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FAQs about Mantis Shrimps 2

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Related FAQs: Mantis 1, Mantis Identification, Mantis Behavior, Mantis Compatibility/Control, Mantis Selection, Mantis Systems, Mantis Feeding, Mantis Disease, Mantis Reproduction, Crustaceans, Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Hermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Anemone Eating ShrimpCrustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Odontodactylus scyllarus out and about during the day in N. Sulawesi. 

Pet trade impact on O. scyllarus populations   6/14/16
Dr. Caldwell,
A friend (you may know him: Bob Fenner?) posed a question about availability of O. scyllarus in the pet trade. I remember (?) you saying some years ago on an online forum that wild populations of this animal are being depleted for the pet trade but was unable to locate any references about this. Can you comment?
Thanks, Dan Gehlhaar
--
Dr. Roy Caldwell
Department of Integrative Biology
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-3140
Re Pet trade impact on O. scyllarus populations   6/14/16

Thanks much for the referral Dan. Dr. C, can you cite a reference for the mentioned allegation? Am an olde timey content provider to both the ornamental aquatics interest as well as dive/travel-adventure, and have neither seen much collecting of stomatopods for the petfish trade, nor seen them often offered on wholesale lists. Bob Fenner
Re: Pet trade impact on O. scyllarus populations   6/14/16

Dan and Robert,
I know of no study reporting on the population effects of collecting O. scyllarus for the aquarium trade. In fact, there is very little published on this species except for laboratory studies on its biomechanics and visual system. The comments I made several years ago were based on my own experience talking to collectors and importers plus a reduced supply of large males in the trade. When I first started buying animals from some of the few marine invertebrate importers around (1972), most of the O. scyllarus that came in were large, emerald green males. Twenty-five years later it was difficult to find a male over 16 cm. That is not to say that other pressures were not involved. I remember going to small seafood restaurant in Thailand and being served a platter of about a dozen large O. scyllarus for less than a dollar.
Roy
<Ah, thank you for your valuable insights, recollections. Might I post/share this correspondence on WetWebMedia.com? Again, I rarely encounter this species or really any Stomatopod sold at the collector to wholesaler level in the trade. Most retailed animals are contaminants from live rock imports. I too have seen numerous Mantis proffered as food organisms in the far east. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Pet trade impact on O. scyllarus populations   6/14/16

Bob,
<Roy>
I assume that just about anything I say on the web is open, so feel free to share my comments.
<Ah yes; and thank you>
While I am a bit concerned that collecting may impact local populations of O. scyllarus, the species is so wide spread and occurs over a wide depth range that I doubt that it would ever qualify as "threatened".
<I concur>
There is one species of stomatopod that is collected that concerns me. Gonodactylaceus ternatensis is a moderate sized stomatopod that is beautifully colored and sexually color dimorphic. It is often sold as a small peacock. Unfortunately, G. ternatensis is highly specialized in its habitat use occurring only in live branching corals such as Pocillopora. In some areas that I have worked almost every coral head has a resident G. ternatensis. Collecting them involves nothing more than smashing the coral head.
<This is the case w/ the Flame Hawkfish (Neocirrhites armatus); same genus of Scler....>
In fact, that is about the only way to get them out. I've seen collectors destroy live corals to collect the resident stomatopods. For this reason, I recommend that people not purchase this species.
<I share this concern, value. BobF>
Roy

Re: Some help... Now SW, hole-dwelling.... Mantis        8/31/15
Mr. Neale,
I found something in my tank last night, it was maybe about 1cm if not a little bigger and grayish and it was making a small ting hole in the sand up against the glass and what I seen I need to know that my eyes wasn't playing tricks on me so went and got a magnifying glass and low and behold it was a baby mantis shrimp, I knew or know what these animals are and
didn't want t in my 65gallon tank so I got a small plastic cup and got down in the tank and scooped up the sand and him. Well I think now that I didn't get him now cause I put the sand and sea shell he was digging under in a 15oz Betta fish bowl and haven't seen him since last night...
I don't know if there are more or these little guys or just him and if I didn't get him, how can I catch him and maybe others safely with out hurting my bristle worms since these little guys are so small and plus I wanna keep the mantis shrimp but in a different tank and I forgot to say this he cleaned him self right in front of me and he was with out no doubts a not a
smasher but the other one (spearer)!!! Need to catch this guys please any help??!!!
Sincerely Terry
<Without a photo can't say for sure. Would ask you to send in a photo. But would suggest you look up the following crustaceans:
Pistol Shrimps (shrimp-like, but with one claw bigger than the other, and excellent burrowers)
Mantis Shrimps (typically flattened a bit top to bottom along the abdomen, head has large mobile eyes, and of course the claws are distinctive)
Amphipod (rather bean-shaped shrimps)
Isopod (these look like Woodlice)
At their small sizes they can all be easily confused with each other, especially Pistol and Mantis shrimps. What you don't want to do is upturn your tank for Amphipods or Isopods. Pistol Shrimps may or may not be a hazard depending on the livestock (they stun very small prey with amazingly powerful sound waves produced by their claws). Mantis Shrimps are, as you suspect, enormous fun and extremely hardy, definitely my favourite marine aquarium invertebrate, and if I can keep them, anyone can keep them! I'm going to direct you to a couple of web pages first:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mantiscompfaqs.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pistolshrimps.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/crustidfaqs.htm
Both have plenty of links to articles that you'll find relevant. As Bob is wont to say, "Read, don't write", which in this context means that you'll get quicker information if you use the search facility on WWM than wait for me or someone else to respond. Hope this helps, Neale.>
re: Some help...       8/31/15

Thank you but I know what I looked at and it was a baby mantis shrimp no doubts about it...I did all the looking up last night and haven't slept at all, there just isn't any info on how to catch a tiny baby mantis shrimp nothing...
<<Wrong... is posted. RMF>>
<No easy way, unfortunately. Simplest is to remove the rock in which it is hiding, if you can. But place a net underneath as you lift the rock in case it tries to escape downwards. I would have you search WWM; there is a Google search box on the site... type in something along the lines of "removing mantis shrimp" (without the speech marks) and see what comes up!>
Sighin,if there is one then I know there is more and I just don't want to wait until they do cause issues, I will be ordering my snowflake Eel today and either Monday or Tuesday ill be getting it.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Mantis Shrimp     3/17/13
Another quality comic from The Oatmeal, with particular significance to Wet Web Media.
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/mantis_shrimp
Have a great day,
Chris
<Yeah; saw this. A hoot. BobF>

help mantis alert  5/8/11
Hello,
I was wondering if you could give some advice?
<Sure. Always store beer in a cool, dark setting>
I bought a live rock a few months ago and wouldn't you know a few weeks after, I discover a baby mantis. It was the size of a pencil head and red but "it's" now 4 inches long, green and full of attitude. SO! I take EVERY thing out, 2 peppermints and 1 Cerith snail...got rid of all my cichlids in the 30 gallon, converted it into saltwater. Why? Because as I've learned the mantis needs his space and I tried for half an hour to flush him out with tap water.
<Try Seltzer>
I put new live rock (inspected it thoroughly before purchase because I didn't want another mantis) in the 30, added the 2 peppermints & Cerith snail, I bought 2 hermits, yellow wrasse and last but not least 2 clowns (1 male/1 female). I am so ready to cry right now, I come home last night, turn the flashlight on to inspect what's lurking around and what do I see?
Another baby mantis(size of a pencil head), 2 sea urchins, and a very long legged brittle starfish. All of which I had no clue was residing until last night.
<D'oh!>
I was up at 4:30am trying to suck the baby mantis out of the hole with a syphon tube, but, I lost as you may have guessed. Can they cohabitate together ever?
<Possibly; but not likely>
The clowns sleep upside down at the top of the tank, the wrasse buries himself in the sand and the peppermints can run away and hide across the tank like they did before I discovered the first mantis. The rock is porous but the holes aren't very big, however, I know the smasher can remodel his condo without permission.
<Well put prose>
And how do I get the urchins off my rock before they eat all the coraline and none is left?
<Tongs>
The brittle star is my only welcome tenant at this point. Also if I tried to flush the mantis with tap or fizzy water will it kill my brittle star?
<Likely about the last "to go">
I love mantis shrimp which is why the first got his own home, mantis in my book, are too intelligent, and bratty to kill. Do I have any options here?...
<Always>
I'm ready to say forget this and go back to fresh water even though I just spent a small fortune on what I thought would be a relaxing experience.
Help..
<Do try traps... And re/read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mantiscompfaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: help mantis alert 5/12/2011

Thanks for the quick response, Just an update, I was lucky enough to be able to remove the door the mantis built and squirt it out as it was too small yet to remodel the small hole which it was in...the urchins made their way to the pet store in hopes they will find a good home. Again, thanks, my happiness has been restored...
<Ah, good. BobF>

Hey crew, its salt water time! Stomatopod keeping    10/15/10
Greetings my fine friends.
<Salve,>
After much trial and error I feel like I'm officially a journeyman freshwater aquarium hobbyist (in no small part thanks to WWM). I'm now getting ready for my first salt water project and would like some advice
for the set up. I have decided to start with the cockroach of the sea, the mighty stomatopods. My research indicates that they are a hardy, robust species with only a few weaknesses (organic solvents?).
<They are indeed very easy to look after. Dangerous to your fingers, yes, but otherwise undemanding.>
So what I want to know is this:
1, Is this truly a good first saltwater animal?
<Was my first tropical marine invertebrate! Kept several species for long periods at university.>
2, What species would you recommend, my LFS is run by a old salt who could probably find me a dolphin if I were willing to pay for it so suggest away, and
<The Peacock Mantis Odontodactylus scyllarus is probably the most popular and easy to obtain thanks to its bright colours and fairly large size. The Zebra Mantis Lysiosquillina maculata is another large, strikingly
attractive species. Of these, the first is a "smasher" and the second a "spearer" so in the wild at least have different preferences in terms of diet, but care is identical under aquarium conditions. Various small
Gonodactylus are available as well; the ones I kept at university were Gonodactylus oersted. These are small "smashers" less than half the size of the species mentioned earlier. Since they're viewed as pests by "serious" marine aquarists, you may even be able to get a small Mantis for free if you can do a bit of networking among your local fishkeeping club, retailer or perhaps online.>
3, Finally how exactly would you set it up?
<Almost any basic marine aquarium will work. I kept multiple specimens in a large aquarium (55 gallons?) divided up into compartments with strong plastic mesh and filtered with a standard external canister. Not very attractive, but fine for lab work. As pets, a simple system with live rock and coral sand will do the trick. The only thing to remember is that Mantis shrimps are burrowers. PVC tubes work fine as alternatives to real burrows, but they do need some sort of cave.>
a. what type of tank would you go for? I'm looking at a all in one Biocube
type setup but I'm not settled on a brand.
<Cut according to your cloth. These are NOT demanding animals, and provided the tank is adequate for keeping invertebrates generally, and invertebrates of this particular size, it should be fine.>
b. live rock, live sand?
<Live rock certainly, if your budget allows, but live sand will be thoroughly burrowed into and likely heaped in one corner, so its practicality may be limited.>
c. size? I'm leaning towards 15g but its still up in the air.
<15 gallons should be fine for one of the little Gonodactylus, but I'd allow more space for the bigger species.>
d. any corals viable with the little guy?
<They ignore cnidarians and sponges, so sure, you can use corals if you want. But that adds a layer of expense in terms of lighting and water quality not particularly important to keeping Mantis shrimps. Plus, strong lighting will cause your Mantis to hide away. Ideally, the tank wouldn't be lit at all, of if it was, with something rather dim, like moonlight tubes.
I kept my Mantis shrimps with Beadlet Anemones, and these anemones bred like crazy, eating up the leftover particles of food, I guess.>
e, lighting?.
<The shrimps couldn't care less. Most species are nocturnal, dusk/dawn active, or at least very shy if they do move about during the day.>
f, treated tap water is fine for these guys right?
<Should be fine, provided water quality is reasonable, i.e., nitrates less
than 20 mg/l.>
My goal is a very simple, easily maintainable tank, a Zen garden with a tiny monster in the middle.
<I'll say!>
Warmest regards,
Rob
<There's a good scientific literature on keeping these shrimps in labs, so if you have access to such, you'd find that worthwhile. The "Lurkers Guide to Stomatopods" is a rare example of a scientific project that has spawned good, usable information for non-scientists, and is well worth a visit.
http://www.blueboard.com/mantis/care.htm
All in all, fantastic animals, sadly undervalued. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hey crew, its salt water time!   10/15/10
Thanks man, your prompt assistance is appreciated as always.
<Glad to help.>
So would a product like this truly be all that I need gear wise?
http://www.oceanicsystems.com/products/biocube.php
<Oh, sure, very nice for the right sized Mantis.>
I'm thinking Gonodactylus in a 14 gallon tank with 5lbs live rock and 10lbs mixed pinkie sized gravel.
<Sounds good. There are some medium-sized species in this genus that get to about 8-10 cm/3-4 inches, and those should be fine in there. You might even look at Pseudosquilla ciliata, a bright yellow, day active species.>
I would love to get a larger tank with a giant peacock, but the old lady put her foot down!
<I bet. Did you tell you pet could land you in the Emergency Room?>
About feeding, seems to me the common consensus is that they will eat dead meaty food easily enough but a weekly serving of live crustacean (for smashers) is best. Would fresh water crayfish from a bait shop be as bad an idea as I suspect that it is? What would be the best (read cheapest yet healthy) live food be.
<No live food needed. I fed mine using long forceps. Wiggle the food enticingly. These animals are VERY smart, and soon learn where "easy meals" come from. Doesn't take long to get them weaned onto such fare. I'm not sure I'd use live crayfish for the small species -- partly they may not be able to kill it, and partly you'd end up with so much decaying organic matter in the tank you'd ruin water quality. But plain vanilla river shrimp will do, and at least here in England you can buy them for about 5 pence (7-8 cents) a piece from the better aquarium shops. These are estuarine shrimps and live indefinitely in marine aquaria, so they're much less of problem in terms of water quality. Small live clams and mussels might be offered to "smashers". But otherwise, go browse your local Asian food market and stock up on wet frozen squid, cockles, clams, prawns and so on.
Unshelled shrimp is particularly good, but do bear in mind crustaceans and some molluscs (mussels in particular) are thiaminase-rich, so you want to either minimise their use in favour of thiaminase-free foods like tilapia fillet and cockles, or else use marine aquarium vitamin supplements.
Without the right diet, mantis shrimps exhibit a variety of shell deformities and moult problems.>
Thanks again Neale,
Rob
<Have fun with your pet! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hey crew, its salt water time!   10/15/10
Looking forward to it.
Rob
PS: Please don't tell the wife about the emergency room thing.
<So just for once, let's hope that's one person who doesn't visit WetWebMedia! Cheers, Neale.>

