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FAQs about Mantis Shrimp Systems

Related Articles: Mantis Shrimps

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

New mantis tank; stkg., sel.       1/24/15
<Hi Aaron>
I have a 30 gallon marine tank with live sand, and a small piece of dry rock for several weeks now (salinity, temp , nitrates, etc. all in order).
I wanted an easy tank that is also not pricey so I decided to go with a species tank for a mantis shrimp (chiragra, already found a local supplier).
<G. chiragras are hardy but they are also very reclusive and not interactive. Incredibly interesting in their own right but do not expect G. smithii levels of interaction.>
I already have spent time on how to care for it but I am wondering what I can use to fill the tank. I don't want to have to buy a ton of live rock, and I'm okay with some dry.
<Ample rock should be provided but PVC pipe can be used in place. It is paramount that the G. chiragra is able to completely seal itself off during molts and at night to a lesser extent. Rubble needs to be provided to seal off pipe ends.>
My main issue is that I don't want the tank to look dull, instead of expensive coral, is there any easy to grow coral or macro algae, that will be hardy and easy to reproduce.
<Plenty of soft corals will meet your requirements and subdued lighting required for the mantis. Capnella sp, Sinularia sp, and Xenia sp would work. Halymenia sp are a more colorful species of non-invasive macro that are readily available.>
This is my first saltwater tank and I don't want to sink a lot of money in it.
<Easier said than done.>
Open to all suggestions, thanks
<I'd look into a more active and/or interactive species of stomatopod if you're not dead set on a G. chiragra.>

Mantis shrimp     10/20/14
I have an empty 30 gallon tank, and would like to acquire a mantis shrimp (Neogonodactylus oerstedii, only reaches about 3 inches) , I already have a website that will ship to me, and researched mantis shrimp care. However, this will be my first salt water tank (though I have had success with brackish). I know how to feed the shrimp, and have local food suppliers.
But I need technical info. I do not know the temp, ph level, or salinity (I know it is 33-36 PSU but I do not know what that stands for on my salinity gauge). Any basic info would help me, thanks.
<Kept these at university (Gonodactylus oerstedii back then...) and they're very hardy. Basically, a standard fish-only aquarium kit is all you need, with dividers if you plan on keeping more than one per tank (we used a DIY approach with plastic mesh for this). External canister filter, a skimmer if you want. Temperature around 25 C/77 F is fine. Lighting irrelevant.
Salinity anywhere within the normal range, but 1.025 at 25 C is ideal (the PSU is a measurement of salinity, i.e., salt concentration, which aquarists rarely worry about; specific gravity is a much easier proxy, for which a
hydrometer will work nicely where these hardy beasts are concerned). Tufa rock or similar for hiding places. Secure lid probably important though ours never got out (unlike the crabs we kept...). Feeding as per the
family, with small molluscs and crustaceans being favoured (they're "smashers"). In short, if you can maintain reasonably steady conditions, you'll find these Mantis Shrimps easy to keep. Cheers, Neale.>

Mantis shrimp; sys. & stkg./sel.       8/28/14
Over the last year I had watched the Video true facts about the Mantis shrimp the ones shown in that were up to a foot long.
<A few are, but most are much smaller>
Upon recent internet searches I learned about a much smaller species (Pseudosquilla ciliate) and
I was hooked. I found a local store that caries them occasionally and I would like to pursue getting them. I have two near empty tanks both 30 gallons (a freshwater rectangular one, and a brackish octagonal one). I am prepared to drain, clean, and purchase new d├ęcor, but I have one concern,
they are both glass. The common mantis shrimp only get s about 5 inches long, yet the still can punch (a foot long ones punch is equivalent to a .22 caliber bullet, If you don't believe me look it up). What are the odds of them (on purpose or accident) punching through the glass. If not can the spearing variety do the same? Or would they be less likely to do so? Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks, Aaron
<Not likely of either type to break glass tanks of the size, shape you're considering. I give you very good odds here.
Bob Fenner>

Very Deep Sandbed; Mantis sys. f'       4/16/13
After keeping several stoma<to>pod species most of the local shops know I'm about the only person in the area who keeps them.  Friday I got a frantic call from one of the guys and the wholesaler decided to toss in 2 stoma<to>pods
into the order.  I drove out and saw they had an adult smithii which I happened to be looking for and had a 10g already being prepped so I grabbed him.  The other was small zebra about 3 inches long which I was hesitant to take since I didn't have a tank that would really be able to handle it's unique sand requirements.  After hearing my issues with talking about it I was cut a good deal on a 47g column which as it grows I can most likely plumb into a sump for extra water volume.  It didn't really hit me how much sand
<And mixed rubble... need for stability/tunneling>

would be needed to setup for this thing and according to the sandbed calculator on reef central said 375lbs to hit the 20 inch mark.
<Mmm, I'd stop at eight inches or so>

