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Old 07-09-2015, 11:05 AM   #1
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What is the reason for adding inverts first vs fish?

I am starting up a small tank and researching. There are differing opinions about whether it matters if you add inverts first (CUC) or fish.

My thought is that inverts are used for cleaning, but if there is no fish to clean up after, then why do they need to go first?

Lots of people say CUC first, but I haven't really found some place that tells me why they believe this is the way to go?
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:30 AM   #2
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The new CUC is there to clean up the new tank, of which usually comes with a bunch of unwanted algae that grew during the cycle.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:45 AM   #3
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The new CUC is there to clean up the new tank, of which usually comes with a bunch of unwanted algae that grew during the cycle.
LOL...what?

there really is no "need" for a "clean up crew" at any point, but the critters are interesting and can help manage stuff to a degree.
You can add them first if you want, but it really doesn't matter and bear in mind that they still contribute to the overall bio-load.

Either way, just make certain you cycle the tank properly first.
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Old 07-09-2015, 12:36 PM   #4
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For me $10 for 10 Hermit crabs is such a great inexpensive way to test the water quality. The benefit is they also can reach places snails cannot and are great members for your CUC. They do not have a noticeable bio-load and will let your aquarium establish a little longer while you wait say a week for first fish.
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Old 07-09-2015, 03:45 PM   #5
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For me $10 for 10 Hermit crabs is such a great inexpensive way to test the water quality. The benefit is they also can reach places snails cannot and are great members for your CUC. They do not have a noticeable bio-load and will let your aquarium establish a little longer while you wait say a week for first fish.

I would suggest testing water quality with tests, not critters. A hermit crab or snail being alive does not equate to proper parameters.

IMO, a CUC is not necessary at any point. You should not have much, if any, algae while the tank is cycling, so putting snails or crabs in with nothing to clean seems pointless. Cycle the tank properly, add a fish (preferably QT'd first) and see how it goes.


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Old 07-09-2015, 11:06 PM   #6
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Sure absolutely no reason for a CUC......You guys are killing me........
Unless you are strictly keeping SPS then no ones tank has that clean of water conditions.
I don't feel like typing this out again, here read this......You guys been reading MRX to much. I know of no one, I mean NO ONE, that doesn't have some sort of CUC, that goes for all the big boys tanks that you've all read about online! Shall I start to post those for everyone to read also?
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ml#post3247159
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:23 PM   #7
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Well, not needing a CUC doesn't always mean it would be best practice for everyone. I think the SPS only tank is a great example of one that wouldn't need it.
In my system, I could only wish to have a tank running so well. There is a need for some of the creatures I have in there, to the point I wish early on I didn't freak out when I saw some of the odd stuff that came out of the rock and disposed of them to help with what is going on, like the elephant slug.
For someone who isn't going to fiddle in their tank every day, I'd want something in the tank to try to help out...but a bigger emphasis should be put on the fact that adding more eating/pooping creatures won't solve an issue already present in one of our closed systems! If there is a hair algae issue, adding a lawnmower blenny won't solve the parameter issue...as an example. The same goes towards hermits and snails. I could add a ton of mexican turbos to my tank to try to fight the algae that has grown from my own mismanagement, but it won't be a solution towards the problem that I created with the parameters.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:32 PM   #8
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I have over 20 hermits in my 50gallon all SPS reef.. I do this because I like to keep the rocks clean :/ Anyone who says a CUC is not needed has something going on where they think they're achieving some level of reef keeping by not doing so. The benefits out weight the next to 0 negatives. A negative being a turbo snail knocking over my frag plugs..

I would like to see someone have reef lighting with no algae growth.. Come on.

@TheTodd, I don't know why anyone would put live into an aquarium where ammonia is present but sure we can test before making the $10 purchase.. There's algae on the live rock for the hermit.. okay...

Frankly, because hermit crabs don't have a bio-load you could add hermits in even with nitrite in the water... Nitrite is not toxic in seawater... It's actually very possible to have hermits before even cycling an aquarium.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:48 PM   #9
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What is the reason for adding inverts first vs fish?

