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FAQs about Mantis Shrimp Identification

Related Articles: Mantis Shrimps,

Related FAQs: Mantis 1, Mantis 2, Mantis Behavior, Mantis Compatibility/Control, Mantis Selection, Mantis Systems, Mantis Feeding, Mantis Disease, Mantis Reproduction, Crustaceans, Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Hermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Anemone Eating Shrimp, Crustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

<Roy's List of Stomatopods for the Aquarium>

Mantis shrimp ID      8/27/19
Hey I was having trouble IDing a mantis shrimp that was brought in. Could you help? My guess is G. smithii
<Hey Christopher, looks to me more like a Gonodactylus ternatensis. Wil.>
Re: Mantis shrimp ID      8/27/19

Thanks a bunch!
<You're welcome. Wil.>

Hi, Id needed for this stomatopods..    1/4/15

Hi, basically need to know is this a mantis shrimp or harmless variety of stomatopods,
<Ah nothing (no photo) attached. Please send again as an attachment>
got introduced from a live rock of mushroom i added to the tank three days before.. I video
<Oh, I see the link below; will look>
it after feeding the fish, when it came out to seek some mysis. i got the live rock from LFS Singapore holding stocks of Indonesia Bali Philippines .. Tried to catch with the help bait and trap yesterday..no success
<Heeeee! They are very smart>
Any information on this species and suggested methods to catch it may help.
Tank 3ft, peaceful fishes and LPS corals.. Thanks in advance..
PS: watch from 2.45 onwards, thanks
<I would trap and remove this Mantis to elsewhere. All Stomatopods are opportunistic omnivores that will feed on fishes, other crustaceans, molluscs.... Bob Fenner>
Re: Hi, Id needed for this stomatopods..    1/4/15

thanks bob for the quick reply, I have to find out ways to trap this one soon..
<Do see WWM re Anupa. BobF>

Stomatopod ID        10/2/14
Hi guys. I found this mantis shrimp at a wholesaler. He is a mottled tan color on top with green legs and underbelly. Really cool.
Apparently there was another mantis shrimp in the live rock I bought, and he killed the other mantis. I was wondering if you could identify its scientific name for me. I really liked him and would like to replace him.
Thanks! If you Need more detailed pics I can get them. I froze him.
<Mmm; there are hundreds of species... Let me look through my at-home ref.s: May be Pseudosquilla ciliata... is this a spearer? Do the eyes show a checkerboard pattern? Bob Fenner>
Sent with AquaMail for Android

Re Mantis ID     10/4/14
So sorry, I forgot to mention that. It was a smasher. No checkerboard eyes, kind of a purple/green color.
<Mmm; a bit more work then... have you tried putting the term Stomatopod Identification in your search tool, cruising the pix that come up? BobF>

Re: Hi guys. I found this mantis shrimp    10/23/14
 at a wholesaler. He is a mottled tan color on top with green legs and underbelly. Really cool.
Apparently there was another mantis shrimp in the live rock I bought, and he killed the other mantis. I was wondering if you could identify its scientific name for me. I really liked him and would like to replace him.
Thanks! If you Need more detailed pics I can get them. I froze him.
got the info on a guy named Roy Caldwell, I'm sure you've heard of him. I'm going to email him the pic and see if he'll give me the time of day. Thanks
for your help Bob!
<Welcome! BobF>

mantis shrimp ID      8/29/14
Hello Crew,
I bought this piece of live rock today, and while I was acclimating it, I noticed a critter poking out of one of the crannies in the bottom. At first I thought I had gotten a cool hitchhiker, but the more I looked at him the
more suspicious I got. I shined a flashlight into the hole, while holding it in the air, and He looked like a hermit crab without a shell, so I referenced the Conscientious Marine Aquarist, and noticed his mobile eyes
and thought it might be some sort of tiny lobster, because it didn't look as colorful as the picture on page 387. So I dipped the rock in some RO water and the critter jumped right out of the rock. I filled up this 500ml pitcher from the tank and dumped the critter in there and took these pictures and this video so I could ask the experts (that's you guys). I don't want to kill him if he is something beneficial and cool. Thanks guys.
Your site has been helping me out for years.
<Hello Ben. The pictures aren't quite sharp enough, and one of important clues, the shape of the claws, isn't obvious at all. Do recall Mantis Shrimps come in two flavours: spearers (e.g., Squilla spp.) and smashers (e.g., Odontodactylus). The former have raptorial appendages equipped with jagged blades (if know what a Klingon bat'leth looks like, you'll be able to imagine these rather well). The latter group have appendages that end in heavy knobs used for bludgeoning prey, in some cases even smashing through
shells. The commonest "stowaway" Mantis Shrimps seem to be Gonodactylus species; I worked with Gonodactylus oerstedii and a cuter, hardier little critter couldn't be imagined! Lovely beasts, but as I'm sure you realise, essentially incompatible with aquarium fish, but easy enough to keep even in rather small, basic systems (we kept ours in small "pens" within a 30-40 gallon tank equipped with nothing more than a heater and a canister filter). Meantime, do have a look here:

And here:
And try and get a sharper, clearer photo if possible. Cheers, Neale.>

Unknown Black Shrimp (A Stomatopod'¦likely) -- 07/09/11
Good morning to all at wet web media,
<<Greetings Jennie>>
you have been brilliant in all your advice and look forward to many more problems solved by you all.
<<We thank you for the kind words>>
Now for my question. Yesterday afternoon while watching our tank which we do for hours a day (we don't seem to watch telly anymore as the fishes are much more interesting)
my husband spotted a black shrimp looking creature going from one hole to another on the same piece of live rock at lighting speed.
<<Ah'¦a Stomatopod, likely>>
He called me over and I sat and waited and I also spotted it for the first time in over a year of having the tank.
<<Not unusual'¦can be quite secretive/shy>>
We have various small community fishes in the tank ranging from small blue green Chromis to flame Firefish to a rather large common clown, and a small yellow watchmen goby (three other small fishes as well just letting you know there sizes etc). We also have a porcelain crab that was a wonderful hitchhiker, 3 small hermits, and a half dozen turbo snails. In the whole time we have had our babies we have never (touch wood I hope I haven't done the commentator's curse) lost any fish unexpectedly, all members are accounted for.
Also to let you know we have not added any more live rock since we set up. So we removed the rock out and put it in to our tank cleaning bucket to have a better look and to check we had been able to remove it, which we did, but still didn't get a good look due to its lightning speed. Feeling mean we then put it in to our other 20 UK gallon tank (that's been set up for two months not knowing what to do with it) with the live rock to try and have a better look, but to no avail, all I can tell you is the following, it is around 1 and a 1/2 inches long, black/brown in colour, and super fast. We have never heard any clicking noises and I often fall a sleep downstairs and am a very light sleeper, and like I said never lost any members and that was the first time we spotted him, and so very proud we caught it instantly. So is it a mantis shrimp or something else?
<<I think it is very likely you have a small Stomatopod here>>
I feel so horrid to let him be killed if it is a mantis shrimp as it wasn't his fault he has come to be living in our tank, it never asked to be moved from his home in the ocean, so would like to try and keep him in his own species tank if possible.
<<These are truly fascinating creatures 'the 20g tank you have it in now would be superb as a species tank>>
Or is it something else from the description?
<<I think the 'Mantis' guess is correct>>
Looking forward to your reply to try and find out what it is so we can make sure we feed him with what he needs.
Love, Jennie
<<Have a look here (http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/arthropoda/crustacea/malacostraca/eumalacostraca/royslist/), along with some 'Googling' on our site and the Net in general re 'Mantis Shrimp Care'. Cheers'¦ EricR>>
Re: Unknown black shrimp 7/26/11

Sent from my iPad
Good morning, I'd just like to update you on my mantis shrimp that I asked you about a few weeks ago that I now have in his own species tank. Firstly I have found out what he is, it's a Haptosquilla glyptocerus, and he is a darling, when he was in one of my large (90 gallon) display tanks he never clicked and had been in there a year before I noticed him, now that he is on his own, still in his own piece of live rock, (besides with a few feather duster worms) he merely clicks away at all times of the day, I spend hours watching him, yet he spends longer watching us. He now happily comes out of his rock hole and sits on the top almost showing off " look at me I have so many holes, aren't I clever" every time I sit and watch him with in minutes he is out showing me what he can do, so cute. He has learnt to take food of my tweezers and just seems so happy now that he is in his own tank with no predators, I'm so pleased we have him and that we where able to give him his own home and is growing to know who we are, mantis shrimps are so fun to watch and enjoyable to have.
So thank you for your help in finding out about him. Hopefully I will have many happy years of fun watching and hearing him, (he is clicking as I type)From Jennie Bailey, England.
<Thank you for this follow-up Jennie. Bob Fenner>

Mantis Shrimp?/Mantis ID 12/5/10
<Hello Joan>
We set up our 110 gallon tank in mid September using live rock from Florida. There is much life on it including corals and sponges and some other things that we are still trying to find out what they are (no one
sells this stuff in stores or online, it just lives in the vast ocean and now we are the proud owners of ?????) Everything has been fine and dandy however, last week we caught glimpse of a "big black bug" looking thing under one of the rocks. We could not again see this thing despite late night gazing etc. Then yesterday, during the bright daylight something was kicking sand and shells all over the place by the rock. Then we saw "It!" and "It!" saw us! He was very bold and did not care that we were there.
He did not bother the Turbo Snail which went right by him nor did he care about the Flame Angel who swam right by him. There was a snail shell that was in his way (or he just did not want it there) and he was most intent on moving it. He would even attempt to get on top of it and try to roll it out of the way but it would just roll back on him. Really quite amusing!
We could also hear him snapping when trying to move the shell but it did not break or even chip (which makes me wonder if it is not a wild pistol shrimp). Anyway, my husband wanted to see all of him not just the front half of whatever "It!" was so he used the feeding tong to move the shell.... and then.... POP.. POP.. POP! "It!" was snapping at the feeding tong (the tong is plastic) but did not break it (which surprised us). Now we knew what he was.... a mean snapping thing that did not appreciate intervention in removing the offending shell. Up to this point we had no clue in 3 months that we had such a mean little guy in the tank. We did not notice any missing snails or anything. We have 2- 3" common starfish and 1- 6" common starfish (they came with the live rock the diver threw them in as a bonus), a cleanup crew which includes a sand sifting star and other assorted crabs etc. "It!" doesn't seem to have bothered any of them YET. What concerns us is the size of him and his sudden appearance. "It!" appears to be about 3/4" to 1" long (but he could be bigger hard to tell) . He appears to be a dark brown but has (only seeing a glimpse of his arms) brown and white claws but can't really tell if they are folded up like a mantis or if he has the larger claw of a pistol shrimp. Anyway he comes from the Tampa Bay Florida area. He does have those alien looking eyes that can see everywhere at once (reminds me of my mother when I was little) but then so do my Peppermint Shrimps. He seems to live under the rock instead of in a hole as others state their mantis (I want to make that plural but don't have a clue...mantis(es?) do. The fact that the feeding tong did not break when he made that snapping noise made me wonder if he wasn't a pistol shrimp because surely a mantis would have easily broken a little plastic tong?
In just a few days (after further observation with a flashlight) he has constructed a labyrinth of tunnels under the rock probably at least 1" deep (we have a 3" sand bed and actually in that corner its more like 4"). He has more doors to his house than we have! He has doors on all 4 sides of the rock. The new pistol shrimp did the same thing only much faster (he had his house built in one night)
In the 3 months that the tank has been set up we heard no popping sounds ever. We have 2 Rottweilers and 2 cats who sit for hours watching the tank and I am sure that had there been any noises emanating from the tank they would have let us know about it really fast! Actually we put a pistol shrimp in the tank last Tuesday and while acclimating him he was snapping and scared the **** out of the dogs and 1 cat, the other cat was braver (or stupider) and tried to get him (fortunately we were there and the cat did not lose a toe). So I know they would have raised holy hell had they heard any sound coming out of the tank.
Also, my husband has put his hands into the tank right by "It!'s" house and he ["It!"] never went after him. What I want to know is what has "It!" been eating all this time? I feed the starfish shrimp twice a week and there is always extra that I put in for the crabs and whoever else wants to eat it (although one of the emerald crabs is a pig and tries to steal all the shrimp and hide it in his house) . I don't see any broken shells (from "It!" attacking crabs or snails) but there are a few whole shells (minus their owners) around his rock. On the other hand, our live sand from Florida is full of shells so I really can't tell if "It!" is responsible (actually the sand star brings up all kinds of treasures when he surfaces, mostly in "It!'s" corner)
Has he learned to eat what is given instead of what he has to hunt and work for?
Can he learn or has he learned to live in harmony with the rest of the tank's inhabitants? Why would it have taken him 3 months to show any signs of even existing?
Now the next question (no I cannot get a photo of it as it is too little and transparent) but I have a sneaking suspicion. We saw the other night first on a rock (not "It!'s rock) a very small almost translucent looking thing with big black "bug eyes". The second time we this thing it was on the floor and you could see it had a shrimp-like looking tail. Have not seen this thing in the last few nights. We saw this one before we saw "It!". Since I do not know what baby Shrimp look like could this be one?
If it is does this mean that "It!" had a litter of "shrimplettes" and now I am the horrified parent of a monster? Could this be the reason we never saw "It!" before this? One last thing, if we manage to catch "It!" would it be ok to let him live in the refugium?
<Sure, many folks keep their Mantis Shrimp in a refugium.>
What would be the best way to catch "It!" and family as there is no way to remove the rock and rinse it as some others have suggested because of the naturally occurring corals and sponges on the rock.
<There are traps made for this purpose. See here.
Also I am afraid to let my husband try to move the rock because I wouldn't want "It!" to move camp to somewhere else (his house is in full view right now and that is a good spot for keeping an eye on him).
Thanks for reading my little book. Every time I research my tank I wind up on your site. It's really great!
<Without a pic it would be difficult to ID, but I'm thinking what you have is a Odontodactylus havanensis which are fairly common off the coast of Florida and in the Caribbean. They are in the same family as the Peacock Mantis, but these only get about 2.5-3". They are one of the more peaceful species, but they like to snack on small hermit crabs and snails. May want to read here and related FAQ's on the subject.
James (Salty Dog)>