Critter of the week: Mantis! -03/27/08 Hi Bob, Hope you're having a great time! I just thought I'd send you the link to the latest COTW thread in case having all that fun over there starts getting old! http://bb.wetwebmedia.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=69&p=445#p445 Take care and enjoy your trip! -Lynn <Outstanding Lynn! Do consider selling these as short features into the hobby press. Again, I will gladly offer you my pix if you'd like. Cheers, BobF, in Borneo, where the Net crawls>

Stomatopods on the Barbie?   9/21/06 Are the mantis shrimp for human consumption ? <Oh yes... in many countries they are sold, cooked for consumption. RMF>

Hitchhiking Mantis Frequency   5/4/06 Hello, <Greetings> I spend hours reading WWM every night; it is the best on the web. <The best what?> A general question about the Mantis Shrimp; how often do they end up in people's tanks? <Very common imports on/with live rock... perhaps tens of percent> For example, per 1,000 pounds of live rock, on average, how many Mantis shrimp end up in peoples tanks? <Highly variable... some collectors/processors do quite a bit to rid their product of stomatopods (e.g. Walt Smith enterprises), others do practically nothing... And depends on other factors such as how long the rock is in process...> How big a threat is it? <Mmm, subjective evaluation: significant> Does it really happen frequently? <Oh yes. Bob Fenner> Jeremy

Pistol or Mantis shrimp   2/8/06 I have wrote an email to this email address  _crew@wetwebmedia.com_ (mailto: crew@wetwebmedia.com)  before but get no reply, I think its because I sent a photo, you then said  send my message to _fennerrobert@hotmail.com_ (mailto: fennerrobert@hotmail.com)  but still no  reply. need some info on this shrimp I have taken out of my tank, and got in a  tub I have please reply <... the pic didn't come through to me either. Have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>

Mantis Shrimp... sort of... examples of tautology, the power of simple generalizations   12/28/05 I thought you guys might find this interesting, if you haven't seen it already. Esp. the photos. <Yes, thank you> http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/mantisshrimp_01 enjoy, Eric <Bob Fenner>

Questions about nanoreef for Stomatopod Hello, all. I'm setting up a nanoreef for a smaller mantis shrimp such as Neogonodactylus wennerae (not about to go for a peacock -- I like my fingers too much). Anyways, what I've got so far are: 11 gal Via Aqua tank/lights, 20 lb live sand, 15 lb live rock, AquaClear 20 filter. Just set this tank up so it'll be a few weeks before it's ready for guests. A few questions: (1) I know I need a skimmer on this small of a tank, in addition to frequent water changes. LFS suggested a Prizm, which I set up, tried in vain to tune and/or quiet, and it's now going on EBay (grr.. hack spit). After looking at FAQs belatedly I'm getting a Remora (quieter, better skimming). Is this too much skimming for this tank? <Oversized, but fine> I might put some hardy corals in here and perhaps a fish or two or three, depending on what the mantis "accepts". Is there such a thing as "overskimming"? <Yes, but not practically here> If it's "too much" should I just put it on a timer for a few hours a day? (2) Is there any "cleanup crew" that a small mantis might leave alone? <No> Small hermits and snails will be just so much mantis food. I've heard that turbo snails might work, if they're big enough. Thanks! Dan <Time, experience will tell. Bob Fenner> 

More than one mantis per tank? 5/6/05 Hello. Is it safe to house 2 small mantis shrimp in a 10 gal tank? I had 2 mantis shrimp housed together in a 10 gal tank with plenty of separate holes and caves for both. The larger we had about 4-5 months and the smaller about 1-2 months. Both ate well, especially the larger one (frozen shrimp, raw and cooked). <As voracious predators, these critters really benefit from a variety of meaty foods, with as much as possible being whole and with a shell. Small live fiddler crabs and crayfish are great treats and give these very intelligent mantis some much needed mental and physical stimulation! Frozen shrimp with the head (or at least shell) still on are better than peeled. Mysis are very nutritious staples. Cooked foods are never recommended for marine animals.> They had heat, little live rock and gravel, a power head and regular feeding and water changes. Sadly, the larger one died mysteriously. He/she was fairly interactive for a mantis. Last time I saw him he ate well and then he disappeared and I found him dead a few days later. I thought he was molting but I guess not. I really enjoyed him a lot and miss him. The small one is coming out of it's holes more now. Is it possible the smaller one killed the large one?? Thanks, Maria <It is possible that the smaller one killed the larger, but the battle scars would probably be very evident. It is more likely that age or poor nutrition played a bigger role. As for adding another... it is possible, but risky. Many of the territorial true shrimps (Mantis are in their own family<<Actually Order. RMF>>) will tolerate members of the opposite sex, but some will only do so during courtship and mating. Although they are not true shrimps, I would guess that mantis are similarly unpredictable. My best suggestion if you add a second mantis is to be prepared to quickly separate them in case of trouble. Also, if you do successfully make a pair and they mate, please let us know! Best Regards. AdamC.>

Quarantine tanks and Stomatopods Hi everybody, A small piece of advice please regarding QTanks and Mantis Shrimps please. I presently have a 180G simple reef system without QT, yes I know I know, that\u2019s the reason for this. Cut a long story short, I managed to catch a Mantis a few weeks back and asked Bob about placing him into my sump which he said I could. All fine. However, this creature is amazing and beautiful and has actually got me watching his activities just as much as the main system. In fact I quite enjoyed feeding the little guy (3") on hands and knees peering through the glass of the sump, so much so I decided to convert a 10G freshwater into a Micro reef.  I did this and got a 'Chinese' hang on skimmer (Not too good), internal canister and external power filter to try and emulate the best conditions I could. Put a few pounds of live rock in, a YT damsel and cleaner shrimp for other activity or live food in the case of the shrimp (4 weeks and still there however) and read up as much as I could on mini's. However, due to time, the not so good Chinese available equipment and my own knowledge more than anything; I am struggling to keep the correct parameters and maintenance regimes to keep this small system viable.  Therefore I had a thought as I would love to keep this guy, and the second mantis from the main system I noticed recently but not been able to trap yet, could I place this 10G alongside the main 180G, pump up from the sump of the main into the 10G, overflow back to the sump thereby using all of the same equipment and water quality from the main system?  In an emergency then I could also return the internal/external canisters onto the 10G with seeded inserts from the sump I would do, turn off the supply pump to the 10G, remove the live rocks with inserted mantis's back to the main sump, and use the 10G as a hospital? If not a hospital due to still not being able to treat with copper due to future overflows back to main, then at least a QT tank? As a final question about this, is it possible to keep (2) Mantis together in a 10G? Thanks as always from afar distant China. Dave >>>Greetings Dave! Quite honestly, that little system should be the easiest thing in the world to take care of. The lowest maintenance system I've ever had was a 7 gallon nano-reef sitting on my desk at work. You don't NEED a skimmer on a tank this size, ESPECIALLY for a Stomatopod! ("mantis shrimp") For one thing, the tank being so small, water changes are a snap which negates the need for a skimmer. Secondly, stomatopods are TOUGH little hombres! They are the roaches of the reef world (as far as hardiness goes) and you have to be quite negligent to kill one quite honestly. All you need for that little tank is a shallow layer of sand, some live rock, a heater, and a powerhead to give it some circulation. That's it! Whatever light you have available will work. Just change out 2 or 3 gallons of water every two weeks, keep it topped-off, and you're set. I certainly wouldn't go through all the trouble of plumbing it to the main system as you described. Small tanks are a snap, and I'd be glad to lend you further advice on the matter should have an more specific questions. Cheers Jim<<< 

They Make Great Pets! (Sing it Like Porno for Pyros) Mantis Shrimps? Thanks Jim, I was just concerned reading so much about the rapid changes in water quality etc in a nano, that I didn't consider the 'simple' answer. Thanks again and hope that one day, one or some of you guys/gals can get over to Shanghai, I'd be glad to show you around. Dave Dave Hanney >>>No problem Dave, happy to help and good luck! Mantis shrimp make GREAT pets! ;) Jim<<<

