Reef nutrition

Temporary cleaning crew

Hey guys,

I fed some reef roids to my 10 gallon nano two weeks ago and got a pretty nasty diatom bloom. I'm guessing the phosphates went high because I have no protein skimmer. I'm running some Phosguard right now to see if it helps. Does anyone have algae eating snails I can borrow? My tank doesn't have any other algae or food other than what's left of the reef roids since I target feed, so the snails would starve after the diatom is gone.

Located in Fremont.
 
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rygh

Webmaster
Staff member
Age of tank?
Diatoms are a new tank thing.

Just buy a couple of snails, then give them away if you want. Not expensive. Borrowing livestock is pretty unusual.
Some stores may buy them back for a bit of store credit.
 
It's a two month old ten gallon nano stocked with a small clownfish and a mix of sps and lps corals. My water parameters are 0 Ammonia, 30 ppm Nitrates, and 1.025 sg. The light is a PAR38 15 LED bulb I ordered from China with a custom led configuration, I keep the lights on about 8 hours a day. I feed the clownfish a couple Life Spectrum pellets twice a day and make sure they are consumed. I know getting a diatom bloom is sometimes normal in new tanks, but the timing coincides too much with feeding reef roids. Also, I recently switched from distilled water at Walmart to a local water refill station, so it's possible the water had too many silicates. I need to get a tds meter to test different water sources. I just did a water change with distilled water, and got a two member clean up crew consisting of a blue legged hermit crab and astrea snail.

Are there any fish stores in the bay area that sell snails for a decent price? Most of the ones I went to were price gouging, 3-5 dollars for turbo snails. I've only seen good clean up crew deals online.
 
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Bruce Spiegelman

Supporting Member
There's no doubt reefroids will cause a diatom bloom especially in a small tank,. However in a tank that size the easiest way to export is a couple of large water changes over three or four days. As with most reef issues it's often not just one thing that "causes" an issue. I suspect that while the reefroids probably jump-started the problem the combination of type of light and lack of other ways to export are keeping it going. It's correctable using normal husbandry methods. First, do a large 30-40% water change. Second, do a three day total blackout. Third, another large water change. Add a nano bag of chemipure.
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Are there any fish stores in the bay area that sell snails for a decent price? Most of the ones I went to were price gouging, 3-5 dollars for turbo snails. I've only seen good clean up crew deals online.
Let's think about this statement for a bit. Go to a LFS and look at their snail tanks, quite a few of them have lots and lots of empty snail shells, and if they don't it's probably because they have the staff that periodically pulls them out (maybe tosses them in the hermit crab tanks for extra homes), that's money they lose. Now I know you may be thinking "but their inability to keep things alive shouldn't cost you more" well that's where you would be wrong it's the cost of doing business, and sometimes in business loss ends up costing the end consumer and even sometimes loss in other areas of the store ends up costing the consumer (i.e. the store tries to make money elsewhere based on sales).

Just looking at liveaquaria I see turbos (currently out of stock) going for $2 each, now try ordering 2 snails and see how much that cost you? I guarantee it'll be more than $3-5 per snail, unless you're also ordering $175 worth of fish and other livestock then you get free shipping (or is it $99? I forget). But I can get a 50 pound bag of potatoes at Costco for $10, how dare Safeway gouge me 99 cents a pound for a single potato! Get where I'm going here?

As to the clean up deals online, not going to deny they are cheap. I don't like them though. First the snails they tend to include are of questionable usage as a "clean up crew", nerites, Florida ceriths and sometimes even margarita snails bleh... (yeah I know LFS sell these too). I have yet to see one of those "really good deal" CUCs that have useful snails like turbos and trochus, I've seen them in packages yeah, but those are not usually the cheap packages. Most of the online vendors I've seen simply collect locally and that's all they do, and Florida while tropical is of mixed usefulness for CUCs. Second literally every CUC I've seen has WAY too many snails for the tank size they advertise, I bought 3 snails for my 40 gallon tank, no more was necessary I wasn't trying to get rid of the algae in a day, because that would lead to dead snails and back to said algae problem.