Question About Mantis Shrimp: Possible Gonodactylid -- 5/17/10
<Hello Troy, Lynn here today.>
Hey I got a question for ya.
<Fire away>
Looking for some help with an ID on a Mantis shrimp.
It came in on some live rock that I purchased.
<Do you know where it originated?>
It took me nearly 2 months to catch the little booger
<Yep, they can be very difficult to trap/remove. They're smart and have incredibly good eyesight.>
..and about 10-15 Cerith and Nassarius snails.
<Uh-oh. Pardon the pun, but it sounds like he's been a 'smashing' success when it comes to hunting!>
What he would do was grab the small snails out in the open and pull them back into his hole and later shoot out the empty shell.
<Typical behavior>
Well now that I have caught him I was wondering if you could help me ID him.
<I'll sure try.>
I'm told that it is a Pacific reef mantis.
<Was that where the rock originated?>
That is really vague for me. I would love to narrow it down a little further
<I'll give it a try, although I have to tell you, there are quite a few pertinent details that need to be examined and compared before being able to narrow the ID even to the family level, much less genus and species. Some of those details are clearly visible in your photos, but others are not, so with what I have right now, I'm afraid you're in for another dose of vague! My guess is that you most likely have a Mantis in the family Gonodactylidae. These are 'smashing' Mantids as opposed to the 'spearing' variety. Smashers openly prey on snails, crabs and other crustaceans, while spearers are ambush predators that lunge out of burrows with lightning speed in order to grasp/spear fish, worms, or any other soft-bodied animals unfortunate enough to wander by. If you could send me a good detailed photo taken from directly above your Mantis, showing the animal from head to tail, I should be able to confirm or rule out the family Gonodactylidae. If you'd like to do some comparisons on your own, please refer to the following links. Although the first relates to Australian fauna, it has a terrific section with brief family descriptions and detailed physical characteristics of each: http://books.google.com/books?id=Sc7i6AL-GewC&pg=PA42&lpg=PA42&dq=Gonodactylidae&source=bl&ots=ASfFPhOr_-&sig=L2hvxbq7SsZLe35f0rmHZB6Dm-M&hl=en&ei=44_xS969Oo3ssgO_mfHmDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=
See family links at the bottom of this page: http://crustacea.net/crustace/stomatopoda/index.htm
This anatomy diagram will help with the various terms: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/arthropoda/crustacea/malacostraca/eumalacostraca/royslist/notes.html
Other common terms not included that you'll run across are:
Carina: a ridge or keel-like structure.
Somite: a body segment, usually in series. Picture the segments of a lobster tail -- each is a somite.
Additional definitions can be found here: http://crustacea.nhm.org/glossary/
Lots of great Mantis info here: http://blueboard.rimlife.com/mantis/>
..and see if there is any value or other things I should watch for with him.
<Well, I wouldn't add any snails, that's for sure!>
Currently I have him in a 15x15x15 frag tank with a sandy bottom in which he has burrowed down and made a small home for himself.
< If you don't have any rocks in the tank, you might want to add just a few. Even some rubble would be likely be appreciated so that the Mantis could establish a bit more fortified retreat.>
I have been feeding him Mysis shrimp.
<I'm not sure how large your Mantis is, but unless it's very small, it might need some larger, meatier bits of shrimp, krill, silverside, clam, etc.. Just be sure to offer whatever food you choose via a large feeding stick or turkey baster!>
It has light blue legs and the body is a brownish color with orange in it.
I'm including a couple of pictures as well. Thank you in advance, Oh and I took your guys advice on the Remora Aqua C skimmer, It is awesome does a great job!!
<Excellent, I'm glad to hear it! AquaC is a great company with terrific products and truly excellent customer service!>
Thanks so much!!
<You're very welcome!>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Re: Question About Mantis Shrimp: Possible Gonodactylid -- 5/18/10
Hey Lynn
<Hey Troy!>
Thank you so much for your quick response to my earlier e-mail about a Mantis shrimp that I'm trying to ID.
<You're welcome, I just wish I could have given you a solid ID in the first go-round!.>
I have learned from the seller of the live rock that the rock came from the pacific islands of Samoa.
I'm including some more pictures of the shrimp from above.
<Hmmm, I see three photos but two are the same ones from yesterday and the new one shows the underside of most of the tail section and maybe a side view of the cephalothorax. It looks like he was twisted, either in an attempt to right himself or turn fully onto his back. I'm sorry, but unfortunately I can't narrow things down any further with the new photo.>
I am having a hard time narrowing it down from the pictures in the links you have provided.
<Heeee! Welcome to my world! The best way to really ID these creatures (if you're like me and not a Stomatopod expert!) is to have them right there in front of you so that you can pick out all the pertinent little details. You then compare what you see to known family representatives, and rule in or out the possibilities. Sometimes, the differences are obvious right off the bat, but most of the time, they're a whole lot more subtle. Crustacean identification, especially when it comes to species level, often requires something on the order of a dissecting microscope in order to determine one specie from another. You can't always depend on coloration, because it can vary within a single specie. It's challenge, that's for sure! By the way, I see another email waiting for me, so we'll continue this discussion there!>
Thanks so much,
<You're very welcome.>
<Take care, Lynn Z>
Re: Question About Mantis Shrimp: Possible Gonodactylid -- 5/18/10

<Hi Troy>
I apologize but this is driving me crazy!!
<Not to worry! I can't even begin to count the number of times I've pursued an ID until I was practically dreaming about it!>
I have it narrowed down (from the pictures on Roy's list of Stomatopods you sent me)
<Excellent. Isn't that a terrific site?>
-Cloridopsis dubia (the head is the same but the tail is not, and it is found pretty much everywhere)
-Neogonodactylus Curacaoensis (Very similar but not found in Samoa and the tail is slightly different)
-Odontodactylus C ultrifer (another very similar but the tail is slightly different)
-Odontodactylus Havanesis (This one is what I think to be the closest but once again the tail looks slightly off, and has only been spotted in Florida or the Caribbean. So I would think that rules this one out?)
Sorry for all the e-mails It drives me crazy when I have something in my tank and I can't identify it.
<No worries, I know that feeling well, my friend.>
Maybe I should try the people at Roy's List of Stomatopods?
<That's exactly what my next recommendation was going to be. They are definitely the experts over there! Please do get back to us though, when you get an answer. I'm just as curious as you are to find out what you have!>
Thanks again for your help
<It was my pleasure. I'm sorry I wasn't able to offer you a solid ID!>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Follow-up: Re: Question About Mantis Shrimp: Possible Gonodactylid: Gonodactylaceus falcatus -- 5/18/10
Hey Lynn
<Hey Troy>
..this is the response I got back from the folks at Roy's Stomatopods:
'The diagnostic characters needed to id a Gonodactylid Stomatopod are the dorsal telson and the "meral spots" on the inside of the striking appendages. I can't see either, so I can only give a guess - Gonodactylaceus falcatus . This species has a greenish yellow meral spot, so if the spots are white or some other color, I'm wrong.'
I then wrote back: Hey Thanks so much. That is it I just compared pictures and the tail is an exact match. The spots match up as well. Is this shrimp rare? Are there any precautions I should take? and how big will it reach at full maturity?
Here is a picture- http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/arthropoda/crustacea/malacostraca/eumalacostraca/royslist/species.php?name=g_falcatus
Here was there final response to my last question:
'Gonodactylaceus falcatus has a checkered history. It was split into as many as 6 species, but now is back to just one. It is found from the Red Sea to the Central Pacific where it lives on reef flats. Following WWII, it was introduced into Hawaii - probably from the Philippines. It is now common through out the islands. Maximum size is around 6 cm and they live for 5 or 6 years.'
<Great information! It's also good news that your Mantis stays fairly small, at less than 2 1/2". Some Stomatopods get pretty darn big -- as in yikes!>
So I will call him "Gonzo" for short,
<Heeee! I love it!>
lol Thank you so much for your help on this I truly appreciate it!!!
<It was a real pleasure, Troy. I'd say we both learned something today! By the way, thank you so much for getting back to me with the ID. I really do appreciate it. Enjoy Gonzo!>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Mantis Shrimp/ID 2/21/10
Hi James,
<Hello Jordan>
I'm back for another question. My LFS on occasion (and can also order 1 for me) get small black mantis shrimp with like reddish antenna in with there live rock, they are around 4 inches and stay that size. I am wondering
if this mantis shrimp is a Neogonodactylus wennerae, because I've read that they can be as dark as black to a bright lime green depending on depth, lighting, etc. Is there any way you could help me decide what it is?
<Would be difficult without seeing, but it sounds like this may be the critter.>
I'm going to put it in my 10 gallon Nano reef, I want to keep it with fish, because they are small and stay small, but also I wanted to add damsels because I like damsels and could never keep them due to there aggression. I have a 37 gallon FOWLR that I could move my ocellaris clown fish to from the 10 gallon I plan on keeping the mantis in, but the thing is, is that there is a Maroon Clownfish in the 37 gallon, could those 3 clown fish get along or should I just keep the clowns in there tank?
<They will not be compatible and the 37 gallon tank is on the small side for keeping a Maroon Clownfish.
As to the mantis, there is a forum dedicated to mantis shrimp and at present, there is a thread started on Neogonodactylus wennerae. There are several photos that should help you ID. Go here.
Thanks in advanced.
<You're welcome, and please capitalize where necessary in future queries, saves me time. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Mantis Shrimp/ID 2/21/10
Once again thanks, and sorry for capitalization.
<You're welcome, Jordan.>
Re Mantis Shrimp/ID 2/21/10
I couldn't get that link to work, it said the web page has expired, but
luckily I have an account on www.thereeftank.com so I can look up other
mantis shrimp forums.
<Sounds good and I see your shift key still doesn't work for the "i's" :-)
James (Salty Dog)>

