Beginner invertebrates for Your Reef or FOWLR

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Mar 29, 2007
Please list all invertebrates that are deemed as suitable for beginners, explain what their basic needs / requirements are. Please, if possible, use the following format...

Care Level:
Tank Conditions:
Max. Size In Aquarium:
Color Form:
Reef Compatible:

Blue Legged Dwarf Hermit Crab

Care Level: Easy
Tank Conditions: 72-78°F; sg 1.023-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4; dKH 8-12
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 1"
Color Form: Blue, Red
Temperament: Peaceful
Reef Compatible: Yes
Diet: Omnivore
Origin: Caribbean
Family: Diogenidae

A great hermit crab to have in reef aquariums. They eat a variety of nuisance algae like green hair algae and cyanobacteria. The crab is blue and lives in abandoned snail shells. When molting they will outgrow the snail shell and will require a new home. If an empty shell is not available it will kill another hermit or snail for its shell.

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AC Members
Feb 21, 2007
Princeton, NJ
Mexican/Turbo Snail

Care Level
: Easy
Light: Moderate to High
Water Flow: Medium
Tank Conditions: 72-78°F; sg 1.023-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4; dKH 8-12
Color Form: Brown/Grey/Algae Encrusted
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet: Herbavore
Origin: Mexico
Family: Turbinidae

A good snail to have in your aquarium. Almost a necessity, this snail is often part of 'clean up crews' offered at many online livestock vendors.

The turbo snail can range in size from gumball sized to tennisball sized.

They're hard workers, who are always on the move.

While there is a large discrepency in the accepted number of snails required to maintain a tank, what can be said is that if you have enough algae to feed them, they'll thrive in a reef tank.

They can be a little rough on your delicate corals, though, and have no issue with knocking things over in your reef tank.

Mar 29, 2007
Brittle Sea Star

Care Level: Easy
Tank Conditions: 72-78°F; sg 1.023-1.020; pH 8.1-8.4; dKH 8-12
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 10"
Color Form: Brown/Green
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Reef Compatible: Yes
Diet: Omnivore
Origin: Tonga
Family: Ophiuridae

A great scavenger for reefs and fish only with live rock tanks, they enjoy established tanks so they are able to find tasty treat hiding in the live rock. They are nocturnal feeders so during the day they are normally hiding. The best way to see the starfish in action is to add moonlights to see the nocturnal behavior. The brittle's are used to help find food and are not toxic to humans.

These starfish must be acclimated into the tank slowly since they do very bad in sudden ph and sg changes.

Once acclimated you may supplement the feeding with zooplankton, finely chopped meaty items and liquid invertebrate food.

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My fish are my babies
Sexy Shrimp
(Thor amboinensis)
Care Level: Easy
Tank Conditions: 76-81°F, SG 1.023-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4
Adult size: 1½"
Temperament: Peaceful
Reef Compatible: Yes
Diet: Meaty foods
Origin: Indonesia
These little shrimp are a great little treasure! They have a very interesting behavior in which they wave their rear end thus getting the name sexy shrimp. They tend to do best in pair or groups and will host most long tentacled stinging corals and look exceptionally good in a rose bulb anemone. They accept most foods and as long as water qualities are proper and they are acclimated correctly they can make a great invert for the beginner. They are commonly used in nanos due to their small size that also sometimes gets them eaten, so they should not be kept with large predatory fish of fish said to eat small shrimp.