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Old 09-08-2008, 10:13 PM   #1
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What Cleaning Crew to Start

Following my cycle and 10 gallon water change (35%+/-), I let the tank sit for a day or so and took water parameters. With the amount of LR I have, pulling 10 gallons out lowered the tank by almost half, but my rear sump stayed full (maybe 3-4 gallons). I hope to pull future PWC's from the sump as I think I can get close to 5 gallons from there (5 gallons would be approximately a 18% PWC)

pH=8.4
SG=1.023
Ammonia=0
NitrItes=0
NitrAtes between 0 and 5 (hard to read scale)
Alkalinity=2.9-3.8 (hard to read scale)
kH=8

After another PWC in a few days to bring the nitrAtes to 0 or as close as possible, I want to add a few cleaners...and I mean very few.

For a start, I was thinking the following:
1 Scarlet Reef Hermet
2 Turbo Snails
2 Cerinth Snails
1 Peppermint Shrimp (I still have a few aiptasias impossible to reach with Joe's Juice unless I pull all my LR out)
1 Cleaner Shrimp
1 Emerald Crab

My tank is a 28 gallon with a 1" sand bed. I'll probably get the snails and hermit first, then the shrimp and emerald crab later. I don't want to push my luck on a young tank.

Any opinions, additions, deletions, etc? Are my numbers of crew appropriate? I have no fish nor plans for the next couple of months to add fish, so I shouldn't need a big crew.
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:18 PM   #2
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You can probably add a few more snails. Why the emerald crab? I like nassarius snails, it's pretty neat to see them pop out of the sand when food hits the tank. They are great sand stirrers.
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:24 PM   #3
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What do you think about a fighting conch I have 2 and they are really cool to watch they have an alien like arm that comes out and sucks up stuff. I saw one come almost all the way out of the shell once it was pretty creapy but cool to watch. You could have 1 with a 28gallon I would assume.
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:31 PM   #4
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I don't have alot of "open" sand bottom in my tank due to LR which I fear will limit the bigger guys like conchs. I agree they are cool though.

I chose to add an emerald crab just because they seem to eat a few things others don't, like bubble algae. I saw one at a LFS perced up on a rock covered in purple coraline growth and it looked cool, so I added him. They seem to be fairly hearty and easy to keep too, which is a big concern for me just starting out.

I haven't really decided what snails to choose, Nassarius sounds good to me. Will my shallow substrate be enough for a burrower?
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:55 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jonboyb View Post
Any opinions, additions, deletions, etc? Are my numbers of crew appropriate? I have no fish nor plans for the next couple of months to add fish, so I shouldn't need a big crew.
Sounds like you're on your way! Congrats!

I think you could easily add twice as many snails. But if you're getting them locally (not mail order) it's easy enough to add more as time goes on, so starting on the low side would be OK. Turbos tend to get big, but as long as you glue corals down, you should be OK. I'd probably just go for one turbo for a 28g, but complement it with 3-4 of each astreas and trochus. Trochus will eat diatoms, which is a nice thing in a new tank. But it seems like they're hard to get right now. (Grrrrr.) And nassarius are a must, in my book. They should be fine in a 1" sand bed.

Not sure about the conch in a 28g. Even though the Fighting Conch stay relatively small, they do require a fair amount of sand bed surface to scavenge for food. I'd read somewhere that 1x Fighting Conch per 40g is a good number. I had one in my 46g and it last a couple months, then died. I'm trying a "Tongan Conch" now... we'll see if a warmer water one will do better.
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:11 AM   #6
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Sounds like you're on your way! Congrats!

I think you could easily add twice as many snails. But if you're getting them locally (not mail order) it's easy enough to add more as time goes on, so starting on the low side would be OK. Turbos tend to get big, but as long as you glue corals down, you should be OK. I'd probably just go for one turbo for a 28g, but complement it with 3-4 of each astreas and trochus. Trochus will eat diatoms, which is a nice thing in a new tank. But it seems like they're hard to get right now. (Grrrrr.) And nassarius are a must, in my book. They should be fine in a 1" sand bed.

Not sure about the conch in a 28g. Even though the Fighting Conch stay relatively small, they do require a fair amount of sand bed surface to scavenge for food. I'd read somewhere that 1x Fighting Conch per 40g is a good number. I had one in my 46g and it last a couple months, then died. I'm trying a "Tongan Conch" now... we'll see if a warmer water one will do better.
id like to emphasis " gluing corals down " i have a 20 gallon w/ 4 trochus snails and the corals i have fragged are on small rocks that i have not glued to large rocks, im still deciding in final placement before epoxy, till then, i have my hand in the tank everyday picking up corals and picking snails out of my polyps.

ill be heading to the store tommorrow to get some more cleaning guys, and maybe another emerald crab, the emerald crab i have is my favorite, i like watching it walk around or ' hug ' my fingers, its really lazy though, i put seaweed in the tank for it banned to a rock and she will be upside down on a rock and stick out both arms and a leg reaching for however long it takes for the sea weed to sway enough for her to grab it, i have a vid and a pic of it.

Hey, would it be okay to had more then one damsel fish in the 20 gallon?

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Old 09-09-2008, 07:51 AM   #7
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That's a great photo. I like that crab's style.....minimal effort.

Ironically after mentioning that they eat bubble algae, I found a couple areas of it last night in my tank One has a single pod and the other area has alot of little ones. Dang...my LR came with pretty much every nuissiance possible. I keep waiting for a mantis shrimp to show up
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Old 09-09-2008, 11:13 AM   #8
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well i have something in my tank that has now torn my starfish to shreds. odd how its not being eaten though, just torn all up.

its been attacked 3 times and i dont think its going to recover this time.

if you buy live rock, put on some gloves and probe every hole in the rock, kill anything bad or it may harm some of your buddies in the tank.
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:06 PM   #9
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if you buy live rock, put on some gloves and probe every hole in the rock, kill anything bad or it may harm some of your buddies in the tank.
While I can understand your concerns, I wouldn't really recommend this to anyone. Just starting out, you have no way of knowing what "anything bad" really is. There are very few things are really bad to have in your tank, in my opinion. All the creatures serve a pretty good purpose in the ocean, and they will serve the same purpose in our tanks. Except for a mantis, or certain crabs, most of the worms are beneficial.

In addition, even if you go on a search-and-destroy mission, you won't find it all. Good live rock offers too many hiding places that you will never find. I remember when I was aquascaping and I busted my rock in half to make it a little smaller, and I encountered several "things" crawling back into holes INSIDE the rock. No way I could've ever seen, let alone get to, those things just looking at the rock.

If the possible stuff on live rock is a concern, then maybe truly dead base rock would be a better route. But personally, the diversity of the critters that come with the rock (and subsequent coral purchases!) really continue to amaze me.
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Old 09-09-2008, 07:49 PM   #10
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A couple of things to remember:
1. Not all peperments will eat aiptasia (I had 6 at various times that never touched the stuff).
2. Not all emeralds will eat bubble algae (I figured you had bubble algae, thus the question of why). But they are pretty cool little critters (I have 1 to and he does eat bubble algae).
3. You probably don't want to add more damsels, as they can become agressive and terrorize new tankmates.
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