Now I'm not trying to bust your balls over your statement, but when 1 or 2 snails is really all you need then is paying $8 really that much? Stores are hardly "gouging" you, it's not like they get turbos for 10 cents a piece. But I get you, I feel the "pain" of paying $15 for 4-5 snails when you see how much stuff costs online, but again you're not buying online, and you can't get 4-5 for that price either.
 
Let's think about this statement for a bit. Go to a LFS and look at their snail tanks, quite a few of them have lots and lots of empty snail shells, and if they don't it's probably because they have the staff that periodically pulls them out (maybe tosses them in the hermit crab tanks for extra homes), that's money they lose. Now I know you may be thinking "but their inability to keep things alive shouldn't cost you more" well that's where you would be wrong it's the cost of doing business, and sometimes in business loss ends up costing the end consumer and even sometimes loss in other areas of the store ends up costing the consumer (i.e. the store tries to make money elsewhere based on sales).

Just looking at liveaquaria I see turbos (currently out of stock) going for $2 each, now try ordering 2 snails and see how much that cost you? I guarantee it'll be more than $3-5 per snail, unless you're also ordering $175 worth of fish and other livestock then you get free shipping (or is it $99? I forget). But I can get a 50 pound bag of potatoes at Costco for $10, how dare Safeway gouge me 99 cents a pound for a single potato! Get where I'm going here?

As to the clean up deals online, not going to deny they are cheap. I don't like them though. First the snails they tend to include are of questionable usage as a "clean up crew", nerites, Florida ceriths and sometimes even margarita snails bleh... (yeah I know LFS sell these too). I have yet to see one of those "really good deal" CUCs that have useful snails like turbos and trochus, I've seen them in packages yeah, but those are not usually the cheap packages. Most of the online vendors I've seen simply collect locally and that's all they do, and Florida while tropical is of mixed usefulness for CUCs. Second literally every CUC I've seen has WAY too many snails for the tank size they advertise, I bought 3 snails for my 40 gallon tank, no more was necessary I wasn't trying to get rid of the algae in a day, because that would lead to dead snails and back to said algae problem.

Now I'm not trying to bust your balls over your statement, but when 1 or 2 snails is really all you need then is paying $8 really that much? Stores are hardly "gouging" you, it's not like they get turbos for 10 cents a piece. But I get you, I feel the "pain" of paying $15 for 4-5 snails when you see how much stuff costs online, but again you're not buying online, and you can't get 4-5 for that price either.
It just seems like Snails at LFS are like Monster hdmi cables at Best Buy. That 5 dollar hdmi cable for that tv you got a decent deal on is going to cost you 80. For one or two snails, it doesn't really matter. But if you're going to spend over $15 on a cuc, online is the way to go. These cleaner packages include free shipping and Florida Ceriths, Dwarf Ceriths, Nerites, etc.

https://www.reefcleaners.org/cleaner-packages-with-free-shipping
https://www.mysaltwaterfishstore.com/super-snail-pack-25-astrea-turbo-snails-turbo-snails-love-algea-and-have-beautiful-conical-shells/ comes out to $2 a snail with shipping.
Even petco has 6 Astrea snails for 7.49 online, they just happen to be out of stock.

Pricing gouging at LFS certainly isn't limited to snails. I've seen them selling 50 gallon Instant Ocean Reef Crystals for $40 when the going price is $15.
 
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sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
As mentioned ceriths, and nerites are hardly turbo snails in how effective they are, ditto with astrea which should not be referred to as "turbos", personally I think 4 mexican turbos that may cost you $15-20 will put more of a dent in algae in your tank than 50 ceriths (and you don't get 50 with the reef cleaner package of that same price). And Petco sells 6 astrea snails for $7.49, btw add an extra $30 for shipping (they ship next day which is not what reefcleaners does), now your 6 snails will cost you $6.25 each. The other store has them for $2 each with shipping? Why don't you buy that? You think 25 snails would be overkill, I agree, but I'm not sure why you think you should get bulk pricing discounts if you're buying individually. As mentioned $10 for 50lbs of potatoes at Costco, 5x that amount if I buy individual potatoes at Safeway, that's price gouging?

