View Full Version : Stomatopod blitz!

03/26/2016, 08:40 PM
Ok, here's the deal. I've got no less than 5 mantis shrimp in the 306 pounds of Florida live rock I bought, maybe as many as 10. They are, of course, completely destroying my invert population. As an aside, I also have a couple (not many) bad crabs, and I've also seen at least 5 Cirolanid Isopods. All of these are things that I would like gone from my tank, obviously.

Compounding factors are:

A) The tank is cycled and there are inverts, fish, and coral that would be negatively impacted by causing a nitrogen cycle so I don't want to do things that will "kill" my rock or disrupt my system too severely.

B) The mantis are ignoring traps, likely because they're so well fed from my inverts, lol. Likewise the crabs and CI's aren't interested in traps or smelly water either. Right now food is just too plentiful in my tank for any interest to be generated.

C) If at all possible I want to remove the mantis shrimp alive. I'd like a species tank with a couple in it, plus I know I've seen at least 50 posts from people who would like to do the same. I'd happily donate my excess to that end for only the cost of shipping. The CI's can go down the crapper and the crabs may find a home in the sump, if there aren't too very many of them.

I've been doing a lot of brainstorming and reading. I fear that hypo/hyper salinity treatments would kill my rock. Likewise I believe would seltzer water. If I'm wrong on this point, someone please correct me.

The best idea I've read is suspending the rock over water and letting it dry, with water underneath, so that the shrimp (and crabs) make a dive for the water. This will likely be the death of any sponges/tunicates I have on the rock, but would it cause a massive die off of everything else? How long does it usually take for the shrimp to take that dive? Also, I doubt this would do anything for the CI's.

My original thought, a variant of this idea, is to put my rocks, one by one, into a 20 gallon at proper sg and temperature with normal flow. Inside this tank will be an eggcrate platform 10ish inches tall. On that platform I would set the rock. At that point could maybe force some directed high powered flow into the various cracks and holes in the rock to inspire the mantis, CI's and crabs to leave, the catch them in the open tank. Once each rock has been "cleared" I'd then put it into a separate 20 gallon, also at proper sg, temp, and flow, and leave it sit for a few days to listen for any telltale clicks/pops. Once cleared from that tank I could reintroduce it to the system in either the pump or fuge sections of my sump. Since I'm only removing two rocks at a time, and technically keeping them in the system for cycling purposes in the sump, I don't feel like this will cause a tank crash. I know once I get down to the bottom layer of rock I'll need to be super careful in not disturbing the sand, also to avoid tank crashes. Once the DT is cleared of rock, all the shrimp should be gone, all the rock should be living and happy. Yes, this is labor intensive. Yes, I think it would be worth it, if it would work.

The tank is 190 gallon. The sump is 75 gallon. I already have the two 20's set up as quarantines. So to implement this plan would only really require the construction of the platforms.

What I would like from all you fine people is experience and wisdom. Would/could this work? Would strong, directed flow be enough? Anyone ever attempted anything like this, with any success? Any modifications I should make to this plan, anything I'm forgetting?

I'm hoping that not only will I be able to solve my own mantis issues , but can possibly begin to create an almost guaranteed method of mantis/crab/CI extraction that is safe for the rock, the system, and the shrimp/crabs.

Fire away, I'd love all input!

03/26/2016, 09:19 PM
Ive heard submerging the rock in seltzer water will draw out mantis', never tried it but heard they hate it so that might be an easy "quick" way to get them out.

If you do manage to get them out, I might be very interested in having one shipped. Keep me/us posted as im sure anyone on this part of the forum would have a great home for them.

03/26/2016, 09:22 PM
Oh, I definitely be happy to ship you one!

I believe the seltzer WOULD work to remove them, unfortunately though I don't think it would be healthy for my rock. Trying to find a way where everything gets to live.

03/27/2016, 08:08 AM
Stomatopods are highly territorial, and it is doubtful that you have as many as you think you do. I would stick with the bottle trap method for now. It's much less detrimental to the rest of your livestock than taking out all the rock piece of piece, as this would likely cause another cycle in your tank. Chances are that if you have one or two in your tank, they are P. Ciliata, which are diurnal. Have the traps set during the day with a piece of shrimp or other fresh seafood. It's hard to resist.