Fish Disappearing/Mantis Shrimp? 11/17/09
<Hello Arturo>
half a year back I contacted you to find out methods to capture mantis shrimp. Well ever since I bought the live rock for my 175gal, small fish had been disappearing. I've lost about 10+ small fish in a period of two years.
Among the missing small fish, the only survivors are two ocellaris clownfish, who have their own RBTA, its been suggested that had kept them safe from threats.
<Certainly helps.>
My other fish left are big fish: 1 Sailfin, 1 hippo blue tang, and one middle size Copperband Butterfly.
I also captured 3 mantis, and according to me, there was one more left who was the tougher.
Well, every night there were clicking noises, I never really saw the bastard,
<Mmm, I'd like to rename to Lysiosquilla bastardi.>
I only followed the noises and started moving rock to the sump.
Well one day the clicking noises in the main tank stopped, and they started in the sump. So I dried all of the live rock in the sump for like a week, and once it was completely dried, then I placed it back in the tank.
Clicking noises completely stopped, and after 2 weeks I bought a Bicolor Blenny. The Bicolor Blenny was placed in the display tank and was never to be seen again. What the?, it can't be, well it was my first blenny.
So I bought an expensive Mystery Wrasse.
<Yikes, you chanced a 200 dollar fish.>
It lived happily in my tank for 3 months and they hide in the rockwork a lot, and nothing would happen to it, very healthy, eating a lot and now its been gone for a week... No signs of splashing, no corpse on the floor, no corpse on filter sock, sump, etc. It completely disappeared...
<"No corpse on the floor"...Do you have a cat by chance?>
When I was sure I had mantis, fish also just disappeared, but now its been like 5 months since I got rid of the clicking noises.
So it's really weird to have a perfectly healthy fish just disappear like that, but now that I remember the blenny incident, then it reminds me a lot of what used to happen when I knew there was mantis, except that this time there's absolutely no clicking noises, not even at night, I check my tank at night all the time, feed my corals, etc. And no noises, if a critter was to make a clicking sound, I would have heard it by now.
So why is small fish starting to disappear again?.
<My first thought would be that you still have a mantis of the spearing type rather than a smasher. My other thought would be a large Serpent Star, but I'm sure you would have mentioned that. Mmmm, Bob may input his thoughts here. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Fish Disappearing/Mantis Shrimp? 11/17/09
More info on the incident: The mantis I took out were all very small, less than 2" not very colorful, 2 reddish and 1 yellow, and they were all spearers, its been suggested mantis this small can't kill but the smallest of fish.
<I tend to agree here, prey is generally proportional to the mantis size.>
I wanted a Royal Gramma, so I bought one, and introduced it, and it hid and it was gone forever...then bought another one.....gone forever.....and another one.......gone forever, they were disappearing to quick and they're among the fish that hide on the rockwork the most.
<Geez, you've got a pretty expensive food bill.>
Although I once bought a small Lemon Peel Tang, and after 3 months of living happily, one mourning I found him full of cuts, something had attacked it, I don't know what but I figured it was the mantis, it got better and after one month it just disappeared.
<Yikes. I'd be thinking of doing a complete teardown provided you have a Rubbermaid tub or another tank appropriately sized for the fish only.>
Then I bought a couple of banded shrimps, and one day in front of my own eyes a mantis came out of the rock and attacked and killed the male banded shrimp and brought it back to its cave, theta's when I started taking rocks out and lured the mantis with the shrimp's corpse, until I found its rock and took it out. So it was clear to me that these little mantis were brave, and they were all spearers, and they did clicking noises.
Can there be mantis left that just won't do clicking noises?. Also when I removed all the rockwork, I put it in freshwater, and nothing came out but small crabs, then I put it in soda water and nothing came out!, and then I just put it to dry, and didn't see anything else hiding, the only rocks left in the tank before that were really small and without crevices, so I don't know how a star could actually hid in them.
Yesterday I checked the nano tank in which I also used rock from the main tank, and at night I saw what appears to be a fire worm, and I said to my self "hmm so there are still something left alive" that nano has no fish though.
Crabs have been suggested too, I used to have gorilla crabs, but I captured most of them with a trap and also when removing the liverock. From what I've seen crabs always show up at night, and they also do certain clicking noises, and now it seems there's nothing left.
I've also seen aggressive stars, and they're also quite visible, at least you see tentacles here and there sticking out of the rock!. So I don't know this is just weird.
<Depending on the size of the Serpent Stars, these could very well be the culprit(s). I'll ask Bob for his thoughts here. James (Salty Dog)><<I concur w/ your speculations, statements. RMF>>

Descriptions Match... Hope I'm Wrong/Hitchhiker ID 8/26/09
Greetings to the Crew, Richard here:
<Hello Richard>
As always your site and team are a valued resource, and I thank you for the prompt reply to my previous request for information.
<You're welcome.>
I found an observer in my tank, seems to have been watching me for a while.
(Hope I got the pics in focus and formatted correctly.)
<Is fine.>
The 'eyes' seem to alternate from each other (one open whilst the other isn't). Doesn't seem to concerned with light as this was taken under full light, but doesn't venture further then you see. Oh yeah, in the fear that the term 'predatory' was part of it's vocabulary I tossed it a piece of sea bass... took it faster then my Grandmother could yell bingo!
Ok, I've braced myself... could this be a variety of Mantis Shrimp?
<From what I can see of it, it sure looks like a specie of Mantis Shrimp.>
I appreciate your time and efforts, Thank you.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Richard J.C.

Pistol or mantis hitchhikers: Hard to tell, but best guess is a pistol.. Hitchhiker\Pistol Shrimp\Mantis Shrimp 8/23/2009
Hi team,
<Hi Kevin.>
I'm finally restarting a SW tank after the first one was destroyed by hurricane Ike. Four weeks without power is apparently bad for SW tanks... sigh.
My new tank has been setup for 6 weeks or so. It's a 44g pentagonal with a 96W PC fixture, an Aquaclear 70 HOB filter (sponge and ceramic bio pieces only), a Koralia 1 and a Maxi 900 with a sponge filter on it. I started cycling it 3 weeks ago and had 40 pounds of dead rock. I added about 10 pounds of 'fully cured' liverock and about 30 pounds of live sand. Tank was cycled in two weeks. Last weekend I added a torch coral and a small rock covered in green star polyps. I got a pair of mushrooms as hitchhikers on another rock and some clove polyps on yet another rock.
<Everything sounds good so far.>
So that was 3 weeks ago. Yesterday, my wife mentions that she's hearing clicking sounds from the tank. Finally tonight, I heard them too. They are pretty loud, but seem to be single pops. However, the rock that's in the back of the tank seems to have a lot of 'debris' around it... like silt or something. It could be just that, that the flow of water has cleaned the rock of debris (and I have it in a different position that the tank I got it from).
<Possible Mantis and Pistol shrimp are diggers too.>
The tank I got this live rock from is a LFS's cured live rock tank.
There is nothing in that tank but live rock.
<As far as anyone knows.....>
I have dealt with the misery of mantis hunting before and did not enjoy it. I guess the question is would a mantis or pistol shrimp, not do anything for almost 3 weeks and then start popping?
<Very possible.>
I know they are crustaceans, but can they go 3 weeks without food. There is no mobile life in the tank except for some tiny worms and some very, very tiny blue starfish.
<That is what is making me lean towards a Pistol Shrimp. You can put a few crabs in the tank as a test. If it is a mantis, it will come out after the crabs.>
I was thinking of adding a pair of clowns this weekend, but I don't want to if I have to go mantis hunting.
<Put a few crabs in the tank and see what happens. To look at it another way, Mantis Shrimps by themselves do make for an interesting display.>
It's just weird that nothing happened for almost 3 weeks, then pops.
Thanks for any info you have.

Deep Water Crustacean Caught: Likely a Mantis Shrimp, yes, you can eat them 4/28/2009
<Hi Bill>
While grouper fishing yesterday in about 70 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico 20 miles off Venice, Florida, I caught an unknown crustacean.
It was about 12 inches long, and had exoskeleton like the tail of a lobster, yet almost clear, and uniform width of about 2.5 inches from front to back.
It had two arms in the front, long and doubled back like a praying mantis arms. These "arms" were holding onto my squirrel fish cut bait. At the back it had two or more sets of scissor pincers.
<Heheh. Lucky it was interested in your bait and didn't try to sample your hand.>
Do you know what this was?
<Likely a Mantis Shrimp Look here and see if anything looks familiar.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm >
Is it rare?
<Not in the slightest - I'm betting most that keep marine tanks with they were much rarer than what they are.>
Is it eatable?
<Actually, they are - do a Google search on the web - there are several recipes for them.>
Thanks for your help.
<My pleasure>

ID help please, Mantis 4/11/09
I have been searching for an identification on this guy for quite a while and was hoping you could help.
<Will try.>
I first noticed him in my tank ~ 6 months ago and have done some searching for an ID from time to time since I haven't been too worried about him. In the last two months I have lost 2 bottom dwelling fish and am a little concerned that he may be the culprit.
<A possibility.>
He is yellowish green in color and is about 2 inches long and his tail looks somewhat like a shrimp.
<Not a true shrimp, but commonly referred to as a Mantis Shrimp, of the order Stomatopoda. Judging by the picture could very well be a "spearer" as opposed to a "smasher" and a threat to fish. Nice looking specimen here.>
My only guess is that he is some kind of isopod.
He is very illusive and while not very good the attached pictures are the best
I have been able to get since I noticed him.
<They are quite secretive and clever.>
He is kind of neat and I am hoping that he is not too destructive as my 2 year old daughter is very fond
of her "Creepy Eyes"
Thank You
<I would remove this, could be a threat to your other livestock. There are several commercial traps that are fairly effective in catching these clever animals. However they are quite attractive and popular to keep in their own dedicated tanks. Perhaps a small tank just for him would be an option here for your daughter, just make sure little fingers are kept outside the tank, these crustaceans are often refer to as "thumb splitters" for a reason. For more check out here
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm and the links in the bibliography.>

Mantis Shrimp ID: Likely Family: Gonodactylidae -- 2/4/09 Hey all, <Hi Scott, Lynn here this evening.> Although you've heard it many times before, you guys are fantastic! <On behalf of Bob and my fellow crewmembers, thank you very much!> I have read and learned tons since deciding on starting into the marine hobby over a year ago. Last April I started a 150 gallon FOWLR. <Very nice.> I got quite a bit of live rock off a guy from EBay who was unloading a ton of great looking stuff - full of life! I'm still seeing new things. It took me about 6 months to realize there was a (only seen one) Mantis Shrimp in residence. <Yep, there's probably just the one. They're decidedly un-neighborly when it comes to fellow Mantis Shrimps.> I just moved recently and with the new set up, he has settled into one place and I see him peeking out his hole often. <Neat> My question is if anyone can identify this guy (know there are hundreds of species). <Indeed! Well, I may not be able to offer a species name, but thanks to your terrific photos, I believe I can at least narrow things down a bit. What you have is a pretty little Mantis, most likely in the family Gonodactylidae. It's also highly likely that it's a 'smashing' variety rather than a 'spearing' one. I'm leaning towards Gonodactylidae because the basic shapes of the visible body parts and eyes are right and it's got the typical spine on the rostral plate (just above/behind the eyes). The deciding factor will be the shape of the various parts that make up the tail section. Since we can't see that area in the photos, I'll supply a link for you that illustrates it in detail. It also has more information on the family itself: http://www.crustacea.net/crustace/stomatopoda/www/gonodac.htm You may find the following two links helpful when it comes to the various terms used at the listing above: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/arthropoda/crustacea/malacostraca/eumalacostraca/royslist/notes.html  http://bb.wetwebmedia.com/gallery/pic.php?mode=large&pic_id=269 For more information and photo comparisons, please see these links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm  http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/arthropoda/crustacea/malacostraca/eumalacostraca/royslist/  http://www.blueboard.com/mantis/ > I think he's fascinating, <I couldn't agree more. They're wonderful little creatures that have the most amazing eyesight imaginable.> '¦but need to know how big he should get, etc so I know if I need to try to remove him now. <That's understandable. All I can tell you though, without knowing the species is that since your Mantis is most likely a 'smasher', it poses more threat to snails, hermits and the like, than to fish (the main prey of spearing Mantis). That's not to say that fish are completely safe (especially slow movers), they're just at less risk. Keeping the Mantis well fed will go a long way to avoiding any problems there. One thing to consider, that you've probably already heard/read about, relates to the potential for Mantis Shrimp to break aquarium glass. This is something that obviously depends on the size of the Mantis as well as the thickness of the glass. I would read through the information at the various links above and decide for yourself whether this might be an issue down the road. I can't imagine that at less than 1', your Mantis could do significant damage to the thick walls of a 150g. If I were in your shoes and didn't plan on adding any snails, hermits, crabs, etc, I'd keep that little Mantis well fed and enjoy him! I'd just watch and only remove if/when he gets too big or poses a threat to your livestock/tank.> He's probably less than an inch long right now. <Awww, he's just a little bitty thing, isn't he!> Thanks for the info. Hope the pics make it across. <Yes, thank you. They made it just fine.> Scott <Take care, Lynn>