 I've never had a sandbed remotely this deep and I'm starting to wonder will the tank be able to handle that much sand? 
<Is dangerous... too heavy and trouble w/ not enough water to filter, offer for gas exchange>
Water weighs a lot as well so I think I should be fine, but after doing some Google searching I can't really find too many (any) setups that have this sort of sandbed that aren't part of larger custom systems.  Since I'm in an apartment I just want to cover my bases before risking a blowout and possibly having to break down all my tanks.
<I agree w/ your concern... would limit; no need for more>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Very Deep Sandbed      4/16/13

Yeah I have varied grade sand from sugar fine to some coarse stuff and some crushed coral to allow for stable tunneling.
<Ah good>
  Why stop at 8 inches?
<Is sufficient depth, and for the size, shape tank you mention, leaves enough water volume>
 I mostly ask after reading care for zebras from Dr. Caldwell and talking with Kharn who  keeps some 20+ species including L. malculata and both say to do a sandbed 1.5x the animals length which can reach 15 inches.
<... Won't get this larger here>
 One of the setups mentioned had the 20 inch sandbed and only a few inches of water.
Right now the specimen is only about 4 inches, but I have concerns about trying to layer sand up over time as it grows trapping a lot more waste in the sandbed versus starting with a sandbed that will support an adult.
<... Up to you (of course)... have stated what I would do, and the rationale for it. BobF>

Coo Coo for Stomatopods, sys.    3/8/11
Hey there all! Must say your data base has been of big importance to me, as I plan to set up a Mantis shrimp tank for my very first salt water tank! I previously sent an email about livestock for a 30 gallon Bio cube and overall stocking. I guess when it comes to keeping fish (and crustaceans) I can get a tad ADD towards which fish I'm going to try and keep (so many wonderful creatures out there) SO, I finally decided to specialize a tank for a mantis shrimp, as my love for crustaceans is somewhat stronger than fish... don't ask why....haha. So a couple oh questions here, if you gents and ladies don't mind!
Of course you cant miss the stories of mantis shrimps breaking glass aquariums when heavily researching these cool critters! Is such a tale, or fact, possible?
<Possible, but not likely>
Do they REALLY have a punch that is a little less than a .22 bullet?
<Some sources state such. Definitely powerful... Have seen break thick mollusk and crustacean shells>
More specifically I'm talking about the most commonly found (or at least by me) sold mantis shrimp, /Odontodactylus scyllarus, /aka the Peacock mantis! If their so popular because of their color (and
<And common-ness>
but are apparently known to punch through 'yer' water box, then how are they so popular? Last time I checked, a 30 gallon acrylic tank was not the least bit cheap compared to the glass counter part! I know their intelligent and all, so their not going to go around on a random blitzkrieg hammering the glass to pieces (or at least not the most common spectacle), but could an accidental blow to the glass ruin all the money and time invested into the tank?
<Not really likely; no>
I really haven't found more than two printed accounts of a peacock mantis breaking an aquarium, but other than that I only hear people mimicking each others 'it will smash up your glass' speech. The reason for my rant is because a 29 (29 gallon) Oceanic Bio cube is probably the most cost worthy, well priced, all included, decent tank out there, and it seems to beat the overall cost of piecing together all the parts necessary for something similar.
I know /Odontodactylus scyllarus /get to be some of the largest ones out there but from what I've read, heard, talked about, it seems the common tank size for such would be 25 US Gallons. Obviously bigger is better, which is why I'm asking about housing it in a 29 gallon. If glass breaking is a common thing with this species, I really wouldn't want to chance one missing blow on an emerald crab and wasting about 250$....not to mention corals and such.... SO this brings me to the last part of your torturous journey of reading! I went through a website that had a page of about 50 different Mantis shrimp species, each with its specifics etc...etc... etc.. And after much reading I found a couple of other 'smaller' to medium sized species. /Gonodactylus smithii, //Gonodactylaceus glabrous,// Gonodactylellus viridis, //Odontodactylus latirostris,/ just to name a couple/. /The only thing I'm not so keen on with the smaller 3-4 inch species, is I would really like to see them, and I just kinda assume it would be hard in a 30 Gallon, but PLEASE do correct me if I'm wrong! Also, with smaller smashers in mind, is it or has it been known that smaller species wont go after fish nearly as much as crustaceans? The reason why I asked, is because throughout the 56 you tube videos I watched of mantis shrimp most were being housed with damsel's. Maybe they were coexisting as id think a mantis wouldn't be as eager to try and snatch a grumpy and slightly sadistic damsel as fast as it would a slow..er..ish ...emerald crab. I'm sure your allays running a risk, but if you keep your mantis well fed I would think they could coexist. If so, or not (I may give it a try), this is one of the possible pluses I see of keeping a smaller mantis, along with the assurance that a smaller mantis couldn't possibly crack open the tank.....right?
(then again, anything's possible). Do you folks have any idea as to what mantis might be suitable for such a tank?
<There are MANY... easy to likely find a "donor" and try it out (Craig's List, your local livestock fish stores...)>
Id like to stay away from spearers, of course color would be nice, and key of all would be activity level, as if I wanted to have a pet that doesn't do anything or just sits in a cave or no where to be seen, I might as well have a pet rock.....I mean don't take that the wrong way, but I like a good creature that you'll actually be able to see! If only at feedings, I'm cool with that, but the more active the better! And one last thing!
Another reason why I'd fancy myself a peacock is because they seem to be much more veracious than its smaller counter parts...then again I haven't seen to much footage of anything else but Peacock mantis' ...
I hope I didn't bore you too much, or give you a seizure from staring at a screen or trying to answer such a long question! I hope the size of this paragraph (.no no...more like essay?) didn't scare you or waste too much of your time! But I really appreciate any feedback and look forward to some info to feed my Stomatopod fueled rage!
<I think you'd/you'll be fine w/ a glass tank here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Coo Coo for Stomatopoda  3/9/11

