Cleanup Crew

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Aquarium Advice Addict
Mar 25, 2004
Just thinking about the cleanup crew in my new 10G nano...

I'd like 3 red hermit crabs and 1 blue (for the sand/rock and aiptasia), a blood shrimp, and maybe 2 cerith snails for the glass/fittings (heater/outside of filter etc.

Will the hermits cause problems for the snails? And, I do have a lot of brown algae in my sand at the mo, as well as a growing amount of green hair algae on my rock. Will the above be enough to tackle this in my 10G?!

And, I'll scrape the glass down with an algae scraper of course, but what about the hair algae on the rock - as it's liverock, I don't really want to me scrubbing it or messing about with it too much. Any tips?

Also, my first fish is going in hopefully on Thursday. When should I add my cleanup crew? I'd ideally like them to go in very soon to get the place cleaned up!

Thanks :)
The best weapon against hair algae is to first remove as much as possible by hand(being careful not to spread around loose hairs), and then keep nutrients in order by using good quality water and doing frequent PWCs. Nothing will send a tank into an algae spiral faster than neglecting PWCs or using polluted tap water.

For the small amount of hair algae that naturally grows in every tank, hermits will work. In your case, 4 should be fine.

I would get 10 cerith snails. Those things are great! They keep the glass clean and the sand well stirred.

You haven't seen any actual aiptasia have you? Hermits won't touch it. You will need to kill it yourself or buy a peppermint shrimp to handle it.

Edit: Just checked out your other thread... overfeeding will lead to algae problems every time. I'll bet a few $ that is the direct cause of your algae problem.
Thanks for the help.

I thought I saw some aiptasia but wasn't 100%, and it seems to have vanished from where it was now anyway...will keep an eye out.

10 snails is too much for my small tank IMO! I'll start with 2/3 I reckon.

-My LFS only has Turbo snails in at the mo - are these good for cleaning algae off the glass/fixtures and sand?

-Also, I read hermits can kill snails for their shells. Will my hermits pose a problem for my snails?

-I guess the liverock shouldn't be brushed or anything to get rid of the algae, as I could damage some of the bacteria on it etc. So is the only way to just get my hand in there and pull the hair algae out?!
Cerith Snails are small which is why I said 10. Turbos are good eaters, but much larger. Sometimes they can knock things over because of their size.

Sometimes a hermit will kill a snail, but only to use it's shell. It may or may not happen, but no big deal. I have scarlet reef hermits and have never seen them pay any attention to snails. I had a blue hermit that killed a snail once for it's shell, but he has been on good behavior now for over a year.

Just pull that hair algae out by hand while being careful not to let any of the loose strands go. Once you get it trimmed down the hermits should be able to handle the rest. Don't feed the algae and it shouldn't grow back much.
Cool, thanks mate. I'm going to go with 5 ceriths for starters, I may add some more later when I get my bloodshrimp in a couple of weeks :)

2 blues and 2 reds then (hermits), and 5 ceriths. The algae may have come from my tapwater which I used to initially fill my tank as my LFS sold me some bad RO! I treated it with Prime of course. Also as you said, I've been putting quite a bit of flake food in my tank daily for the last 9 days to "test" its reaction to it, so that can't have helped.

I'm doing a 50% PWC tomorrow with some decent RO (less than 40ppm TDS, not ideal but much much better than tapwater!), and I'll try and tackle some of the algae too. Then as you said, when my crabs/snails are in there they should help keep it under control :)
-Also, I read hermits can kill snails for their shells. Will my hermits pose a problem for my snails?

I asked this same question once, and was told that if I buy some extra empty snail shells (5-10cents a shell at the LFS), the hermit crabs will use those, instead of killing a snail :)
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