Mantis 11/12/06 Hi WetWeb crew <Shellman!> I have this mantis shrimp in my tank. I very rarely see him, but today I got a good look and saw that he is about 3 inches long. <Beauties eh?> I read through your articles on these and now I believe that this one is a smasher. The reason is because I have lost 3 hermit crabs and several snails. I had no idea what was killing these inverts. Then one day I saw my coral banded shrimp eating a big chunk of snail and guessed it was him killing them. <Might be the Stenopid also, alone...> The dead snails have had the tops of their shells broken off and the insides devoured. <Oh... this is the Stomatopod> Well the thing is, I have also lost several small fish inexplicably. Is it possible that a smasher mantis would also eat fish? <Oh yes...> All fish that I lost were either very small or had just been placed in the tank and were hiding in the live rock. I have 2 small clowns and a small Hawkfish which have thrived in this tank-and I suppose, have been very lucky now that I have seen what is hiding in the rocks. Do you think this mantis will try to catch my fish? <Yes... Best to either remove it out of harms way to your other livestock... or try feeding it to otherwise lessen the temptation. Bob Fenner>

Mantis on the loose - 5/5/2006 Hello Crew, <Jason> I do believe that I have a Mantis (or multiple Mantis) problem. I started up my 30 gallon tank 8 months ago. Did everything "by the book" with the cycling of the tank/live rock checking my water parameters and using the correct lighting. ( I am using RO water) I started off the tank by adding three Blue/Green Chromis after the tank had cycled. Within three days all three had vanished. So I thought that I probably should start off with a couple of Blue Leg Hermit crabs and a couple of Turbo snails. That worked fine and after about three weeks of them being in there I decided to do it again with the Chromis. Once again one after another they vanished. So I stopped buying them and picked up a few more Hermit crabs (thinking that I just have no ability to keep fish in the tank). After a while I started to notice that I was gaining more empty shells than I had hermit crabs. So I went out and bought more empty larger shells thinking that the reason they were dying was because they were out growing their shells and were falling victim to one another in fights over the larger shells. Next I developed an Aiptasia problem and reading over your sight and suggestions (thanks by the way!) I went out and bought a Peppermint Shrimp. Well I took it home and waited an hour and half filling the bag with my own tank water and allowed it to get to the right tank parameters and allowed to get used to my tank conditions. I netted it and released it into the tank. The Peppermint Shrimp was doing great and all that good stuff but the next morning it was no where to be found. So I waited yet again for another two weeks, tested the water (no problems) every other day and bought two clown fish who each started to swim vertically after day 3(one gone) and day 5(second one gone). ( almost made it a week!) So I waited until two weeks ago and bought three more Chromis and two Peppermint shrimp (on a Saturday). The next morning both the Peppermint shrimp were gone (Sunday). Monday a Chromis vanished and the same for Tuesday. So right now with all the filler spacing in-between time I have 1 Chromis, 7 Turbo snails, and 8 Blue Legged Hermit crabs left. If I really do have one or more in my tank I am just tired of feeding them everything that I put into the tank. I have tried a store bought trap that has not worked and also a pint glass with a fresh piece of shrimp in it and it has not worked yet. Any other advice you have would be really appreciated in trying to catch these guys. Thanks for your help! Jason P.S. I have not heard any type of snapping coming from the tank. <This does read like a Mantis problem... best to systematically take each piece of live rock out and dip it in freshwater... with or w/o soda water added... this should flush out the culprit/s here. Bob Fenner>

Pistol or Mantis? and adding fish 12/28/05 Hi Crew! Hope you all had a great holiday. So since the 6 months from my first e-mail to you, things have gone very well. Tank is very stable, and my skeptical wife now loves it. We spend at least an hour every evening after we put our daughter down for the night just watching the tank and talking. <Ahhh!> She has named all the fish and has identified personalities in all of them. Even the dog gets into the act. (Dog barks when my smaller ocellaris "surfs" the current from my Sea-swirl from 1 side of the tank to the other, which at night it will do 15-20 times in the last hour before the light goes out!) She has protested any time I talk about moving rock around. So my point of all of the above is that the tank is really in a great place and I don't want to do any major overhauls. <Okay> Tank basics: 72 Bow Front, 100lbs LR, 20g refugium with 8" DSB, 40g sump, 3/4 sand in display, 2x175w 10K MH on for 9 hours a day, 2x96W PC 420nm Actinic on for 12 hours a day. 2 Ocellaris Clown (2" and 1 3/4"). Foxface Rabbit (4"), Hippo Tang (2 1/4"), Starry Blenny (4 1/2"), 2 cleaner shrimp (3 1/2" each), 2 peppermint shrimp (1 1/2" - new adds) 2 Mithrax crabs. Oh and 24 Astrea snails, 4 Mexican turbo, 10 Nassarius. So for the last 4 months I have heard a popping from the tank. I tried trapping, but I kept catching the Mithrax crabs (damn them). I hear two types of popping. 1 loud popping that occurs sometimes at full light and definitely under just the PC and dark. The pops only come in 1s and sometimes in 2s, but I would characterize as loud. Usually several minutes between pops. The 2nd type of popping is more of a quiet clicking. Happens just after light goes out. Happens in multiples, but not rapid fire, usually 15 to 30 second spacing. So my question is Pistol shrimp, mantis, or maybe both? <Likely Pistol/s... from the loudness, frequency, absence of dead crustaceans (the Mithraculus would be gone)> What exactly should i be looking for? <Small Alpheid/s... they hide, especially during light hours> I have not seen either of them and I have spent many the hour with a flashlight scanning the tank. Nothing has yet been killed. I have a healthy population of amphipods that could be feeding one or both. If they were small to begin with would they have gotten much bigger in 6 months? <Likely so... most only get to less than an inch and a half total length> I have herd stories of people having mantis shrimp in a reef and it never killing fish. Nothing has died should I just wait and see? <I would, yes> Could I have lucked out? I have a healthy population of coral too. My rock is secured to a frame so I have good circulation in front and back (at your suggestion). So, the only thought I have is to slowly pull out rocks 1 by 1 and rotate them into the fuge until I hear the popping coming from the fuge. My concern is that I will stress the heck out of the fish pulling a new rock out every night and of course anything with coral attached will take a potential hit. <You are wise to consider this "cost" here... the "alternative hypothesis"... and to choose the null... to do nothing> My final question is w/ respect to adding fish given this situation. I am only planning on adding a few more. 1 Flame Angel (of course my coral and clam may hate me), 1 mandarin goby when the time is right, and a couple of open water swimmers: fairy wrasse or 2, a Chromis or 2, etc... Thanks as always, you all are the best. Oh and Tom from the Fish Doctors in Michigan sends his best (I got lucky and now have a great LFS). <Ahh! Please do mention back to Tom that I say hello as well! Bob Fenner>

Hitchhiker - Mantis Shrimp Hi Crew, I recently purchased 45lbs. of uncured deco live rock, which I am curing in a 20 gallon tank. Off and on I hear clicking sounds coming from the tank and I am guessing that I have either a Pistol Shrimp or a Mantis Shrimp in one of the rocks. I have never seen the shrimp, but from all I've read, this seems like the logical explanation for the clicking noise. My question is, should I try to remove this shrimp. The noise isn't really loud enough to be bothersome, but I fear that if it's a Mantis Shrimp, he will do damage to his future tankmates. Is there any way to id the shrimp if I can't see him? Should I not worry about it unless it becomes a problem? If you do suggest trying to remove him, how would I go about this? Thanks in advance for any help you can offer...you guys are awesome!! <If there is a clicking sound it is likely a mantis shrimp. The easiest way to remove him is to suspend the rock above a bare bottom tank and catch him/remove the rock when he comes down to eat. If it is a mantis he could cause damage and or eat any future tankmates. When you catch him you might try "advertising" him on the WetWebFotos chat forums, there are some folks that love keeping Mantis Shrimp and will purchase him from you. They can be quite beautiful. There is much more on WetWebMedia.com, search on mantis shrimp in the Google search. Craig>

Re: missing fish! I have a 75 gallon salt water tank with ten fish (all compatible and reef safe). <How do we know?> 2 days ago one of my cardinal fish vanished! Then yesterday the same thing happened to my scooter blenny. Besides that I've had 1 banded starfish ripped apart and killed, and now the new banded starfish is missing 2 legs that were just there. What could be going on? All of my other fish are doing great and my corals are growing beautifully. My water tests which I do once or twice a week continuously come back good. I have live sand and Tonga ridge rock, could there be something hiding in my rocks? <Yes, likely a Mantis Shrimp. Does your tank make a clicking sound? Go to WetWebMedia.com, scroll down to the Google search engine and type in "mantis shrimp". You have to trap it. Be careful they can injure you, no joking. Perhaps a crab too. Craig>

Mantis ID- Stomatopod 2/5/03 Could you please identify the creature in the attached photograph? <yep... a small Mantis "shrimp" (Stomatopod)> It came in with a shipment of live rock from the Gulf of Mexico. It was about an inch long but has doubled in size in less than 4 weeks. It is very elusive and hides at the slightest disturbance. The tail area is flared like a lobster. Robert Pierrelee <you will likely need/want to remove this predator on small invertebrates. Fears about its presence in the aquarium are largely overstated... still, it can destroy a lot of small and desirable life forms (snails, small fishes, other crustaceans. Please browse info in the archives about trapping such creatures. Anthony>

