View Full Version : Suitable tank mates for a mantis?

Shallow Reef
02/14/2017, 06:17 PM
Hi as per title please? Also whats the minimum tank space required for them?


02/14/2017, 07:48 PM
Hi as per title please? Also whats the minimum tank space required for them?


The first rule of mantis keeping is "Be prepared to lose whatever livestock you put in the tank with them." It's not that you can't have some success with certain fish or whatever, but there are complications and mantis shrimp are opportunistic hunters. That means a friendly companionship between fish and mantis could turn ugly at any moment. There's just no guarantees.

A couple of things to consider:

-You'll have more luck keeping fish with a smaller mantis, but beware the size ratio. Get a fish too big and the mantis might become lunch or it might be too afraid to come out of the burrow and you'll never see it. A Peacock mantis is a more aggressive and dangerous hunter. Mine lived peaceably with a fire shrimp and a cleaner shrimp until she molted a few times. I came in on two separate occasions to find her munching on them.

-I'd go with a small damsel of some type. Avoid sand dwelling fish like gobies.

-Urchins seem to do ok, starfish too. Corals are ok, but I would like to report that my Peacock has a tendency to "rearrange" coral in the tank when she molts. It doesn't really bother me, but some people might hate that.

-Small shrimps of any kind will become lunch. I tried a coral banded shrimp once....yeah, once.

Long, shallow tanks are best for viewing since mantis shrimp will come out and forage but don't do a lot of swimming in the water column. My Peacock will swim freely while catching brine shrimp however. But tank size depends on the mantis, check this site for more recommendations: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/arthropoda/crustacea/malacostraca/eumalacostraca/royslist/

Note that not all of those species are readily available. If you get a small gonodactylid, you can run a pretty small (10-20 gallon) tank. IMO, Peacocks need a 40 gallon breeder or larger.

Best of luck to you!

Shallow Reef
02/14/2017, 08:01 PM
Thanks that really helped to give me more of an insight on these creatures. One more question, when it comes to keeping the tank clean is it mostly hand cleaning and water changes as you can't keep clean up crew with them, how do you keep the tank clean?


Shallow Reef
02/14/2017, 08:04 PM
Im assuming urchin is one way but what if you dont want an urchin?

02/14/2017, 10:36 PM
Keeping the tank clean of algae is mostly a matter of good water quality and hand cleaning. I use an algae scraper for the glass, same as everyone, and try to minimize nitrate/phosphate that fuels algae growth. Skimming and vinegar dosing are both effective for this, as is the proper amount of LR and growing macroalgae.

Additionally, I've found that very large (golfball size) turbo snails are usually mantis-proof and they do a great job mowing down hair algae. I have 2 in my 40B. The mantis shrimp I've kept have always been very different regarding their diets. Some won't touch hermits and other small snails like dwarf ceriths. These are great for cleaning up the tank. My Peacock right now doesn't mess with blue leg hermits so they do ok in the tank.

If I get bubble algae, i throw about 4-5 emerald crabs in the tank and usually 1-2 survive long enough to get the job done (they eat fast!). In summary, clean up crews might help keep a tank clean, but good husbandry is even more essential IMO.

Shallow Reef
02/16/2017, 12:48 PM
Thanks that was really helpful :)

02/23/2017, 11:51 AM
I personally just put my hand in the tank. Scampi (GF nicknamed him) just kinda looks at me and goes to his burrow on the opposite side of the tank.