- Possible Mantis? - The WWM Crew, I have some problems with my 125 G reef tank (75 G sump). Recent deaths/disappearances include: 2 Purple Firefish, 1 Blood Shrimp, 1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, 10 Peppermint Shrimp, numerous hermit crabs (red & blue legged), and numerous snails.  <I'd be checking on the floor behind the tank for those fish - they can and do jump out.>  Also missing in action is my tiger pistol shrimp who is/was mated with a Blue Spotted Watchman Goby- although he has gone underground for long periods of time before. The goby seems to be in perfect health. I hear clicking noises at night- which could very well be my pistol, but I have a bad feeling that I have an unwelcome guest in my tank...  <Well, just for starters, most mantis that "click" (smashers) are for one, not nocturnal (rather, the large majority are not nocturnal) and two, don't usually prey on fish; snails, crabs, shrimp yes. Also, the a large portion of the smashers are under two inches, so if you "had" a smasher, you would have seen it by now or wouldn't need to worry about it so much.>  The tank is a new set up, but I used water, substrate, and live rock from my other reefs (35 G & 20 G). Also, added around 80 lbs of fully cured live rock from a reputable LFS. I bought a trap, but have only managed to catch an emerald crab and the goby (twice).  <Mantis shrimp are smart enough that you can use any given trap mechanism exactly once - they are quick learners.>  All my fish seem to be very healthy. (White Cheek Tang, Orchid Dottyback, 3 Flasher Wrasse, 2 Ocellaris Clowns) These deaths did coincide with the addition of 3 medium sized emerald crabs (AKA suspect #2). <And also worth of your suspicion.>  I also found a hitchhiker urchin around the same time (AKA suspect #3).  <Hmm... urchins don't really eat much more than algae, and certainly can't move quickly enough to catch a fish unless the fish were already dead.> Whatever it is, the snails were decimated rather quickly once the onslaught began.  <Think this is coincidental... snail populations often thin out all on their own and may have nothing to do with why you lost the fish or other invertebrates. Mantis shrimp are wily predators, but they are not ravenous or unmitigated killers like the creatures in the movie Aliens. They typically only need a decent meal every couple of days and would not kill other stuff for fun or the sport of it.>  Both cleaner shrimp acted strangely a day before their deaths. The usually very timid blood shrimp sort of went into convulsions for about 20 minutes on the substrate in the front of the tank and the skunk cleaner was antennae-less hours before I saw the tang eating his carcass. I think the tang ate him post-mortem. I hope. My parameters are so perfect that I am thinking about buying another test kit! My pH is @ 8.2 and my dKH @ 17. Lighting 3x175 W MH 2x96 W PC Actinic. I add a capful of Kent Marine Iodine every other day, basically following their recommendations, at the same time I add Calcium, Coral- Vite, Strontium & Molybdenum. I add calcium (capful) daily, and Essential Elements once a week.  <Think this may be the clue we need - I don't recommend that anyone add things from bottles without testing first - have you tested for Iodine, Strontium, Molybdenum? If not, then how do you know you need to add them? If you're just going by the recommendation on the bottle, then keep in mind that it is in Kent's or whomever's interest that you buy more bottles of whatever... don't add anything that you haven't tested for.>  Berlin Filtration with macroalgae, Red Sea Berlin Classic Turbo. What do the experts at WWM think?  <I think you need to re-examine your own husbandry of this tank... I'm not saying you're not conscientious, but that you may have missed something. Shrimp don't usually go into convulsions unless something is wrong with their water. If it were being attacked by a mantis shrimp, you would have seen the mantis - it's not going to expend the energy to attack something and not finish it off right there.> Also, dumb question... Is it possible that my goby has mated with a mantis?  <Neat idea, but I highly doubt it.> Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated... I have far too much time & $$$ invested not to fix this problem quickly. <As I mentioned... look down other avenues... I don't think you have a mantis shrimp which means the answer lies elsewhere.> Thanks so much, BJ Wincott <Cheers, J -- > 

Compatibility - Update on Their Night Stalker.. Calling Richard Ramirez! To Salty Dog James (God I love that call name!). <I've had it for quite some time, don't steal it:)>  Update on our night stalker. We really like this little guy, so we would hate to part with him but sure we have figured out how he launched his operation. Our tank lights go out before our china hutch (all on timers). When the tank lights go out, the crabs leap into action. However, the hutch lights throw just enough light to create a 'moonlight' effect in the tank, so we are sure this is how our Pixie discovered them moving about, thus started his hunting activities. We now have the hutch and tank lights on the same cut off time hoping that will eliminate the problem.  I tried to research it, and can't find anything indicating Pixie Hawks being night hunters.  <If they can see, they can hunt. Some fish have excellent night vision. Right now you are playing Russian Roulette. Maybe consider a tank of his own. Getting back to the call name.  I have been in the hobby since 1969. The last six years developing a whitish beard, so my cousin's husband started calling me Salty Dog knowing my love for the salt water hobby. James (Salty Dog)> 

Have we Mantis? & Chalk Bass Hi, <Hey, Mike G here> Is there a possible way in finding out if my tank has a mantis shrimp living inside of it? Is a chalk bass a ideal fish for a reef tank, and if so how many is a good number to purchase, and what sort of tank mates make feel comfortable? <Hmm...For some reason I don't think those two questions should be asked in the same sitting. Chalk Basses make ideal reef inhabitants. They stay small, are relatively docile, are hardy, and don't nip at corals. However, mantis shrimp do NOT make ideal tankmates of chalk basses, and certainly do not make them feel comfortable. Though, to find out if you indeed do have a resident mantis, you could simply go ahead and purchase a chalk bass. If it disappears without a trace, then you have a mantis. If not, then your reef is already stocked with a perfect inhabitant.   (I DO hope you realize that I was just kidding) In all seriousness, check the following links for more information on mantis shrimp. Then, once you are sure that you are mantis-free, open up this email again and check the next links, separated by a line break, which contain information on chalk basses. Good luck, Mike G. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mantisfaq2.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/serranus.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/serranusfaqs.htm
Follow up on Chalk Bass and Mantis Hey, thanks for the links I understand now. <No problem. Glad I could help.> I am not worried about having small mantis shrimps in my larger display tank, because I have a pair of extremely large sunrise Dottybacks. I was once troubled with a load of bristle worms, but the pair of orchids, sunrises, and one sixline has kept the population in control. <They certainly have a habit of doing that. Just FYI, bristleworms are not necessarily bad to have in a reef.> However, in my small tank I've lost two fish. I stirred the sand and everything else.. just not a single trace. I think the flame Hawkfish did it, but it couldn't possibly consume a lawnmower  blenny( the Banggais are fine).... <I seriously doubt the flame hawk did it, unless you found corpses and you've witnessed the hawk acting aggressively. Do you have any brittle stars, by any chance? They have a habit of consuming fish. (But so do mantis)> This is troublesome but thanks for taking your time.. <Not a problem. I wish you the best of luck. Mike G> 

Mantis Removed Hi Crew, Dave in China here again. I recently installed some LR into the tank; and after a day or so heard that glass cracking snap every once in a while that lead me to search the site. I have heard some lighter sounds in the past but much less frequent than this, and had 'things' completely disappear which has started me thinking as I write this. Anyway, after much searching in your FAQ and catching a glimpse of eyes at the end of storks on a new piece of rock, it was obvious that a MS was recently added unintentionally. I didn’t react immediately as it looked from the glimpse very small. Imagine my fear in the morning when I saw this 2-1/2" to 3", I must say stunningly beautiful MS strolling around the tank. <Gorgeous, intelligent animals> My feelings of this cute little MS staying in the day before were soon re-evaluated in about a millisecond. I tried the bottle and food trick without success, but then he was startled by a fish, small fish may I add and to my surprise, but he shot straight back into the piece of LR and closed his door, which I also think is amazing. Again I had this urge not wanting to dispose of this fascinating creature, but the main tank has small fish, turbo's, small crabs, cleaner and boxer shrimps etc, so had to make the decision to remove. I quickly grabbed the wife to watch the rock for bail out as I removed it from the tank. Then I thought about keeping him in the sump which I am slowly converting to be sump/refug/Caulerpa growth area. <Good idea> The sump has (4) sections with a total capacity of about 30 US Gal. Section 1 has the skimmer, 2 has crushed coral and Caulerpa at the moment, 3 has crushed coral and 4 the pumps and heaters etc. I have placed the LR with MS into section 2 where the lights are on 24/7. So the questions:- 1) Do you think it is OK to keep the MS in the sump? <Yes> 2) Is OK with lights 24/7? <Should be> 3) Will the LR and other inhabitants suffer from the lights? <Some, yes> 4) In the absence of food what is best to give him? <Most anything meaty... the occasional (weekly, biweekly) live crustacean would be best.> Thanks as usual, Dave <Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Bloated gashed clown Hello <Hi there> I have had a maroon clown in My 200 gal FOWLR for 4 months now. I noticed early last week a gash in his side. he has eaten well since and other then the blemish he seems fine. <Likely a bump in the night...> yesterday he seemed a little bloated but it isn't unusual to see him that way after feeding. he seems to take in air during surface feeding and kinda "floats" but then seems fine. <They are called "clowns"...> Today I noticed a similar gash on the other side and he seems more bloated. he is still eating. <Maybe not a bump, but a crustacean would-be predator...> I thought it my be a mantis shrimp. I got some new rock a couple weeks ago but I have never heard any clicking whatsoever. The gash almost looks like it could be from the inside out. I'm not sure what to do. any ideas? <I would isolate this fish (in another tank or in a floating plastic colander) and try baiting out whatever might be hidden in your rock. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>
Re: bloated gashed clown Is it possible to have a mantis in the Tank with no clicking?? <Yes. Clicking is far more common with Alpheid shrimp/s... Some Mantis can make periodic loud smacking sounds... the "smasher" varieties> we haven't heard click one also, I have 5 green Chromis, an algae blenny, and 2 tangs with no marks??. I'm gonna keep my eyes peeled and keep watch before I don the scuba gear and capture the clown out of the 200 gallon <It still may be that the clown's marks are from other cause... even repeated swimming into sharp objects... Bob Fenner>

Catching a mantis Hello.  Yes, I've been to utahreefs.com and they have some good info too.  Well, I caught my mantis this weekend using the 5 second dip method.  He's now in a 3 gallon eclipse all by himself, and not too happy, I'm sure.  << Can I come see him?>> I need to put some rock in there for him/her/it. Problem is, after I had everything re-assembled in the JBJ, I heard another click . . . maybe I was just hearing things.  Anyhow, the mantis is about 1 inch long total and not all that colorful.  Mostly grey and maybe a little bit of pink here and there.  It hasn't busted a hole in the acrylic (yet), for that I am thankful.  I am considering keeping it permanently.  Its kinda cute.  You are welcome to come take a look at it and take photos. << Great, I'll give you a call. >>  Where it is now in the 3 gallon with no ornaments should be easy to get a good shot.  Just let me know. Tom << Thanks, Blundell  >> Tom

Feeding A Mantis Shrimp Ok, now that I got a mantis out of the rock and have it in my 3g Eclipse (its only a 1 inch long mantis), what do I do? << Feed him a little bit of krill or shrimp every couple days. >> I am wondering how much damage the fresh water shock did to the poor thing.  Can it still see? << They have some absolutely amazing eyes.  I'll bet it can see far better than you or I. >> I dropped some food in, but its not eating.  I read they can be very finicky eaters. .. any advice? << Well, not sure on the foods.  I think any fresh seafood would do the trick.  But if not, I guess I'd try some ghost shrimp. >> Thanks! Tom <<  Blundell  >> Tom