The Mystery Killer Greetings crew, <Scott F, on call today> Thanks for your help in the past. I'm new to the hobby (4 months) and appreciate the guidance and reassurance. <We aim to please! Glad we could help!> I have a 30G tank with 40# live rock, single 17 watt Zoo Med Reef Sun 50/50 lighting (12-hr on timer), H.O.T. Magnum Pro filter with activated carbon and bio-wheel, Berlin Air-Lift protein skimmer (added two weeks ago), and the following (known) inhabitants: <I like the "known" preface!> Fish: 1 Dascyllus melanurus, 1.5 inch (4-stripe damsel) 1 Amphiprion ocellaris, 1.5 inch (Ocellaris clown) 1 Centropyge bispinosus, 3 inch (coral beauty) Inverts: 4 scarlet hermits 3 Lysmata wurdemanni (peppermint shrimp) 3 Turbo snails 1 Lysmata amboinensis (scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp) 1 Mithrax sculptus (Emerald crab) 1 Condylactis pink-tipped anemone Lots of tiny (Mysid?) shrimp - more every time I look. <Cool- sounds like mysids!> The turbo snails were added about three weeks ago, the coral beauty and anemone just one week ago. <Remember to quarantine all future fish purchases, okay?> The rest have been in the tank for about 3 months. I feed Tetra Marine Granules (softened in water for about 30 seconds first to make them easier to eat for the fish - in retrospect, not the best food choice for my small fish) daily, and flakes about every other day, either Spirulina or Tetra Marine flakes. Occasional frozen brine shrimp. <Try some frozen Mysis shrimp, or "Formula" foods- they offer more complete nutrition than brine shrimp> Latest water numbers (typical for my tank - no major deviations): Temp: 77 F pH: 8.2 specific gravity: 1.023 ammonia: 0 mg/L nitrite: 0 mg/L nitrate: 30 mg/L (can't seem to get this to go down) About once a week I add 2 ml of Seachem Reef Iodide, though I do not measure it in the tank. I change 5 gallons about every 1.5 weeks. <Make it a bit easier- try smaller (like 5% of tank volume) changes twice weekly- that may help with the nitrate reading a bit> I should preface this story by saying that there may be additional, unintended inhabitants in the tank: shortly after adding my last batch of live rock (15# on 11/07/02), I think I saw a small (1 inch) pistol shrimp - he came out of the new rock quickly, grabbed a piece of food, and hustled back in. I've only ever seen it that one time and am starting to wonder if I imagine it, but I don't think so. <I hope you are...but if you saw it...could be there...and could be a problem!> I distinctly remember seeing one claw being larger than the other, besides that, it looked similar to the peppermints - not easily confused with a mantis shrimp. I haven't heard any distinct clicking sounds coming from the tank, and I've tried to sneak up on the tank a few times when the lights had been off for a while but haven't seen anything major. There is also at least one bristle worm, maybe two inches long and 1/8 inch wide. Here's the story: During the first week of January, I was away on vacation, so my brother stopped by to feed the fish, using individual food packets I'd previously measured out. <Smart idea!> I was gone 7 days, he ended up coming by four times to give them a single packet each time - I told him not to worry about missing a day or two, better to underfeed. When I got back, he informed me that one of my clowns just disappeared, and I have found no trace of her since (I had two then, in the pre-coral beauty days). Not to ruin the ending, but I also had two Emerald crabs at that time (pre-snail and anemone days). The odd thing is that of the two clowns, the one that is still around is the one I would have expected to have fallen victim to a predator - he apparently has a swim-bladder defect, and cannot maintain neutral buoyancy (he was tank-raised). He seemingly gets so tired constantly swimming up that, several times a day, and all night, he just lies on the gravel, a prime target for a hungry Emerald. <Yeah- you'd think head be the "Vic" (okay, I watch too much "CSI" on TV) > The one that disappeared swam normally. I suspected the mysterious shrimp first, so I took out the rock I saw him in months ago and put it in a bucket for a few days, with a piece of scallop in there to temp him out. The food (replaced daily for freshness) was not eaten in a week, so I gave up and put the rock back in the tank. I then assumed it was the Emeralds, and decided to keep an eye on them (there were two at that time, remember). Of the two, one was clearly bigger and slightly more aggressive, but never, to my knowledge or witness, posed any real threat to the fish. So fast-forward to this week - I have a tank divider in place to let the frisky 4-stripe damsel get acclimated to the coral beauty. The two Emeralds were on one side, together with the 4-stripe, two snails and two peppermints, but on the other side from the suspicious rock. Yesterday I saw the carcass of the larger, more aggressive Emerald, lying upside-down on the gravel. I've been fooled by crabs molting in the past, mistaking them for having died, but this one I am 99.9% sure is really dead. I removed the carcass - it seems the right weight etc, has no "escape" hole that she could have gotten out of. In fact, the only thing differentiating it from a living crab (besides the fact that it is dead) <Yes- being dead is generally the best indicator that it is dead! LOL> are that the abdominal cover (the baseball-catcher chest-protector like thing between its legs on the underside) has been loosened so it is only attached posteriorly (exposing some clear muscular looking tissue), and, most interestingly, seems to have had a hole punched though it! The hole seems like it required some force to create - like a puncture wound right through the abdominal shell. I can't imagine that the other Emerald crab could have done it - taking down a larger, more aggressive crab. <Neither could I...I vote for the mystery shrimp> I can't imagine that any of the known inhabitants in the tank could have done it, actually. So the only explanations I can think of are: 1) the crab died "naturally", due to an unknown water parameter, poor nutrition, etc, and the other crab and/or peppermint shrimp scavenged the carcass, creating the wound; <Possible, but too many similar coincidences recently> or 2) an unknown murderer is living in my tank, picking off my pets one by one. I have still seen no sign of the clown (no measurable water changes either, that would indicate a hidden decomposing fish), so I assume what ever got it ate it, or, if it too died naturally, was consumed thereafter. <Both good possibilities> Have you ever seen a fish just disappear without a trace (in a 30G tank), and a crab get stabbed to death? Any advice on how to further investigate/prosecute this case? I apologize for the length of this question, but I thought it was all relevant. I appreciate any help. Respectfully yours, Tom <Well, Tom- based on the circumstantial evidence (that sounds soo cool to say that!), I'd have to believe that you have a nocturnal killer. If it is the "mystery shrimp" (and I believe that it is), you'll have to lure him out somehow with some bait (like the scallop you used before), and maybe utilize one of the commercially available "traps" for this purpose. I used to think that they were a joke until a friend of mine caught a 3 inch mantis shrimp in one! Keep trying to bait this little *&^%$# out, and get him out of the tank as soon as you can. Don't give up! Regards, Scott F>

Mantis menace? 07/19/03 <Hi Tim, PF with you today> Hi, I think I might have a mantis shrimp, not quit sure. I saw only a glimpse of him peeping out some hole in the rocks, and he seemed to travel from hole to hole, and in different rocks. But, what I did see was this green head with long green eyes that rotated opposite of each other. He never comes all the way out, so I can't get a good look at him. The LR I bought was from Tampabaysaltwater.com, and I've heard they're known for it. I do hear a clicking sound but haven't seen any dead snails, and the tank has been cycling without fish for two months now. Is there a way to lure him out so I can see him, or an easier way (I know there is no easy way, unless he breaks the glass) to get him out. I don't want to buy traps that won't work, and to find him in a particular rock means I would have to use my hands. I like my fingers as they are. Please help. By the way your new book is next on my list. Tim Wagner <Well Tim, first off, the bigger worry is your LR falling on your glass than that mantis breaking it. The mantis breaking glass is a tale that grows in the telling. It has happened, but the mantises weren't the little ones like you have but an O. scyllarus that was at least 5" long - and there's a lot more power in 5" of mantis than in 2". As for TBS live rock, Dr. Roy Caldwell (a mantis <Stomatopod is their correct name> expert conducted an informal survey and found that most people find 1 mantis/hundred pound of rock regardless of the source (including his own work in the wild), I've had LR from Fiji that the LFS "guaranteed" to be mantis free, the mantis didn't listen. Be all that as it may, the little bugger is less of a threat than legend has it. Depending on the size of snails and hermits you have, it may not actually be a threat to them. I can understand your fear though, as they are predacious, and very intelligent predators to boot. I would recommend that you go here: http://www.blueboard.com/mantis and read up them. There are sections on the site about mantis removal, and if you're so inclined, their care. If you're up for, I'd advise setting up a separate tank (a 10g nano is plenty big) and keeping the little bugger, or putting him in your sump (I know a number of people who've done that with theirs). Hope this helps, PF the self professed stomatophile. BTW, the new book has a section on mantis shrimp in it, so you can read up on them when you get it.>

Mantis menace? 07/20/03 <Hi Alastair, PF with you tonight> Hi, I believe I may have a mantis shrimp, but am not certain. Need some advise. There is clicking noises coming from the tank, it will normally be one click, or occasionally two. The thing is I just cannot find it, I have removed each piece of rock and dunked it in fresh water for three minutes, but no Mantis has been forthcoming. What really bugs me is that all I have achieved is damaging and killing some of the other life on my rocks. Is it really a mantis, or could it be something else? The tank is a 15 gallon with around 20 lb rock, you would think it would be easy to find whatever is doing it in a tank this size. The tank was only established around 4 months ago. Around 2 months ago I introduced around 20 small ( 1/2 to 1 1/2 inch ) shrimp of a type that can be caught locally (New Zealand). Most of these have vanished without trace. One jumped out but the rest just disappeared. Cheers, Alastair <Well, it could be a mantis, or maybe a pistol shrimp. Check here for more info about mantises http://www.blueboard.com/mantis. The FW dip is pretty much like nuking your live rock, and I would never recommend it. Try feeding your tank live brine shrimp, or something similar. You may also want to wait up, and using a flashlight with a red filter check and see if you see it moving around after lights off. There are also commercial traps out there. Good luck, PF>

Re: Mantis Menace 07/22/03 Hi PF, Hey, Thanks for the speedy reply. <Hello again> Great News, I got them, they were pistol shrimps. I saw one as a snail was crawling on the rock, something appeared and clubbed it of the rock, and then retreated. Now at last knowing where they were I was then able to take out the rock and dig out the hole with a screwdriver, they were both in there and I pulled them out with tweezers. They appeared to be a mated pair living in the same hole. The female was loaded with eggs. They are small, about an inch long, but still make quite a discernible click. Checked out that web site you sent me and was able to identify them as pistol shrimps. They are supposed to be relatively harmless, but I would still rather do without them. You were right about the fresh water being bad news, it really has damaged my rock life, also I was pretty amazed, I only dipped the rock they were in 24 hours ago, and yet the pistol shrimps seem fine. <If they're still alive, you could set them up in their own display, a 10g or 20g, or perhaps sell them to an LFS. Mated pairs are rarely available, I'm sure someone would like to take them off your hands. It's nice too, that they weren't mantis shrimp, takes some of the heat off my favorite crustaceans. ; ) >

Clicking Noise >Hi >>Greetings, Simon. Marina today. >I have a two foot salt water tank. It is stocked with the following: 1 Clown Fish 1 Coral Banded Shrimp 1 Dottyback 1 Blue Tang Some live rock There has been a clicking noise (on occasion) coming out of my tank for some time now (around 5 months). I am not sure what it is, but I have been told that it could be a Mantis Shrimp - which is supposedly something that can smash the glass of the tank. >>More likely a mantis shrimp, less likely it will smash the glass than it will take other residents. It's also possible it's a pistol shrimp, but far *less* likely. >I have read your FAQ and info pages on the Mantis Shrimp and I found it quite informative, however I just wanted to ask the following: 1) I can't find this Shrimp, so is it possible that any of my other stock can click? >>Yes, it's possible. However, just because you can't find it doesn't mean it's not there. They're quite intelligent and crafty little bugs. >I have been told that Clownfish do some clicking. The clicking sounds like a coin tapping against the class. >>Yes indeed, but I've yet to hear them make any noise that's audible from outside the confines of the tank (think of the many catfishes we keep that make similar noises, yet few can be heard from outside). >2) I have noticed a worm like creature on a live rock.. it looks like a worm and I couldn't really see a head.. it was very quick. I was about to stick a net in and try to catch it, but as soon as I touched the glass it went off like a bullet into the live rock. If this is the culprit then it is possible for me to take this bit of rock out. I only managed to see it at 4:00am one night while I had a hangover. >>Hhmm... everything's questionable when viewed during a hangover. J/K. A worm can't really click, being soft. However, if you are able to determine *which* rock the mantis/clicking suspect is living, you can remove it to a bucket or other container, dip it in freshwater and it will probably high-tail it outta there. >I haven't managed to see anything in normal spectator hours :) I don't know if it is possible to set a trap for it? Because my coral banded shrimp is pretty quick - he will go for any bait lying on the ground. >>They are quick (though not too quick for me and my net!), but you're not trying to catch the CB shrimp, are you? There are many mantis shrimp traps available online, do a Google. >3) If it is a mantis shrimp - my concern is that it could crack my tank??? >>Again, HIGHLY unlikely, what is likely is residents may begin to disappear. >Is that a true concern? Another important concern is my fish - but so far no incidents. 4) Also, another thing that happened the other day (off the topic) - My Coral Banded Shrimp (Lenny) shed his shell. He has done this a few times now.. It is quite an impressive process. Anyway it seems as though one of his legs (or arms) is a bit weak or injured. Is it possible that he could have shed prematurely or something went wrong? >>I would suppose that he's in need of some mineral supplementation--calcium and iodine are two I can think of off the top of my head. Consider dosing calcium (do test your tank first) and/or iodine. Search our site for information on these, as well as Googling. >He hasn't really been himself. A bit reserved. The Dottyback and blue tang are new additions, and he was going after them a bit. Is it possible that he shed because of these new additions? >>No, he shed because he outgrew his exoskeleton. This is a good thing, but do be sure these animals have sufficient and sufficiently available biominerals. I do hope this helps, and best of luck! Marina

