The Right Guys for the Job
Clean up crews, which you’ll commonly see referred to as CUCs, are basically comprised of a range of tiny organisms specifically assimilated to ‘clean up’ your tank (you can see where the name comes from). Normally made up of a range of crabs, snails and starfish & shrimps aquarists introduce these guys into their tanks to make their aquarium maintenance schedule (and general life) much easier! And although it’s widely debated to what extent these little critters are necessary, speaking from an aquarium maintenance specialist’s perspective, they’re something we’d definitely urge you to consider.
Your Personal Aquarium Maintenance Team
Best thought of as the ‘janitors’ of your reef, and perhaps the most powerful tool in your aquarium maintenance arsenal, clean up crews will process all sorts of waste products, and generally maintain a healthy, balanced rig. This includes algae that naturally build up on features and corals, excess food and waste products, and even the remains of deceased fish – so it’s fair to say they do a pretty good job.
The most successful clean up crews are commonly comprised of a mixture of crustaceans (including snails and crabs) and star fish, but of course – as is often the case in the aquarium keeping business – everyone is adamant they’re onto the winning combination. In truth, various species and breeds are well-suited to different tasks; hermit crabs, for example, will eat most forms of detritus, but the majority of snails will only process algae. You’ll come to find that by slowly expanding your clean up crew, you’ll reach an agreeable balance to suit your tank. There’s also, unfortunately, no exact science as to how big your clean up crew should be relative to the size of your tank – various internet sources off different ‘per gallon’ rules, but these often conflict with one another. If in doubt, ask at your local fish store; or, if they have a fancy live chat feature, why not give that a go?
Tools of the Trade
There’s no real doubt that clean up crews help to stabilise your tank, and that, after an induction period, you’ll start to see notable aesthetic benefits – but can aquarium maintenance products do a better job? The answer to that, in short, depends on your budget. iQuatics sell a range of products, from carbon filter media to biopearls, that are designed to help maintain a clean tank; and let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a proper blog entry unless we plugged some of them. Budgetary constraints, however, encourage people to stick to what they know. We’d advise you to try a combination of product and clean up crew, and test various formulas over a period of time to decide which works best for your aquarium. Remember that all aquariums are unique, and what works for one might not work for another.
Try out our products today, you can view them all online right here. If you think you’ve arrived at that golden combination, why not share it with us using our Facebook page?