View Full Version : Newbie here, is everything correct?

03/09/2017, 05:32 PM
Hello all, I am new to saltwater, as well as to mantis shrimp. I fell in love with mantis shrimp almost 20 years ago, and had a short-lived saltwater aquarium set up maybe 15 years back. No local fish stores would order me one, and online buying wasn't exactly an option back then (I had one aquarium store flat out tell me if they got it in I had to come immediately to pick it up otherwise it was getting flushed).

That being said, my husband actually gave me the go-ahead to get a mantis shrimp! The information has vastly improved on care on them since back then!!!

So far my set-up is as follows:
40 gallon breeder tank, 40 pounds live sand, gravel and other sand, 30 pounds live rock, a few pieces of dry rock I liked at the LPS.
protein skimmer meant for a 100 gallon tank (thing is big.. oh well), UV sterilizer (what is this for? bought it anyway and have been running it... not sure if it is necessary), HOB filter, and full spectrum LED lights for coral growth that are programmable and dimmable.

The only inhabitants in the tank so far are a sacrificial yellowtail damsel for cycling, and what I've identified as a green star polyp coral frag (miscellaneous coral frags at pet store. lol)

I am currently waiting for the U shaped PVC pipe to dry, had coated it with sand.

SO MY QUESTION is: is this OK? Did I go to far? Not far enough? Am I missing anything crucial? My peacock comes in tomorrow (I'll see if the ID is correct when he comes I guess).

I had a problem with an online dealer having a peacock up for sale when he didn't even have one. I ordered it over a week ago, and they never replied. Eventually they told me they didn't have one but could send me another species.. then they only had small species for sale for the same price (I paid a lot). I debated whether or not to just keep the 40g for a single tiny species of mantis shrimp and to mostly keep it for soft corals, knowing full well it would rearrange stuff anyway. Or to cancel the order.. Well today another online dealer had the O. scyllarus for sale this morning and I snagged that bad boy up ASAP, so the other order is cancelled. (then he emailed me back later to say it came in finally.. omg... nothing works out for anyone. I hope what I got is correct, cause the first dealer's new acquisition certainly looked correct in the pics).

So yeah. anything missing? Is this ok? I've already named it Rainbow Randolph and it's in the mail next day delivery right now as we speak.

I'm tempted to get the first dealer's peacock just for the heck of it, but I don't have a second saltwater tank all cycled up to spare... gah.

03/10/2017, 08:56 AM
How long has the aquarium been cycling? Also, it sounds like your sand bed may be a bit deep. For an Odondtodactylus scyllarus I like a sand bed an inch or so deep with lots of rubble and shell mixed in.


03/10/2017, 09:08 AM
Welcome :) you sound like me before I got mine! Have you considered smaller species? Just asking cause you never know how old peacocks are and they're prone to shell rot which is how I lost mine :(

03/10/2017, 07:23 PM
Cycled with damsel and that bacteria starter junk about a month. I keep testing the water like twice a day, nitrates still spike every so often. RO water w salt kept premixed for water changes.
I have added a mess of rubble the lps sold in big cups.

My heater is set around 75.

03/11/2017, 08:05 AM
Sounds like you have a great start up so far. What do you plan to feed the Peacock?

03/11/2017, 08:21 AM
Everything looks pretty good to me so far. One recommendation I will make for the future is that you use a different cycling method than the sacrificial damsel. It's really easy to cycle a tank now with some ammonia powder and bacteria starters. I used that and there's just no need to make a fish do that work. I understand that's how tanks have been cycled in the past, but believe me when I say that there are some people on this forum that would be REAAAALLLY mad to hear that you used a damsel. I just want to spare you that!

Otherwise I think this will make for a really good home for a Peacock. Sounds like you did your homework, 40Bs are great tanks for a mantis. How long is the PVC pipe burrow? The UV sterilizer isn't absolutely essential but might help if the animal gets shell rot.

Best of luck to you, show us pictures when you get the mantis!

03/11/2017, 03:20 PM
Yeah to fish less cycling. I feel so bad for the poor "cheap" fish that go through it :/

03/11/2017, 07:18 PM
Not to be a troll or anything but my peacock eats damsels...

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03/11/2017, 09:46 PM
:0 :( he has expensive tastes

03/12/2017, 09:34 AM
Not to be a troll or anything but my peacock eats damsels...

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They certainly will do that if given the opportunity. I've always found it strange that some Peacocks develop a "relationship" with a damsel while others simply eat them. Very unusual animals. That's why it's difficult to give people advice about fish with mantis shrimp. I still think it's safer to just keep a Peacock in their own tank. They're cool enough on their own!

03/19/2017, 03:41 PM
They certainly will do that if given the opportunity. I've always found it strange that some Peacocks develop a "relationship" with a damsel while others simply eat them. Very unusual animals. That's why it's difficult to give people advice about fish with mantis shrimp. I still think it's safer to just keep a Peacock in their own tank. They're cool enough on their own!

Right. I don't put anything in the tank I'm not willing to write off.

I put in 6 damsels, he got 5 and was chummy with the last one until his death.

The biggest issue with adding fish to a peacock tank in my experience is that it make the peacock hide more.

