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The K&P Cleanup Crew

Your cleanup crew is not necessary until you begin to see algae forming on the rocks and glass. Add just a few at a time to avoid them starving. These are our top choices for reef safe animals to help keep your tank healthy and balanced.

Top Picks

Bumblebee Snails

Nassarius Snail

Trochus Snail

Engina mendicaria

Scarlet Hermit Crab

Paguristes cadenati

  1. Feeds on waste/detritus

  2. Eats sand dwelling worms

  3. Very small (max size 0.75"

  4. Eats Vermetid snails

  5. Reef safe!

  6. Lives roughly 2 years

  7. Have not been bred in captivity.

  8. Lives in the rocks and aerates substrate.

  9. Hunts flatworms.

  1. Lives in the sand

  2. Aerates sandbed

  3. Feeds on decaying matter

  4. Eats Detritus

  5. Max size 1-1.5"

  6. 35 different species of nassarius

  1. Bred in captivity

  2. Can pull themselves back upright if fallen over

  3. Eats hair, film and diatom algae.

  4. Eats cyanobacteria

  5. Several species (Banded, Black and White, Tiger etc)

  1. Eats Detritus

  2. Eats hair algae

  3. Eats Cyanobacteria

  4. This species of hermit crab is peaceful to other tank mates

  5. THESE ARE DIFFERENT THAN RED LEG HERMITS (red legs, yellow eye stalks)

  6. They need larger shells as they grow (max 1.5")

Emerald Crab

Mithraculus sculptus

  1. Eats bubble, turf, and hair algae

  2. Lives 2-4 years

  3. Opportunistic scavengers

  4. Can bother coral if they are starving

  5. Lives in the rockwork

  6. Get the smallest ones, these are the most efficient.

Other Invertebrates We Like

Nerite Snails

Cerith Snail


Strombus sp

Spiney Star

Astraea phoebia

Strombus sp.

Turbo Snail

  1. Consumes diatoms and film algae

  2. Eats Cyanobacteria

  3. High tolerance of temperature fluctuations 

  4. Cleans glass, sand and rocks

  5. Can climb out of tank

  1. Breeds in aquariums easily

  2. feeds on diatoms, detritus, hair and film algae

  3. Feeds on cyanobacteria

  4. Cleans substrate and glass

  5. Prefers sandy substrate

  1. 3 species adequate for tanks (Tiger, Strawberry, and Queen)

  2. Aerates Sandbed

  3. Feeds on Cyanobacteria

  4. Feeds on diatoms and hair algae

  1. Eats Film algae

  2. Good for Macro Algae Tanks

  3. Fun and Decorative snail

  1. 66 species and 5 sub species

  2. Eats any and all algae

  3. Bulldozes rock and coral in its path

  4. Zebras are the most efficient species

  5. Orange Chestnut are the smaller of the species

Sandsifting Sea Star

Astropecten polyacanthus

  1. Eats excess food and detritus

  2. Aerates sandbed

  3. Eats spaghetti worms, pods and tube worms

Rock Burrowing Urchin

Echinometra mathaei

  1. Short spined urchin

  2. Incredible algae eater

  3. Won't carry corals around like pincusions do.

  4. Nocturnal

Best Little Hitchikers

Stomatella Snail

Stomatella impertusa

 Stomatella auricula

Micro Brittle Star

Ophiocomella sp.

Ophiactis savignyi



Leptochiton muelleri

  1. Consumes diatoms, cyanobacteria, micro algaes and can filter feed

  2. Only grows to about an inch

  3. Breeds well in captivity

  4. High tolerance of temperature fluctuations

  5. Nocturnal cleaning glass and rockwork

  1. Reaches a max size of 3 inches, most are smaller

  2. Spawns regularly in captivity

  3. Consumes detritus, waste, and micro algaes

  4. Aerate sandbed and lives in crevices in rock work

  1. Only reaches about 2.1 mm

  2. Consumes diatoms 

Collonista Snail

Collonista Amakusaensis

  1. Best little algae grazers

  2. Only reach 1/4" in size

  3. Consumes diatoms, cyanobacteria, film and other micro nuisance algaes

  4. Breeds well in captivity

  5. Check equipment like pumps and skimmers regularly to avoid them getting stuck

Inverts With Specific Diets

Harlequin Shrimp

Hymenocera picta

  1. Only eats the tube feet and internal organs of starfish. NOTHING ELSE.

  2. Takes care of asterina starfish outbreaks.

  3. Will need to be fed starfish once they eat all the available ones otherwise, they starve and die. 

  4. Eats about 10-15 asterinas a day.



  1. Eats only the pest anemone Aiptasias

  2. No possibility of harm to corals

  3. Won't harm your tank if they die

  4. Live roughly 10-12 months

  5. Hunt best in packs

  6. Nocturnal

  7. Sensory organs called rhinophores

  8. Hermaphroditic, allowing them to reproduce easily in captivity

  9. Maximum size 1.5"

  10. Best natural combat for aiptasia issues

Cleanup on a Microscopic Level

Beneficial Bacteria

  1. Can occur naturally or aquacultured strains can be added for diversity.

  2. Helps breakdown ammonia and nitrites.

  3. Purple non-sulfur bacteria (PNSB) is a super probiotic that feeds on detritus and other waste, especially in anaerobic environments.

  4. Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter that convert toxins into less harmful substances.


  1. Can absorb and bind heavy metals.

  2. Outcompetes nuisance algaes. 

  3. Increases oxygen content.

  4. Helps stabilize pH.

  5. Increase populations of microcrustaceans.

  6. Vital for every marine organism.

  7. Combats cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates. 


  1. Copepods, ostrocods, isopods, amphipods, mysid shrimp are some of our favorite cleanup crew.

  2. These feed on many types of detritus, diatoms, and other algaes.

  3. Some copepod species feed on cyanobacteria and dinoflaggellates directly.

  4. Extremely beneficial for the tank and nutritious treats for fish!

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