Thanks (Dr. ?) Mr. Fenner! I once again apologize for such a long message, and I also appreciate your response! Sounds like a 29 gallon Biocube might be the way to go, and also with a beautiful Odontodactylus scyllarus. Hopefully he doesn't get to frisky and try to drill through the glass..... I'm kinda highly doubtful as I said before that if they were commonly known to do so, then wouldn't that make them a tad bit less popular? anyways I had one last question. Is it possible that when I'm stacking my live rock that if I make a cave or hollow out a burrow in the centerpiece, and when I introduce the mantis (possibly letting it go in front of the cave) that it will bolt for the desired half way premade hole?
<Yes. Just do set the principal/larger rock directly on the aquarium bottom... to prevent toppling by undermining/digging; i.e., not on top of the sand/substrate>
I suppose its up to chance and the mantis at that but didn't know if there was any light you could shine on it.. OH! and are the peacock mantis' often found roaming around even before or not during feedings?
<In the wild, yes, at times, places they're very outgoing. In captivity, with time, familiarity likewise they are more forthcoming>
Or are they known to just sit in their burrow all day, and only come out during feedings? Thanks once again!
<Welcome. BobF>

Hey crew, its salt water time! Stomatopod keeping    10/15/10
Greetings my fine friends.
After much trial and error I feel like I'm officially a journeyman freshwater aquarium hobbyist (in no small part thanks to WWM). I'm now getting ready for my first salt water project and would like some advice
for the set up. I have decided to start with the cockroach of the sea, the mighty stomatopods. My research indicates that they are a hardy, robust species with only a few weaknesses (organic solvents?).
<They are indeed very easy to look after. Dangerous to your fingers, yes, but otherwise undemanding.>
So what I want to know is this:
1, Is this truly a good first saltwater animal?
<Was my first tropical marine invertebrate! Kept several species for long periods at university.>
2, What species would you recommend, my LFS is run by a old salt who could probably find me a dolphin if I were willing to pay for it so suggest away, and
<The Peacock Mantis Odontodactylus scyllarus is probably the most popular and easy to obtain thanks to its bright colours and fairly large size. The Zebra Mantis Lysiosquillina maculata is another large, strikingly
attractive species. Of these, the first is a "smasher" and the second a "spearer" so in the wild at least have different preferences in terms of diet, but care is identical under aquarium conditions. Various small
Gonodactylus are available as well; the ones I kept at university were Gonodactylus oerstedi. These are small "smashers" less than half the size of the species mentioned earlier. Since they're viewed as pests by "serious" marine aquarists, you may even be able to get a small Mantis for free if you can do a bit of networking among your local fishkeeping club, retailer or perhaps online.>
3, Finally how exactly would you set it up?
<Almost any basic marine aquarium will work. I kept multiple specimens in a large aquarium (55 gallons?) divided up into compartments with strong plastic mesh and filtered with a standard external canister. Not very attractive, but fine for lab work. As pets, a simple system with live rock and coral sand will do the trick. The only thing to remember is that Mantis shrimps are burrowers. PVC tubes work fine as alternatives to real burrows, but they do need some sort of cave.>
a. what type of tank would you go for? I'm looking at a all in one Biocube
type setup but I'm not settled on a brand.
<Cut according to your cloth. These are NOT demanding animals, and provided the tank is adequate for keeping invertebrates generally, and invertebrates of this particular size, it should be fine.>
b. live rock, live sand?
<Live rock certainly, if your budget allows, but live sand will be thoroughly burrowed into and likely heaped in one corner, so its practicality may be limited.>
