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Best Clean Up Crew


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Just curious as to people's thoughts on clean up crews. I hear everything from the standard snails/hermits to more exotic like the tuxedo urchin. From what I read, it looks like it depends on the type of algae you may have, but I am curious as to what people think is the best, generic (all-purpose) clean up crew. Thanks.

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hmm, I would say the more diverse the better. I like to have multiple species of hermit crabs and multiple types of snails...but if I had to generalize

brittle star for the "under reef"

blue leg hermits

scarlet hermits

cleaner shrimp

a star fish that likes the "top reef"

a sea hare

turbo snails glass rock work

certh snails glass and rock work

nassuris or however you spell it for the sand bed.

bristle worms or other sand bed turning creatures

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I would stick to basic clean up crews at first.

Nasarius snails (my fav sand sifters)

Nerite (my fav grazers.)

Trochus snails (best all around snail if you ask me )

Blue or red leg Hermits

Don't add starfish or shrimp until your tank is a little more established because they are way more sensitive to changes in water chemistry. And please don't add anything until your Ammonia, Nitrate, and Nitrite are all at 0 ..

All the local fish stores will gladly test your water and I would recommend it even if you are testing your own just to get a conformation because depending on what brand of test kit you have they may be more tricky or less accurate then others.

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Diversity is definitely the best. I use some of basically all of the above. Here are my favorites and the strengths and weaknesses of some.

Sand sifting:

Sand Sifting starfish: Seems to work well, but has his favorite areas he works constantly and doesn't really get to other areas of the reef.

Nassarius: Work great. Seems to diminish over time.

Fighting Conch: Don't know how much they add.

Golden Head Sleeper Goby: Best purchase I ever made. Keeps sand bed white and is a ton of fun to watch. One drawback he will get sand on anything low in the tank and can even bury small items on the sandbed.

Rocks and Glass:

Nerites: My favorite. Seem to eat algae well and do not knock thing over.

Ceriths: Seems to do well both at sand sifting and rock/glass cleaning. However, they tend to be popular shells for the hermit crabs.

Turbo snails: Nothing eats the algae better or bulldozes corals more. A catch-22.

Tuxedo Urchin: Eats a lot of algae. Negative: May eat coraline algae too.

Blue Linkia Starfish: Looks cool. Do not know what he eats, but has been grazing the rocks of my tank for 2 years now for something.

Top Crown snails: Pretty red/white shells, eat great. Get knocked over and eaten by crabs easily.

Hermits: Scarlets seem to be good, but expensive. Blue claws are cheap, but tend to be predators as they get larger.

Emerald Crabs: Wonderful algae eaters. No drawbacks I have found.

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