Not sure why you refer to the prices businesses put on their goods as "gouging" just because you can find it cheaper online, that's not very fair to the business, and you're more than free to shop elsewhere, and considering you can get this online you might as well shop for salt there.
 

bluprntguy

Supporting Member
I’ve ordered from reefcleaners many times before. The packages are usually pretty good deals. The nerite snails he’s sending now are pretty prolific algae eaters and they are a good size for a nano. Big enough to do some grazing, but not likely to outgrow a small tank. They do lay eggs all over your live rock.

He ships from Florida via USPS two day. Given the heat across most of the country, I think your chances of getting everything alive are pretty slim. I usually try to do orders In the fall or spring.

For what you need now, I’d highly recommend a LFS.
 

Coral reefer

BOD
Staff member
If this is how you feel about snails, I’m not sure this is a great hobby for you. It isn’t cheap. If you want the advantages of shopping in person at a store, it gonna be more than online. If you are fine ordering online, do it. Up to you. Prices are what they are. Stores gotta stay in business. It’s not something you “need”. It’s a luxury hobby. It’s not cheap. Get used to it.
 
I ended up getting a big Trochus snail at Neptune aquatics for $5 (only $1 more than online)
As mentioned ceriths, and nerites are hardly turbo snails in how effective they are, ditto with astrea which should not be referred to as "turbos", personally I think 4 mexican turbos that may cost you $15-20 will put more of a dent in algae in your tank than 50 ceriths (and you don't get 50 with the reef cleaner package of that same price). And Petco sells 6 astrea snails for $7.49, btw add an extra $30 for shipping (they ship next day which is not what reefcleaners does), now your 6 snails will cost you $6.25 each. The other store has them for $2 each with shipping? Why don't you buy that? You think 25 snails would be overkill, I agree, but I'm not sure why you think you should get bulk pricing discounts if you're buying individually. As mentioned $10 for 50lbs of potatoes at Costco, 5x that amount if I buy individual potatoes at Safeway, that's price gouging?

Not sure why you refer to the prices businesses put on their goods as "gouging" just because you can find it cheaper online, that's not very fair to the business, and you're more than free to shop elsewhere, and considering you can get this online you might as well shop for salt there.
I ended up getting a huge Trochus snail for $4.50 and a medium Turbo snail for $3.50 at Neptune aquatics, which was a fair deal. That Trochus is an algae eating machine. The other place was selling tiny Turbo snails for $5. It seems like my algae is under control now!

This hobby is expensive, but we have options as consumers is all I'm saying. Take the Instant Ocean reef salt that retails for $14 for instance. If I'm already at the LFS, I wouldn't mind paying a couple extra dollars to support the LFS and have the convenience of picking everything up in one place. But when they sell the salt for $40, that is price gouging and they just lost my business.
Here is the exact salt. I shall not name the LFS.
https://www.petsmart.com/fish/food-and-care/salt-water-aquarium-care/instant-ocean-reef-crystals-aquarium-reef-salt-17997.html
 
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sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Sounds fair, and like I said you're more than free to not buy anything you don't want to, however I don't think I'd blackball an entire store just because one item is much more expensive than you're accustomed to, but you're free to do that as well :) I remember when I started this hobby I bought Instant Ocean for a 10 gallon tank in my "screw it, I'm going to give it a shot foray into the hobby" and I want to say at the time it cost $12 at Petco, oh if I only knew how much it really would cost me...
 

Flagg37

Supporting Member
Sounds fair, and like I said you're more than free to not buy anything you don't want to, however I don't think I'd blackball an entire store just because one item is much more expensive than you're accustomed to, but you're free to do that as well I remember when I started this hobby I bought Instant Ocean for a 10 gallon tank in my "screw it, I'm going to give it a shot foray into the hobby" and I want to say at the time it cost $12 at Petco, oh if I only knew how much it really would cost me...
That’s the great thing about capitalism, you have many choices and are free to make them.

I agree with mike though about not black listing a store because they had a high price for one item. Even if every product in their store was over priced except for one then I’d still consider going there at least for that one reasonably priced item. Chances are they sell the salt as merely a convenience item so that you don’t have to go to another store. Wholesalers tier their pricing based off of how much volume a retailer sells of their products. So if an online retailer like amazon or petco sells 50,000 units of a product they’ll get a much better tiered price from the wholesaler than the retailer that only sells 500.
 
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