c. size? I'm leaning towards 15g but its still up in the air.
<15 gallons should be fine for one of the little Gonodactylus, but I'd allow more space for the bigger species.>
d. any corals viable with the little guy?
<They ignore cnidarians and sponges, so sure, you can use corals if you want. But that adds a layer of expense in terms of lighting and water quality not particularly important to keeping Mantis shrimps. Plus, strong lighting will cause your Mantis to hide away. Ideally, the tank wouldn't be lit at all, of if it was, with something rather dim, like moonlight tubes.
I kept my Mantis shrimps with Beadlet Anemones, and these anemones bred like crazy, eating up the leftover particles of food, I guess.>
e, lighting?.
<The shrimps couldn't care less. Most species are nocturnal, dusk/dawn active, or at least very shy if they do move about during the day.>
f, treated tap water is fine for these guys right?
<Should be fine, provided water quality is reasonable, i.e., nitrates less
than 20 mg/l.>
My goal is a very simple, easily maintainable tank, a Zen garden with a tiny monster in the middle.
<I'll say!>
Warmest regards,
<There's a good scientific literature on keeping these shrimps in labs, so if you have access to such, you'd find that worthwhile. The "Lurkers Guide to Stomatopods" is a rare example of a scientific project that has spawned good, usable information for non-scientists, and is well worth a visit.
All in all, fantastic animals, sadly undervalued. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hey crew, its salt water time!   10/15/10
Thanks man, your prompt assistance is appreciated as always.
<Glad to help.>
So would a product like this truly be all that I need gear wise?
<Oh, sure, very nice for the right sized Mantis.>
I'm thinking Gonodactylus in a 14 gallon tank with 5lbs live rock and 10lbs mixed pinkie sized gravel.
<Sounds good. There are some medium-sized species in this genus that get to about 8-10 cm/3-4 inches, and those should be fine in there. You might even look at Pseudosquilla ciliata, a bright yellow, day active species.>
I would love to get a larger tank with a giant peacock, but the old lady put her foot down!
<I bet. Did you tell you pet could land you in the Emergency Room?>
About feeding, seems to me the common consensus is that they will eat dead meaty food easily enough but a weekly serving of live crustacean (for smashers) is best. Would fresh water crayfish from a bait shop be as bad an idea as I suspect that it is? What would be the best (read cheapest yet healthy) live food be.
<No live food needed. I fed mine using long forceps. Wiggle the food enticingly. These animals are VERY smart, and soon learn where "easy meals" come from. Doesn't take long to get them weaned onto such fare. I'm not sure I'd use live crayfish for the small species -- partly they may not be able to kill it, and partly you'd end up with so much decaying organic matter in the tank you'd ruin water quality. But plain vanilla river shrimp will do, and at least here in England you can buy them for about 5 pence (7-8 cents) a piece from the better aquarium shops. These are estuarine shrimps and live indefinitely in marine aquaria, so they're much less of problem in terms of water quality. Small live clams and mussels might be offered to "smashers". But otherwise, go browse your local Asian food market and stock up on wet frozen squid, cockles, clams, prawns and so on.
Unshelled shrimp is particularly good, but do bear in mind crustaceans and some molluscs (mussels in particular) are thiaminase-rich, so you want to either minimise their use in favour of thiaminase-free foods like tilapia fillet and cockles, or else use marine aquarium vitamin supplements.
Without the right diet, mantis shrimps exhibit a variety of shell deformities and moult problems.>
Thanks again Neale,
<Have fun with your pet! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hey crew, its salt water time!   10/15/10
Looking forward to it.
PS: Please don't tell the wife about the emergency room thing.
<So just for once, let's hope that's one person who doesn't visit WetWebMedia! Cheers, Neale.>

