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Halfpikant
01/28/2016, 03:35 AM
Hey everyone,

I've been reading this forum for about a month now because I'm considering starting a saltwater aquarium to house a mantis shrimp.
When reading on Roy's list I noticed that most stomatopods like eating snails, fish, crabs etc. My LFS adviced me to maybe keep a sea urchin in the same aquarium to help with biological cleanup. Is this a good idea? Does anyone have experience doing this? If yes, can you recommend a species of sea urchin?

I currently don't have a tank. I'm considering getting a red sea max 170 or 250. I'm making all decisions based on eventually acquiring a peacock mantis shrimp. I might start with a N. wennerae because these seem easier to keep for a beginner, but I don't want to have to upgrade everything when I switch to a larger mantis shrimp.

Thanks in advance!

EI Gringo
01/28/2016, 05:49 AM
First thing I'd say is that sea urchins are pretty useless as a clean up crew compared to shrimp and hermits, secondly if the mantis wants to eat it then it probably will. I'd just go with a load of tiny hermit crabs and small cerith snails if you want a large smasher and chuck a load of river shrimp in (live food). After that try feeding it frozen daily or every other day and it should just accept the food. If it wants a snack on live food it will 9/10 go for the river shrimp which are pennies each, hope this helps!

MrsReefK
01/28/2016, 05:52 AM
First thing I'd say is that sea urchins are pretty useless as a clean up crew compared to shrimp and hermits, secondly if the mantis wants to eat it then it probably will. I'd just go with a load of tiny hermit crabs and small cerith snails if you want a large smasher and chuck a load of river shrimp in (live food). After that try feeding it frozen daily or every other day and it should just accept the food. If it wants a snack on live food it will 9/10 go for the river shrimp which are pennies each, hope this helps!


Why is an urchin pretty useless? They outrun shrimp/hermits on algae all day long. May not be the right fit for this tank, however overall a good algae eater.

nmotz
01/28/2016, 09:14 AM
Why is an urchin pretty useless? They outrun shrimp/hermits on algae all day long. May not be the right fit for this tank, however overall a good algae eater.

Everyone is going to have their own individual preference as far as clean up crew goes. Bottom line with any mantis is that it is really hard to know for sure what your individual specimen will, or will not kill and eat. I would say that most well-fed mantis shrimp would not bother an urchin, but then again I've never had an urchin in any of my tanks.

I do agree that in general snails and hermits are better CUC members. Of course, the mantis will like to eat those, but that's part of the fun in watching them hunt their pretty. I love watching my Peacock dig around looking for snails.

You'll also discover that your mantis shrimp may leave certain types of snails or crabs alone. For instance, I recommend a large (1" diameter or greater) Trochus snail for algae clean-up because they can right themselves if they fall off a rock or something, and many mantis shrimp won't be able to crack them open. I have one and my Peacock ignores it completely in favor of small turbo snails and dwarf ceriths. He also really likes ghost shrimp (feeder shrimp), any small crab (emeralds especially) and live brine shrimp.

Whatever you put in the tank is trial and error. If the mantis eats it, try something else. You'll find something that works for you eventually!

Halfpikant
01/28/2016, 11:19 AM
Thank you all for the info. I guess I will start with a standard cleanup crew like nmotz suggested. Just a question about feeder shrimp:

Do you also have to feed the feeder shrimp? If the mantis is not hungry you dont want starved feeder shrimp remains in the tank I suppose.

nmotz
01/28/2016, 11:34 AM
Haha, well my Peacock just kills them all right away so I have never had to worry about feeding them! I think the idea is that you only buy a few at a time, not like 50. Most of the feeder shrimps in the hobby are the fresh water variety so they won't live terribly long in a saltwater tank. In the wild they are brackish, which means they breed in freshwater estuaries but may spend time as adults in saltwater marshes. Bottom line is that I've never been very successful at keeping any of them alive in a saltwater environment. The good news is that they eat everything. Pellets, flakes, frozen shrimp, whatever.

EI Gringo
01/28/2016, 11:49 AM
I have a vivarium with a small pond, in the pond I have 3 river shrimp, haven't fed them anything in about 6 months and they are still fine, they must pick at tiny amounts of algae and that's enough to keep them going so don't worry about starving feeder shrimp :L