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03/27/2017, 01:40 PM
Well the mantis shrimp came, very colorful and the size of my thumb (I have small hand too). Didn't have the leopard spots on the sides. I did a drip acclimation for 3 hours and then put him in the tank. The very next morning he was dead... I was devastated....

I Waited 2 more weeks on my tank and still rechecking the water... and ordered another peacock mantis shrimp. The one that came in looks like a chiagra. solid green color and maybe 4 inches long. It's been three days now and he's been fine, super busy, and ate my snails. He's dug a tunnel under all the rocks and caves, and patrols the tank every so often, knocking around the rubble and kicking stuff up.

We've named him Wicked Uncle Ernie, because he is always fiddling about in there.

The damsel is still around. I also had added a couple coral frags to the tank during that 2 week period. Mostly zoas (single or double polyps on the frag) and a green star polyp frag. The corals are doing great, the damsel is beautiful and active. My three astrea snails are no more. I added the stuff to the tank with the knowledge they probably won't last long.

The chiagra uses every square inch of the 40g tank. very industrious and quite hateful. He watches me constantly from his caverns and comes out at me when I walk by.

I'm trying to get a good photo with my macro but haven't gotten a good shot yet. All I have right now is my phone pic, which is blurry lol...


03/27/2017, 01:46 PM
And this is the original little guy... RIP.... I am not even sure what happened. I will post better pics of Uncle Ernie when I can (he's pretty darn amazing)


03/27/2017, 01:52 PM
weird... it didn't post my last post.

This guy was the size of my thumb. We did a 3 hour acclimation drip and added him to the tank. He died the very next morning..

I waited 2 more weeks then ordered another peacock mantis shrimp, who came in and looks more like a chiagra. He's been in the tank for 3 days now and is doing well. He ate my three astrea snails which I figured may happen. The damsel is fine and still in the tank. I also added a couple coral frags during the 2 weeks (a green star polyp frag and some zoas that are only one or two polyps right now).

Everything in the tank I know I could lose to him.

I will try to get a pic of Wicked Uncle Ernie when I can. He mostly watches me, patrols the tank in the evening, and knocks rubble and kicks dirt everywhere. Very industrious.

03/27/2017, 04:18 PM

This is Uncle Ernie.. about as clear as I can get of him before he scoots off again.

Eventually I'd like him to take food from tongs, but until then I put some more snails in there (not astrea this time, not that it mattered).

He is kind of like a pet hole, like some of my favorite tarantula species (Ephebopus cyanognathus, my next breeding project in fact). Fast like the blue fang too, heh.

03/27/2017, 05:10 PM
Nice pic :)

03/28/2017, 06:59 AM
i had 7 damsels in with my peacock for about 6 months. down to 3 now but they all seem to be getting along just fine. i do know that can and probably will change at anytime

03/28/2017, 09:21 AM
i had 7 damsels in with my peacock for about 6 months. down to 3 now but they all seem to be getting along just fine. i do know that can and probably will change at anytime

Hey as long as you are ok with that, go for it. It's just when people come on here and say "how can I get a school of damsels to peacefully coexist with my Peacock mantis?" There's no easy solution for that! The mantis will almost always get at least one or two at some point and some Peacocks won't allow it at all. Mine, for example, won't let anything else into the tank especially now that she's getting bigger. Just this week she killed one of my longest living turbo snails that was nearly the size of a golfball. I recorded an audio clip of her cracking on it....LOUD!

03/30/2017, 08:23 AM
Some new pics taken today of Wicked Uncle Ernie. I am almost 100% sure he is a chiragra.


Yeah I have cheap aquarium-acclimated oysters and clams, and bought 50 feeder snails and he already ate a ton of them.

Some of my $2-$5 dollar ebay frags: (The green star polyp has been in the tank since the very beginning, still not glued down anywhere, and is doing extremely well. Especially since that one was actually from Petco, lol). most are just zoas, one ricordea, one sympodium.. There's a waving hand and I haven't glued it down anywhere yet, because I thought I killed it initially, but it's been out and fine. I guess you can't get rid of them, lol.
I don't know the names of most of the zoas.

The largest is the green star. The little zoas are so small you can't tell they're there unless you're looking for them or the blue light's on.

Yes everything in the tank is there with the knowledge it can possibly get destroyed. The corals are honestly just a fun side thing. But they've all been in there for a while now. I lost one frag that looked bad when it came in the mail, but otherwise everything else seems ok.


03/30/2017, 08:46 AM
I should note that the two weird "frags" on the sand bed are macro algae. dead man's fingers and some red thing I forget the name of....

03/31/2017, 11:59 AM
How big is Uncle Ernie? He looks like my G. Viridis

03/31/2017, 12:17 PM
Uncle Ernie confirms for me that I misidentified my mantis. My chiragra looks exactly like yours. Is yours very shy?

03/31/2017, 04:19 PM
I took the ruler out to be certain. He is approximately 4 inches long.

03/31/2017, 04:28 PM

I managed to grab a quick butt picture on my phone. Any way to ID him is great. I'm just going by online pics, going through that awesome directory, and what is most commonly available. He was sold as a peacock, which obviously he isn't.

He's pretty shy but he will go out on patrols every so often. He also will come out whenever there is movement near the tank or we open the doors underneath the tank. He WILL come after your hand if it's near the tank, and is quick to strike at you. Whether you try to provoke him or not.