Praying it's not a mantis 6/15/03 <Hi Simon> Hi I really hope that you can help me with this. I am an experienced fish keeper but a beginner as far a marine tanks go. I have a small 80 gallon tank which is some six weeks old. I have been slowly adding live rock and have been very happy to gain a few creatures that came with it. The most exciting of these was a brittle star, it was only small, about the size of a large coin and appeared a couple of weeks after the last piece of rock was added. I was surprised that it survived the nitrite surges as the filter matured. Anyway I was pointing out the brittle star to a friend who was visiting when something partially emerged from a hole in the live rock, grabbed the brittle star and pulled it into its hole. The "something" was about 2 inches long but that is only the part that was visible. It was red in colour with spikes along its body. A few minutes later it was hanging out of its hole with bits of the dead brittle star left on the gravel bed. Can anyone suggest what this could be? I have no intention of adding any small invertebrates to the tank, it is intended as a fish only tank for a pair of Tomato Clown fish so what I really want to know is can I leave it there? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks Simon <Well Simon, I'd be willing to bet the farm (if I had one) that you have a mantis shrimp. The Lurker's Guide to mantis shrimp is an excellent source of information http://www.blueboard.com/mantis and here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomapods/mantisshrimp.htm . Stomatopods are fascinating animals (and a personal favorite of mine). Now as for letting it stay in your tank, well, a lot depends on what type of mantis it is. If it's a spearer, get it out. If it's a smasher, you could keep it in your tank if: 1, you feed it regularly (krill, open a small clam, pieces of fish or squid, etc.), and 2, you buy a pair of larger tomato clowns (not under 3"). Be aware, that it will probably eat any clean up critters (snails and hermits) you get. As for eating your brittle star, well that sounds like one hungry mantis to me. I've never heard of them eating brittles before. Well, have a good night, do some reading, and write back if you have any questions, PF>

Mantis amongst sp.? 2/5/04 Over the past few months I've had some mysterious disappearances of hermit crabs from my tank.. even their shells tended to disappear. Finally this morning I was feeding, and I noticed a flicker of white out of the corner of the tank. A little shrimp-like grey-green guy with 2 white stripes across his back was attempting to ensnare a few floating mysids. Could this be the candidate for my disappearing hermits? The last 10 I bought lasted a whopping 2 weeks before they all disappeared. thanks as always WWM crew :)-Chris <please do look up "mantis" and "Stomatopod" on our web site and others to see if any resemble your green guy. If so, it may indeed be the predator. Much is writ in our archives on how to ID and trap these critters. Best regards, Anthony>

My, what dark oval eyes you have...? (02/29/04) Hey crew, <Hi! Ananda helping out tonight, playing a hunch on this one...> Thanx for all the help so far. You guys take a lot of the stress out of caring for a new tank. <We aim to help!> This one is going to be hard and unfortunately I don't have a digital camera. Either way I can't see much of the new creature anyways. I looked through the inverts section and didn't come across anything like this little guy. Today I noticed to antennae sticking out of a hole. At first thought they were just a tube worm but I noticed that each one split into two at the ends. I also noticed that there were two little "eyes" looking around. The shape of the eyes were oval and very dark. <Right now, my brain is saying "Cool! He might have a mantis shrimp!" Check pix at http://www.blueboard.com/mantis/ and see if anything looks familiar.> I didn't get to see any of his body as he is too timid to come out of the hole in the rock. <Yup, sounds like a mantis.> I noticed an empty hermit crab shell next to the hole....hopefully the crab wasn't eaten....and it definitely isn't the hermit in the hole. <Well, the hermit may have switched shells.> I got home tonight and noticed that the hole had been filled in. <Yup, they do that, too. Cool little critters for a species tank.> Being curious and maybe not altogether smart I poked it the handle of a net. At this time a piece of shell, clump of sand (not sure what) fell into the hole. The little guy poked his head out and looked around and then put the piece back in place. <I would, too, if you banged in my door. ;-) > Unfortunately it can't describe him much better than that as I haven't been able to seem out of his hole. <The behavior sounds very much like that of a mantis shrimp.> IF you can identify this or even point me in the right direction to try and identify him that would be great. Thanks again, Todd Hawman <Our resident mantis fanatic is lurking about the forums again. Try posting at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk on the Marine Invertebrates board with more descriptions, if you can, and see if P-F thinks you've got a mantis. You might want to put a piece of frozen shrimp next to the place you saw the creature so that it's less likely to go for a moving target (aka a hermit crab). --Ananda>

Mantis Shrimp? 2/24/04 In the last week or so I have lost 2 Fire Fish Gobies, and a Cleaner Wrasse. All within 48 hours of purchase.. The Wrasse Within 12 hours. I do have some fairly new rock, (maybe in display now for 6 weeks). I have not noticed a loss in hermit crabs, maybe a couple snails, but I always tend to lose a snail or two every couple months. In the tank are 2 ocellaris clowns whom I have had over a year. As well as a LT anemone whom I have had over a year. The Fire fish and Wrasse were about 3" long. I have heard no clicking at night and have stayed up since losing the first Firefish. Yesterday though I saw what could have been a pretty small Mantis. at most he was 3/4" long. Is this big enough to take down the fish mentioned? <If it was a mantis, it would not stay that small for long with all that food! Seriously, though, it is unlikely that such a small mantis could capture those fish, and from your story, I doubt you have a mantis.> and if so could the clowns have been protected in the anemone since they sleep in it? Or could the anemone be the culprit? It does not completely close up at night anymore like it did when I first got it. During the day it is about 13-14" in Diameter and stands about 6" tall. I would think that even at night a wrasse or Firefish would be to quick for the anemone, all losses have come after lights off, and there is no sign of a body the next day. <The clowns would probably be protected, but I still don't think that a mantis is your problem. All of the fish you have lost are potential carpet surfers. Have you checked the floor behind your tank and any overflows for evidence that they may have jumped?> How would I go about catching such a small mantis. I have already tried "dunking" in high salinity water all my LR. <High salinity, low salinity and soda water have all been suggested to coax mantis out of hiding places. All of these hare hard on the desirable life on rock and should be avoided. Traps are commercially available or can be fashioned by cutting the top off of a small soda bottle and inverting it into the bottle. Weight it, bait and wait over night. Weighting and baiting an old pair of panty hose has also been suggested since the mantis will get entangled while trying to get the food.> I also have a "monkey shrimp", a Coral Banded shrimp Both I have had for at least 6 months. <More anti-mantis evidence! These critters would be much higher on the potential prey list than fast moving fish. Their survival is a good clue that a mantis is not to blame.> One more thing, I have a nice piece of pipe organ coral that is quite large, it seems however that I missed a couple Aiptasia, on the new LR and 2 Aiptasia have since climbed up through the "pipes" and are now sitting smack dab in the middle of the coral piece. one is quite large maybe 1 1/ 4" Peppermint shrimp have been no good since I think it is to big for them, I can not cut it off since it pulls itself into the "pipes" when I get near, or pull the coral out. I am starting to think I am going to have to cut the coral, but how? its about 4" deep, 6"x5" across the top. the Aiptasia is about 2" from the edge of the coral. My local LFS said to buy a Copperband Butterfly, I am afraid it will eat my other corals, he said that they "target Aiptasia first" is this true? I have not heard that before. My other corals include Xenia., Green star polyps, and asst. leathers and mushrooms. thanks again for all your help the past year. Aaron <Glad to help Aaron. Copperbands are very delicate fish in captivity. Even the survivors will often refuse to eat Aiptasia, or will only eat them when very hungry. I disagree that they "target Aiptasia first". I don't think any of your corals will be at too much risk, except for the pipe organ. Your best be is to try careful peroxide injection. Your coral may suffer some collateral damage, but with care, it will be no worse than the Aiptasia will cause. Best regards. Adam>

DSB, anoxic dilemma? 3/18/04 (Perhaps the term hypoxic for the mid-zone) Hi bob, <Anthony Calfo in his stead> I have a question regarding depth of substrate. You mention to use 1" or less (completely aerobic) and 3" or more to create an anaerobic environment for denitrification. You mention any substrate thickness in between those parameters would cause anoxic havoc. I'm a little perplexed by this. <me too... I am nearly certain Bob would have never said this... and I agree with part of the assertion, but would not use the phrase "anoxic havoc". Where is this from my friend. Our book, the archives, etc?> Firstly, the anoxic environment created by 2 inches is still an anoxic environment and I do not understand how it differs from 3 or more inches of substrate? <part of the misunderstanding indeed... I do not believe a 2" substrate can get adequately anoxic for NNR... and if you'll take the time/years to use and study DSBs, the you will see that 3"/75 mm is the bare minimum for effective NNR... hence the rule> Wouldn't both anoxic environments (in between 1-3 inches and 3" plus) create H2S? <not the goal at either depth, and regardless cannot be assumed without an address of nutrients sunk to feed/fuel the conversion> How is it that one is safer than the other? I'm sure there is something I am missing here, <yes> I just want to understand what that is. <me too> Please do not refrain from becoming really technical in order to get the point across (that is if you have time to), that is, layman's terms are not necessary, nor is the need to explain technical terms. <no time alas at length... but please let me direct you to the extensive detail and discussion we have of it in our "Reef Invertebrates" book or the free wetwebmedia.com archives (much info there if you will take the time to sort through it)> My last question. Why would one want to rid Live rock of its biodiversity...i.e.. removal of mantis shrimp...etc. How would they be detrimental to 1) fish only tanks or 2) reef tanks? Are these animals prone to being hosts of pathogens detrimental to animals/organisms in the tank more so than animals commonly kept in aquaria? Or do they just eat factors important in maintaining good water chemistry? Why are they deemed unwanted? <depends on the species. You must ID that first. Spearers catch and kill fishes... even the smallest/"safest" smashers instead still mow through other desirable invertebrates like gastropods. Judge them by what you deem more useful in your aquarium... purchased snails/fishes... or expensive meals> Thanks so much! Mars <rock on... Anthony>

- Is it or Isn't it? - I think there may be a mantis in the new rock because there is a lot of clicking coming from it almost all the time. <Then chances are it's not a mantis shrimp - what is more likely is that you have an Alpheid, a snapping shrimp. Mantis shrimp just don't click that often, compare with some snapping shrimp which click constantly. No worries.> I just put some egg crate over the top. doesn't seem to effect the light amount much of all. <Good deal... now you're prepared for leaping wrasses.> Thanks!!! <Cheers, J -- >

- Is it Or isn't it? It Was! - it was a mantis!! <I should have known better - the live rock from TBS is a well known source of mantis shrimp.> I came home tonight and between a couple of coral polyps was this big reddish brown head protruding from a hole. I immediately removed the rock and put it in a bucket of fresh water. I was taking no chances. I soaked it for 10 min.s and shook the rock and out comes this huge mass of eggs!! <You'll need to cure this rock all over again - you've wiped out everything on it...> then a 2.5" mantis came out very dead. <Makes sense.> I then took the remainder of the rock and soaked it too. If that thing had gotten in my main tank it would have been a disaster. and with those eggs it was like a reef tank version of Alien waiting to happen. all I can say is better half dead live rock than putting that thing in my tank <Uhh... it's not half dead, it's all dead. Cheers, J -- >