Mantis Reef Clean up crew 8/28/10
Hi Wet Web Media,
<Hello Peter,>
Peter writing here. I first would like to say I find your site very informative and useful. I have had a 70g corner fish only saltwater tank years ago for about 6 years before I left for work purposes. Now I have settled and put some roots down, I have started up a little 8g nanoreef aquarium; the information I have learned here was vital to learning how to properly run a reef aquarium.
<Thanks for the kind words, and glad you're having fun.>
I currently have a blue damsel (which I hope to trade in for store credit for something) in my 8g Biocube along with some tree coral, xenias, Zoas, and mushroom coral. But what I want to is want to keep a small smasher species of mantis shrimp for my nanoreef aquarium. What I cannot find and am interested in is what are your recommendations on a CUC for keeping such a small reef tank with the said mantis. I realize that any crustaceans and probably fish I may keep for the clean up crew are doomed as food for the mantis and want to spare the expense on CUC and the animals lives. I
currently use about 8lbs of live rock and 11 lbs of LS for filtration in my tank. All my water readings are pretty decent: 79 degrees Fahrenheit, 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrate, 8.2 ph, and about .10 nitrate at its highest. Do you have any recommendations for a clean up crew that can coexist with a smasher species mantis shrimp. Or do you think that my bioload is small
enough to keep a 3-4" mantis that I do not need a clean up crew at all.
Thanks for taking your time to answer the questions. I really appreciate what your crew does for all of us in the saltwater aquarium hobby.
Thanks a lot,
Peter T.
<I recall a joke on another forum to the effect that you can have any three tankmates you want in a Mantis Shrimp aquarium, and they're called "Breakfast", "Lunch", and "Dinner"! The 'spearer' Mantis Shrimps it is true tend to ignore molluscs and mostly feed on fish, errant Polychaetes, and crustaceans such as shrimps and hermits. The 'smasher' species take all these as well as gastropods and bivalves. Echinoderms are a mixed bag. Sea urchins will be eaten by some species, but brittle stars and starfish, especially the smaller kinds, tend to ignored. They aren't very meaty, and they also contain saponins that most predatory animals find distasteful. So those would be the best scavengers, to the degree that you need them at all, which you really don't. Mantis Shrimps are best kept in their own systems, and left to clean up behind themselves. Provided you don't overfeed them, there's no reason not to assume the usual live rock biota won't clean up any traces of food, and the polyps should take in any particulate matter in the water. I kept Beadlet Anemones with by Odontodactylus and Gonodactylus and they bred like crazy! As for 8-gallons, that's a pretty small tank, but for one of the small Gonodactylus species, should be adequate. Mantis Shrimps are incredibly hardy and widely kept in small systems as lab animals. Cheers, Neale.>
thanks: Re: Mantis Reef Clean up crew
Hello again Wet Web,
Thank you for the quick reply pertaining to my question about a CUC and mantis shrimp. Sorry about a grammar error in my last email. Must of been a late night for me. Anyways, thanks again ;)
<Glad to help, and your message was good enough for government work!
Cheers, Neale.>

Mantis shrimp? sys., sm. SW period  12/5/07 Ok so I don't know if y'all know much about mantis shrimp but here goes....So I told my LFS to order a small mantis shrimp for me for my tank. They ordered a peacock. Yeah, they get huge, about 5 inches. So anyways, I have a tom deco 3, <Three gallon... http://www.theaquaticdepot.com/tom-aquarium-products-deco-kit-3-gallon-nano-ree.html> would my mantis be fine in my tank, for now? He about 2 inches long...if so, how long do I have until he will grow to adult size? <Mmm, well... stomatopods are tough animals... but I give you very small odds of being able to keep this tiny volume stable-enough to keep even this alive. I strongly encourage your reading re "Nano" maintenance... and being VERY diligent re daily topping off, matching water spg exactly for regular water changes... Bob Fenner>

Re: mantis shrimp? Sys. and nano  12.8.07 I totally agree it will be hard but I have all the equipment and I am very good at topping off the water in my BC14 every week, if not twice a week. Ill tell you how it goes if you like? <Please do. BobF>

Sick Pet Mantis Shrimp   10/22/07 Hello WetWebMedia crew, <Maria> I really love your site and find it very informative and helpful. <Ahh, glad you find it useful> Now, I am an owner of a beautiful 7 inch peacock mantis. It lives in an 8 gallon nano cube with a yellow tail damsel. <Yikes. Glad I'm not this Damsel!> The tank has live sand and a few pieces of live rock that form a cave for her to hide in. Mantis shrimps are cool pets and have colorful personalities. However, my mantis has developed a brownish discoloration on its back. It started as a small round speck and is now getting a little bit bigger and oval shaped (around 2 millimeters). I read on the web that peacock mantis shrimps are especially susceptible to shell disease. <Yes> I am afraid that this is what my mantis may have. The sites I have visited suggest to feed the mantis everyday to encourage it to molt. <Along with iodine, sufficient alkalinity and alkaline earth content in its water... VERY hard to supply consistently in this small volume> They also said that by molting regularly they can get ahead of the disease. I have been feeding my mantis everyday (hermit crabs, snails, and frozen krill). I also read that keeping the tank light on can help expedite the disease. I have no idea if this is true. <Mmm, can... if adds stress, the "spots" are algal...> Lately, I have been keeping the lights off on her tank (unless I am feeding her). I have also been performing 2 gallon water changes on her tank every week to try to keep the water quality up. Any suggestions or tips on what I should do? I would hate to loose her. Do you guys think it may be shell disease? Thanks in advance. MR <Mmm, better environment... a bigger tank... what are your measures for Mg, Ca, Alkalinity? Do you supplement I2? Bob Fenner>

