Best Cleanup Crew Saltwater Tank | Top Species You Should Consider!

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Written By Fun Fish Tanks

I Love my Fishes 

Cleanliness and the maintenance of the tank is a crucial things in owning an aquarium. Whether it be a freshwater tank or saltwater tank, keeping it clean and maintaining a healthy ecosystem for your fish is important. Luckily, an aquarist clean-up crew exists which helps a lot in the cleaning of the tank. A clean-up crew is needed in a saltwater aquarium

This article focuses on the best clean-up crew for a saltwater tank, reducing your work in choosing the best ones for your tank. 

What is a Clean up Crew? 

As the name suggests a clean-up crew for a saltwater tank is a series of species that lend you a hand in keeping your tank clean. They help in cleaning off algae, dead plants, parasites, leftover food, and many more. Some clean-up crew even clean the fish’s bodies and get rid of dead scales and parasites for them. Most of the time, a clean-up crew consists of snails, shrimps, crabs, etc. 

The Best Clean-up Crew Saltwater Tank 

A Cleanup crew for a saltwater tank is to make a combination of different species. With a combination of different species, you will have a set of species that performs different functions and by the mixture of different functions, your tank will be cleaned in different ways at the same time. 

Best Snails for Cleanup Crew 

  • Cerith Snail  – The Cerith Snails come along as herbivores and are effective for getting rid of algae. These snails can eat away hairy algae and film algae. The Cerith snail often consumes the diatoms, algae, and debris it finds on the substrate of your tank. 
  • Astraea Snail – The Astraea Snail is a herbivore that can eat algae very effectively. With this snail, your saltwater tank will be in a situation of controlled algae all the time. They can eat the film algae and hair algae from several areas of your tank. 
  • Nassarius Snails  – The Nassarius Snails are carnivores and can clean up a variety of substances from your tank. These snails are great sand stirrers and scavengers. They are essential if your tank has a sand substrate. These snails consume waste materials and discarded fish food. One of the greatest detritus eaters for an aquarium with a sandbed is the Nassarius snail. To sleep, it will bury itself in the sand. When it detects food in the aquarium, it will emerge swiftly to feed on food that sinks to the bottom of the tank. 
  • Turbo Snails – The Turbo Snails are part of the species that are herbivores. As herbivores, these snails are capable of cleaning up algae. Algae such as hair algae and types of green algae are devoured by them. The Turbo Snails are the best when it comes to cleaning up algae from your tank rapidly. 
  • Trochus Snails – Diatoms, hair algae, film algae, and various cyanobacterial species are all consumed by trochus snails. These snails work wonders on your saltwater aquarium’s rocks and glass. 
  • Bumblebee Snails  – As you expect, Bumblebee Snails are miniature and can clean unreachable areas of your tank. They are effective in cleaning up the leftover food from small areas of your tank. So they can effectively clean the areas of the tank where other bigger snails cannot get access.

Best Shrimps for Cleanup crew 

Shrimps form an integral portion of a clean up crew. These little crustaceans clean your aquarium along with giving heed to the appearance of your saltwater tank. Some of the species are effective in cleaning algae, leftover stuffs and many more. 

  • Peppermint Shrimp  – The peppermint shrimps are carnivores and go around the scavenging for food. Detritus, uneaten food, and decaying organic matter from your rockwork and substrate are consumed by peppermint shrimp. They prod among the rocks in search of food scraps. They are calm and simple to take care of. Due of their fondness for bothersome aiptasia anemones, peppermint shrimp are popular. If you have aiptasia in your aquarium then you don’t have to worry about it when you have a peppermint shrimp. 
  • Blood Red Fire Cleaner Shrimps  – The Blood Red Fire Shrimp is the most active at night and prefers rock formations with hiding spots. By eliminating parasites and decaying tissue, this shrimp promotes the health of fish. The Blood Red Fire Shrimp will also help maintain the general health of your reef tank by looking for uneaten food in crevices and cracks. They will set up cleaning stations to remove fish dead tissue and ectoparasites while also searching the tank for food scraps.
  • Skunk Cleaner Shrimp – The Skunk Cleaner Shrimp is also an excellent addition as a cleanup crew. They not only clean your tank but keep your fish away from dirt and parasites. They are predators that will consume the dead tissue and ectoparasites on your fish. Your fish will really be cleaned by them, and some fish like the experience so much that they return frequently. The Skunk Cleaner Shrimp can sit on a rock and wait for fishes to come close for them to clean. In addition to it they can clean up the leftover flakes and pellets from your tank. 

How To Pick The Best Crew?

As you know, most of the best clean-up crew members for a saltwater tank, then it’s time to form the best clean-up crew for a saltwater tank. You need to have a mixture of all the species. All the different functions of the clean-up crew amalgamate to keep your tank free of any dirt and unwanted particles all the time. With a clean-up crew, most of the cleaning is done by them, and therefore a lot of work is cut off for you. 

You can mix up a lot of snails and shrimp. Make sure that the ones you choose don’t share too much similarity in what they clean. You should make a mixture of various kinds of functions. You will also have to take into consideration the tank size when you are trying to determine the number of species to add. Also, the level of care that they require must be looked upon. It should come on par with the species of fish that you have in your tank

It is also good to set up a clean-up crew from the beginning of the journey of your saltwater tank. But if you have don’t it initially, no need to worry, it’s never too late to start. There is nothing harm in adding a clean-up crew to a saltwater tank later.

Best Cleanup Crew for 20 gallon saltwater tank 

In a 20 gallon saltwater tank, you can add several snails and shrimps as clean-up crew. A 20 gallon saltwater tank can do good with: 

  • 2 Nassarius Snails
  • 3 to 4 Cerith Snail 
  • 1 or 2 Peppermint Shrimp 
  • 4 Trochus Snails 
  • 1 or 2 Cleaner Shrimp 

Best Cleanup Crew for 30 gallon saltwater tank 

For a 30 gallon saltwater tank, different varieties of snails and shrimps can make a good clean-up crew.

  • 6 Bumblebee Snails 
  • 6 Trochus Snails 
  • 4 Nassarius Snails 
  • 4 to 6 Peppermint Shrimps or Cleaner Shrimp 
  • 6 Cerith Snails 

Should you feed your clean up crew? 

It is not necessary to feed your clean-up crew. The clean-up crew will get their supplemental and nutritious needs from all the leftover food, dead plants, algae, etc that they clean. Feeding them can lead to overfeeding as they will have already got their stomach full with all the cleaning. 

But you will have to feed your clean-up if they are adapted to having a special diet. As some species prefer eating only certain types of food. In such cases, you will have to feed the clean-up crew.


A clean-up crew is necessary for a saltwater tank. With their presence in a tank, you will receive a helping hand in a lot of things. As they will clean up all the leftover food, algae, etc, you will not have to worry about them being accumulated in your tank. The snails and the shrimp will do their job extremely well and they don’t even require feeding as they get their nutrition from what they eat while cleaning.

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