I personally feel that doing anything to kill your rock is really creating a tank devoid of diversity, which will create a much less stable environment for your inhabitants. Defeats the purpose of having rock shipped in.

In any given tank, you'll really only be able to house a single Stomatopod since they are so territorial. I know there are a couple of people in Indy that would love one, so keep that in mind as well. Ryansweet on the INDMAS site would love to have one.

03/29/2016, 10:47 PM
Well, here's an update. I have successfully caught endless hermits and snails, and one rather large and nasty looking gorilla crab, no mantis yet.

I have two confirmed pistol sightings, so that might be a replacement for two of the mantis I counted. One of those seems to be fairly aggressive as the sighting occurred when I looked up and saw an urchin running like hell from a pair of pretty unique claws sticking out of a hole and clipping of several of its spines. I never knew an urchin could move so quickly.

Anyway, the gorilla has a new home in my fuge, and the mantis hunt goes on. It's too bad the porcelain crabs are filter feeders, if I could catch them and eliminate the mantis' primary food source I might have an easier time catching the mantis.

03/30/2016, 12:11 PM

Mantis don't have claws....that would be a pistol shrimp.....

Mantis like raw shrimp....put some up next to the front glass and be ready.

Also if you keep them fed well...they don't bother anything, I have many folks that keep them for years in the reef tanks with fish and inverts with no issues as if they are fed, the benefits of a great sand stirrer outweigh any negatives....wennerae are not the hunters most species of mantis are....gorilla crabs are another story... lol

03/30/2016, 12:18 PM
That's what I said in my post, that at least two of what I thought were mantis were actually pistol. I have visually confirmed three mantis, I even got video of two of them at the same time within like 6 inches of each other.

03/30/2016, 12:21 PM
And I've been using raw shrimp, lol, and I watched the mantis just stare at the trap. Tanks too big to lie in wait with a net, and I'm pretty sure everything else in the tank would just carry it off before The mantis even knew about it.

03/30/2016, 12:24 PM
Which brings my next question to everyone. I've isolated two pistol rocks, and one mantis rock from the tank. Which of the following is most effective and least harmful to get the critters to evacuate them? Freshwater dip, hyposalinity dip, hypersalinity dip, or leaving it in the air, suspended above saltwater?

03/30/2016, 12:25 PM
The pistols have to come out right now too. As long as there is clicking in the tank, I'd never be able to be sure which is which.

EI Gringo
03/31/2016, 12:15 AM
Leaving it in the air will do nothing I assure you, those rocks were dry packed when they were shipped in an aeroplane and the mantis didn't jump out, that will stay in that rock unless they will die otherwise

03/31/2016, 12:47 AM
Actually, these were shipped in water, but that's semantics because I see your point. People get mantis shrimp in dry packaged rock everyday. I did a rodi dip on a small rock that I believe had a small pistol in it. Three crabs came out looking like they did 10 rounds with Tyson, but no pistol shrimp. No clicking now either, so he's either recuperating or dead. I put the rock back into observation to see what any other life on it looks like, although I chose that rock specifically because it didn't have much on it. Overall, I don't really think I'm a big fan of the rodi method, but I'm reserving judgement.

I thought of another plan, specifically for mantis. I'm building that eggcrate stand, but not to put into quarantine. Bulk of rock to one side of display, a single rock on the stand on the other. My thinking is, if there's a mantis in there, he won't like having only one rock to hide in and won't like being exposed without ample places to run. He'll abandon the rock to go to the other side of the tank where the bulk of the rock is. Then I pull it out, and do the same thing to another rock. That should help me whittle down the infested rocks to a more manageable amount anyway. It might also work for pistols too, since it'll be up off the sand and the pistol won't be able to dig. He'll head on over to the other side for some rock protected sand.

I did find a little pistol shrimp dead in one of my filter socks, but I'm not sure how he made it up into the overflow. Se la vi I guess.

04/01/2016, 12:28 PM
Wow, ok. So I set up my rock isolation stand this morning. Apparently either the mantis was in the rock (which I doubt), or it decided to check out the new tank addition. Either way, very awesome indications as to the effectiveness of this overall. I'm actually thinking an airstone under whatever rock is on the stand may serve to irritate the inhabitants and expedite their vacating of said rock.




