Cleaning crew for Zoa garden

MrFus

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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?
 
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Oscar47f

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I personally use Pederson shrimp, cleaner shrimp, margarita snails, trochus snails, turbo snails, verity snails, tuxedo urchins, and only scarlet hermits, I have all of these in every single tank from my zoa dominated 50 to my 20 frag tank... they work great no algae ever on my plugs... medium to high flow also keeps the in between the polyps clear of detritus :)
 
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Oscar47f

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I personally use Pederson shrimp, cleaner shrimp, margarita snails, trochus snails, turbo snails, verity snails, tuxedo urchins, and only scarlet hermits, I have all of these in every single tank from my zoa dominated 50 to my 20 frag tank... they work great no algae ever on my plugs... medium to high flow also keeps the in between the polyps clear of detritus :)
cerith snails *^
 

Oscar47f

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And my nutrients are high in every tank too so... phos: .1-.3ppm nitrate: 15-20 ppm according to Hanna checker and salifert
 

footgal

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Hey there! So it sounds like you’re going to do a zoa-dominate nano right? Are you planning on any fish? I would do sexy shrimp (pair is good but group of 5+ is best), one large shrimp (Fire or skunk), stomatella snails if you can find them, cerith and trochus are easier to get and also very good, if you have a sand bed I’d do nassarius snails or a cucumber, then some porcelain and pom pom crabs just cause they’re awesome.

The only things doing any real cleaning in my list are the large shrimp, snails, and cucumber. The rest are just fun inverts that love zoas. Pic of my sexy shrimp on my zoas just cause I love them
923BD70D-DE88-4196-BB40-358C9ABA23F4.jpeg
E0868EB4-4095-4C5B-B61D-5EEC66F1CFFE.jpeg
 
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MrFus

MrFus

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Hey there! So it sounds like you’re going to do a zoa-dominate nano right? Are you planning on any fish? I would do sexy shrimp (pair is good but group of 5+ is best), one large shrimp (Fire or skunk), stomatella snails if you can find them, cerith and trochus are easier to get and also very good, if you have a sand bed I’d do nassarius snails or a cucumber, then some porcelain and pom pom crabs just cause they’re awesome.

The only things doing any real cleaning in my list are the large shrimp, snails, and cucumber. The rest are just fun inverts that love zoas. Pic of my sexy shrimp on my zoas just cause I love them
923BD70D-DE88-4196-BB40-358C9ABA23F4.jpeg
E0868EB4-4095-4C5B-B61D-5EEC66F1CFFE.jpeg
Yeah, it's going to be only zoas and that is why I was looking for some small invertebrates to add some variety.
 
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Hooz

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I have a combination of Dwarf Cerith, Cerith, Nerite, Nassarius, Astreae and Turbo snails. Also have a handful of small Scarlet Reef and Dwarf Blue hermits.

They all eat different things, so the combined crew does a nice job of keeping everything clean.
 
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MrFus

MrFus

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My main concerns about selection it's the fact that aiming to only zoas in the nano there is not going to be the excess waste organics that you will see on mixed systems, and I'm afraid that the shrimps will try to nibble on the zoas...
 

footgal

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My main concerns about selection it's the fact that aiming to only zoas in the nano there is not going to be the excess waste organics that you will see on mixed systems, and I'm afraid that the shrimps will try to nibble on the zoas...
I feel sinking shrimp pellets to my cleaner and fire shrimp to supplement their diet, they also eat frozen right out of my hands and it lets them explore their natural cleaning habits. The sexys seem to respond well to reefroids
 

Hooz

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My main concerns about selection it's the fact that aiming to only zoas in the nano there is not going to be the excess waste organics that you will see on mixed systems, and I'm afraid that the shrimps will try to nibble on the zoas...
You're going to have to have something in there to eat and poop besides just snails, even for a zoa only tank. Zoas need the phosphate and nitrate to grow and that comes from fish food and fish poop. You don't have to get too crazy, but you'll need something other than inverts in there.

If you want something utilitarian and low maintenance, maybe a Clown Goby (tons of personality) of some sort and a trio of Springer's Damsels (small, inexpensive, peaceful and eat flatworms if you ever get them)?
 

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