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View Full Version : Would like some info on housing a mantis shrimp..


BrandonFlorida
01/20/2016, 10:02 AM
Well first off an old worker friend gave me a 90 gallon tank with light and return pump. Just wanted to know what kind of setup should be done in order to house a peacock mantis shrimp? It does not have a protein skimmer and here are my questions:

1. Will a 90 gallon be good for him, that is the size I have available

2. Will I need a protein skimmer and are they messy eaters?

3. Does the bottom on the tank need to be protected against his/her smashers since they need a burrowing spot?

4. Do they need food every day?

5. What is the best sand for them?

6. Do you use PVC for their burrow or do they make it themselves?

7. The tank is glass so is that something I should worry about?

8. Can you house pairs or is that a big no no?

I am sure that just about everyone who knows nothing about these types of animals always wants a peacock, yet im sure there are some other really cool species out there. Any other suggestions would be great, thanks for any reply's and any help you all can give me. I'd really like one of these being the tank is too small for a porky puffer.

EI Gringo
01/20/2016, 11:42 AM
1 fine
2 protein skimmers aren't essential but I recommend highly, they aren't particularly messy eaters but remove waste food when you see it
3 doesn't need to be protected for a tank that big I think, depends on glass thickness, wouldn't be worried if its sort of 8mm +
4 you cant overfeed them because they'll refuse food when full. Feeding every day will make them lazy predators, which is beneficial if housing with cohabitants, 2 or maybe 3 times a week they will actually eat
5 large coral rubble mixed with medium sized rubble is ideal, shove some large pieces in like shells etc and they like macroalgae to play with
6 Pvc is ideal, a 45 cm piece of 65mm pipe with an elbow at either end facing the same way replicates their natural habitat, darker pipe the better, they need to be able to turn inside freely and also need total darkness to hide
7 wouldn't be worried
8 that's a nope. They'll kill each other.

Any questions just ask!

Calappidae
01/20/2016, 12:11 PM
1. Will a 90 gallon be good for him, that is the size I have available
Perfect.

2. Will I need a protein skimmer and are they messy eaters?
I'd recommend it, O. scyllarus is heavily reliant on perfect water quality, which makes them difficult to keep long term. Having a skimmer would reduce the waste production and lower risk of shell rot. You can live without it but it could save your life.


3. Does the bottom on the tank need to be protected against his/her smashers since they need a burrowing spot?

Silicone a sheet or two of acrylic to the bottom of the tank. If they dig down they may keep going thinking it's a rock. It'll prevent this but chances are it won't happen.


4. Do they need food every day?
No and do not overfeed, any left over food will be left to rot in their burrow leading to water quality issues. Feeding 3 times a week is safe. In a 90 you're more flexible.

5. What is the best sand for them?
Aragonite or similar is good. You don't want too fine so they can't pick it up. There's rumor that black hawaiian/crushed coral bothers them after they molt but this is a subject nobody really thinks about.


6. Do you use PVC for their burrow or do they make it themselves?
Because you're going O. Scyllarus, this is a requirement , infact this is the downflaw of O. scyllarus because they cannot survive and molt properly without a proper burrow, which they can't build as massive in the home aquarium as in the wild. You need rubble for them to close up their entrance, and they prefer a U shaped design with two openings. Make sure at some point, they are in complete darkness inside the burrow. Black PVC would help with the darker atmosphere. The pipe size will depend on the specimen size, it's tricky but you gotta predict how big the specimen you're getting is so its legs can touch both sides of the pipe evenly.

If you can somehow drill a hole in the back of the pipe and add a small pump for water flow, that would be great.


7. The tank is glass so is that something I should worry about?
nah, bottom panel only.

8. Can you house pairs or is that a big no no?
The predator is prey to it's own kind, the answer is never.

L. maculata is the only kind you can pair but good luck finding a female to pair with.


I am sure that just about everyone who knows nothing about these types of animals always wants a peacock, yet im sure there are some other really cool species out there. Any other suggestions would be great, thanks for any reply's and any help you all can give me. I'd really like one of these being the tank is too small for a porky puffer.

In a 90, it's very huge for any other species really. You can use it for species like O. Havanensis, but even that can go in as small as a 10. O. scyllarus only needs a 40 breeder and that's the biggest by stomatopod standards, so you're going out of your way using an extra large system (honestly O. scyllarus can't possibly have a big enough tank, water quality and space is vital). I'd try him and if you have a sump system, you can have a littler species down there like N. wennerae.

There are other cool large species like O. Japonicus, but by availability standards go, O. scyllarus and L. maculata are the largest you'll likely encounter.
http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/arthropoda/crustacea/malacostraca/eumalacostraca/royslist/

Martini5788
01/20/2016, 07:32 PM
That peacock is gonna live like a king. With a 90 gallon, I wouldn't be worried about the glass. I have one and it is really
Thick. Put a piece of plexiglass on the bottom will give you peace of mind and won't hurt anything. With 90 gallons to work with, parameters will be a lot easier to control but I would get a protein skimmer when you can. I will never have a tank without a protein skimmer ever again, too many water changes and worrying about parameters. With the height of the 90, it will be easier to have tankmates, depending on personality of the peacock though. I would try it though, add a damsel and judge the reaction for a few months. Make sure you fully cycle the tank! And post pictures:)

Jlentz
01/21/2016, 12:33 AM
I've got my peacock in a 90 and he loves it. I just got a skimmer going on mine, up till now I had just an algae scrubber. I only run the skimmer for about 10 hours a day.

