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Ambiturner006
03/02/2017, 09:27 AM
I recently started my first ever saltwater tank with live rock from the coast of Florida. After a couple weeks of quiet, a mantis shrimp revealed itself. I decided it was probably best to rehome it, so I pulled out the rock it was burrowing in and placed it in a spare 10g aquarium while we figured out his new permanent living arrangements.

As we moved the rock, we purposely placed it so we could see inside the burrow, and we saw what looked like a wriggling white mass inside. I didn't think much of it at the time, but this morning I woke up and there are thousands of tiny, free swimming mantis shrimp in this aquarium. All in the course of a day and a half.

I've read up and realize that it's basically impossible to save them at this point, even if I wanted to and had the resources. But either way, I thought it was pretty spectacular and it just made me love the hobby a little bit more.

Also, this may sound horrible, but if I know I can't save them, should I consider them a food source for the royal gramma and seaweed blenny that also came with the live rock? Maybe scoop some back into the main tank while they're still alive, or is that awful?

https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170302/cfef22ad02357d1b9ea9520359ac68c3.jpg

https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170302/6fd89f95dbf3dc059d2d41f32005d7c2.jpg

https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170302/ce013970ca8f66d0dfc631859732cf15.jpg

Gonodactylus
03/02/2017, 10:44 AM
They appear to be Neogonodactylus larvae. The female lays her eggs usually on the new or full moon and broods them for three weeks. After the hatch, the larvae avoid light (negative phototaxis) and are positively attracted to one another. This causes them to clump together in the bottom of the burrow. The larvae remain with their mother in the cavity for about a week undergoing three molts while living off of stored yolk. When they molt for the third time the yolk is exhausted and the larvae are transparent. The third molt occurs during the night and at first light the now photo-positive larvae swim out of the cavity and up into the plankton. By this time they have lost their attraction to the substrate (Negative thigmotaxis). The timing of the molt at which the larvae enter the plankton is determined by when the mother lays the eggs. Given that it takes the developing young a month to enter the plankton (3 weeks to hatch and a week in the cavity), by laying her eggs on the full or new moon this ensures that they will be carried off shore by spring tides. They will remain in the plankton for about two months and molt three or four times. There is one final molt while the larvae are in the plankton developing into postlarvae that look more like a miniature adult 7-9 mm long. During the night the postlarvae will settle on the substrate occupying cracks and crevices. In a few days they will assume adult coloration and molt to the adult form. From the time the mother lays her eggs to the postlarvae molting to juvenile form takes about three to four months depending on temperature, food and the larva locating the right substrate to settle.

Stomatopod larvae make excellent food. I use them to feed octopus paralarvae.

Roy

Ambiturner006
03/02/2017, 11:19 AM
They appear to be Neogonodactylus larvae. The female lays her eggs usually on the new or full moon and broods them for three weeks. After the hatch, the larvae avoid light (negative phototaxis) and are positively attracted to one another. This causes them to clump together in the bottom of the burrow. The larvae remain with their mother in the cavity for about a week undergoing three molts while living off of stored yolk. When they molt for the third time the yolk is exhausted and the larvae are transparent. The third molt occurs during the night and at first light the now photo-positive larvae swim out of the cavity and up into the plankton. By this time they have lost their attraction to the substrate (Negative thigmotaxis). The timing of the molt at which the larvae enter the plankton is determined by when the mother lays the eggs. Given that it takes the developing young a month to enter the plankton (3 weeks to hatch and a week in the cavity), by laying her eggs on the full or new moon this ensures that they will be carried off shore by spring tides. They will remain in the plankton for about two months and molt three or four times. There is one final molt while the larvae are in the plankton developing into postlarvae that look more like a miniature adult 7-9 mm long. During the night the postlarvae will settle on the substrate occupying cracks and crevices. In a few days they will assume adult coloration and molt to the adult form. From the time the mother lays her eggs to the postlarvae molting to juvenile form takes about three to four months depending on temperature, food and the larva locating the right substrate to settle.



Stomatopod larvae make excellent food. I use them to feed octopus paralarvae.



Roy



Thank you so much for the information! Mantis shrimp really are fascinating. I just wish they played well with others.