Top 3 Marine Invertebrates for Beginners
You’re getting creative with your tank, and you’re thinking about adding invertebrates to the mix. If you’re a beginner, start with these marine inverts.
Adding some invertebrates to your saltwater tank can provide a number of benefits. For one thing, marine invertebrates are very different from fish in their appearance, so they can add a new level of intrigue to your tank. Furthermore, many marine inverts act as scavengers in the tank, helping to control algae and detritus accumulation.
What are the Best Marine Inverts for Beginners?
There are many different types and species of invertebrates that can be used in a marine tank, but not all of them are easy to care for. The best marine inverts for beginners are those which can assimilate to your existing tank parameters and those that will get along with saltwater fish. Three of the best marine invertebrates for beginners include bumblebee snails, hermit crabs, and sea stars.
- Bumblebee Snail: There are many different kinds of marine snails but the bumblebee snail is amongst the easiest species to keep. These snails are named for their yellow and blank banded pattern and they remain fairly small, growing to only ½ inch long. Bumblebee snails feed on detritus and decomposing organic matter as well as sand-dwelling worms and other pests.
Related: Are You Feelin’ Crabby?
- Hermit Crabs: Hermit crabs make excellent additions to the saltwater cleanup crew because they feed on algae, decaying organic matter, and other detritus which keeps it from accumulating in your tank substrate. Some of the easiest hermit crabs to keep include electric blue hermit crabs, dwarf zebra hermit crabs, and scarlet reef hermit crabs.
- Star Fish: Not only do Star Fish (sea stars) make a unique addition to the saltwater tank, but they can also feed on detritus and uneaten fish food. There are many types of sea stars but some of the easiest to keep include the sand sifting sea star and the serpent sea star. One thing to keep in mind with sea stars is that they can grow large – many species grow over 12 inches long.
Tips for Keeping the Peace in a Marine Tank
While many marine invertebrates are fairly easy to keep, there are some special considerations you need to make before adding one to your tank. The first thing you need to realize is that while many marine invertebrates do not have strict requirements for tank parameters, they do require that those parameters remain stable – any sudden changes in water temperature or quality can be dangerous or even fatal to marine invertebrates.
You also need to consider your invertebrates when it comes to decorating your tank. Many invertebrates are filter feeders so you will need to use sand rather than gravel substrate so they can sift through it. You should also consider whether any of the invertebrates you choose are nocturnal to determine if they need to have hiding places available.
Adding marine invertebrates to your saltwater aquarium can add some intrigue to your tank while also reducing your maintenance requirements. Just be sure that whatever invert you choose, it is adaptable to the existing conditions in your tank and make sure that none of your current tank inhabitants will prey on the invertebrate.
If you think there’s something fishy about Kate Barrington, it’s because she’s been a lifelong lover of pets, particularly aquarium fish. Since receiving her first 10-gallon tank as a birthday present in 5th grade, she has become an avid aquarium enthusiast as well as a freelance writer specializing in the aquarium niche. Kate is a regular contributor to several aquarium fish websites and has a column in a bi-monthly pet magazine.