Hola amigo, mantis biz, biz of life... Hey Bob, <Hello James!> Questions... as usual So, the local mantis shrimps that they call shako are about 4 or 5 inches long and I can get them alive for a few pennies each at the marina when the boats come in. Actually I've been given several pounds for free - but they sell cheap at the market. I decided to bring a couple home, and I've kept two in a 25 gallon tank together for about a month now. Not only have they not killed each other, they haven't even noticed each other apparently. So, I'm wondering - you think there would be any money to be made by shipping some out? And would you have any idea at all about how I would get started trying to figure out how to do it, the legality of shipping critters from here, etc. I plead complete ignorance of the shipping transshipping aspect of the hobby/business from the supplier side... <Hard to say... there's such a strong anti-mantis sentiment in the hobby, that I suspect dealers would be wont to stock them... but worth a try.> Other stuff... Looks like I'm staying another year. I'm saving more than ever (no bills), I've got a couple of books going, and still enjoying the place quite a lot. I have taken your advice about rental/real estate to heart and plan to return will enough cash to get the future started right. I'm also toying around with the idea of starting a product line - but again that's something I'll have to learn a lot about before making any real decision to jump into business ownership again. Anyway, life is good. <Yes my friend... despite common practice/s in the U.S. at the federal to personal level, "everything starts with savings"... and cash will be more "king" as time goes by... keep saving> Hope you are doing well - say hey to Pete for me if you think about it, JF <Will do. Be seeing you, maybe back in Hawaii... am hauling out 8/9-31 if you can make it... then again in October. Bob Fenner> P.S. check out the eyes! very cool creatures <Neato> James W. Fatherree Minami Oohashi 3-4-1 Okimoto Kopo #502 Fukuoka-ken, Yukuhashi-shi Japan 824-0032 www.fatherree.com/james/yukuhashi/home.htm www.fatherree.com/james

Mantis Removed Hi Crew, Dave in China here again. I recently installed some LR into the tank; and after a day or so heard that glass cracking snap every once in a while that lead me to search the site. I have heard some lighter sounds in the past but much less frequent than this, and had 'things' completely disappear which has started me thinking as I write this. Anyway, after much searching in your FAQ and catching a glimpse of eyes at the end of storks on a new piece of rock, it was obvious that a MS was recently added unintentionally. I didn't react immediately as it looked from the glimpse very small. Imagine my fear in the morning when I saw this 2-1/2" to 3", I must say stunningly beautiful MS strolling around the tank. <Gorgeous, intelligent animals> My feelings of this cute little MS staying in the day before were soon re-evaluated in about a millisecond. I tried the bottle and food trick without success, but then he was startled by a fish, small fish may I add and to my surprise, but he shot straight back into the piece of LR and closed his door, which I also think is amazing. Again I had this urge not wanting to dispose of this fascinating creature, but the main tank has small fish, Turbo's, small crabs, cleaner and boxer shrimps etc, so had to make the decision to remove. I quickly grabbed the wife to watch the rock for bail out as I removed it from the tank. Then I thought about keeping him in the sump which I am slowly converting to be sump/refuge/Caulerpa growth area. <Good idea> The sump has (4) sections with a total capacity of about 30 US Gal. Section 1 has the skimmer, 2 has crushed coral and Caulerpa at the moment, 3 has crushed coral and 4 the pumps and heaters etc. I have placed the LR with MS into section 2 where the lights are on 24/7. So the questions:- 1) Do you think it is OK to keep the MS in the sump? <Yes> 2) Is OK with lights 24/7? <Should be> 3) Will the LR and other inhabitants suffer from the lights? <Some, yes> 4) In the absence of food what is best to give him? <Most anything meaty... the occasional (weekly, biweekly) live crustacean would be best.> Thanks as usual, Dave <Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Questions about nanoreef for Stomatopod Hello, all. I'm setting up a nanoreef for a smaller mantis shrimp such as Neogonodactylus wennerae (not about to go for a peacock -- I like my fingers too much). Anyways, what I've got so far are: 11 gal Via Aqua tank/lights, 20 lb live sand, 15 lb live rock, AquaClear 20 filter. Just set this tank up so it'll be a few weeks before it's ready for guests. A few questions: (1) I know I need a skimmer on this small of a tank, in addition to frequent water changes. LFS suggested a Prizm, which I set up, tried in vain to tune and/or quiet, and it's now going on EBay (Grr.. hack spit). After looking at FAQs belatedly I'm getting a Remora (quieter, better skimming). Is this too much skimming for this tank? <Oversized, but fine> I might put some hardy corals in here and perhaps a fish or two or three, depending on what the mantis "accepts". Is there such a thing as "overskimming"? <Yes, but not practically here> If it's "too much" should I just put it on a timer for a few hours a day? (2) Is there any "cleanup crew" that a small mantis might leave alone? <No> Small hermits and snails will be just so much mantis food. I've heard that turbo snails might work, if they're big enough. Thanks! Dan <Time, experience will tell. Bob Fenner> 

