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Old 11-27-2006, 02:26 PM   #1
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When to add the cleaner crew

I am kind of confused as to when the cleaner crew should be added in terms of starting a tank from scratch.

One retail place I looked suggests putting the crew in the tank once the tank is completely cycled. However, part of the crew contains starfish and cucumbers which people on this board say need a well established tank to keep. So I'm not sure what to do. My initial thought was to cycle tank with liverock and then add the entire clean up crew and then maybe a couple weeks later add the first of my fish.

Is this an okay way to go? Should there be fish in the tank when the cleaner crew is added?

Forgot to mention that this will be a 180g tank with about 200 lbs of liverock and 150 lbs of baserock.
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Old 11-27-2006, 02:40 PM   #2
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Where did you get your base rock?
After your cycle completes, you can start adding your clean up crew and/or fish (maybe 2-3 depending on the fish), since you have a large tank. I wouldn't suggest more than one fish every three or four weeks in smaller tanks.
Inverts, stars, snails, cukes are very intolerant to swings in the water chemistry. Stars and cukes especially. I would go with some snails, a shrimp or three, possibly a couple of hermits. Leave the stars and cukes out for about 6 months, let you get used to doing PWCs, testing water and keeping everything stable. This will also allow for the substrate to establish and some gunk to build up that you star will love to munch on. You could even do an urchin or two, possibly an abalone and conchs (maybe in about 2 months). You may want to leave out the urchins until the coraline grows over more of your base rock. That should keep you busy for a bit
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Old 11-27-2006, 02:52 PM   #3
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Okay, thanks for the quick reply. That was helpful. I have a follow up question. Most cleaner crew packages I've seen at liveaquaria and tampabaysaltwater both list a huge number of crabs and snails (1 crab per gallon and usually 1 snail per 1/2 gallon or so). I would rather listen to someone like you who isn't trying to get my money, but the discrepency seems large. You're saying a few and they are saying 100s. Will only a few hermits and snails patrol a 180g enough? Or are you saying that I should start with a few and end up with many over time. Not trying to be argumentative at all, just want to make sure I do it right.

Edited to add: I am getting the base rock from Marco's ebay store. I have seen people post the link here many times.
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Old 11-27-2006, 03:02 PM   #4
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If you had an established tank then the amount they recommend might be OK but on a new tank you dont have much for them to eat. There is not much fish waste in the tank and not much algea. Your clean up crew will probably resort to eating each other. That is why we recommend starting off with a small clean up crew at first.
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Old 11-27-2006, 03:04 PM   #5
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That is a good question. Those packages, IMO, are more for an established tank, with plenty of food for those numbers of clean up critters. In your situation, I would start with 20 or so of different snails, like nassis, cerith, turbos, nerite. I generally order mine online, at what ever the cut off is for the cheaper price. Personally, I only have 3 hermits in my 55G, I am not really a big fan, but others love them. Make sure you provide them with spare, larger shells for them to move into, otherwise they like to take shells from whomever they please. Crabs can be tricky, they tend to get agressive as they get bigger and may eat smaller fish or inverts, that they can catch. I don't have one, but I like the decorator crabs. I took in some algae to my LFS, she put it in the tank with one and he chopped it up and carries it around, they aren't a good idea if corals are present in the tank, as they can grab them and attach it to themselves, the same probably goes with a pincushion urchin.
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Old 11-27-2006, 04:23 PM   #6
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Cool...you've been very helpful. thanks again! I think I'm starting to get the hang of things.
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Old 11-27-2006, 05:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by player676
Cool...you've been very helpful. thanks again! I think I'm starting to get the hang of things.
Cool! Keep us updated.
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