I just moved my tank and now only have a single damsel in with him. Before I moved it I had 2 damsels, 4 chromis, 2 fire fish, a blenny, and for a short time a coral nipping cbb I had to get out of my reef. He's way less reclusive now and I'm debating adding the rest of the damsels/chromis back into the tank. (He ate the fire fish, the cbb, and a I started out with 6 each of the damsels and chromis...)

I have a 3" abs burrow for him with retarded amounts of rubble. When I moved the tank I pulled out half a 5 gal bucket worth of it.

I do not have any acrylic in the tank and so far have not had any tank hits. I did plan out the burrow pipe to discourage any though.

BrandonFlorida
01/21/2016, 08:41 AM
Ok, lots of great info guys and gals, thank you so much for helping me out. Now this would just be a mantis shrimp only minus his live food and such. Anyone have any guides on making a burrow? Heck I would probably just pay someone who has housed them and have had success just make me one and I could pay them for it. I just know I want it to be as perfect as can be for my future buddy.

I use ocean water for my 180 reef, would that be suitable or would it be better to use synthetic salt? I will eventually get a protein skimmer for the tank since it is recommended.. Also any videos that anyone has used would be great.

when making the burrow and being that I want him to be smaller, will I need to make a new burrow to accommodate his growth? How does everyone on here deal with that aspect?

Thanks again for all the help. I really want to make sure every aspect is covered and anything that can happen that way I will kinda know what to do. I know I can always come here for help thou.

also if you have pics of your buddies I would love to see them and how you have created their home away from home..

nmotz
01/21/2016, 09:09 AM
Welcome Brandon, I have a Peacock in a 40 gallon breeder that I made a video about on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27ejOxSlTQY

I'll summarize a few things for you:

-My set-up is very simple in the video, since then I've replaced my HOB filter with a protein skimmer, and I agree with Martini in that I'll never go back. Protein skimmers just really enhance the cleanliness of the tank, which is essential for a Peacock. You can still be successful without a protein skimmer, but it's harder long-term in my opinion.

-I'll echo some of the other comments. PVC is important for a Peacock, but you can make it look a little more natural by coating it with epoxy and aragonite as I've done in the video. There are others on this forum that could probably share some pictures of their work too. The user 'Kharn' in particular is really good about "decorating" a mantis shrimp tank.

-Only one area of slight disagreement for me, I don't think any plexiglass or acrylic panels are necessary in a tank that size. It's just superfluous. Peacocks are going to try to hit everything at some point, even the glass, but they won't just work on it over and over until they break through. Mine hits the glass all the time and it isn't a problem (for some perspective, my glass is 0.5" thick). If you want to be more cautious, that's certainly ok, but I just don't think it's necessary in the end.

-I recommend high flow in the tank to keep nasty stuff (including uneaten food) suspended in the water column so it can be skimmed out. Mantis shrimp are indeed messy eaters. When mine eats emerald crabs there are pieces everywhere.

-I also recommend keeping things as simple as possible. Tank, good powerheads for high flow, protein skimmer, light, you're done. Unless you want a fully stocked tank with fish and everything, you really don't need to run carbon, GFO, have reactors or other craziness going on. Having said that, if you want to increase overall stability and tank cleanliness, I recommend growing some kind of macroalgae to absorb excess nutrients and get an automatic top-off system at some point (this is to keep the salinity from changing all the time). You can add those things later on if you want as they are not essential right away. If you want to grow macro in the tank, I recommend red gracilaria or something more attractive, but having a small refugium (either an HOB or in the sump) to grow chaeto algae is more effective in my opinion (see video link above).

Martini5788
01/21/2016, 09:37 AM
I would probably use synthetic salt, but I know kharn uses ocean water. I think it will depend on where you live. Kharn lives somewhere on an island and it is the natural habitat for peacock mantis. But if you are using it for your reef it would probably be just fine. As far as the burrow goes, it's pretty straightforward. I would get a PVC pipe of various diameters. Coat the outside of the tube in silicone, roll it in dry aragonite sand and let it cure for a week. When you figure out what size mantis you are getting, you can choose the best size for that mantis. Put liverock
On top of the PVC pipe. I wouldn't make your rock work permanent so you
Can change the pipe out as the mantis grows.

BrandonFlorida
01/21/2016, 10:05 AM
I would probably use synthetic salt, but I know kharn uses ocean water. I think it will depend on where you live. Kharn lives somewhere on an island and it is the natural habitat for peacock mantis. But if you are using it for your reef it would probably be just fine. As far as the burrow goes, it's pretty straightforward. I would get a PVC pipe of various diameters. Coat the outside of the tube in silicone, roll it in dry aragonite sand and let it cure for a week. When you figure out what size mantis you are getting, you can choose the best size for that mantis. Put liverock
On top of the PVC pipe. I wouldn't make your rock work permanent so you
Can change the pipe out as the mantis grows.