More than one mantis per tank? 5/6/05 Hello. Is it safe to house 2 small mantis shrimp in a 10 gal tank? I had 2 mantis shrimp housed together in a 10 gal tank with plenty of separate holes and caves for both. The larger we had about 4-5 months and the smaller about 1-2 months. Both ate well, especially the larger one (frozen shrimp, raw and cooked). <As voracious predators, these critters really benefit from a variety of meaty foods, with as much as possible being whole and with a shell. Small live fiddler crabs and crayfish are great treats and give these very intelligent mantis some much needed mental and physical stimulation! Frozen shrimp with the head (or at least shell) still on are better than peeled. Mysis are very nutritious staples. Cooked foods are never recommended for marine animals.> They had heat, little live rock and gravel, a power head and regular feeding and water changes. Sadly, the larger one died mysteriously. He/she was fairly interactive for a mantis. Last time I saw him he ate well and then he disappeared and I found him dead a few days later. I thought he was molting but I guess not. I really enjoyed him a lot and miss him. The small one is coming out of it's holes more now. Is it possible the smaller one killed the large one?? Thanks, Maria <It is possible that the smaller one killed the larger, but the battle scars would probably be very evident. It is more likely that age or poor nutrition played a bigger role. As for adding another... it is possible, but risky. Many of the territorial true shrimps (Mantis are in their own family<<Actually Order. RMF>>) will tolerate members of the opposite sex, but some will only do so during courtship and mating. Although they are not true shrimps, I would guess that mantis are similarly unpredictable. My best suggestion if you add a second mantis is to be prepared to quickly separate them in case of trouble. Also, if you do successfully make a pair and they mate, please let us know! Best Regards. AdamC.>

Quarantine tanks and Stomatopods Hi everybody, A small piece of advice please regarding QTanks and Mantis Shrimps please. I presently have a 180G simple reef system without QT, yes I know I know, that\u2019s the reason for this. Cut a long story short, I managed to catch a Mantis a few weeks back and asked Bob about placing him into my sump which he said I could. All fine. However, this creature is amazing and beautiful and has actually got me watching his activities just as much as the main system. In fact I quite enjoyed feeding the little guy (3") on hands and knees peering through the glass of the sump, so much so I decided to convert a 10G freshwater into a Micro reef.  I did this and got a 'Chinese' hang on skimmer (Not too good), internal canister and external power filter to try and emulate the best conditions I could. Put a few pounds of live rock in, a YT damsel and cleaner shrimp for other activity or live food in the case of the shrimp (4 weeks and still there however) and read up as much as I could on mini's. However, due to time, the not so good Chinese available equipment and my own knowledge more than anything; I am struggling to keep the correct parameters and maintenance regimes to keep this small system viable.  Therefore I had a thought as I would love to keep this guy, and the second mantis from the main system I noticed recently but not been able to trap yet, could I place this 10G alongside the main 180G, pump up from the sump of the main into the 10G, overflow back to the sump thereby using all of the same equipment and water quality from the main system?  In an emergency then I could also return the internal/external canisters onto the 10G with seeded inserts from the sump I would do, turn off the supply pump to the 10G, remove the live rocks with inserted mantis's back to the main sump, and use the 10G as a hospital? If not a hospital due to still not being able to treat with copper due to future overflows back to main, then at least a QT tank? As a final question about this, is it possible to keep (2) Mantis together in a 10G? Thanks as always from afar distant China. Dave >>>Greetings Dave! Quite honestly, that little system should be the easiest thing in the world to take care of. The lowest maintenance system I've ever had was a 7 gallon nano-reef sitting on my desk at work. You don't NEED a skimmer on a tank this size, ESPECIALLY for a Stomatopod! ("mantis shrimp") For one thing, the tank being so small, water changes are a snap which negates the need for a skimmer. Secondly, stomatopods are TOUGH little hombres! They are the roaches of the reef world (as far as hardiness goes) and you have to be quite negligent to kill one quite honestly. All you need for that little tank is a shallow layer of sand, some live rock, a heater, and a powerhead to give it some circulation. That's it! Whatever light you have available will work. Just change out 2 or 3 gallons of water every two weeks, keep it topped-off, and you're set. I certainly wouldn't go through all the trouble of plumbing it to the main system as you described. Small tanks are a snap, and I'd be glad to lend you further advice on the matter should have an more specific questions. Cheers Jim<<< 

