Originally Posted by Carp
Thank you for the warm greeting. I will have to study the choices of fishes. Any suggestions? I would also like to put a small crab or shrimp in the tank. When the algae starts growing do I put in clean up crew? What do you suggest for the clean up crew?
You're welcome! As far as fishes go, you'll have a pretty decent number of options. I'd stay away from fish like tangs or trigger fish, as even though they are really beautiful, they need large and/or long tanks for ample swimming space. Since you don't plan to keep corals, you don't have to worry about whether or not fish you want to keep are reef-safe or not, but be sure to pay attention to whether or not they have a taste for invertebrates (i.e. clean-up crews)!
I'd suggest first letting your tank cycle, once you see the ammonia and nitrites rise then fall back to zero, do a water change and wait another week, then add your clean-up crew first. A couple/few weeks later, you can begin adding fish. Do so slowly, it can be tough to remain patient, but you'll have a much lower mortality rate, and end up wasting less money and fish lives if you take things slow.
Turbo snails are good, but are pretty big (along with a big appetite) so you might only get one or two of those. Nassarius snails are super-cool, but will need a decently deep sandbed... how many pounds of sand did you order, or otherwise how deep do you plan to make the sandbed? I'm not familiar with the specifics of other individual types of snails off the top of my head, but you can probably get around 20-30 snails total to eat away at your algae. Trochus snails and cerith snails will do a good job of eating algae off your rocks (nassarius will stay almost exclusively in your sand).
Hermit crabs are good too, but some people don't really like them so I don't think they are necessary, I guess its a matter of whether or not you want them. You might also look at getting an emerald mithrax crab, they are good algae eaters, and cool crabs to own. Maybe a skunk cleaner shrimp too, they will keep your fishes cleaned of parasites (though you might wait until you add fish before you get a cleaner shrimp!). Coral banded shrimp are really cool-looking, but can get aggressive towards other inverts, so beware if you go that route. I wouldn't suggest getting a skunk or peppermint shrimp AND a coral banded shrimp, as in a day or two you'll only have a coral banded shrimp
One random piece of advice relating to your clean-up crew, is that any new saltwater tank will go through one or more phases of algae growth in the first few months, so don't go and buy a large cleanup crew sized for the first algae explosion you see (and don't get frustrated by the large algae explosion! its expected), because after a while the algae will die off and then you'll have a cleanup crew too large for the long-term food supply.