10-12-2009, 12:10 PM
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Hermit Crabs of all types pose a threat to the reef environment, but the Blue Legs and Scarlets are generally considered the safest. The biggest problem with hermits is that they will kill your snails and rob their shells. This always happens, it is just a matter of how long it takes. I personally try to limit the number of hermits, but I do generally keep 1 Blue Leg per 10 gallons. They do an effective job at preventing hair algae, but are not very effective when the algae has already taken hold. Their constant scurrying about the sand and on the live rock also helps to keep detritus from settling.
Snails come in 3 basic varieties. The Nassarius are great sand sifters, constantly burrying into the sand. This is excellent for your sand bed. They are also good at eating algae from the glass. These are also very fast moving snails, so they tend to do best with hermits, in my opinion.
You also have Turbo and Cerith, both of which are good at keeping algae removed from the glass. The problem with these snails is that it takes a ton of them to be effective, and they quickly starve when the algae begins to thin. I personally keep 1 snail per 10 gallons, which is far less than the normal recommendation. But I also rarely experience a snail death from starvation.
Bottom line, buy a few hermits of your choice and a handful of Cerith snails. Throw in a couple Nassarius for good measure, and see which you like best.