Stomatopod question Hi Bob, Mike again (you should start handing out nicknames for all of us Mike's, easier to keep track of us that way) <Hmm, maybe> This may well be a question you've never had before. I thought that as practice for my eventual larger set up I'd keep a Stomatopod, given they're reputation as "cockroaches" of the sea I thought a smaller setup would work well. I've read the WWM postings on them and the Lurker's guide, plus whatever else I've come across in my wanderings. I was wondering if I could get the official Robert Fenner Stamp O' Approval on this for a species setup for keeping one of these buggers: An Eclipse system 12 for the tank and mechanical/biological filtration, a Pro-Heat Titanium Heater (no danger of broken glass there) <Good idea> A power head for additional current (300 gph?) <Okay> 20 lbs of substrate (I'm shooting for enough for it comfortably dig a burrow) <Make it "mixed grade" with some larger (pinkie finger, your new nick name btw) size pieces> 20 lbs of live rock 10 lbs of live sand I was thinking of ordering from Tampa Bay Saltwater and doing a pure Florida biotope setup, getting one of their 10 gallon packages. I'm aware that the included cleanup crew will probably be mantis food, <Yes> but one can always hope. I know bigger is better, but I'm looking for a small scale system to practice with, and I figure the work involved in keeping a smaller system going would be good training to create good habits for keeping my larger system. As crazy as this sounds I was also wondering about breeding them. Just how big of a tank would be required to keep multiple individuals, esp. Lysiosquillina maculata? <Several square feet of bottom per individual> I know they're compatible as pairs, but I'm not sure about most of the others. Well, I'm done rambling now, and as always, thanks! btw, I'll be ordering the Conscientious Marine Aquarist and A Fishwatcher's Guide to The Saltwater Aquarium Fishes of the World, Amazon upped the price on them by about $3.50 but now there's "free shipping" <Sounds reasonable> if you order 2 or more items. In the words of Paul Simon, "who do they think you foolin?". Anyway, it still beats the LFS's prices out here, the best I deal I could find was $55 for the softback on CMA. <Wowzah, I'm going to sell my copy! Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Thanks as always, Mike

Mantis questions Good night, I hope all is well. I checked your website about info on mantis shrimp, for after purchasing some live rock recently, I found one. thank God he was in a rock cave when I saw him. I immediately took the rock out, and after a test of patience I got him out. Right now I have him in a small cup which has access to the tank water, and is oxygenated and filtered. However, I feel badly for the mantis, because he seems so confined in the cup. I was wondering to what extent is he detrimental to my tank. <Mmm, depends on the species of Mantis... what else you have, intend to keep in your system.> I was wondering if I could release him back into the tank for now, without fear of losing anything. Currently my stats are a 10g, 9 lbs live rock, extremely live rock, with tunicates, Featherdusters up the wazoo, numerous worms, baby crabs, 2 hermit crabs, Caulerpa (doubt he'll bother that), a colony of small flower looking corals (forgive my ignorance, they came in on my rock, and I'm not sure what they are) , a small rock anemone, and barnacles. no fish. (if I get any it will be a fire goby, which I imagine then I'll have to remove the shrimp because he'll eat such a small fish) and I plan to get other inverts i.e.. stars, cukes?, and if any shrimp then Lysmata, maybe some other sessile inverts. but those plans are later. so can I safely release the mantis back into the tank until later? <If you don't mind possibly having to "fish" it out later> I don't want to kill him, give him to the LFS, because they'll kill him, and I don't have a tank for just a shrimp that's only a few inches long. Any help would be greatly appreciated. thank you, and sorry for the long post. Sincerely Erik  <No worries. Do consider having the Mantis as your primary "centerpiece" of this small system. It will likely eat any/all fish life introduced, but leave algae, most attached invertebrates alone. I am sending your note to a "Stomatopod fanatic" friend for his further input. Bob Fenner>

Re: mantis questions Hi Robbie, Consider yourself among the lucky, fishing the mantis out that fast. They are very interesting animals (I suggest you go to http://www.blueboard.com to learn a lot more about them) and very hard to catch in most cases. Mantis's come in 2 flavors: smashers and spearers. Spearers eat fish, smashers eat shelled animals, but both can and will eat the others preferred food. You can tell which is which by the shape of the claw, most that come in on live rock are smashers though. If you're willing to live with the loss of snails and hermit clean up crews, they make interesting pets. They won't hurt your corals, as an aside, it sounds like you Zoanthid polyps on your rock. I'm doing a 10g dedicated mantis tank myself. Dr. Roy Caldwell (THE mantis expert, he's studied them for well over 25 years) keeps them in containers in his lab, no filtration just dedicated water changes. If you do decide to keep it, please don't keep any fish in with it, it will eventually eat them. If you do decide to give it up, Reef Central (http://www.reefcentral.com) has a mantis shrimp board. Someone would gladly take the mantis off your hands, just be sure and get your shipping money up front, one individual shipped without payment, and is still waiting to get his money back. Heck, I'd offer to take it myself but I've already got 2 lined up and don't want to be greedy ; ) Mike (aka PF) (btw Bob, I'm deeply flattered that you forwarded this to me, you weren't kidding about that long ago threat were you? "hang around long enough and you'll be answering questions..." : ) ) <Thank you much for your input here Mike. Bob Fenner>

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