Ok so that makes it a bit more difficult. So as he grows so will my PVC. I see. I will have to try and find some videos on making this PVC. I want a small MS once I do buy one.

I would love to see this guy Kharn chime in and maybe show me his tank creation to give me inspiration.. Thanks for your help

Jlentz
01/21/2016, 10:13 AM
I just went for the 3" pipe and gave him a lot of rubble to fill it in as he pleases. He's been taking a bunch of sand inside as well.

BrandonFlorida
01/21/2016, 10:31 AM
I just went for the 3" pipe and gave him a lot of rubble to fill it in as he pleases. He's been taking a bunch of sand inside as well.

So you just stuck with one size? So if I got a really small one I could just do 3 inch and be good?

nmotz
01/21/2016, 12:03 PM
So you just stuck with one size? So if I got a really small one I could just do 3 inch and be good?

Yeah you can, but in the wild they do choose a place that they fit into a little better. In other words, you would not usually find a mantis living in a gaping hole in the rock. They'll usually find something that fits the contour of their body.

BrandonFlorida
01/21/2016, 12:45 PM
So being it will be a mantis shrimp tank only, I could just do a 2 inch and a 3 inch correct? I think four feet could accomplish this or has anyone tried this yet?

Martini5788
01/21/2016, 05:08 PM
Actually that sounds like a great idea. Do 2 islands, one PVC under each of different sizes. Most people put them in smaller tanks so having a 90 gallon to work with gives you a lot more options.

Jlentz
01/21/2016, 07:30 PM
http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160122/37bdbb8f480a3d19aa3087ec24e16d9b.jpg
Here's mine. I did three entrances because that fit best. He blocked up one of them with rubble before I moved the tank and he's not done any blocking up after the move. I'd seriously considered the glued sand when I pulled the tank apart but I kind of like the coralline growth over the bare abs.
http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160122/625b339be9d5775c453c8d46681edd96.jpg

BrandonFlorida
01/25/2016, 06:51 AM
Man I am trying to get the women to let me put this tank in the bedroom but so far its not working. I still have to clean it out and then I will try again.. Thanks for all the info ladies and gentlemen..

EI Gringo
01/25/2016, 08:45 AM
If it's a peacock you're keeping then don't put it in the bedroom because mine kept waking me up, she was very active at night and randomly smashed at the glass for no obvious reason as soon as the light went out

Calappidae
01/25/2016, 11:06 AM
Who needs an alarm clock?

Nothing was better than the time my O. scyllarus hit the glass and my father came upstairs looking for a burgler after it woke him up.

BrandonFlorida
01/25/2016, 11:31 AM
Ok, so should I not put it in the bedroom? Noisy little guys huh?

Martini5788
01/25/2016, 11:33 AM
Ok, so should I not put it in the bedroom? Noisy little guys huh?


Yes. Punching punching punching. All the time. I agree, no bedroom

BrandonFlorida
01/25/2016, 12:51 PM
Ok thanks for the heads up. Im sure the wifey would not be happy with a bunch of punching lol

Jlentz
01/26/2016, 04:18 AM
Mine is downstairs in the living room and I can still hear him going to town on things in my bedroom from time to time. Don't put it in the bedroom.

nmotz
01/26/2016, 08:56 AM
Yep, my old Peacock was around 5-5.5" or so (not yet full grown) and his strikes could be heard across the house if I didn't close the door to the tank room, especially if he was working on a tough snail. Noisy lil' critters for sure.

Fishmas
01/29/2016, 09:15 AM
I would avoid abs and use pvc. Some abs pipes have mould inhibitors in them as they are used for drain pipes. Pvc can be used for drinking water so no additives to plastic. The photo above looks fine but as cost is no different why chance it

BrandonFlorida
02/11/2016, 11:29 AM
Well looks like my idea has been shot down after several attempts to get the lady to accept this challenge. I do appreciate all the help and time you all put into this thread in order to help me out. One day I will get my PMS (lol) and I will come back to this thread with victory!

Thanks again, I will live thru all of your photos..

nmotz
02/11/2016, 12:36 PM
Well looks like my idea has been shot down after several attempts to get the lady to accept this challenge. I do appreciate all the help and time you all put into this thread in order to help me out. One day I will get my PMS (lol) and I will come back to this thread with victory!

Thanks again, I will live thru all of your photos..

Maybe start with a smaller tank/budget and the wife would get on board? It was hard for my wife to accept me getting into this hobby too. Ultimately she was just concerned about me pushing her out in favor of some activity. Now it's just important that I show her that she's more important than my hobbies (including mantis shrimp/reefing). As long as I can demonstrate my devotion to her, she's usually willing to tolerate my crazy interests, haha. Best of luck to you, Brandon.

EI Gringo
02/14/2016, 02:30 PM
Well my girlfriend was fine with me assembling a floor to sealing aquarium rack in our living room so I think I must be fairly lucky :L