What Gives When Herbivores Won’t Graze Nuisance Algae?

The practice of adding herbivorous fish and/or invertebrate species to marine aquariums for the purpose of nuisance algae control is quite commonplace. Hence the popularity of those herbivore packages known in hobby parlance as “cleanup crews,” or CUCs. But almost as common is the experience of adding a herbivorous species or CUC to eradicate algae … [Read More]

Sand-sifting Starfish: A Job (too) Well Done!

If you’ve ever shopped for a marine aquarium cleanup crew, you’ve probably noticed that these packages often include so-called sand-sifting starfish—rather bland-colored, burrowing stars of the genus Astropecten that can reach about a foot in diameter. As their common name implies, these stars are sold to hobbyists for the purpose of consuming detritus and uneaten … [Read More]

5 Ways Hobbyists Misuse Grazing Marine Snails

Of all the fascinating invertebrates available to marine aquarists, grazing snails are perhaps the most misused. Too often we treat them like expendable little lawnmowers, plopping them in our tanks with the express purpose of preventing or eradicating algae and then replenishing them as their populations inevitably wane. But if treated properly, snails can be … [Read More]

Consider These 6 Points Before Buying a Marine Aquarium Cleanup Crew

Marine aquarium cleanup crews (CUC)—those combo packs of various snails, crabs, and echinoderms sold for the purpose of algae control and detritus elimination—can serve an excellent utilitarian function in a saltwater system. What’s more, in addition to the janitorial duties they perform, many of these invertebrates are fascinating to observe in their own right and … [Read More]