Your First Marine Invertebrates - Choosing a Clean up crew - CUC

  • Ok so you have just setup your tank and let the cycle complete, now you want to add your clean up crew, well read on and enjoy!

    Ok, so the CUC for beginners come in 4 different families namely:

    1. Crabs
    2. Shrimps
    3. Starfish
    4. Snails
    there are others like urchins and sea cucumbers but these we will leave for the more mature tanks and advanced reefers. Now not all animals in each category are reef, fish or beginner safe so i am going to choose the ones that are commonly available and safe and used for CUC purposes.

    The one of the most interesting livestock choices but for the beginner and even the intermidiate i only recommend hermit crabs, porcelain crabs and anemone crabs.
    As for quantities dont stock to many in a new system as there wont be enough food for them and supplimental feeding will just degrade the water quality.
    The following are good choices:
    Dwarf Blue Legged Hermits (Clibanarius tricolor) - great scavenger

    Electric Blue Hermits (Calcinus elegans) - great scavenger

    Scarlet Reef hermit (Paguristes cadenati) - great scavenger

    Porcelain Anemone Crab (Neopetrolisthes maculosus) - exellent filter feeders - does not need an anemone at all

    2. Shrimps
    Another great choice for the CUC crew, here we have limited choices as they are very sensitive to changes in water params, salinity. Here i only recommend the following:
    Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni complex)
    do not confuse the above with the Camel shrimp below, the camel shrimp has a moveable rostrum (beak) that is usually angled upwards

    Camel Shrimp (Rhynchocinetes durbanensis)

    Banded Coral Shrimp (Stenopus hispidus)

    These are the Kreepy-Krauly's of the reefing world, they will hide by day and at night will slither all over the reef eating detritus etc. Here for the CUC i ONLY recommend Serpant Brittle-starfish, please when buying these remember not to get any that are green, the green death as they are known will eat your fish, crustacea and other sessile inverts. Keep 1 - 2 per tank also remembering that newer systems wont have enough food to support 2 in the beginning.

    Serpant Brittle Starfish (Ophiothrix sp.)

    The Green Death

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