Clean Up Crew Advice


New Member
I'm looking for some advice on how many clean up crew members my new tank should have. I set up a 36 gallon tank with about 30 pounds of live rock 2 months ago. I got the diatom/brown algae build up after about 6 weeks and added a clean up crew of hermit crabs, snails and a peppermint shrimp at that time. After another week (all the snails had died but the other CUC members made it), I added more snails and 2 emerald crabs.

As of today, my tank has:

8-10 hermit crabs (variety of species), it's hard to get a totally accurate count haha
1 peppermint shrimp (he mostly hides but he spent some time out in the open yesterday so I know he is alive and well)
2 emerald crabs

I haven't had any success with snails. I'm thinking water temperature might not be ideal for them (77 degrees). But I don't want to make any drastic changes with the crustaceans all doing well.

My real question here is whether I should add any additional clean up crew members in a tank this size? I am doing bi-weekly water changes and in between, even with this crew, I get pretty significant brown buildup on the sand. The crabs have definitely made a dent in the build up on the live rock, but there's still areas with pretty heavy brown algae/diatom cover. I have a decent copepod population in the water column as well.

I'm hoping to begin adding fish in the coming weeks/months. I plan to start with a clownfish or two and a pajama cardinal (slowly, with quarantine time, etc). But I want to make sure I have an appropriate clean up crew in place and thriving first. Nitrites and nitrates are good, even with semi-regular ghost feeding. Salinity is 1.024. Should I consider adding any more CUC members? If so, any recommendations for what to add? TIA!