Maybe a mantis? I think I might have a mantis.  I've read your pages on the mantis but still am unsure.  Maybe it's a pistol.  Here's the symptoms:  new, cured live rock and sand, new setup.  JBJ Nanocube (12g) with about 7 small hermits (can never see them all at once, so I'm not sure), and 4-5 Nerites snails, a bumblebee snail, and one peppermint shrimp (just added last week). The tank has been setup about 2 months now and that's all that's in it - taking it very slowly to be sure all is ok.  During the daytime I hear clicking sounds, like glass marbles hitting glass. << More like mantis, less like pistol. >>  Its only once in a while, very sporadic and usually only a couple clicks at a time.  I've also seen something burrowing in the rock, digging, spewing out white, chalky particles.  My rock is very porous with an intricate network of caves and tunnels throughout.  Pretty sure I saw the little guy one night.  I was hoping all along the popping sounds meant pistol shrimp so I was all set to see tentacles and a claw, etc when, to my disappointment, I saw two little eyes at the ends of long tentacles rotating about, looking back at me.  Bummer.  Mantis.  But here's the thing, with all these crabs and snails and even a peppermint shrimp, I've had no deaths.  He's been in there since the tank has been set up.  I have found some shells with holes, but I'm pretty sure I'm not missing any crabs.  The life in my sand is quite robust with little fleas and bugs crawling all over the place.  Could it be he's just feeding on them and I do not have to worry? << Well it depends on what you mean by worry.  I'd say don't worry.  Yes he may eat a few things here and there, but that is to be expected. I'd think in a 12 gal tank you could remove him if you really wanted to. >> I guess I'd like to catch him, just to be sure.  With the tank pretty much empty, I could also just pull out the rock and dip it.  But so far, it seems, no harm, no foul. << Exactly what I was thinking. >>  However, I do plan to add maybe a goby and other critters (non-fish).  So, maybe this is a good time to get rid of him . . . . what do you think?  Is it mantis?  Pistol? << I think you should bring this up on the www.utahreefs.com/forum site.  Get some local input.  Sounds like a mantis to me, but as you said that doesn't seem to be anything to be concerned about.  Also, if you do get rid of him you'll find a buyer there. By the way, I too am in SLC would like to come get some pictures of him if I can. >> Thanks! << Stay in touch. >> Tom <<  Blundell  >> Fish predator - mantis shrimp? Hey Guys! I've had my tank for approx 11 months now, its a 5ft x 30" x 24" tank with some live rock. I've been stocking my tank slowly with fish here and there, but every now my fish just swim to the back and then they disappear overnight. so far I've lost a Naso/lipstick tank, 2 purple firefish gobies, and an Anthias. I never find their bodies, they just literally disappear over night ... I test my ammonia, nitrite levels and they seem to be okay (i.e. usually 0 within the few days) At the moment, I have quite a large Radianthus anemone and some coral... at first I thought the anemone would've eaten my first disappearance (even though unlikely) but never thought much of it afterwards <doubt it is the anemone.. sounds like a large mantis shrimp to me> However, I was told that some shrimp are predators to fish. And I do hear a very very loud clicking sound every now and then (maybe once or twice a day). I've realized that that sound is coming from some sort of shrimp ? <yes probably a mantis shrimp>Is it true that this shrimp could be the reason of my disappearing fish? <yes>and if so, how do I find it and rid of it .. is there anything out there that eat these shrimp ?<you can either trap it...or purchase a large triggerfish or wrasse...they will quickly make a meal of him. Good luck, IanB>

Baby Mantis Dear WWM Crew, <Hi, MikeD here> I recently found 3 tiny Mantis Shrimp while removing seaweed remnants from my 437 gallon tank following a feeding.  They were about the size of a Gammarus or Mysid shrimp.  My tank has been in operation since June, 2003.  Six or seven months ago I removed 2 adult, tan colored Mantis Shrimp which I found living in my live rock.<The question that begs to be asked is how large were they and why did you remove them?> My questions are: 1. Do Mantis Fry have any natural predators?<Many, anything that will eat any other crustacean of similar size, particularly wrasses and pistol shrimp>  I have (3 angels) a Majestic, Asfur and Blue Faced Angel in that tank in addition to a large Copperband Butterfly, 12 Green Chromis, a mated pair of True Perculas, a Red Sea Wrasse, a Blue Neon Goby and a large Cleaner Shrimp.  Would any of these fish eat these small Mantis Shrimp?<the wrasse would be the one most likely, although any of the others large enough wouldn't pass up the opportunity if they catch them in the open>   2. Should I assume that I still have a pair of adult Mantis Shrimp in my tank or could eggs have been in my tank or sump waiting till now to hatch?<My guess is that these babies may be a different, smaller species that came in as hitch-hikers in the LR, although they could also be young of the pair that you removed. In most the eggs are carried beneath the tail in normal shrimp fashion and when released become free swimming planktonic fry that are gobbled up by the fish and filter> 3. How many baby Mantis Shrimp could I possibly have inherited?<Only a couple hundred to a thousand or so, depending upon the species **grin**  I strongly doubt that many more than those you have found have survived though. There's also the possibility that what you are seeing are something else, as many small crustaceans, including some Gammarus relatives also have mantis-like grasping claws> 4. If my current marine population will not eradicate them from my tank, what would by your recommended plan of action in removing them from my tank?<A narrow necked bottle with some meaty food in it, placed top up and at a 45 degree angle near the known lair at night often works well.  Keep in mind that there are many, many species, some never growing more than 1/2" or so that function quite well as scavengers in larger tanks such as yours>   Once again thank you for your help. Ron

Re: Baby Mantis Shrimp in My tank Hi Mike D, <Hi back, MikeD here again> Thanks for taking the time to answer my question concerning 3 tiny Mantis Shrimp that I found in my 437 gallon tank.<You're very welcome>  You asked how large the two adult Mantis Shrimp were that I had remover about 6 months ago.  One was about 2 inches long and the other was about 2 1/2 inches.<OK. Many people aren't aware that there are hundreds of different species of two types, smashers and spearers, that range from 1/4" up to a giant nearly 18" long.>   I brought them to a local pet shop and gave them to the owner who put them in a separate tank and told me that some people like to keep them as pets in a species tank.<They do, myself included.>  I however felt that they would cause harm to my smaller fish.<The "spearer" type, yes, while the "smashers", such as the Peacock mantis shrimp generally leave most fish alone, preying on snails, clams, crabs, shrimp and any other sessile invertebrate that they come across.>   The three smaller ones that I recently caught were identified, after inspection under a magnifying glass, as Mantis Shrimp by two different local pet shop owners.<I've learned to be wary of ID's, even by experts. Here in Florida I worked  for the city as a volunteer snake and exotic animal remover for over 10 years, and out of 137 calls concerning pygmy rattlesnakes, many ID'd by "experts", NONE were pygmy rattlers. On the other hand, I've seen piranhas mixed in with silver dollars and deadly scorpion species listed as harmless offered for sale in many LFS and even have a Stonefish, the most venomous fish known that was purchased as a scorpionfish and two waspfish that have also caused human fatalities that were sold as "butterfly gobies".>   Thank you again for your quick response to my question.<You're very welcome, and as long as your happy with your decision, that's all that matters.> Ron

Baby Mantis Woes? Not Likely Hey guys! I have a 29gal mostly invert tank with about 30lbs of LR.  It's been running for about 3 months now with no problems (other than usual cycling).  And I did put the LR right in my tank.  I was expecting some hitchhikers...most of the LR I got came out of a huge reef that a SW pet store broke down due to having to move. About a week ago I noticed a creature digging a burrow in a fish/invert free area of the aquarium. it would occasionally come out and feed on the tiny white pods crawling around.  I was more fascinated than alarmed by this...I thought if it turns out to be a mantis I'll get a tank for it.  But now.. Last night after the lights were off for about 3 hours I took a flashlight to the tank and saw quite a few close to 20) 1/4" - 1/2" creatures scurrying around to hide.  My fire scallops were going nuts spitting these things out I'm assuming the creatures were trying to hide from the light).  I'm not aware of what baby mantis shrimp look like and I've been trying to find info on them.  These guys looked like clearish crickets with that mantis looking front (two mantis looking arms)  They kept their tails curled under them and when in a corner they would spin around head over tail slowly.  Some had darker horizontal stripes down the back and tail.  I've read a lot of your site and I'm aware that you guys usually need a picture to help. though I don't think I could get a clear enough pic of a 1/2" thing zooming to hide at night.  If you have any clue or advice on what they could be I would be very thankful.  One mantis is ok but 20 make me fear for the animals that I put in there! This is what I have in my tank- 4 red sponges (came with LR) 6 feather dusters (several small feather dusters came with LR) 3 BTAS (came on LR) doreenis? purple with green tips 2 fire scallops (VERY food and time consuming. I'd advise against heh) 1 very protective pair of skunk cleaner shrimp 3 peppermint shrimp 1 neon goby 1 scooter blenny 1 firefish goby 1 sand sifting star flamingo tongue cowry various snails and small hermits Thanks for your time! ~Angela ***Hey Angela, Yes, I really do need a picture. :) When you describe them as having "two mantis looking arms" then I wonder how familiar you are with mantis "shrimp" (stomatopods.) Stomatopods have a VERY CHARACTERISTIC appearance, and don't look a bit like anything else. They are really not shrimp at all. I'd be willing to bet that what you are seeing are Gammarus shrimp. A common inhabitant in reef tanks, and quite harmless. Even at the size you speak of, young stomatopods look just like the adults. By the way, sand sifting stars are not a good thing to have in reef tanks. They eat all the good fauna that you WANT in your sand bed. They are predatory - not good. What you should have instead are Nassarius snails. They inhabit the sand bed, and feed on detritus and other organic matter. Regards Jim*** Catching a mantis We recently discovered that we have a mantis shrimp living in our live rocks, her has been coming out every couple of days so we can see him, but he's too fast for us to catch him. << Seen this happen many times. >>  We don't want him in there because of the harm he can do to the tank, so we inquired with our local fish store what to do.  They suggested buying a trap, which they stated had about a 50/50 chance of catching him, or adding an arrow crab to the tank to seek him out and kill him. << I don't think that will work. >> We opted for adding two arrow crabs to our 65 gallon tank, they have been there for about 24 hours now, one has already molted.  What do you think about this strategy? << I think the mantis is much more dangerous and could kill an arrow crab any time it wants to. >> Can you think of anything else? << Yep, rock removal.  Lots of people just lift the rock out, put it in a bucket and shake it around until he falls out.  Works surprisingly well. >> We had thought of taking out the rocks and running them through fresh water, but we don't really want to kill other stuff living in the rocks, plus we are not 100% sure which rock he is living in (he moves around). << That can be a problem. >>  We have several corals, live rocks and a few fish (left!). << I know other people who have little traps.  They just lend them out free and share them.  Also, they are way easy to make out of acrylic.  So the trap idea isn't a bad idea because you have nothing to lose. >>  Thanks, Tracy   <<  Blundell  >>

Rogue Stomatopod? My girlfriend has a 20g reef tank and she's been having a problem with disappearing fish.  She had a small ocellaris clownfish since she first started the tank about four or five months ago.  A couple of weeks ago he mysteriously vanished over night.  A month or so before she put in a firefish, which vanished within the first couple of days.  Three days ago she put in a pink skunk clown, and this morning he was gone.  None of these fish have shown any signs of stress or poor health.  She's got zebra leg hermit crabs, snails, a Ricordea, glove polyps, a couple of feather dusters, and an abundance of copepods that visibly multiply in the tank, and a clown goby who's been in there for about two weeks, and a more recently added electric eye scallop.  The goby is looking lonely, and Jenny's getting really discouraged, and thinking she should give up on fish all together.  Water conditions are primo, no amm, no nitrite, 20 ppm nitrate, 1.025 sg, pH 8.3...every invert she has every put in there has thrived.  We've never observed any predatory crustaceans, but I don't know what else it could be.  She's got 30lbs of live rock so there's plenty of hiding spaces.  As far as traps go are there any superior models or brands?  Is there anything else that would cause fish to disappear entirely? ***Hey Scott, Assuming these fish are not jumping out (something fire fish are notorious for) then it very well could be a mantis shrimp. Try examining the tank a hour after lights out with a flashlight - sometimes this turns up the culprit. One thing you could try is a hyper saline dip. Remove the rocks and soak them (do not soak any corals) in a bucket with salt water mixed to 1.036. This should cause any mantis that's hiding in the rock to exit almost immediately. Leave the rocks in this solution for no more than two minutes, as the hyper saline conditions could cause unwanted dye off on the rocks. The other option is a trap, and I believe there's one specifically designed for stomatopods. Do a search for "mantis trap" on the web and you should find it in short order if that's the case. If you do find a mantis, you might want to consider setting him up in his own small tank. They are very intelligent, and make fascinating pets. Good luck! Jim***  

Rogue Stomatopod, Part Deux... Hello Tracy, For any Gonodactylus, or other "smasher" variety Stomatopod, an arrow crab is nothing but a meal. I'm not sure what the logic behind putting an arrow crab in the tank was. I would try a trap first. If that fails, you can try a hypo saline dip. Mix the water to 1.036 and dip the suspected rock (if you can best guess which rock he's in). Leave the rock in this solution for two minutes, no more. If he's in that particular rock, this should send him scurrying out. Good luck Jim*** We recently discovered that we have a mantis shrimp living in our live rocks, her has been coming out every couple of days so we can see him, but he's too fast for us to catch him.  We don't want him in there because of the harm he can do to the tank, so we inquired with our local fish store what to do.  They suggested buying a trap, which they stated had about a 50/50 chance of catching him, or adding an arrow crab to the tank to seek him out and kill him.  We opted for adding two arrow crabs to our 65 gallon tank, they have been there for about 24 hours now, one has already molted.  What do you think about this strategy?  Can you think of anything else?  We had thought of taking out the rocks and running them through fresh water, but we don't really want to kill other stuff living in the rocks, plus we are not 100% sure which rock he is living in (he moves around).  We have several corals, live rocks and a few fish (left!).  Thanks, Tracy  

