The Best Cleanup Crew


In Memoriam
What are things I should get for a cleanup crew for a new tank. I have heard bad things about crabs so should I only get snails? Also what about starfish, shrimp, or cucumbers? Advice would be appreciated.


New member
I have a similar question so I will just post here -

I have a 30gallon display currently stocked with 3 blue claw and 3 red claw hermits - who are doing a great job cleaning up.

2 Turbo Snails

3 Astrea Snails - They basically just crawled up to the top corner of my tank and sit there.

What else should I get, if not just more of the same, to have a sufficent CUC for my 30g.

Also - I have a 20g sump with about 7 gallons for my fuge, should I put any crabs or snails in the fuge?

Ryan - It might help to post some tank specs so people can recommend things.


New member
I like a variety of snails: Conch, Certh, Nerite, Nas...
I also use shrimp: Cleaners, Peppermints, and Coral Banded
I think Crabs add to the tank: Sally Lightfoot and Red Leg Hermits
Don't forget the Stars: Serpent and Sand
A Goby is a must addition, nothing moves and cleans more sand than a Goby.


New member
I have a 46 gal. tank and use only snails. I like nassarius the best,although a mixture of the snail are fine. If you have a bigger tank then I would maybe get a few crabs and a couple shrimp. Don't buy one of those online cuc packages they try to sell,way to much and stuff you don't want or need.At they sell snails indivually along with crabs ect. Don't get the package, it's overkill nor the recommened amount. For example for my 46 gal., 20 or so snails is fine. What size tank do you have?


In Memoriam
Its 100 gallons. I also wanted to know if cucumbers are ok because this guy I bought rock from had a Tiger Tail and it was so cool and he said it is great for the sand bed. He had it 3 years.


New member
when a cucumber dies it will nuke your tank. you just need to be carefull about that. I mix snails and hermits. I keep a good variety of empty shell in my tank though and when a hermit gets to big I put in in my refugium


In Memoriam
Crabs that aggressively cleanup your bottom

Crabs that aggressively cleanup your bottom

I found the strawberry crab is very aggressive cleanup crew with stunning coloration. Best of all, you can have more than one per tank and they are reef safe as well. Well worth the money!


New member
Are you planning on keeping corals? This can make a difference in your decision.

If you get a package, get one much smaller than your tank size. Most packages for 100 gallon tanks would be rediculously high.

I'd go with nassarius (if you have a sandbed), cerith, trochus, and stomatella snails. A couple cleaner shrimp for show. A couple peppermint shrimp are cool too. Avoid the cucumber, but a serpeant/brittle star is nice.

What kind of substrate do you have? If sand bed, then you have to choose if you want sand sifters. I avoid them because I like keeping all the microfauna in my sand.

If you're avoiding crabs, then avoid the conchs for the same reason. No crabs for my tank either by the way.


In Memoriam
I plan to get some corals but not a full blown reef. I have a 5-6 inch sand bed. I was planning on getting a diamond goby to do the majority of the sifting for that but I definitely want to get snails. I might just get a few hermit crabs. I definitely want an arrow crab and a cleaner shrimp. Thanks for the advice though.


New member
I just use a handfull of trochus and red leg hermits for my 100gal. When I had a sand bed, I also has some nass snails keep the sand clean.


Active member
I have a bunch of different snails (cerith, nassarius, astrea (a pain), trochus and turbo) also have hermits (getting rid of them), Emerald crab (he's missing?)

I like the cerith snails and nassarius snails the best, if you go with cerith snails then watch out for the hermits.

I think mixture is a good idea, astrea snails need help if they fall, nassarius snails will attack a fallen snail so watch out.

trochus snails I think will breed in the tank and I think this is the only snail that will.


In Memoriam
I like a mix of snails personally-nass, astreas, nerites, and ceriths are all good.

I personally don't like most hermits-they steal shells and bug corals. The only ones that are really okay IMHO would be scarlet reef hermits, because they are small, eat tons of algae and aren't too prone to killing snails

Also serpent stars and urchins can be good choices for some tanks.

As for animals that should stay out of you tank:

Sally lightfoot crabs: when they get big they have been known to get very mean. Also eats beneficial things like bristleworms.

Most other crabs: crabs can turn in an instant. Be very wary with them.

Sand sifting star: eats all the beneficial life in the sand bed then dies. One in a 120 will starve to death.

Coral banded shrimp are questionable. They look cool but eat bristleworms, and can attack and hurt other things. Would be fine in most tanks though.



Active member
I also have a brittle star but I think you may have to watch out for these, I suspect him of eating my peppermint shrimp and my emerald crab is missing but he does do a good job of eating all leftover foods.


New member
I have a 72 and I put in about 40 snails and 36 small hermit crabs..

It has been fun seeing how the hermit crabs move to the empty snail shells...

Also have a Peppermint Shrimp and a Cleaner Shrimp