View Full Version : Are hermit crabs a good alternative?

08/22/2017, 01:28 PM
When cleaning up my tanks most of the issue is with algae not so much detritus material. I know there's some but my question is is it worth the trade off to have snails AND hermit crabs when it seems eventually the hermit crabs turn many snails into a meal?

I guess if I overfed it would keep everyone in the tank happy but then water quality suffers.

This become an issue in every tank I've ever had and it gets tiresome to keep buying snails.

Even in my 90 gal it was still an issue so to eleviate it I got rid of the crabs and occasionally ran a diatom filter along with tank vacuuming. I'm at the point of swearing off hermits again after finding 2-3 empty snails shells with the hermits hovering over them to pick out the last scraps.

08/28/2017, 06:40 AM
You didn't say what kind of snails you have? Many starve even if there is algae and your hermits are just doing their job. For algae control in my tanks I use hermits and Tuxedo and Royal Urchins along with manual removal during water changes.

ssgss gogeta
08/28/2017, 06:47 AM
My hermits don't mess with the turbos or conch snails

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09/02/2017, 06:42 PM
Typically hermits only eat the snails if they are dying or already dead

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09/02/2017, 06:43 PM
I tend to stick with blue legged hermits. They stay relatively small and are not aggressive.

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09/05/2017, 03:09 PM
Hermit crabs are definitely not a necessity, but I love them. They are definitely snail killers sometimes. They really like those cerith shells. Anyone who hasn't experienced that is very lucky. Fortunately ceriths like to breed. I think the key is to not overstock. One of the online stores has a cleaner crew for a 90 at 22 hermits and 149 snails. That's insane. Another has 100 hermits and 100 astraea. I guess the astraea are there to feed the hermits after they land on their backs and die.

I'm going with 10 hermits for a 90 and maybe 20 snails, including some special ones I'd like to keep just to keep them.

09/05/2017, 09:20 PM
I think they're a necessity for DSB. Maybe not for BB

09/06/2017, 08:04 PM
I'm sure you could have a perfectly successful reef system without them. But I think they're worth it, even if they snack on a few snails now and then. They get their little claws into small rock crevices and pull out detritus/algae.

Sure you can blow detritus out of rocks with a turkey baster...but trying to do that to the back of the rocks is obviously a lot harder.

09/14/2017, 04:26 AM
In answer to Timfish's question, 2-3 nassarius, 2 maragaritas, 8 turbos now down to 3, 2 large ceriths and about 5 small ceriths.
The turbos seem to be their food of choice as soon as they get turned over.

3 blue legged hermits.

36 gal bowfront tank.

Very true Cruiznblue, that's the only reason I haven't evicted them yet.

09/27/2017, 12:35 PM
I just have 1 large red legged hermit crab about the size of a half dollar, and he doesn't bother much - except for stealing food from my serpent star. I have 15 astria snails and they pretty much stay at the top of the tank where he couldn't get to them if he tried :-) . The crab spends most of his time scooting around the bottom and the corners of the tank picking up the gross stuff no one else will eat

10/05/2017, 01:52 PM
Never had a blue leg hermit kill a turbo -- turbo's tend to starve to death then get eaten imo.

Ceriths on the other hand -- putting ceriths with hermits is kind of like that scene in Jurassic Park where they put the goat in the t-rex pen =)

And whoever said blue legs aren't aggressive is crazy - I watch mine try to kill each other almost every day.

11/03/2017, 05:56 AM
Blue legs are considered herbivores... but they're also crazy for new shells, and they'll kill for them.

11/03/2017, 06:03 AM
I went to the dollarstore, and bought a 4$ jar of seashells, went through it meticulously to be the best possible real estate agent I could, and then sprinkled a few dozen shells around my tank. I only have 6 hermits, but I have a dozen or so snails to. Within a day, all the hermits but one were in their new, clean shells. And every so often I see them lining shells up and dancing over them.

I haven't had a single snail death, but its a new tank and I haven't been doing this long. While I'm sure it will come, I think showering them with possible extra homes helped!