Rogue Stomatopod, Part Tres! We have tried the trap for about 3 days now, the only thing it is doing is feeding the arrow crabs.  They are scurrying off with the bait every night and having a feast.  They don't weigh enough to set off the trap even though we have it set at the most sensitive setting.  Dumb question...how do I get the water for the dip to 1.036?  I think we might want to try that next.  Do you think that a fresh water dip is not advisable?  Also, if he doesn't scurry out of the rock, how do we know if he is dead before we return the rock to the tank?  We tried the fresh water dip over the weekend on a piece of branch rock that my husband was sure he saw the mantis go in to.  He wanted to verify that the mantis was dead and took a hammer to the rock. Guess what, he wasn't in there!  No more smashing rocks! Thanks for your help. Tracy ***You need to add salt mix to the dip water until it reads 1.036. This will be easier on the rock than a freshwater dip. Still, do it no longer than two minutes or so. If he's in the rock, he should come out. However, nothing is for sure and I've seen mantis shrimp drive reefers off the deep end. :) This could very well be "JUST THE BEGINNING" MUAAAHAHAHAHAHA! Hope not, and I wish you luck. I would keep the trap, and lose the arrow crabs for now. Jim***

Peacock mantis shrimps Hey there! I've just visited my LFS and saw a very interesting mantis called a 'peacock mantis'. How big do these shrimp get? Are they smashers or spearers? The label didn't say how much it cost, but how much should it cost? I'd appreciate any help. <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm and the linked FAQs files (in blue, above) re. Bob Fenner>

How dangerous is a Mantis shrimp? Hello all, << Hi, Blundell here. >> I have identified a Mantis Shrimp it is a Gonodactylus (little green 2.5"). I have tried trapping  without success, very smart fella. My question is what threat/damage could this little fella do. << Overall not much damage.  He isn't going to terrorize the tank and eat everything.  What he can do is eat a few small fishes and pick on some other small invertebrates. >> I am starting to like him but if he is going to reek havoc of my hermits and snails (maybe clam) << He may eat some, but people who keep Mantis shrimp often have hermits and snails in those tanks anyway. >> then I will continue on trying to remove. I read in one of the  FAQ where this species was referred to as harmless, I thought harmless and Mantis were two words never associated with each other. << Well harmless to your corals.  Maybe not so harmless to little fishes, but then again what is? >> Thanks again for your time. << To remove him, I recommend scaring him with a stick so he hides in a rock... then remove the rock.  If you keep him, I would suggest feeding him every few days in hopes of preventing him from being too aggressive. >> Mike Winston <<  Blundell  >>

Help with an Eviction Please help: <I'll try! Ryan with you today> I have a buddy with an 80 gallon bow front. He has had it up for 6-8 months and was loaded with emerald crabs and fire shrimp. They have all disappeared in the last 2 weeks. Last night he saw a tail flapping around after the lights went out. Mantis Shrimp maybe! <Prime suspect> If so how in the world do you catch the little bastard? <Glass trick: Take a pint glass, lean it upright against the rockwork.  Leave a few silversides or meaty item at the bottom, and he'll jump in to get them.  He won't be able to climb back out, but he'll be good and mad so watch your fingers.  If not a Mantis Shrimp, any ideas? <The tail is a good clue that it's a mantis.  You may even want to set up a small aquarium for this creature- It's quite fascinating.> Everything else seems to be fine. Snails are still there and fish seem fine. <Won't be long unless he finds the shrimp! See ya, Ryan> Brian

- Is it or Isn't it? - I think there may be a mantis in the new rock because there is a lot of clicking coming from it almost all the time. <Then chances are it's not a mantis shrimp - what is more likely is that you have an Alpheid, a snapping shrimp. Mantis shrimp just don't click that often, compare with some snapping shrimp which click constantly. No worries.> I just put some egg crate over the top. doesn't seem to effect the light amount much of all. <Good deal... now you're prepared for leaping wrasses.> Thanks!!! <Cheers, J -- >

- Is it Or isn't it? It Was! - it was a mantis!! <I should have known better - the live rock from TBS is a well known source of mantis shrimp.> I came home tonight and between a couple of coral polyps was this big reddish brown head protruding from a hole. I immediately removed the rock and put it in a bucket of fresh water. I was taking no chances. I soaked it for 10 min.s and shook the rock and out comes this huge mass of eggs!! <You'll need to cure this rock all over again - you've wiped out everything on it...> then a 2.5" mantis came out very dead. <Makes sense.> I then took the remainder of the rock and soaked it too. If that thing had gotten in my main tank it would have been a disaster. and with those eggs it was like a reef tank version of Alien waiting to happen. all I can say is better half dead live rock than putting that thing in my tank <Uhh... it's not half dead, it's all dead. Cheers, J -- >

- Is it Or isn't it? It Was! Follow-up - thanks for everything!!  Gotta tell you. I left the rock in fresh water for a full 20 min.s and the barnacle life is still waving a way!! and the mussels that look like rocks are still alive. <Makes sense, both of these are able to shut tight with a small supply of water... other items will not be so lucky.> I hope I left the rock in fresh long enough to kill any bad guys <Well, if you wiped out that mantis shrimp, then you probably got anything else like it. Cheers, J -- >

Hola amigo, mantis biz, biz of life... Hey Bob, <Hello James!> Questions... as usual So, the local mantis shrimps that they call shako are about 4 or 5 inches long and I can get them alive for a few pennies each at the marina when the boats come in. Actually I've been given several pounds for free - but they sell cheap at the market. I decided to bring a couple home, and I've kept two in a 25 gallon tank together for about a month now. Not only have they not killed each other, they haven't even noticed each other apparently. So, I'm wondering - you think there would be any money to be made by shipping some out? And would you have any idea at all about how I would get started trying to figure out how to do it, the legality of shipping critters from here, etc. I plead complete ignorance of the shipping transshipping aspect of the hobby/business from the supplier side... <Hard to say... there's such a strong anti-mantis sentiment in the hobby, that I suspect dealers would be wont to stock them... but worth a try.> Other stuff... Looks like I'm staying another year. I'm saving more than ever (no bills), I've got a couple of books going, and still enjoying the place quite a lot. I have taken your advice about rental/real estate to heart and plan to return will enough cash to get the future started right. I'm also toying around with the idea of starting a product line - but again that's something I'll have to learn a lot about before making any real decision to jump into business ownership again. Anyway, life is good. <Yes my friend... despite common practice/s in the U.S. at the federal to personal level, "everything starts with savings"... and cash will be more "king" as time goes by... keep saving> Hope you are doing well - say hey to Pete for me if you think about it, jf <Will do. Be seeing you, maybe back in Hawaii... am hauling out 8/9-31 if you can make it... then again in October. Bob Fenner> P.S. check out the eyes! very cool creatures <Neato> James W. Fatherree Minami Oohashi 3-4-1 Okimoto Kopo #502 Fukuoka-ken, Yukuhashi-shi Japan 824-0032 www.fatherree.com/james/yukuhashi/home.htm www.picsbase.com/james
www.fatherree.com/james

DSB, anoxic dilemma? 3/18/04 (Perhaps the term hypoxic for the mid-zone) Hi bob, <Anthony Calfo in his stead> I have a question regarding depth of substrate. You mention to use 1" or less (completely aerobic) and 3" or more to create an anaerobic environment for denitrification. You mention any substrate thickness in between those parameters would cause anoxic havoc. I'm a little perplexed by this. <me too... I am nearly certain Bob would have never said this... and I agree with part of the assertion, but would not use the phrase "anoxic havoc". Where is this from  my friend. Our book, the archives, etc?> Firstly, the anoxic environment created by 2 inches is still an anoxic environment and I do not understand how it differs from 3 or more inches of substrate? <part of the misunderstanding indeed... I do not believe a 2" substrate can get adequately anoxic for NNR... and if you'll take the time/years to use and study DSBs, the you will see that 3"/75 mm is the bare minimum for effective NNR... hence the rule> Wouldn't both anoxic environments (in between 1-3 inches and 3" plus) create H2S? <not the goal at either depth, and regardless cannot be assumed without an address of nutrients sunk to feed/fuel the conversion> How is it that one is safer than the other? I'm sure there is something I am missing here, <yes> I just want to understand what that is. <me too> Please do not refrain from becoming really technical in order to get the point across (that is if you have time to), that is, layman's terms are not necessary, nor is the need to explain technical terms. <no time alas at length... but please let me direct you to the extensive detail and discussion we have of it in our "Reef Invertebrates" book or the free wetwebmedia.com archives (much info there if you will take the time to sort through it)> My last question. Why would one want to rid Live rock of its biodiversity...i.e.. removal of mantis shrimp...etc. How would they be detrimental to 1) fish only tanks or 2) reef tanks? Are these animals prone to being hosts of pathogens detrimental to animals/organisms in the tank more so than animals commonly kept in aquaria? Or do they just eat factors important in maintaining good water chemistry? Why are they deemed unwanted? <depends on the species. You must ID that first. Spearers catch and kill fishes... even the smallest/"safest" smashers instead still mow through other desirable invertebrates like gastropods. Judge them by what you deem more useful in your aquarium... purchased snails/fishes... or expensive meals> Thanks so much! Mars <rock on... Anthony>

My, what dark oval eyes you have...? (02/29/04) Hey crew, <Hi! Ananda helping out tonight, playing a hunch on this one...> Thanx for all the help so far.  You guys take a lot of the stress out of caring for a new tank. <We aim to help!> This one is going to be hard and unfortunately I don't have a digital camera. Either way I can't see much of the new creature anyways. I looked through the inverts section and didn't come across anything like this little guy. Today I noticed to antennae sticking out of a hole.  At first thought they were just a tube worm but I noticed that each one split into two at the ends. I also noticed that there were two little "eyes" looking around. The shape of the eyes were oval and very dark.   <Right now, my brain is saying "Cool! He might have a mantis shrimp!" Check pix at http://www.blueboard.com/mantis/ and see if anything looks familiar.> I didn't get to see any of his body as he is too timid to come out of the hole in the rock.   <Yup, sounds like a mantis.> I noticed an empty hermit crab shell next to the hole....hopefully the crab wasn't eaten....and it definitely isn't the hermit in the hole.   <Well, the hermit may have switched shells.> I got home tonight and noticed that the hole had been filled in. <Yup, they do that, too. Cool little critters for a species tank.> Being curious and maybe not altogether smart I poked it the handle of a net. At this time a piece of shell, clump of sand (not sure what) fell into the hole. The little guy poked his head out and looked around and then put the piece back in place. <I would, too, if you banged in my door. ;-) > Unfortunately it can't describe him much better than that as I haven't been able to seem out of his hole. <The behavior sounds very much like that of a mantis shrimp.> IF you can identify this or even point me in the right direction to try and identify him that would be great. Thanks again, Todd Hawman <Our resident mantis fanatic is lurking about the forums again. Try posting at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk on the Marine Invertebrates board with more descriptions, if you can, and see if P-F thinks you've got a mantis. You might want to put a piece of frozen shrimp next to the place you saw the creature so that it's less likely to go for a moving target (aka a hermit crab). --Ananda>