- Is it Or isn't it? It Was! Follow-up - thanks for everything!! Gotta tell you. I left the rock in fresh water for a full 20 min.s and the barnacle life is still waving a way!! and the mussels that look like rocks are still alive. <Makes sense, both of these are able to shut tight with a small supply of water... other items will not be so lucky.> I hope I left the rock in fresh long enough to kill any bad guys <Well, if you wiped out that mantis shrimp, then you probably got anything else like it. Cheers, J -- >

Peacock mantis shrimps Hey there! I've just visited my LFS and saw a very interesting mantis called a 'peacock mantis'. How big do these shrimp get? Are they smashers or spearers? The label didn't say how much it cost, but how much should it cost? I'd appreciate any help. <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm and the linked FAQs files (in blue, above) re. Bob Fenner>

Rogue Stomatopod? My girlfriend has a 20g reef tank and she's been having a problem with disappearing fish. She had a small ocellaris clownfish since she first started the tank about four or five months ago. A couple of weeks ago he mysteriously vanished over night. A month or so before she put in a Firefish, which vanished within the first couple of days. Three days ago she put in a pink skunk clown, and this morning he was gone. None of these fish have shown any signs of stress or poor health. She's got zebra leg hermit crabs, snails, a Ricordea, glove polyps, a couple of feather dusters, and an abundance of copepods that visibly multiply in the tank, and a clown goby who's been in there for about two weeks, and a more recently added electric eye scallop. The goby is looking lonely, and Jenny's getting really discouraged, and thinking she should give up on fish all together. Water conditions are primo, no amm, no nitrite, 20 ppm nitrate, 1.025 sg, pH 8.3...every invert she has every put in there has thrived. We've never observed any predatory crustaceans, but I don't know what else it could be. She's got 30lbs of live rock so there's plenty of hiding spaces. As far as traps go are there any superior models or brands? Is there anything else that would cause fish to disappear entirely? ***Hey Scott, Assuming these fish are not jumping out (something fire fish are notorious for) then it very well could be a mantis shrimp. Try examining the tank a hour after lights out with a flashlight - sometimes this turns up the culprit. One thing you could try is a hyper saline dip. Remove the rocks and soak them (do not soak any corals) in a bucket with salt water mixed to 1.036. This should cause any mantis that's hiding in the rock to exit almost immediately. Leave the rocks in this solution for no more than two minutes, as the hyper saline conditions could cause unwanted dye off on the rocks. The other option is a trap, and I believe there's one specifically designed for stomatopods. Do a search for "mantis trap" on the web and you should find it in short order if that's the case. If you do find a mantis, you might want to consider setting him up in his own small tank. They are very intelligent, and make fascinating pets. Good luck! Jim***

Rogue Stomatopod, Part Deux... Hello Tracy, For any Gonodactylus, or other "smasher" variety Stomatopod, an arrow crab is nothing but a meal. I'm not sure what the logic behind putting an arrow crab in the tank was. I would try a trap first. If that fails, you can try a hypo saline dip. Mix the water to 1.036 and dip the suspected rock (if you can best guess which rock he's in). Leave the rock in this solution for two minutes, no more. If he's in that particular rock, this should send him scurrying out. Good luck Jim*** We recently discovered that we have a mantis shrimp living in our live rocks, her has been coming out every couple of days so we can see him, but he's too fast for us to catch him. We don't want him in there because of the harm he can do to the tank, so we inquired with our local fish store what to do. They suggested buying a trap, which they stated had about a 50/50 chance of catching him, or adding an arrow crab to the tank to seek him out and kill him. We opted for adding two arrow crabs to our 65 gallon tank, they have been there for about 24 hours now, one has already molted. What do you think about this strategy? Can you think of anything else? We had thought of taking out the rocks and running them through fresh water, but we don't really want to kill other stuff living in the rocks, plus we are not 100% sure which rock he is living in (he moves around). We have several corals, live rocks and a few fish (left!). Thanks, Tracy

Rogue Stomatopod, Part Tres! We have tried the trap for about 3 days now, the only thing it is doing is feeding the arrow crabs. They are scurrying off with the bait every night and having a feast. They don't weigh enough to set off the trap even though we have it set at the most sensitive setting. Dumb question...how do I get the water for the dip to 1.036? I think we might want to try that next. Do you think that a fresh water dip is not advisable? Also, if he doesn't scurry out of the rock, how do we know if he is dead before we return the rock to the tank? We tried the fresh water dip over the weekend on a piece of branch rock that my husband was sure he saw the mantis go in to. He wanted to verify that the mantis was dead and took a hammer to the rock. Guess what, he wasn't in there! No more smashing rocks! Thanks for your help. Tracy ***You need to add salt mix to the dip water until it reads 1.036. This will be easier on the rock than a freshwater dip. Still, do it no longer than two minutes or so. If he's in the rock, he should come out. However, nothing is for sure and I've seen mantis shrimp drive reefers off the deep end. :) This could very well be "JUST THE BEGINNING" MUAAAHAHAHAHAHA! Hope not, and I wish you luck. I would keep the trap, and lose the arrow crabs for now. Jim***

Maybe a mantis? I think I might have a mantis. I've read your pages on the mantis but still am unsure. Maybe it's a pistol. Here's the symptoms: new, cured live rock and sand, new setup. JBJ Nanocube (12g) with about 7 small hermits (can never see them all at once, so I'm not sure), and 4-5 Nerites snails, a bumblebee snail, and one peppermint shrimp (just added last week). The tank has been setup about 2 months now and that's all that's in it - taking it very slowly to be sure all is ok. During the daytime I hear clicking sounds, like glass marbles hitting glass. << More like mantis, less like pistol. >> Its only once in a while, very sporadic and usually only a couple clicks at a time. I've also seen something burrowing in the rock, digging, spewing out white, chalky particles. My rock is very porous with an intricate network of caves and tunnels throughout. Pretty sure I saw the little guy one night. I was hoping all along the popping sounds meant pistol shrimp so I was all set to see tentacles and a claw, etc when, to my disappointment, I saw two little eyes at the ends of long tentacles rotating about, looking back at me. Bummer. Mantis. But here's the thing, with all these crabs and snails and even a peppermint shrimp, I've had no deaths. He's been in there since the tank has been set up. I have found some shells with holes, but I'm pretty sure I'm not missing any crabs. The life in my sand is quite robust with little fleas and bugs crawling all over the place. Could it be he's just feeding on them and I do not have to worry? << Well it depends on what you mean by worry. I'd say don't worry. Yes he may eat a few things here and there, but that is to be expected. I'd think in a 12 gal tank you could remove him if you really wanted to. >> I guess I'd like to catch him, just to be sure. With the tank pretty much empty, I could also just pull out the rock and dip it. But so far, it seems, no harm, no foul. << Exactly what I was thinking. >> However, I do plan to add maybe a goby and other critters (non-fish). So, maybe this is a good time to get rid of him . . . . what do you think? Is it mantis? Pistol? << I think you should bring this up on the www.utahreefs.com/forum site. Get some local input. Sounds like a mantis to me, but as you said that doesn't seem to be anything to be concerned about. Also, if you do get rid of him you'll find a buyer there. By the way, I too am in SLC would like to come get some pictures of him if I can. >> Thanks! << Stay in touch. >> Tom << Blundell >>

Fish predator - mantis shrimp? Hey Guys! I've had my tank for approx 11 months now, its a 5ft x 30" x 24" tank with some live rock. I've been stocking my tank slowly with fish here and there, but every now my fish just swim to the back and then they disappear overnight. so far I've lost a Naso/lipstick tank, 2 purple Firefish gobies, and an Anthias. I never find their bodies, they just literally disappear over night ... I test my ammonia, nitrite levels and they seem to be okay (i.e. usually 0 within the few days) At the moment, I have quite a large Radianthus anemone and some coral... at first I thought the anemone would've eaten my first disappearance (even though unlikely) but never thought much of it afterwards <doubt it is the anemone.. sounds like a large mantis shrimp to me> However, I was told that some shrimp are predators to fish. And I do hear a very very loud clicking sound every now and then (maybe once or twice a day). I've realized that that sound is coming from some sort of shrimp ? <yes probably a mantis shrimp>Is it true that this shrimp could be the reason of my disappearing fish? <yes>and if so, how do I find it and rid of it .. is there anything out there that eat these shrimp ?<you can either trap it...or purchase a large triggerfish or wrasse...they will quickly make a meal of him. Good luck, IanB>

Bloated gashed clown Hello <Hi there> I have had a maroon clown in My 200 gal FOWLR for 4 months now. I noticed early last week a gash in his side. he has eaten well since and other then the blemish he seems fine. <Likely a bump in the night...> yesterday he seemed a little bloated but it isn't unusual to see him that way after feeding. he seems to take in air during surface feeding and kinda "floats" but then seems fine. <They are called "clowns"...> Today I noticed a similar gash on the other side and he seems more bloated. he is still eating. <Maybe not a bump, but a crustacean would-be predator...> I thought it my be a mantis shrimp. I got some new rock a couple weeks ago but I have never heard any clicking whatsoever. The gash almost looks like it could be from the inside out. I'm not sure what to do. any ideas? <I would isolate this fish (in another tank or in a floating plastic colander) and try baiting out whatever might be hidden in your rock. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>

Re: bloated gashed clown Is it possible to have a mantis in the Tank with no clicking?? <Yes. Clicking is far more common with Alpheid shrimp/s... Some Mantis can make periodic loud smacking sounds... the "smasher" varieties> we haven't heard click one also, I have 5 green Chromis, an algae blenny, and 2 tangs with no marks??. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled and keep watch before I don the scuba gear and capture the clown out of the 200 gallon <It still may be that the clown's marks are from other cause... even repeated swimming into sharp objects... Bob Fenner>

Have we Mantis? & Chalk Bass Hi, <Hey, Mike G here> Is there a possible way in finding out if my tank has a mantis shrimp living inside of it? Is a chalk bass a ideal fish for a reef tank, and if so how many is a good number to purchase, and what sort of tank mates make feel comfortable? <Hmm...For some reason I don't think those two questions should be asked in the same sitting. Chalk Basses make ideal reef inhabitants. They stay small, are relatively docile, are hardy, and don't nip at corals. However, mantis shrimp do NOT make ideal tankmates of chalk basses, and certainly do not make them feel comfortable. Though, to find out if you indeed do have a resident mantis, you could simply go ahead and purchase a chalk bass. If it disappears without a trace, then you have a mantis. If not, then your reef is already stocked with a perfect inhabitant. (I DO hope you realize that I was just kidding) In all seriousness, check the following links for more information on mantis shrimp. Then, once you are sure that you are mantis-free, open up this email again and check the next links, separated by a line break, which contain information on chalk basses. Good luck, Mike G. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mantisfaq2.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/serranus.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/serranusfaqs.htm >

Follow up on Chalk Bass and Mantis Hey, thanks for the links I understand now. <No problem. Glad I could help.> I am not worried about having small mantis shrimps in my larger display tank, because I have a pair of extremely large sunrise Dottybacks. I was once troubled with a load of bristle worms, but the pair of orchids, sunrises, and one Sixline has kept the population in control. <They certainly have a habit of doing that. Just FYI, bristleworms are not necessarily bad to have in a reef.> However, in my small tank I've lost two fish. I stirred the sand and everything else.. just not a single trace. I think the flame Hawkfish did it, but it couldn't possibly consume a lawnmower blenny( the Banggais are fine).... <I seriously doubt the flame hawk did it, unless you found corpses and you've witnessed the hawk acting aggressively. Do you have any brittle stars, by any chance? They have a habit of consuming fish. (But so do mantis)> This is troublesome but thanks for taking your time.. <Not a problem. I wish you the best of luck. Mike G>

