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Favorite aquarium clean up crew.


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Getting rid of stringy algae that grows on plants and tank walls: rams horn snails are the coolest because of their color variety and shape. Pond snails are a good second best, although I personally like them less than ramshorn.

Cleaning/maintaining the water column: I did clams once, and they are actually the best but are far too sensitive to water changes and die easily... Daphnia are hard to beat and are my best pick. I have to give an honorable mention to the large shrimp with fan-shaped hands that 'grab' stuff out of the water, just for being so cool.

Removing detritus and other mucky stuff from the bottom: scuds are amazing for this in combination with detritus worms.

Cleaning under gravel: I have no experience with them, but I understand trumpet snails are good for burrowing down into the bottom of gravel and cleaning it.

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Patience, extreme patience. I have found ignoring a problem sometimes results in the problem going away.

  • pea soup green water - Had to ignore this for 10 long weeks before the tank eventually cleared
  • Extreme hair algae - Usually ignoring this for 8 weeks or so will do the trick
  • detritus - eventually reaches some sort of equilibrium in the aquarium, I am not sure why but I have never had this completely overtake an aquarium
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Me first and foremost. I don't keep aquarium critters to do my maintenance for me. I like that some happily share the workload with me, but at the end of the day. I'm the cleanup crew.


That said, I like to keep Nerites and mystery snails (single mystery snails per tank to avoid them reproducing) around because they look cool. Bladder snails are great, the few times I've found them coming in from Co-op plants, I've intended on letting them do their thing, but they don't seem to do well in my set ups. I think my Keyholes eat them in one tank, and the other is cycling and they may not like the ammonia I'm dosing. I don't consider Corydoras part of any clean up crew types of fish. They don't eat algae or or fish poop.

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