Mantis Shrimp? 2/24/04 In the last week or so I have lost 2 Fire Fish Gobies, and a Cleaner Wrasse. All within 48 hours of purchase.. The Wrasse Within 12 hours. I do have some  fairly new rock, (maybe in display now for 6 weeks). I have not noticed a loss in hermit crabs, maybe a couple snails, but I always tend to lose a  snail or two every couple months. In the tank are 2 ocellaris clowns whom I have had over a year. As well as a LT anemone whom I have had over a year.  The Fire fish and Wrasse were about 3" long. I have heard no clicking at night and have stayed up since losing the first Firefish. Yesterday though I saw what could have been a pretty small Mantis. at most he was 3/4" long. Is this big enough to take down the fish mentioned? <If it was a mantis, it would not stay that small for long with all that food!  Seriously, though, it is unlikely that such a small mantis could capture those fish, and from your story, I doubt you have a mantis.> and if so could the clowns have been protected in the anemone since they sleep in it? Or could the anemone be the culprit? It does not completely close up at night anymore like it did when I first got it. During the day it is about 13-14" in Diameter and stands about 6" tall. I would think that even at night a wrasse or Firefish would be to quick for the anemone, all losses have come after lights off, and there is no sign of a body the next day. <The clowns would probably be protected, but I still don't think that a mantis is your problem.  All of the fish you have lost are potential carpet surfers.  Have you checked the floor behind your tank and any overflows for evidence that they may have jumped?> How would I go about catching such a small mantis. I have already tried "dunking" in high salinity water all my LR.  <High salinity, low salinity and soda water have all been suggested to coax mantis out of hiding places.  All of these hare hard on the desirable life on rock and should be avoided.  Traps are commercially available or can be fashioned by cutting the top off of a small soda bottle and inverting it into the bottle.  Weight it, bait and wait over night.  Weighting and baiting an old pair of panty hose has also been suggested since the mantis will get entangled while trying to get the food.> I also have a "monkey shrimp", a Coral Banded shrimp Both I have had for at least 6 months.  <More anti-mantis evidence!  These critters would be much higher on the potential prey list than fast moving fish.  Their survival is a good clue that a mantis is not to blame.> One more thing, I have a nice  piece of pipe organ coral that is quite large, it seems however that I missed a couple Aiptasia, on the new LR and 2 Aiptasia have since climbed up through the "pipes" and are now sitting smack dab in the middle of the coral piece. one is quite large maybe 1 1/ 4" Peppermint shrimp have been no good since I think it is to big for them, I can not cut it off since it pulls itself into the "pipes" when I get near, or pull the coral out. I am starting to think I am going to have to cut the coral, but how? its about 4" deep, 6"x5" across the top. the Aiptasia is about 2" from the edge of the coral. My local LFS said to buy a copperband Butterfly, I am afraid it will eat my other corals, he said that they "target Aiptasia first" is this true?  I have not heard that before. My other corals include Xenia., Green star polyps, and asst. leathers and mushrooms. thanks again for all your help the past year.  Aaron <Glad to help Aaron.  Copperbands are very delicate fish in captivity.  Even the survivors will often refuse to eat Aiptasia, or will only eat them when very hungry.  I disagree that they "target Aiptasia first".  I don't think any of your corals will be at too much risk, except for the pipe organ.  Your best be is to try careful peroxide injection.  Your coral may suffer some collateral damage, but with care, it will be no worse than the Aiptasia will cause.  Best regards.  Adam>

Mantis menace Dear Mr. Fenner, <Devon> My husband and I have recently become marine aquarium enthusiasts.  We purchased a 28 gallon tank and have around 35 pounds of LR in it.  We set it up a little over two weeks ago with 100% live sand.  We have 2 medium damsels (for cycling purposes), a hermit, an arrow crab, 2 turbo snails, 2 urchins (stow-aways on the LR), a peppermint shrimp, and an anemone that grew on it's own from the rock.  From everything that I have read and heard, we apparently have at least two mantis shrimp living in our rocks.  We have seen the larger of the two (about 2 1/2-3 inches in length) go after our peppermint shrimp.  From reading on your site and from things that I have heard, it appears that these are rascally little creatures that are very hard to deal with.  The larger of the MS lives in one of our foundation rocks.  Can you tell me the method that YOU would try first to get these little buggers out before the hurt something (especially our arrow crab)?  Thank you for any and all advice you may be able to give me. Devon Vickers <If you can definitely see where they are, in this small size system I would gingerly (for fear of bodily damage) remove the specific rocks and flush them out with soda water (yes, carbonated drinking water)... if this doesn't do the trick (next trial) I would try baiting them out with a tasty shrimp (cocktail sans sauce) and fishing line toward evening... with a speedy, sure hand net! Lastly, if these two techniques don't remedy the condition, I would go the plastic (Home Depot, Lowe's) mouse trap route with a meaty bait. Get 'em outta there! Bob Fenner>

Mantis menace II Thank you so much for your help regarding the nasty little mantis guys.  We got the two that we know of out last night.  Oddly enough, one of them came over and jumped onto the side of the net and climbed right in! <Hee hee, some Darwin Award candidate in the crustacean class now!> The other one was a very tricky matter.  We had bait in there, but he was just not going for it.  Finally, my husband got mad and took the whole rock out.  He but it in a bucket and the thing would not come out.  We didn't have any carbonated water, so my husband had to go to plan b, which was to skewer the little sucker, which, he successfully did. <En garde!>   Those little guys are vicious!  Anyway, who knows if there are twenty more lurking around in there, but we got the two big guys out.  The smaller was about 2 inches and the bigger one was a good 3 to 3 1/2.  YUCK!  Have a great day! <Beautiful animals, but destructive in the "wrong" settings. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Mantis amongst sp.? 2/5/04 Over the past few months I've had some mysterious disappearances of hermit crabs from my tank.. even their shells tended to disappear. Finally this morning I was feeding, and I noticed a flicker of white out of the corner of the tank. A little shrimp-like grey-green guy with 2 white stripes across his back was attempting to ensnare a few floating mysids. Could this be the candidate for my disappearing hermits? The last 10 I bought lasted a whopping 2 weeks before they all disappeared. thanks as always WWM crew :)-Chris <please do look up "mantis" and "Stomatopod" on our web site and others to see if any resemble your green guy. If so, it may indeed be the predator. Much is writ in our archives on how to ID and trap these critters. Best regards, Anthony>

Fight of the Year!  Coral Banded Shrimp vs. Mantis! >Saludos Salados: >>Greetings! >Last week I purchased a CBS and placed him on a 10gal tank. This tank has been running for a year with no apparent problem. The other tankmates are a Cinnamon Clown a Turbo snail and a couple of Bumble Bee snails. >>Alright.  And now..?? >Recently my wife noticed a strange animal in one of the life rock holes. For her description I think we have a Mantis in the tank. >>Oh no.. <groan>.  I had a tank wiped out by a mantis once. >This would explain the disappearance of a Royal Gramma about a month ago. >>It would explain it quite neatly. >My question is, will the CBS kill the Mantis or the other way around? >>My money's on the mantis, hands DOWN.  As a matter of fact, being as how I'm NOT a gambling woman, I would actually put money on that one. >I am concerned for the CBS (named Jacques) which my son regards as a cool pet to have.  Best Regards; Jos?A. Gonz?ez >>I would be concerned as well.  There are those who've had luck using different traps.  At the very least (and often the best), if you can determine which piece of rock it's in, then you can remove it to a pail of fresh water.  This will cause the animal to exit IMMEDIATELY, and allow you to put the rock back in sans mantis.  Marina

Bloody Shrimp 12/10/03 Hi; <Hi Antonio.  Adam here today.> I have a 3 foot tank, and I have had a mantis shrimp in there. One night despite getting rid of three and a larger one on one occasion, I still have more clicking in the tank. What can I do? <First of all, don't panic!  Even if it is another Mantis, most that are incidentally collected with rock are smashers (spearers tend to inhabit soft bottom habitat).  While dangerous to small invertebrates, smashers are very unlikely to harm fish.  I would continue to apply whatever trapping method that was successful for you in the past.  Also keep in mind that harmless pistol shrimp could be producing the clicking. I have heard about dipping rocks in soda water but this can be very detrimental. What is the best way to get rid of them if you cant find them? <For the soda water trick to work, you obviously have to know which rock they are in and be able to remove it.  I would try trapping first and consider the soda water trick as a last resort.  I would also suggest targeted pouring of the soda water over a total dip.  Please do avoid clearly harmful tactics like prolonged freshwater exposure and boiling water. HTH! Adam> Who Will Win the Shrimp War. I'll bet on the Mantis (12/10/03) Saludos Salados: <Greetings> Last week I purchased a CBS and placed him on a 10gal tank. This tank has been running for a year with no apparent problem. The other tankmates are a Cinnamon Clown a Turbo snail and a couple of Bumble Bee snails. Recently my wife noticed  a strange animal in one of the life rock holes. For her description I think we have a Mantis in the tank. <Uh oh> This would explain the disappearance of a Royal Gramma about a month ago. <Quite possible.> My question is, will the CBS kill the Mantis or the other way around? <I'd put my money on the Mantis any day. It has a much more formidable weapon> I am concerned for the CBS (named Jacques) which my son regards as a cool pet to have. <CBS are way cool. I love mine. Do get rid of that mantis. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisfaqs.htm> Best Regards; Jos?A. Gonz?ez

Mantis shrimp 11/3/03 Hello to all, I have a question concerning a mantis shrimp (little brown type about 2"), I have tried various traps but it is smart and all attempts have failed. <Hmmm... there is likely no need to remove it anyway. Pause and get a correct species ID (look on the net at the Stomatopod reference sites). Yours is quite likely a smasher (not a spearer) with an adult size of just a few centimeters. If so... it is harmless> I have not noticed any deaths so I am assuming that the mantis is getting enough to eat without killing my fish, shrimp or snails. Is it possible that it is feeding on copepods? <microcrustaceans yes... but copepods are rather small. Amphipods more likely. Other larger infauna from the sand too> Since trapping has failed I have decided to let him be, so my question is what can I put in to feed him and keep him content, <most any small bits of thawed frozen meaty foods placed near its den/lair> I was thinking about some blue leg hermits since they are cheap. <good heavens! unnecessary and a poor use of a living resource. No need, mate... wholesale meats of marine origin are fine - fish food. Best regards, Anthony>

Missing in Action - Must Find That Mantis!  >Hello to all, I find myself scratching my chin yet again and staring at my tank like the RCA dog, a daily occurrence. I have/had a yellow tail Coris wrasse ~ 5-6" ~ for over a year and he made the move from my 55 to my 125 four months ago without any problem.  In addition I put a three inch two line goby in the display tank last Sunday and haven't seen him since.  I've heard the loathsome intermittent clicking noise coming from the tank since day one and have yet to see the devil. >>Uh oh.  I know this story all too well. >I tried to flush it out when transferring the live rock by exposing all the rock to a bath of hyposalinity for three to four minutes per my LFS guidance counselor. >>Fresh water dipping is generally most effective, but it helps to have an idea of which rock/rock group to go after. >My question is it likely that the shrimp could/would catch and devour either or both fish in a two to three days time? >>Hhmm.. depending on the size of the mantis, I'd have to say it's a good probability.  Especially if it found the wrasse, though large, buried and at night.  I'm assuming your tank is well-covered and you've done the search all about, even in the places where "it's IMPOSSIBLE they'd land there!". >I have check all around the tank, floors, overflows, hood, probed the sand bed, checked the tank with lights off,  looked behind the tank with a mirror.  Ammonia isn't up and I don't know if it's worth breaking down the tank and disturbing the other fish and more than I have to find them or what left of them, ughhh.  :(  Any thoughts or suggestions, and again, thank you ahead of time.  Steve Suniga >>In a tank that size, even if the fish just kicked with no help from the shrimp it doesn't necessarily follow that the ammonia would spike.  However, as I said, it could be likely that they've been nailed if you're rather certain (the clicking sure is a bugger) you've got a mantis.  In this case, I think it is QUITE worth it to do what you can to find that shrimp.  They can, do, will, and HAVE decimated entire tanks.  I even lost a gorgeous Tridacna derasa to a mantis (just smashed it open, even when it was said it would never happen, it did).  Must find that shrimp!  Marina

