4 40 watt actinics.

    Thank you in advance for you help

    Evan

    ps - if you're ever in the Niagara regionand you need an ambulance I'm you guys

  2. #2
    Senior Member pwall's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum!
    You'll find lots of great advice and information on Aquaria.ca....I've been using it since only November 04 and have learned a lot.

    I've been told for a cleanup crew, a minimum of 1 hermit-crab/snail per gallon. In my 150, I have 150 hermit crabs (approximate), 6 red-legged hermit crabs and a couple dozen snails. They keep the tank clean....except for the hair algae but that's a different issue.

    You mentioned that you had 'decent water movement'. Any idea how many GPH ? Guideline is 10x the flow as gallons of water (i.e. 100 gallons of water, 1000 gph flow).
    Regards,
    Patrick.
    Ottawa (Orleans), Ontario
    Yahoo IM: pwallnfld

  3. #3
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    I always believe a good clean up crew consists of variety. Mnay prefer snails to crabs or vice versa, but I think both have a place in the tank. I would add more variety to your snail list - I really like Margarita snails. Cerith, Bumble bee, and Nassarius snails all are good for your tank. Additionally, I'd consider a couple Emerald crabs, and shrimp.

    My recommendation for your 90 gallon tank would be - 30-40 hermit crabs, 2 emerald crabs, 4 peppermint shrimp, 2 cleaner shrimp, 20 margarita snails, keep your 20 turbos/Astrea snails, 10 bumble bee snails, 10 cerith snails and 20 Nassarius snails - if you have a sand bed. Finally in keeping with the variety theme - a tuxedo urchin. Realizing there is quite of an expense to this list - do what I did and accumulate over time if funds are an issue. Just make sure you buy variety each time - i.e. if you can't complete your cleaning crew at once - it's better to get 5 of 4 different snail types than 20 of one kind. Just my opinion.

  4. #4
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    Welcome to the board Evan
    [welcome2]

    The size of clean up crew you need will really be decided by the bio load your tank is carrying, how much and how often you feed, water condition etc. Clean up crew critters are used to getting by on the scraps and dropping of others so it is pretty hard to starve them. This being the case it is likely best to be liberal with their numbers. A mix of different types snails, crabs, bristle stars etc is a good start.
    Rob

  5. #5
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    Thanks so far to those who added their input, I've tried the nassarius snails before and they ended up in my sump, they seem to be happy on the bio-balls , I guess the crushed coral bed was sandy enough I've got two cleaner shrimp just picked up a camel shrimp and have a decorator crab as well as an emerald crab, oh and a brittle star and serpent star oh yeah and a sea urchin.....rock urchin he may be leaving soon (does a number on my live rock so far so good with the corals though) Should I add another serpent star or emerald crab? What about a sally lightfoot? And I was once told that the bumble bee snails look good but really don't eat as much as other snails do? I will have to pick up some peppermint shrimp too.

  6. #6
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    Another emerald crab is probably the safest to add. I don't trust Sally Lightfoot 's especially if you have any small fish. Many people like them though. I have 5 bumble bee snails - they stay mostly on the live rock. I would agree they may not do as much - but yes they look good and I find they get into crevices on the rocks that the hermits crabs and other snails can't seem to reach. But it sounds like you have a great start on a strong clean up crew - I'd get one more emerald crab, some Peppermint shrimp and more snails.

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