- Possible Mantis? - The WWM Crew, I have some problems with my 125 G reef tank (75 G sump). Recent deaths/disappearances include: 2 Purple Firefish, 1 Blood Shrimp, 1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, 10 Peppermint Shrimp, numerous hermit crabs (red & blue legged), and numerous snails. <I'd be checking on the floor behind the tank for those fish - they can and do jump out.> Also missing in action is my tiger pistol shrimp who is/was mated with a Blue Spotted Watchman Goby- although he has gone underground for long periods of time before. The goby seems to be in perfect health. I hear clicking noises at night- which could very well be my pistol, but I have a bad feeling that I have an unwelcome guest in my tank... <Well, just for starters, most mantis that "click" (smashers) are for one, not nocturnal (rather, the large majority are not nocturnal) and two, don't usually prey on fish; snails, crabs, shrimp yes. Also, the a large portion of the smashers are under two inches, so if you "had" a smasher, you would have seen it by now or wouldn't need to worry about it so much.> The tank is a new set up, but I used water, substrate, and live rock from my other reefs (35 G & 20 G). Also, added around 80 lbs of fully cured live rock from a reputable LFS. I bought a trap, but have only managed to catch an emerald crab and the goby (twice). <Mantis shrimp are smart enough that you can use any given trap mechanism exactly once - they are quick learners.> All my fish seem to be very healthy. (White Cheek Tang, Orchid Dottyback, 3 Flasher Wrasse, 2 Ocellaris Clowns) These deaths did coincide with the addition of 3 medium sized emerald crabs (AKA suspect #2). <And also worth of your suspicion.> I also found a hitchhiker urchin around the same time (AKA suspect #3). <Hmm... urchins don't really eat much more than algae, and certainly can't move quickly enough to catch a fish unless the fish were already dead.> Whatever it is, the snails were decimated rather quickly once the onslaught began. <Think this is coincidental... snail populations often thin out all on their own and may have nothing to do with why you lost the fish or other invertebrates. Mantis shrimp are wily predators, but they are not ravenous or unmitigated killers like the creatures in the movie Aliens. They typically only need a decent meal every couple of days and would not kill other stuff for fun or the sport of it.> Both cleaner shrimp acted strangely a day before their deaths. The usually very timid blood shrimp sort of went into convulsions for about 20 minutes on the substrate in the front of the tank and the skunk cleaner was antennae-less hours before I saw the tang eating his carcass. I think the tang ate him post-mortem. I hope. My parameters are so perfect that I am thinking about buying another test kit! My pH is @ 8.2 and my dKH @ 17. Lighting 3x175 W MH 2x96 W PC Actinic. I add a capful of Kent Marine Iodine every other day, basically following their recommendations, at the same time I add Calcium, Coral- Vite, Strontium & Molybdenum. I add calcium (capful) daily, and Essential Elements once a week. <Think this may be the clue we need - I don't recommend that anyone add things from bottles without testing first - have you tested for Iodine, Strontium, Molybdenum? If not, then how do you know you need to add them? If you're just going by the recommendation on the bottle, then keep in mind that it is in Kent's or whomever's interest that you buy more bottles of whatever... don't add anything that you haven't tested for.> Berlin Filtration with macroalgae, Red Sea Berlin Classic Turbo. What do the experts at WWM think? <I think you need to re-examine your own husbandry of this tank... I'm not saying you're not conscientious, but that you may have missed something. Shrimp don't usually go into convulsions unless something is wrong with their water. If it were being attacked by a mantis shrimp, you would have seen the mantis - it's not going to expend the energy to attack something and not finish it off right there.> Also, dumb question... Is it possible that my goby has mated with a mantis? <Neat idea, but I highly doubt it.> Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated... I have far too much time & $$$ invested not to fix this problem quickly. <As I mentioned... look down other avenues... I don't think you have a mantis shrimp which means the answer lies elsewhere.> Thanks so much, BJ Wincott <Cheers, J -- >

Unknown Creature in my Live Rock Dear Bob I was reading some of your articles on WetWebMedia web site in hope of identifying a living creature I have found in my Live Rock. I purchased this piece of Rock about a week ago and up until today have not noticed it. <Many surprises in this wild-collected material> The Creature appears to be striped and is about an inch and a half long with two long tentacles which appear to have its eyes on top - with 6 - 8 small feelers around the head area with lots of pairs of shrimp type looking legs - Seeing as I have no idea what this creature is I am not sure whether it is beneficial to my tank or whether I should replace this rock. It seems to be burrowing into the rock. I have called my supplier who seems to think it would be nothing harmful but on closer inspection I am not so sure. I am relatively new to salt water aquariums so any suggestions to what this creature may be would be appreciated Sincerely, Hayley Weighill <Hmm, unless I'm very sure of an unknown creature's identity, likelihood to cause damage, I'm inclined to leave it be, and hope for the best... This may well be a type of worm, crustacean (amphipod)... even a stinging-celled form of life... Keep checking on it, its growth, apparent feeding... and enjoying it, till experience changes your mind otherwise. Bob Fenner>

Re: Unknown Creature in my Live Rock Thanks you very much for your swift response - with further study of this creature we have determined what it was and just thought that I would write to let you know the outcome of our findings - May I thank WetWebMedia.com website for the useful information that I found. The unknown creature that we found yesterday living in our live rock was no other than a MANTIS SHRIMP. We managed to get it out of the rock and we returned it to the fish store in which the rock was purchased. One of the gentlemen there has a mangrove tank and has taken it home to care for it. Many thanks for your help. Sincerely, Hayley Weighill <Ah, good news all the way around. Congratulations on your hunting prowess. Bob Fenner>

Salt mystery Bob - Thanks for your reply to my 'mini mantis/brown hair/ hermit homicide' note. Good news ... I think I may have 3 or 4 of the original 5 hermits [instead of the 2 the that I reported]. The way they trade shells its hard to tell who's who. I'll take your advice though and attempt to find the "mystery predator" of hermit #1 before adding more livestock. The first LFS question I get is "do you hear clicking at night?" the answer is "no" [so far]. Would a mantis large enough to 'take down' my blue legged hermit always signal its presence with a 'clicking noise'? <Ah good, and no to absolutely hearing (or even seeing) Mantis Shrimp (stomatopods)> Regarding topping off. My system is at 1.0215 SG and my target is 1.023. I know that freshwater top off is the recommended practice. However, I've been adding prepared 1.023 water and checking daily for an SG increase. Two weeks and about 2 gals of this practice hasn't moved the SG up. <Takes a long time with the stated practice... just top off with straight freshwater... this will even take a while> There's also been a 5gal [system 37gal w/ 50#LR] 1.023 water change during this time. My understanding is that salt doesn't evaporate and therefore its concentration increases as evaporation occurs. Does it matter if the SG sample is taken from the top or bottom of the water column [the system has active filtration/skimmer/power head currents] ... Is there an aspect of start up tank biochemistry countering my attempts to raise SG? <Hmm, well this is actually a matter of density, not really salinity... And you are adding other dissolved solids in the way of foods, supplements... You understand there is more at work here... Read over the salinity piece on the www.wetwebmedia.com site please... And do keep making partial water changes... best way of assuring homeostasis> As always ... thanks in advance for your insight! Tom Stecik, Dallas <A pleasure. Bob Fenner>

What's that clicking sound? Every night when my lights turn off I can hear a faint clicking sound coming from the tank. The tank has 72 pounds of Manano live rock that was cured 3 months ago. There are numerous snails and red legged and left handed crabs. I have a Percula clown, yellow tailed damsel, purple tang and a flame angel. Occasionally I find a dead crab floating on the bottom of the tank. My fear is that the clicking noise is a mantis shrimp and the occasional dead crab was its dinner. I was wondering if you have any insights as to what this noise could be and if it is a mantis shrimp, what should I do before it kills a fish. Note: I never hear the clicking sound when the lights are on and I start to hear it immediately after the lights turn off. Thank you. Rob <<Hmm, could be a Mantis (order Stomatopoda), an Alpheid Shrimp (Pistol), or one of many other possibilities. Generally a Mantis would smash, pulverize the remains... even if it were a small specimen, so I don't think it is one in this case. If it were me, I'd either put out a meaty bait (in the front corner of your tank) at night in the end of a tall, narrow glass, like an olive jar) or go ahead and rent or buy a "live mouse trap" from the local fish store, or the Home Depot/Lowe's, and bait it the same... and see what comes out at night. Bob Fenner >>

Mantis Shrimp link While touring WWM, I stumbled on the mantis shrimp page and was just fascinated... not that I want one in my tank at the moment but... If you want to put up a web link, I found a good one: http://www.blueboard.com/mantis/ Lot's of color photos which show this beastie is perhaps the best looking "scourge" I've ever seen. Wouldn't mind keeping one all by itself... Cheers, J -- <Thank you for this. Will add it to the Stomatopod/Mantis section. Bob Fenner>

Mantis pictures Do you have any photos of bristle worms or mantis shrimp that I can access? or do you know of any websites which would have pictures of these creatures. thank you <Yes, there is an assortment of these on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com under their associated names... and likely Links under their bibliographies, FAQs pages. Bob Fenner>

Stomatopod identification, Gulf Region Hi Bob, it's Pinky Finger again (feels a little weird to be sending this instead of posting to the forum...I'll shotgun this one out there too) <Good idea> As I've mentioned before, I'm setting up a Stomatopod species tank, from the Gulf region. Would you be able to recommend any good identification guides? <Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach's "Reef Guides"... s/b able to find from the e-tailers> The company operates on a "catch as can catch" basis in regards to 'pods, and I really doubt they'll be able to ID it for me, since they pointed me at the Lurker's Guide when I asked them. As always, your help is appreciated! <Hmm, there are four or so: Lysiosquilla scabricauda, L. glabriuscula, Gonodactylus oerstedii and G. curacaoensis...> Mike, btw, when I finally get this thing up and running (hopefully in about 7 weeks), would you like pictures? <Oh, yes. In fact, a website. Bob Fenner>

Crustacean ID site Hi Bob! Whilst looking over the Lurker's Guide to Stomatopods, I found this link: http://www.crustacea.net/delta/crustace/index.htm Thought this might be a good place for you to point those coming to you with: "What is this thing?!?" questions. Hope it helps! Mike, aka Pinky Finger <Thanks mate! Will post as part of the bibliog.. of Mantis (your faves) manana. Roberto F>

Mantis shrimp? Mr. Fenner, It's Phil again. While I was looking at my 3 gallon FOWLR tank I noticed 4 or 5 small shrimp, no longer that a pencil tip. They have a black strip on their backs. Are they mantis shrimp babies?? <Impossible to tell from here> I made sure there are no larger mantis shrimp in the tank, so after nearly 8 weeks after adding LR how did they just "appear"? <Can> Your guess is as good as mine. Hopefully this is my last question for a while, I must be driving you crazy. Best wishes to you and all of your aquatic friends. Phil <Take a look on WetWebMedia.com re crustaceans of all types... might be stomatopods... likely something else. Bob Fenner>

Parasite: to be or not to be <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> I just discovered a possible intruder in my salt tank. The tank is a 110 gallon, soon to be reef (it's in the early stages). The tank is only about two months old with a TetraTec 300 for filtration. Four feather dusters, six small clown type fish, turbo snails and some tiny hermit crabs make up the mainstay of the life in the tank. Here's the question, the intruder in the tank seems to be living in a piece of live rock and is at this moment feasting on a small turbo snail. This creature looks to me like a yellow/green long millipede and seems to be light sensitive. <<Have you seen the entire creature? Does it have visible eyeballs or does it look more like a worm? There are a number of possibilities and one is a scourge to some and pet to others [I have one], the Mantis shrimp - do check out the following links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomapods/mantisshrimp.htm http://www.tcnj.edu/~maughme2/faq.htm >> Any help you can give concerning what it is would be appreciated. I might have to extract the live rock to remove the critter if it's a predator. This creature in my tank must've come in on the live rock. what is it? <<Too many possibilities... do check those links.>> Thanks, Wes James
<<Cheers, J -- >>

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