Mantis In The Mist (Mantis Shrimp...) Hello to all, <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> I find myself scratching my chin yet again and staring at my tank like the RCA dog, a daily occurrence. <Well, as long as you are not scratching other body parts while staring at the tank, then you're on the right track here...> I have/had a Yellow Tail Coris Wrasse  ~5-6" for over a year and he made the move from my 55 to my 125 four months ago without any problem. In addition I put a three inch Two Line Goby in the display tank last Sunday and haven't seen him since. I've heard the loathsome intermittent clicking noise coming from the tank since day one and have yet to see the devil. I tried to flush it out when transferring the live rock by exposing all the rock to a bath of hypo salinity for three to four minutes per my LFS guidance counselor. <You could also try one of the "traps" designed just for that purpose...> My question is it likely that the shrimp could/would catch and devour either or both fish in a two to three days time? <It is certainly possible...And it is equally possible that you may have more than one...> I have check all around the tank, floors, overflows, hood, probed the sand bed, checked the tank with lights off,  looked behind the tank with a mirror. Ammonia isn't up and I don't know if its worth breaking down the tank and disturbing the other fish and more then I have to find them or what left of them, ughhh.:( . Any thoughts or suggestions, and again, thank you ahead of time. Steve Suniga <Well, Steve- short of removing all of the suspected "hideouts" of the Mantis Shrimp and suspending the rock in a bare tank, or dipping the rock in carbonated water, you may need to resort to one of the aforementioned "traps" in an attempt to catch this guy (or guys...). Keep up the high level of alert, and maybe you'll nab the little scourge...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Mantis menace? 07/19/03 <Hi Tim, PF with you today> Hi, I think I might have a mantis shrimp, not quit sure. I saw only a glimpse of him peeping out some hole in the rocks, and he seemed to travel from hole to hole, and in different rocks. But, what I did see was this green head with long green eyes that rotated opposite of each other. He never comes all the way out, so I can't get a good look at him. The LR I bought was from Tampabaysaltwater.com, and I've heard they're known for it. I do hear a clicking sound but haven't seen any dead snails, and the tank has been cycling without fish for two months now. Is there a way to lure him out so I can see him, or an easier way (I know there is no easy way, unless he breaks the glass) to get him out. I don't want to buy traps that won't work, and to find him in a particular rock means I would have to use my hands. I like my fingers as they are. Please help. By the way your new book is next on my list. Tim Wagner <Well Tim, first off, the bigger worry is your LR falling on your glass than that mantis breaking it. The mantis breaking glass is a tale that grows in the telling. It has happened, but the mantises weren't the little ones like you have but an O. scyllarus that was at least 5" long - and there's a lot more power in 5" of mantis than in 2". As for TBS live rock, Dr. Roy Caldwell (a mantis <Stomatopod is their correct name> expert conducted an informal survey and found that most people find 1 mantis/hundred pound of rock regardless of the source (including his own work in the wild), I've had LR from Fiji that the LFS "guaranteed" to be mantis free, the  mantis didn't listen. Be all that as it may, the little bugger is less of a threat than legend has it. Depending on the size of snails and hermits you have, it may not actually be a threat to them. I can understand your fear though, as they are predacious, and very intelligent predators to boot. I would recommend that you go here: http://www.blueboard.com/mantis and read up them. There are sections on the site about mantis removal, and if you're so inclined, their care. If you're up for, I'd advise setting up a separate tank (a 10g nano is plenty big) and keeping the little bugger, or putting him in your sump (I know a number of people who've done that with theirs). Hope this helps, PF the self professed stomatophile. BTW, the new book has a section on mantis shrimp in it, so you can read up on them when you get it.>

Mantis menace? 07/20/03 <Hi Alastair, PF with you tonight> Hi, I believe I may have a mantis shrimp, but am not certain. Need some advise. There is clicking noises coming from the tank, it will normally be one click, or occasionally two. The thing is I just cannot find it, I have removed each piece of rock and dunked it in fresh water for three minutes, but no Mantis has been forthcoming. What really bugs me is that all I have achieved is damaging and killing some of the other life on my rocks. Is it really a mantis, or could it be something else? The tank is a 15 gallon with around 20 lb rock, you would think it would be easy to find whatever is doing it in a tank this size. The tank was only established around 4 months ago. Around 2 months ago I introduced around 20 small ( 1/2 to 1 1/2 inch ) shrimp of a type that can be caught locally (New Zealand). Most of these have vanished without trace. One jumped out but the rest just disappeared. Cheers, Alastair <Well, it could be a mantis, or maybe a pistol shrimp. Check here for more info about mantises http://www.blueboard.com/mantis. The FW dip is pretty much like nuking your live rock, and I would never recommend it. Try feeding your tank live brine shrimp, or something similar. You may also want to wait up, and using a flashlight with a red filter check and see if you see it moving around after lights off. There are also commercial traps out there. Good luck, PF>

Re: Mantis Menace 07/22/03 Hi PF, Hey, Thanks for the speedy reply. <Hello again> Great News, I got them, they were pistol shrimps. I saw one as a snail was crawling on the rock, something appeared and clubbed it of the rock, and then retreated. Now at last knowing where they were I was then able to take out the rock and dig out the hole with a screwdriver, they were both in there and I pulled them out with tweezers. They appeared to be a mated pair living in the same hole. The female was loaded with eggs. They are small, about an inch long, but still make quite a discernable click. Checked out that web site you sent me and was able to identify them as pistol shrimps. They are supposed to be relatively harmless, but I would still rather do without them. You were right about the fresh water being bad news, it really has damaged my rock life, also I was pretty amazed, I only dipped the rock they were in 24 hours ago, and yet the pistol shrimps seem fine. <If they're still alive, you could set them up in their own display, a 10g or 20g, or perhaps sell them to an LFS. Mated pairs are rarely available, I'm sure someone would like to take them off your hands. It's nice too, that they weren't mantis shrimp, takes some of the heat off my favorite crustaceans. ; ) >

Clicking Noise >Hi >>Greetings, Simon.  Marina today. >I have a two foot salt water tank.  It is stocked with the following: 1 Clown Fish 1 Coral Banded Shrimp 1 Dottyback 1 Blue Tang Some live rock There has been a clicking noise (on occasion) coming out of my tank for some time now (around 5 months).  I am not sure what it is, but I have been told that it could be a Mantis Shrimp - which is supposedly something that can smash the glass of the tank. >>More likely a mantis shrimp, less likely it will smash the glass than it will take other residents.  It's also possible it's a pistol shrimp, but far *less* likely. >I have read your FAQ and info pages on the Mantis Shrimp and I found it quite informative, however I just wanted to ask the following: 1) I can't find this Shrimp, so is it possible that any of my other stock can click? >>Yes, it's possible.  However, just because you can't find it doesn't mean it's not there.  They're quite intelligent and crafty little bugs. >I have been told that Clownfish do some clicking.  The clicking sounds like a coin tapping against the class. >>Yes indeed, but I've yet to hear them make any noise that's audible from outside the confines of the tank (think of the many catfishes we keep that make similar noises, yet few can be heard from outside). >2) I have noticed a worm like creature on a live rock.. it looks like a worm and I couldn't really see a head.. it was very quick. I was about to stick a net in and try to catch it, but as soon as I touched the glass it went off like a bullet into the live rock.   If this is the culprit then it is possible for me to take this bit of rock out.  I only managed to see it at 4:00am one night while I had a hangover. >>Hhhmm... everything's questionable when viewed during a hangover.  J/K.  A worm can't really click, being soft.  However, if you are able to determine *which* rock the mantis/clicking suspect is living, you can remove it to a bucket or other container, dip it in freshwater and it will probably high-tail it outta there. >I haven't managed to see anything in normal spectator hours :)  I don't know if it is possible to set a trap for it?  Because my coral banded shrimp is pretty quick - he will go for any bait lying on the ground. >>They are quick (though not too quick for me and my net!), but you're not trying to catch the CB shrimp, are you?  There are many mantis shrimp traps available online, do a Google. >3) If it is a mantis shrimp - my concern is that it could crack my tank??? >>Again, HIGHLY unlikely, what is likely is residents may begin to disappear. >Is that a true concern?  Another important concern is my fish - but so far no incidents. 4) Also, another thing that happened the other day (off the topic) - My Coral Banded Shrimp (Lenny) shed his shell.  He has done this a few times now.. It is quite an impressive process. Anyway it seems as though one of his legs (or arms) is a bit weak or injured.  Is it possible that he could have shed prematurely or something went wrong? >>I would suppose that he's in need of some mineral supplementation--calcium and iodine are two I can think of off the top of my head.  Consider dosing calcium (do test your tank first) and/or iodine.  Search our site for information on these, as well as Googling. >He hasn't really been himself. A bit reserved.  The Dottyback and blue tang are new additions, and he was going after them a bit. Is it possible that he shed because of these new additions? >>No, he shed because he outgrew his exoskeleton.  This is a good thing, but do be sure these animals have sufficient and sufficiently available biominerals.  I do hope this helps, and best of luck!  Marina

Praying it's not a mantis  6/15/03 <Hi Simon> Hi I really hope that you can help me with this. I am an experienced fish keeper but a beginner as far a marine tanks go. I have a small 80 gallon tank which is some six weeks old. I have been slowly adding live rock and have been very happy to gain a few creatures that came with it. The most exciting of these was a brittle star, it was only small, about the size of a large coin and appeared a couple of weeks after the last piece of rock was added. I was surprised that it survived the nitrite surges as the filter matured. Anyway I was pointing out the brittle star to a friend who was visiting when something partially emerged from a hole in the live rock, grabbed the brittle star and pulled it into its hole. The "something" was about 2 inches long but that is only the part that was visible. It was red in colour with spikes along its body. A few minutes later it was hanging out of its hole with bits of the dead brittle star left on the gravel bed. Can anyone suggest what this could be? I have no intention of adding any small invertebrates to the tank, it is intended as a fish only tank for a pair of Tomato Clown fish so what I really want to know is can I leave it there? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks Simon <Well Simon, I'd be willing to bet the farm (if I had one) that you have a mantis shrimp. The Lurker's Guide to mantis shrimp is an excellent source of information http://www.blueboard.com/mantis and here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomapods/mantisshrimp.htm . Stomatopods are fascinating animals (and a personal favorite of mine). Now as for letting it stay in your tank, well, a lot depends on what type of mantis it is. If it's a spearer, get it out. If it's a smasher, you could keep it in your tank if: 1, you feed it regularly (krill, open a small clam, pieces of fish or squid, etc.), and 2, you buy a pair of larger tomato clowns (not under 3"). Be aware, that it will probably eat any clean up critters (snails and hermits) you get. As for eating your brittle star, well that sounds like one hungry mantis to me. I've never heard of them eating brittles before. Well, have a good night, do some reading, and write back if you have any questions, PF>

Will mantis shrimps or bristle worms in any way damage corals or clams? 6/15/03 <Hello, PF with you tonight> Will mantis shrimps or bristle worms in any way damage corals or clams? <Ok, I'll break this down: Mantis shrimp will generally not harm corals, unless they disturb them by walking across them. Depending on the relative size of the clam and the mantis, and the type of mantis (smasher vs. spearer), it could kill and eat a clam. A 2" mantis is no threat to a 10" clam, a 6" mantis is another story. Bristle worms: in general, no. If they are in plague numbers, they could irritate a corals tissue. As for clams, they have a bad, and undeserved rep. Often a clam with be doing poorly, but still look healthy overall. The clam dies overnight and the worms come out and eat it, the nest morning the aquarist sees the worm shell crawling with worms and makes the obvious (but wrong) conclusion. There are a few species of worms that prey on clams, but they are very rare in captivity. Bear in mind these are generalizations, you can get a more specific answer with a more specific question. So on that note, have a good evening, PF>

Is that a smasher or a splitter? Dear Mr. Fenner, <PF here> My finger was impaled by a mantis shrimp a week ago <ouch!> and my finger has not fully cover from sensory feel. As there are no relevant doctor for these in my area, would you please inform me more about injury from a mantis shrimp? <I'm sorry Sugeng, I can't be more specific than this: treat it as any other wound. Make sure it stays clean, and keep that finger out of any infectious material. I would go see a regular (i.e. general practitioner) about this injury, and I would recommend you go as soon as possible. Hope that helps and best wishes, PF>Thanks. Sugeng

