Cleaning crew for Zoa garden


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Mar 5, 2021
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So my small Waterbox20 is up and running, I'm on day 4(?) of Dr Tim's fishless cycling and everything looks like we are running fine... I have spent a good amount of time looking pictures of different zoas, colors and grow rates in order to pick some good ones that will fit a compromise between looks and footprint for my zoa garden.

I have been thinking on what else can be add to the nano, not only to help with the cleaning of the surfaces but to increase the appeal of the aquascaping, for what I have been reading snails are one of the main options been reef safe and not hard to keep , I was looking too about some varieties of shrimp (sexy shrimp for example) but on this area I found that some people and sites set them as reef safe but some other find in their experience that they will eat or damage small Zoas.

What are your recommendations based on experience when it comes to invertebrates that not only help cleaning and scaping the substrate but will add visual attractive to the garden?
Click to watch best scape method in 5 easy steps!


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Nov 11, 2019
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Congrats on the new tank!
Snails are the safest way to go. Usually the only complaint is if you go with the Turbo snails, that they can knock things over. In my smaller 40g tank, I had 4 Mexican Turbo snails. Never an issue with knocking stuff over, and they are great cleaners.
You'll get varying opinions on hermit crabs. Personally, I have a bunch in both of my tanks. Yeah they sometimes like to play king of the mountain and climb to the highest coral in the tank, but they're great cleaners. You can always tell when the walked across your zoas, as it's a trail of closed up zoas :)


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Las Vegas
I had to rehome all my hermits. They would climb my 5 year old branching monti and breaking branches off. I would have like a dozen at one time, even after removing them the day before. I ended up with many frags. You can see where the breaks are. This is half of what I had. I have increased my snail population, some are so small you can get 60 for you tank and still have room for others.

Check, I just made my second purchase of 70 assorted snails, limpets etc. I have a 75 gallon with around 180 snails, a few limpets, conchs and others. I have many baby snails in there now, so cool. My reef 5 months after upgrading from 46 bowfront. The last pic was the 46. The only sps coral that I managed to grow. Good luck with yours.


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