I'm responding to the OP who asked why people would add a CUC first. My opinion is that in a freshly cycled tank, the CUC has nothing to clean. I've never had an algae problem in a new, fishless tank. Diatoms, maybe, but not algae. I don't recall them saying anything about doing an SPS tank, or even reef for that matter. Either way, I would go with fish first, CUC later. I don't honestly care what other people do with their tanks though.

My 240 FOWLR tank has no CUC and no algae problems. My reef has a few snails and crabs that constantly knock stuff over.


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Old 07-09-2015, 11:58 PM   #10
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At some point I just have to laugh and click away...
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:03 AM   #11
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The CUC will have nothing to eat in a cycling or newly cycling aquarium..

Also, why would you subject any type of living creature, whether it be a snail or a $200 fish, to any water with nitrite in it? Nitrite is a toxic poison.. Just because an animal will survive in it doesn't mean they should have to.

Sorry, I'm a firm believer in 100% cycling before anything is added into the aquarium.

On another note, I would add fish first and a CUC when algae begins to grow in the aquarium. Remember that not all species of CUC/fish will eat the same kinds of algae.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:35 AM   #12
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Nitrite is not very toxic in saltwater, so he is basically correct in that comment. I'm pretty sure CUC produce waste, so there is some addition to bioload. Minimal, but not zero. I see CUC as a want, not a need. I see no evil in having a CUC though. I see them as more of an interesting nuisance (at times).

I still have not heard a benefit to adding CUC before fish though. I'm assuming the OP meant into a properly cycled tank. I prefer adding fish first and CUC later. I'm not sure there is any benefit, just preference.


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Old 07-10-2015, 01:23 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Reefing Madness View Post
The new CUC is there to clean up the new tank, of which usually comes with a bunch of unwanted algae that grew during the cycle.

I'm a newbie to saltwater and know that can be avoided completely by just keeping the lights off during cycling...


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Old 07-10-2015, 02:01 AM   #14
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ROLF. And what happens when you turn the lights on then? When you didnt' get a Diatom Bloom with the lights off?? Or a Algae Bloom during the cycle??
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:07 AM   #15
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Most of us seed our tank with live rock. We also enjoy the aesthetics behind coralline algae. It would make sense to have a photoperiod and possibly even watch mg, and calcium and alkalinity.... So so many times customers come in with 2-3month old aquarium and ask how to get the coralline to grow.

They do not have any corals yet but if they were dosing I bet you there'd be some coralline (as long as it was seeded in some way of course)

So I wouldn't go no lights. And that's more more reasons than just growing purple algae... Heard of diatoms?

I would not put the hermit in the aquarium with nitrite either, I was just saying you potentially could get away with it. While hyperbole, I was just saying the test before putting them in isn't too necessary unless your tank is brand spankin new haha.

Everyone has their prefers for their own reasons in this hobby. That's why its a hobby. And it's a very fun one to find your own way to do. I even like to add coral as quickly as I can. There's no reason not to. Unless you wana say the elements are going to be depleted quicker in the beginning because of massive coralline growth.
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:32 AM   #16
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So why do you think turning your light off during a cycle prevented algae exactly?
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:32 AM   #17
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Diatoms will burn out in less than a week. Silicates don't last but about that long, the diatoms use em' up.
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:34 AM   #18
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No, Diatoms don't burn out in less than a week! More like 2-3 months. Your killin me!
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:37 AM   #19
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I see it more as why run the light (and mine is quite powerful for my tank) if there is nothing in it? Where there is light, algae tries to grow.. If the tank is cycling Fishless then there's no reason to stare at an empty tank. No light= no algae growth

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Old 07-10-2015, 02:42 AM   #20
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No, Diatoms don't burn out in less than a week! More like 2-3 months. Your killin me!
Dude, almost everyone I know never has had diatoms bad for more than a week or two. When I setup my 55 gallon freshwater 3 years ago I had diatoms for about 5 days. I know freshwater is different but I know that diatoms don't last that long. My neighbors reef had diatoms for about 2 weeks when he first set it up. Nothing after that.
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