Clean Up Crew?

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by SueAndHerZoo, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    Hi. Didn't know if I should post this question here or if I should make it part of my journal - figured it might get seen more here. I have 3 separate breeding traps floating in a 20 gallon tank. Some of the food (frozen mysid, homemade fish food) falls out of the traps and ends up in the bottom of the 20 gallon. Aside from occasional siphoning, what could/should I put in the 20 gallon to eat the leftover food?

    I put one of my turbo's snail in there but he's not doing much except cleaning the live rock. If I could catch one of my peppermint shrimp in my other tanks I was thinking of adding one to the octo tank - would that be a good choice? If so, I'll pick one up at my LFS. Anything else I can safely put in there as a CUC? I was thinking of a hermit crab but since these hatchlings are so small I'm not sure that would be safe.

    Sue
     
  2. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    There is a chance the octo would eat it. although there are a few that have survived in octopus tanks. Clean up crews can be tough. Snails and hermits are always good, but they too can wind up on the menu especially for small octos. I have a Macropus, that is living on hermit crabs right now, but at the same time none of my larger octopuses have paid much attention to them. Starfish are always an option. I personally have quite a few serpent stars in my tanks and they seem to do a great job. They are fun to watch too.

    I have a bunch of CUC, that i have had for years now, but some say they are bad, and I don't remember why. D?
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I ALWAYS use serpent and brittles for the kind of food remains you are talking about. Not only are they great for finding most of the food bits but they are entertaining and attractive. My favorite is a red brittle (all of ours have some form of the name Pesky. We don't name many of the brittle/serpents but this particular species has a bit of personality when in with an octo but oddly is rarely seen if there is no octo in the tank). My general rule of thumb is one brittle/serpent per 20 gallons but I occasionally exceed that number in smaller tanks and they still find enough food to survive - and live for years.

    I really have not found any kind of issues with anything other than the green serpents. I tell the story that I was sure there were two different greens because the little guy I got from the Keys was moved from tank to tank because he kept losing arm tips. HOWEVER, they are long lived and once they reach several years old the DO become aggressive and large. Mr. Green Jeans is kept in a tank only with stuff he can't possibly eat (mostly corals). I recently put two small bandid shrimp in his tank and even those disappeared after a week :sad:

    Cucumbers can be a concern but the few I keep have not been a problem if they die undetected. However, the ones I keep are not sand buriers.

    I also keep urchins but only put the pencils in with the octos. I have had enough run-ins with the rock and other sharp spined types to decide they could easily be an issue with the careless crawling nature of octopuses. The shor pincushion type are kept by an number of members and we have no reported problems with them but I have never put them in an octo tank (I do keep them in other tanks). If you should choose to put a pencil in, be aware that they will snack on corals as they age. They are great for too much coraline algae but if you want the purple stuff on the rocks, then avoid them.

    I am not crazy about hermits but do keep a few. My biggest issue with them is that they kill many varieties of snails. They are, however, excellent food if you deshell them (often a difficult task). They are my most recent find in readily accepted food. As CaptFish mentions, the larger octos leave them mostly alone and only a few of the smaller ones will bother with them if they are live in the tank.

    Thales has a different take on clean up crews and tends to minimize them (at least at home). I think I am paraphrasing correctly when I say his argument is that all animals eat a and elminate waste so the waste changes but is still present.
     
  4. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    I have 5 starfish in my other tanks (brittle, serpent, fromia, and sand-sifting) so I could easily move one of them into the octo tank. However, you think it's safe to put a starfish into a tank with hatchlings???? I figured the starfish would eat the tiny octos, no? Actually I'm on the fence between CUC and no CUC because, as Thales says, there's still waste, it's just in a different form. Which is better? Who knows.
    Sue
     

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