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Suggest me some arthropods!

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I'm putting together a split tank of about 5 gallons. Half will be rock flower anemones, half will be zoas and other soft corals. Roughly 2g in space for the nems and 3g for the softies. I want some arthropods to watch, some for each half. All I currently have are 3 blue legged hermits. 



-must be something that I can feed a couple times a week and have it do well on algae and whatnot between.

-must not eat or pick at soft corals when fed infrequently.

-must not eat small worms.

-must not require starfish as food.

-must not require pellets as food (can't get them, wheat allergies) and must be happy with frozen or freeze-dried foods and/or bits of nori.

-if it's for the nem side, must be something that hosts nems, so it won't get killed. 

-must not make a terrible mess of things (sand everywhere and whatnot).

-must be at least occasionally visible of its own accord during the daytime.

-preferably (especially for zoa side) not aggressive to other arthropods, though this is negotiable.

-preferably a strange-looking animal (weird shapes in particular are ideal)


Considered and discarded (though input on these is still welcome) :

Sexy shrimp (coral pickers) 

Saron shrimp (seem to be multiple species available, some not reef-safe, impossible to differentiate) 

Peppermint shrimp (coral and worm eaters)

Camel shrimp (sooo not reef safe)

Skunk cleaner shrimp (a bit large and I suspect they'd prefer more space)

Blood cleaner shrimp (too active)

Coral banded shrimp (too big)

Blue or gold coral banded shrimp (worm eaters, though I'm tempted by the blues)



Pederson's, white-spot, and venus anemone shrimps- is there any considerable difference between them? Do any of them not know what to do with a rock flower nem? Will any fight amongst their species, or with other, similar species? 

Yellow line shrimp (anyone know about these? Standard cleaner shrimp everything?)

Porcelain crab (for either side) 

Squat lobster (will it be visible in a small tank? Reef safe?)

Pom pom crab (will it sting zoas with its anemones?)

Bumblebee shrimp (do they need daily feeding?)

Donald Duck shrimp, AKA long nose shrimp, Leander sp (I can find basically no info on these)

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Well, just to let you know, anemone shrimp nibble on their hosts occasionally. For example, I own two white spot anemone shrimp, and a sexy anemone shrimp. the sexy shrimp is an angel as far as I can tell, and never gets into trouble. One of the white spots lives in a large elegance coral, and will eat the tip off of a tentacle maybe once every couple of weeks or so. I tried keeping a maxi mini carpet anemone with them once, and they promptly shredded it and harassed it to death. My shrimp may just be an anomaly. Just my two cents 😉

You could totally try them though. They're fun to watch float around the tank. I also have a porcelain anemone crab who is a saint. He refuses to host anything though??? I don't think any of those anemone shrimp that you suggested will fight. A squat lobster might get too big for your tank, but those guys seem to be pretty chill according to the research that I've done.

Oh, and Pom Pom crabs are safe too. If any damage is done by the anemones (seems unlikely since they have such small ones) it should be very minimal. And bumblebee shrimp might be okay? I know that they prefer to eat starfish, but they might be okay living off infrequent feedings.

Over all, I think that you'd have the best luck trying to feed whatever you choose often, so that they don't get too hungry and pick at the coral that they're supposed to be living in.

Sorry for the rant, hope this helps!!!

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Pom pom crabs are cool and totally safe.  A bit reclusive but in a tank that size you will surely see it.


Porcelains are also amazing. There are quite a few species out there that behave differently.  The white ones are nem hosters, but will be fine without a nem.  The green ones are colonial and will group up.  They hide a bit more but are still out and about to be seen usually.


Sexy shrimp are great for nanos.


Fire shrimp are totally safe and not nearly as active as normal cleaner shrimp.  They tend to hide out in whatever station spot they pick until you feed.


I'm an invert lover and run into the same sorts of compatibility problems with em.  A lot of stuff has specific care requirements or doesn't get along with something else you want.  To top it off there isn't the same level of variety out there for inverts as there is say, fish or coral.  


If you want a tiny fish and pistol, a candy cane pistol and hi fin goby stay small and barely make a mess.  The symbiosis is cool too.






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On 10/4/2019 at 6:43 PM, Tired said:

must not require pellets as food (can't get them, wheat allergies

You have wheat allergies? Like gluten? Touching a pellet would set off an allergic reaction? Survival of the fittest!  

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Okay, first off, "survival of the fittest" means "survival of the most fit for the environment". For example, someone who's perfectly healthy if they don't eat a particular food. I'm also not sure I like the implication that anyone with food allergies should just up and die, even if it is a joke. 

And no, touching the pellets wouldn't set off a reaction. It's my mom who has Celiac, and she's not quite that sensitive, thankfully. However, she's very sensitive to cross-contamination. If I feed a food with gluten in it, I have to worry about the dust from the food, potentially touching it for something and then touching something else that she'll use later, whether or not the water in the aquarium would be an issue, if the cats would get into it somehow and then lick her, and what happens if I spill it. If she's exposed, it causes further nerve damage on top of what she already has. I don't want to worry about giving my mother nerve damage, not when it's simple enough to just avoid the pellet foods and feed a variety of frozen and freeze-dried things instead. Been doing it for years. 


I've decided that, due to the difficulty of scaping such a small divided tank, I'm going with a 6g cube and no divider. So I"ll need anything in here to be rock flower anemone proof. Unfortunately, I think that means gobies are out, though I do like pistol shrimp and would be sort of tempted to get one just on its own.


I thought about sexies, but I'm reading that they're especially prone to going after corals if not fed heavily. So, nice as they are, I'm going to pass them up. 


From what I've read, bumblebee shrimp can be fed regular meaty foods and do just fine. Which would make them great to get if you have those zoa-eating asterinas! 


Oh, green porcelains- I've actually seen those down on the Gulf Coast, I know where I could go and personally find some. And they're apparently invasive (though likely not too harmful) along the coast, so no complaints on anyone's part if I remove some. 

How big of a group do the green porcelains like to be in? 3? 5? 

If I wanted contrast, could I keep an anemone porcelain in with the greens without them fighting? 

How much do they like to be fed? Can I spot-feed them something a few times a week? 

I don't think I'd have to worry about one of these rocketing halfway across the tank and into a nem like I would with the shrimp, at least, so I'll wager the non-anemone porcelains would be safe. Especially since they live where there are Condy nems! Surely they have some anemone-sense. 

I think I've sold myself on these. 


If I'm going to keep two non-crab "crabs" (porcelains and hermits), I think I want to also have a true crab. What about my 3 blue leg hermits, 3 green porcelains, 1 anemone porcelain, 1 pom pom crab, and some form of anemone shrimp once the anemones are big enough to tolerate a little pinching? Too many creatures? I never really see the cleanup crew being factored into bioload calculations. Do small inverts just have such a low bio-load that the only real concern is space until you get into absurd numbers?  

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