News / Company News / Species Spotlight - Spring Cleaning Inverts (04/20/17)

Species Spotlight - Spring Cleaning Inverts

Spring Cleaning Inverts
The cold weather of winter is finally behind us and it is time to enjoy spring and summer. However, nice weather also brings the need for some Spring Cleaning! Dont neglect your aquarium and get some species that will help you get the job done. Every reef aquarium needs a strong cleanup crew to help keep it looking pristine. Try some of these to help reduce your time cleaning and increase the time enjoying your aquarium! It is important to have a variety of different cleaners to keep all the different messes in check. No one member can clean it all! It is important to understand that an algae eater will not eat all types of algae, so it is important to know which cleaner will do which job.
The Blue Tuxedo Urchin is a great addition to any aquarium for multiple reasons. They got this name due to their formal appearance. Add this urchin to help control coralline algae growth. Be sure there is enough space and food if you plan on adding more than one to an aquarium. They have a very unique way of moving around the aquarium by using a water vascular system. There are water canals through the inside of the urchin that pump water through the madreporite that allows their small tube feet to move around the aquarium. If you see this urchin begin to lose some spines, be sure to check the water parameters because shedding is usually an indicator of poor water quality.
The Californica Sea Hare will help clean up hair algae problems. They are an awesome cleaning crew member, but are not ideal for beginner hobbyists. The sea hare is very sensitive, so they need pristine water quality. Since they are so sensitive, drip acclimation is recommended to get them used to their new water conditions. Another reason these little guys are recommended for hobbyists that have experience is because sea hares have the ability to release a purple cloud of toxins when they feel stressed or threatened. That toxin is very dangerous to the other tank mates. It is a good idea to always run carbon in the filtration to help remove the toxins.
The Emerald Crab will make a valuable addition to any aquarium because they will take care of bubble algae problems as well as clean up the live rock. They are reef safe and very easy to take care of, which makes them ideal for beginners. They are very hardy and can with stand harsh conditions, like larger temperature changes or parameters out of their optimal range. The Emerald crab typically stays hidden during the day in small crevices in the rocks and then comes out at night to feed. Their diet consists mostly of organic debris, but still should be supplemented. Provide a meaty diet a couple times a week to help this crab thrive.
The Sailfin Algae Blenny is a unique fish with a personality that matches. This fish is enjoyable to watch, but is also a cleanup crew. They can be seen perching on/in live rock and hopping across the substrate, while also grazing on algae. Even though this blenny can grow to be about 5 within an aquarium, they will remain peaceful and active, which makes them the ideal candidate. It is recommended that only one blenny be kept in an aquarium unless it is a mated pair. Add this fish to a reef tank with caution because they have been known to nip on small-polyped stony coral and clam mantles. Even though these guys will eat algae found throughout the live rock, the blenny should also be offered a diet of vegetable matter and other herbivore preparations.
The Emperor Shrimp is a stunning little shrimp that would make a great addition to your cleanup crew. This shrimp will help keep your tanks substrate clean. Their care isnt overly difficult, but their tank mate requirement does not make these ideal for beginner hobbyists. Oddly enough, these little guys make symbiotic relationships with sea cucumbers and nudibranchs. The shrimp lives on the surface of their host, which offers him protection from predators and an extra source of food. The relationship benefits the host by how the shrimp consumes any parasites on its skin. Due to this mutually beneficial relationship, the Emperor Shrimp will do best when housed with a nudibranch or cucumber. This shrimp are carnivorous scavengers, but be sure to supplement their diet with thawed, marine based, meaty foods.
The Halloween Banded Hermit Crab is an ideal cleaning addition into any saltwater aquarium. They will scavenge fish waste, hair algae, cyanobacteria and detritus that has deposited on the live rock and substrate. Not only do they eat the aquariums waste, but they will also turn the sand which in return aerates it. Like all hermit crabs, they make their home in empty snail shells, so be sure to have an array of empty shells available for them to move into when they grow. They will also take housing matters into their own pincers by occasionally eating a snail and taking that shell over.
The Sandsifting Periscope Olive Snail is a little guy with a big appetite for detritus. Add a group of them to the aquarium and watch for their periscope poking out of the sand while they eat fish waste, detritus and uneaten foods. Do not be too concerned if you do not see this snail all the time because they like to burrow into the sand in search of food. When they burrow into the sand it has the added benefit of turning and aerating the substrate. Since they are known to nibble on other invertebrates, this snail is not considered reef safe. They prefer an established aquarium with live rock and a deep sand bed. Be sure to feed them chunks of frozen meaty foods to help avoid exhausting the sand bed of food, leading to starvation of the snails. Their shell has a striking resemblance to the highly venomous Cone Snail, but do not worry because the Olive Snail is not dangerous to the fish or their aquarists.
The Red Marble Star is an exquisite star that will add beauty to any aquarium while also keeping it clean. They will eat just about anything they can find in the substrate, including detritus and micro-organisms. They could become a meal for those so inclined like wrasses and puffers. Always drip acclimate all stars, as they are very susceptible to sudden shifts in water parameters. They should never be exposed to copper based medications or air while handling.
The Cleaner Shrimp are valuable additions to any aquarium because they are excellent at keeping your fish clean of parasites and dead tissue. They are reef safe and nearly self sufficient in a well stocked aquarium. This shrimp is famous for scooting in and out of the small crevices cleaning vigorously. The Cleaner shrimp can be kept singly or in a group. Be sure to provide peaceful tank mates that will not make a meal out of this shrimp. Their diet consists mostly of organic debris, but should be supplemented.