Re:snails,snail, and more snails

Pete Giwojna

Dear hobby:

That’s not a bad list of scavengers and sanitation engineers for a 75-gallon TruVu Aquasystem. As you know, as many as 1-2 aquarium janitors per gallon is appropriate for a seahorse tank, so that translates to about 75 to 150 sanitation engineers for an aquarium of your size. I would favor more aquarium janitors for cleanup crew in an aquarium that will be housing live corals and less of them in an aquarium that will have seahorses but no live corals.

The proposed list from Blue Zoo Aquatics is pretty good — I like the fact that it relies on assorted snails and omits the microhermit crabs, which sometimes cause problems. The assortment they list includes a good mix of detritivores and herbivores that feed on various types of microalgae and nuisance algae. The astrea snails are great for a newly established aquarium and their assortment includes plenty of the nassarius snails, which is always a good thing. If I were to make any changes, I might omit the Turbo snails, but that’s a minor adjustment. Many hobbyists find the Tonga fighting conchs to be interesting specimens in their own right to add some interest to the cleanup crew, so I have no objection to the conch.
6- turbo
15- astrea
17- nerite
17- margarita
17- cerith
15- bumble bee
21- onyx nassarius
4- tiger turbo
10- tonga nassarius
1- tonga fighting conch
So, all things considered, it sounds like Blue Zoo Aquatics came up with a pretty good assortment of sanitation engineers for your seahorse tank, hobby. If you want to make any changes in their proposed lineup, perhaps you could omit the Turbo snails and cut down on the numbers of nerite, margarita, cerith and bumblebee snails slightly (10-12 of each of those types should be sufficient rather than 15-17). I would not change the number of Astraea and nassarius snails at all, and I like the fact that they include two different types of nassarius snails. That would be a pretty good cleanup crew as is, hobby, and if you want to change it at all, just make some minor adjustments as discussed above.
There are are a couple of other good sources for cleanup crews that you might want to check out as well, hobby, in case you want to do some comparison shopping before you decide on where to purchase the cleanup crew — namely, Reeftopia and IndoPacific Sea Farms.

For example, Reeftopia offers very nicely sized peppermint shrimp (consistently large and less likely to become Hippocampus treats) at 8 for $22.00 and a wide variety of clean up snails including Ivory ceriths at 12 for $15.00 and Bumblebee Snails (at 12 for $20.00) as well as a small (ca. 1 cm) `Golden Astrea` snail at 100 for $29.00.

Be sure to check out their Total Reef Care Specials (packages of assorted sanitation engineers and aquarium janitors) at the following URL:

IndoPacific Sea Farms ( also offers a good package deals on cleanup crews under the heading of " Grazers and Detritivores," so examine those deals before you decide what might be the best cleanup crew for your particular tank.

Don’t forget that your TruVu Aquasystem should be fully cycled, with zero ammonia and zero nitrite, before you add the cleanup crew. And once you install the sanitation engineers and aquarium janitors, you will need to feed them until the tank is ready for the seahorses. Some vegetable-based flake foods would suffice for the herbivores and some frozen Mysis would satisfy the snails that like meatier leftovers, such as the nassarius snails.

Best of luck finding a true for cleanup crew for your 75-gallon TruVu Aquasystem, hobby!

Pete Giwojna

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