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Old 10-21-2008, 03:43 PM   #1
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Sufficient CUC?

Is this a sufficient clean up crew for my 55G tank?

2 emerald crabs
2 sally crabs
15 trochus snails
12 nassarius snails
9 peppermint shrimp (the reef friendly kind)
10 asstd hermits (mostly scarlets)
1 brittle star

And is the balance good? Too many snails and not enough crabs? I'm not opposed to adding more of anything if needed. I love the critters as much, if not more than, the fish!
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Old 10-21-2008, 03:46 PM   #2
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Be careful with the emerald and sally crabs. They can get big enough to take down weak/sick fish and have been know to cause problems in some tanks.

9 peppermints seems a bit much unless you just really like this for some reason.
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Old 10-21-2008, 07:42 PM   #3
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I agree, look at nassis, cerith (trochus, I believe have trouble righting themselves), margaritas, maybe 2 pepps (are you trying to get rid of aiptasia?). A fire, cleaner, skip the sally lightfoot or at least go with only one. Look into a pistol shrimp, they will move sand like you wouldn't believe. Are you getting the emeralds to remove bubble algae? I have found pepps and emeralds are hit or miss with aiptasia and bubble algea. Brittle star is good. I don't care much for hermits...I only have 3 in my 55.
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:26 PM   #4
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I'm just realizing that I wasn't clear that all these critters are ALREADY in my tank. What I was really trying to ask is do I have enough? My LFS wants to sell me more...
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:30 PM   #5
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For a new 55g (I'm thinking this is 3-4 months old?), the amount of snails you have is probably OK. You could always use more nassarius, but unless you're having a diatom issue the number of trochus are probably fine for now. As your tank ages, you'll probably want to add more.

Agree with others... 9 peppermint shrimp! Wow! No problem with that, but I've just never heard of someone having that many! I'm not a big fan of crabs, but I'd definitely say you don't need more of those! I've only got 3-4 in my 46g.
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:36 PM   #6
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Its not a big deal if that is all in your tank already but i would keep a close eye on those crabs. I wouldn't add any more CUC unless you are having problems with algae in your tank. What you have in there now will easily consume any left of food in a matter of minutes. Like kurt said as the tank gets older you may start to see that your CUC can't quite keep up with the new growth and that's when you know its time to add a few more.
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:15 PM   #7
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While the tank is new to me (only about a month now) it was actually established about 6 or 7 years ago now. There's a fair amount of red bubble algae although it seems that no one is interested in eating that so I've been manually removing it with tweezers and a syphon. When I bought the tank, it only had a brittle star and a single hermit crab (and four fish).

The story behind how I ended up with the crew I have is this. My husband went to the LFS and wanted to surprise me with a cleaning crew. The guy he spoke with said they recommend adding the crew in thirds, and sold him the following as the first "installment":
8 asstd tiny hermits
1 emerald
1 sally
5 peppermints
15 trochus
8 scarlet hermits
6 nassarius

When I went back this weekend I talked to a different guy who didn't know anything about the "thirds" plan. So I asked for another sally, emerald, 5 peppermints, and 6 nassariuses. I skipped the hermits and trochuses because I felt like I had enough (and hadn't gotten around to posting the question here). Little did I know that I also had plenty of peppermints already!
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