04/01/2016, 02:34 PM
Lol, I "caught" one already. I use parentheses because it's in a rock, isolated in one of the 20g tanks. That's the only rock in there though, so he's not going anywhere. It isn't the big 2 1/2 incher that was swimming by the rock stand earlier though, I've seen him again since catching the other one. That big one is the one I'm keeping when I catch him, he's awesome! curious and fearless, lol. The one that I caught is going to be tough to get out of the rock he's in. There's a curlique anemone and a couple of really pretty squirts on it, so I won't do any dipping it. I think ill just have to trap it somehow.

04/01/2016, 02:55 PM
Lol the way he's looking toward the camera seems like he's saying ha ha you can't catch me!!

04/01/2016, 03:06 PM
Dude, he's totally been watching me for like a week now! He's the one when I was moving the mantis trap with the pvc, came up to the pvc and inspected it. While I was using it!

04/04/2016, 09:55 AM
Ok, I guess I'll down-revise my count. I've isolated/quarantined/transferred a little over half my rock. I think there are three mantis total. The one I caught, the big one I haven't caught, and the baby I saw once. I guess there could be one more, but all of the mantis evidence I've seen could be explained by those three. Once I catch the big one I'm going to call it quits on the hunt, mainly because I think catching the baby will just be ridiculously painstaking. I'll suffer a few more crab and snail losses as it grows, but until it gets old/bold enough to start regularly showing itself I guess I'll just have to deal with it. Still trying to safely get the big one. Luckily, I've managed to do all of this without killing a thing:)

04/04/2016, 10:17 AM
wow great job, that's a tough assignment trying to get multiple mantis shrimp out of an aquarium that size. I hope you catch the larger one soon and enjoy it as a pet!

04/04/2016, 11:51 AM
Well I just switched rocks and the big mantis came out to inspect the changes, lol. Guess he's not in the rock I just removed!

04/04/2016, 04:00 PM
Got him! We saw him go into a rock, so I had my daughter watch and track him from rock to rock until he finally hunkered down into a rock that I could grab. Picked the whole rock up and put it into quarantine, and he immediately jumped out to try to find better cover and I yanked that rock out. Now there are two mantises in the quarantine (which I need to fix quickly) and hopefully just a baby in the main tank. Time to re-aquascape!

EI Gringo
04/04/2016, 05:28 PM
Take some close up photos, will be great to see what species you have, guessing gonodactylus smithii and neogonodactylus wenerrae most likely

04/21/2016, 02:04 PM
Well, hell. I read last night that my Royal Gramma was a carnivore, so I decided to chop up a piece of table shrimp and feed it to the tank. I was watching everything go crazy over it, and guess what decided to pop up? Another fully grown mantis. Not the baby, since I doubt that one grew two inches in a month. It figures, I get one mantis rehomed, and one set up in the 40 breeder with the lion fish, and now it looks like I have to think about two more. Super fun.

I had to kill a limpet because it went all psycho killer and started eating my little Devil's Hand, and I had to kill a mithrax crab because it utterly destroyed my little Hammer coral.

The ocean is a brutal place.

04/21/2016, 02:05 PM
Take some close up photos, will be great to see what species you have, guessing gonodactylus smithii and neogonodactylus wenerrae most likely

I will as soon as he gets comfortable. He's only been in the 40 for a couple of days, so he's still hiding until he gets settled in.

I'm thinking all of the ones I've seen and found are gonodactylus smithii though, based on comparing to the pictures online.

04/21/2016, 02:27 PM

The ocean is a brutal place.[/QUOTE]

LOL...think about....starts with plankton...ends up with great whites....everything eats everything else...a perfect system......

04/21/2016, 02:29 PM
I will as soon as he gets comfortable. He's only been in the 40 for a couple of days, so he's still hiding until he gets settled in.

I'm thinking all of the ones I've seen and found are gonodactylus smithii though, based on comparing to the pictures online.

they are wennerae....

04/21/2016, 02:45 PM
they are wennerae....
You're right, I copied and pasted the wrong part of the paragraph. Wennarae is what I meant, lol.

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04/21/2016, 02:48 PM



Here's some pictures of the 40b build I just did for the mantis and the lion. Not much activity in there yet, lol.

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