Reef aquariums are some of the most colorful and eye-catching displays you can have in your home. Corals are typically the main attractions in these tanks, but they aren’t the only essential organisms to the ecosystem. In fact, every sustainable reef setup also needs a few cleaners to dispose of debris and limit chemical spikes in the water. Read on to learn which cleanup critters you should have in your reef tank and how they keep your aquarium healthy.
Scarlet Hermit Crab
First up on the list is the popular scarlet hermit crab. Identified by its bright red legs and torso, this organism is an herbivore that feeds primarily on algae life within its environment. It’s great for keeping overgrowth to a minimum, and it also doubles as a scavenger that eats excess fish food. Scarlet hermit crabs are very hardy as well, so they won’t get sick with slight chemical fluctuations in the water.
The Nassarius snail is also a cleanup critter you should have in your reef tank because of its burrowing abilities. Cream- or brownish-colored, these invertebrates dig into a tank’s sand bed and sift through it as they move. This allows them to collect waste and excess food. However, unlike other types of snails, Nassarius can consume meat, and it will clean up any dead specimens in your tank.
The peppermint shrimp is a carnivore as well, though it scavenges for much of its food supply. Shrimp species are great to keep in your reef tank because they’ll often pick parasites off your other life-forms and eat them. The peppermint shrimp is particularly known to consume an anemone organism called Aiptasia to prevent it from overgrowing.
Last but not least is the beloved sand-sifting starfish. Much like a snail, this specimen digs through the sand bed and consumes any debris that lands between the rocks. This reduces the frequency with which you need to clean your tank and slows the chemical fluctuation of the water. Starfish are also unique in appearance, so they make great aesthetic additions to your aquarium.
If you’re looking for specimens that’ll make cool and functional additions to your reef tank, World Wide Corals has just what you need. Our stock of aquarium invertebrates consumes fish waste and algae, saving you the need to clean as often. They also come in a wide variety of colors to fit perfectly with your current reef display.