Re: Your help on/with WWM Thank you to whoever titled the "Is that a smasher or a splitter?" for me. <No worries... wish I was as clever as the ed.s at WSJ> Next time, I'll catch that and include a link (specifically the one for wounds...), to say I was a little freaked out by my first question being medically related (I'm not a doctor ,nor do I play one or TV) would be rather accurate. <We takes and gives what we gets> I certainly hope I made it clear he should go see a doctor, and I hope the AMA doesn't come after me for practicing without a license. ; ) <Something to contemplate. Bob>

Wound Care Advice Bob: I read the two posts yesterday & today about a mantis shrimp wound. The advice was sound. Actually, your wound/infection article is very appropriate and correct. As the clich?goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The most important treatment of a non-venomous wound is prompt cleaning/disinfection. As for the loss of sensation in the writer's finger--as long as there was no venom involved, it is likely that the impalement cut a nerve. Cutting a larger nerve closer to the base of the finger would affect all sensation beyond that point. Cutting a small nerve near the tip would affect just a small area. I still have a small numb spot on one finger from a laceration I sustained over 25 years ago. It is always smart to see a doctor when a  wound isn't healing properly or looks infected. Any primary care physician is a good starter. Steve Allen, M.D. PS: don't fret about the AMA--I'm sure they've got bigger fish to fry. ;) <Thank you for this timely input. Will share, post. Bob Fenner>

Mantis killer >Hello.   >>Hello. >Need your help.  I've recently introduced gulf live rock to my 120gal tank to start my cycle.   >>I shall assume that this rock has been cured. >I noticed a few nights ago that there's some clicking coming from the tank.  I have a strong feeling this is a mantis shrimp. >>I would tend to agree.  Not a good feeling! >Although I haven't seen it yet, I'd live to dispose of it before I put my clean-up crew in there in 3 weeks.   My question to you is, once my cycle is complete, is there any fish or eel that would make a nice treat out of the mantis. >>None that I know of that would be reliable, though I've read several recent reports of Coris gaimard that have been seen eating mantis shrimps.  In one instance, the C. gaimard was a juvenile.  These are a hardy, fairly peaceable fish to have, not to mention their spectacular juvenile and adult coloration.  I have found them to be very easy keepers. >I would like to avoid going the trap route since I hear that most of them don't work very well.  Please help.  Demetrius >>Yes, the mantis is a very clever shrimp, he is.  What I would do first is begin a process of separating the pieces of rock, in order to narrow down where the mantis may be.  This will take time, space, and energy, but after having one entire reef tank of my own wiped out of all motile inverts/non-cnidarians it's worth it to me.  Be careful, though, these shrimps are known in some locales as "Thumb splitter".  Good luck!  Marina

More light for the tank?/possible mantis (03/12/03) Hi everyone! <Hi! Ananda here today...> I have been working on my second reef tank for about ten months now. I have had very good luck with my soft coral tank (4 years) so I am now going to try a SPS tank. This one is 48X24X18(90G).  I built the hood with three sockets for A future addition of a 250W Iwasaki. The light hood has two 175W 10000K metal halide lamps plus two VHO actinics. I am trying to strike a balance between color AND growth. Would the 150W Iwasaki be enough or would another 175W 10000K be more appropriate? <Whoops... you mention a 250w first, then a 150w, then a 175w... each of these bulbs requires a different ballast. Do you have the ballast yet?> The bleaching of the corallines is an issue with me, because I believe the corals will need the light. Should I add this light to the cycle now? <No need to add the light when you don't have corals that need it...unless, of course, you read by tank light.> I added the live rock back in September, and I probably won't begin stocking until May. I almost broke down and added a small school of green Chromis, but on one of my late night "safaris" I think I spotted A mantis shrimp possibly Gonodactylus platysoma (photo on blueboard.com) so I broke down the Q.T. (I will wait and watch). <I would be setting up the QT to hold the mantis! They are cool critters. Even if you disagree, there are many people who would love to care for your mantis. Do check out the WetWebMedia site and WetWebMedia chat forums for discussions on how to catch and remove these critters, as well as how to keep them or where to sell them!> The few snails and crabs seem fine. <Keep a count on them...will help determine/confirm your species diagnosis.> The water parameters are ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphate are not detectable. The salinity is 10.25, alkalinity 4.5 m/ltr., and calcium is 450. The water is changed every week at 6%. <Sounds good.> I would also like to thank Ananda and one other (maybe Anthony by the sounds of the humor maybe not) for your most recent responses. <You're welcome... not Anthony, since he always signs off on his... sounds like one of the guys on the crew didn't want to get caught/blamed by your wife in case of your untimely demise!> YES, I am the guy who spilled skimmate all over his living room carpet. The wife did not kill me (yet)! She just keeps asking me "When are you going to put fish in that d&%m thing?" <Ah, the cry of spouses of hobbyists with new tanks everywhere... I would suggest you add a couple of clownfish-shaped food clips and point to them next time she asks.> Thank very so much again Ben.   <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Killing a mantis with cold... hello I've heard that mantis shrimp can't take the cold.  I was wondering if I let my tank cool down to the 60s or lower for a few hours, would that likely kill the shrimp?  all I have so far is live rock.  if you think this might work, how low should I let the water cool and for how long?  except for the Aiptasia (another problem to solve) I wouldn't want the life on the LR to die.  it's mostly sponges, feather dusters, Christmas tree worms, turkey wings, and other such things. thanks, warren <Mmm, I wouldn't go the chilling route. You're very likely to kill more of the desirable "live" part of your rock than the mantis. I would instead try baiting, trapping it/them out. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomapods/mantisshrimp.htm and the linked FAQs (in blue, above). Bob Fenner>

Re: killing a mantis with cold... thanks, bob, for your quick and helpful reply on my mantis shrimp problem. <Welcome> tried the x-terminator over a period of 4 nights using raw salmon (fresh each night) and then a meaty frozen fish food, all with no success (or even a nibble!).    <Yum, am coming over to your place... don't give up here... may not be hungry enough, or like other types of food. Try a bit of shellfish (like a cocktail shrimp piece or oyster...)> decided to go the tedious club soda route.  first tried pouring club soda over each piece and into the holes, but was unsuccessful.  so bought a ton more club soda and dunked each piece of LR for about 3 seconds each.  that worked like a charm.  got both inch-long shrimp.    <Oh! Congrats> moreover, after 2 days, it doesn't appear the process has hurt the LR at all.    <Good to hear/read.> thanks again, warren <Thank you for the follow-up/input. Bob Fenner>

Mantis shrimp (02/20/03) How do get the darn thing out <Many suggestions in the mantis shrimp FAQs, linked here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomapods/mantisshrimp.htm ...more suggestions on the WetWebFotos chat forum (http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/. --Ananda>

Purchasing a mantis tried many places. my clown mantis died molting had him for 3 yrs. cant find another one.  do you know who carries it? thanks Phil <I found several ecommerce sites using a google search. You might see if a local store can special order one. Happy hunting, Don>

Mantis ID- Stomatopod 2/5/03 Could you please identify the creature in the attached photograph?   <yep... a small Mantis "shrimp" (Stomatopod)> It came in with a shipment of live rock from the Gulf of Mexico. It was about an inch long but has doubled in size in less than 4 weeks.  It is very elusive and hides at the slightest disturbance. The tail area is flared like a lobster. Robert Pierrelee <you will likely need/want to remove this predator on small invertebrates. Fears about its presence in the aquarium are largely overstated... still, it can destroy a lot of small and desirable life forms (snails, small fishes, other crustaceans. Please browse info in the archives about trapping such creatures. Anthony>

The Mystery Killer Greetings crew, <Scott F, on call today> Thanks for your help in the past.  I'm new to the hobby (4 months) and appreciate the guidance and reassurance. <We aim to please! Glad we could help!> I have a 30G tank with 40# live rock, single 17 watt Zoo Med Reef Sun 50/50 lighting (12-hr on timer), H.O.T. Magnum Pro filter with activated carbon and bio-wheel, Berlin Air-Lift protein skimmer (added two weeks ago), and the following (known) inhabitants: <I like the "known" preface!> Fish: 1 Dascyllus melanurus, 1.5 inch (4-stripe damsel) 1 Amphiprion ocellaris, 1.5 inch (Ocellaris clown) 1 Centropyge bispinosus, 3 inch (coral beauty) Inverts: 4 scarlet hermits 3 Lysmata wurdemanni (peppermint shrimp) 3 Turbo snails 1 Lysmata amboinensis (scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp) 1 Mithrax sculptus (Emerald crab) 1 Condylactis pink-tipped anemone Lots of tiny (Mysid?) shrimp - more every time I look. <Cool- sounds like mysids!> The turbo snails were added about three weeks ago, the coral beauty and anemone just one week ago. <Remember to quarantine all future fish purchases, okay?> The rest have been in the tank for about 3 months. I feed Tetra Marine Granules (softened in water for about 30 seconds first to make them easier to eat for the fish -  in retrospect, not the best food choice for my small fish) daily, and flakes about every other day, either Spirulina or Tetra Marine flakes.  Occasional frozen brine shrimp. <Try some frozen Mysis shrimp, or "Formula" foods- they offer more complete nutrition than brine shrimp> Latest water numbers (typical for my tank - no major deviations): Temp:               77 F pH:                   8.2 specific gravity:  1.023 ammonia:          0 mg/L nitrite:               0 mg/L nitrate:              30 mg/L (can't seem to get this to go down) About once a week I add 2 ml of Seachem Reef Iodide, though I do not measure it in the tank.  I change 5 gallons about every 1.5 weeks. <Make it a bit easier- try smaller (like 5% of tank volume) changes twice weekly- that may help with the nitrate reading a bit> I should preface this story by saying that there may be additional, unintended inhabitants in the tank: shortly after adding my last batch of live rock (15# on 11/07/02), I think I saw a small (1 inch) pistol shrimp - he came out of the new rock quickly, grabbed a piece of food, and hustled back in.  I've only ever seen it that one time and am starting to wonder if I imagine it, but I don't think so. <I hope you are...but if you saw it...could be there...and could be a problem!> I distinctly remember seeing one claw being larger than the other, besides that, it looked similar to the peppermints - not easily confused with a mantis shrimp.  I haven't heard any distinct clicking sounds coming from the tank, and I've tried to sneak up on the tank a few times when the lights had been off for a while but haven't seen anything major.  There is also at least one bristle worm, maybe two inches long and 1/8 inch wide. Here's the story: During the first week of January, I was away on vacation, so my brother stopped by to feed the fish, using individual food packets I'd previously measured out. <Smart idea!> I was gone 7 days, he ended up coming by four times to give them a single packet each time - I told him not to worry about missing a day or two, better to underfeed. When I got back, he informed me that one of my clowns just disappeared, and I have found no trace of her since (I had two then, in the pre-coral beauty days).  Not to ruin the ending, but I also had two Emerald crabs at that time (pre-snail and anemone days).  The odd thing is that of the two clowns, the one that is still around is the one I would have expected to have fallen victim to a predator - he apparently has a swim-bladder defect, and cannot maintain neutral buoyancy (he was tank-raised).  He seemingly gets so tired constantly swimming up that, several times a day, and all night, he just lies on the gravel, a prime target for a hungry Emerald. <Yeah- you'd think head be the "Vic" (okay, I watch too much "CSI" on TV) > The one that disappeared swam normally. I suspected the mysterious shrimp first, so I took out the rock I saw him in months ago and put it in a bucket for a few days, with a piece of scallop in there to temp him out.  The food (replaced daily for freshness) was not eaten in a week, so I gave up and put the rock back in the tank. I then assumed it was the Emeralds, and decided to keep an eye on them (there were two at that time, remember).  Of the two, one was clearly bigger and slightly more aggressive, but never, to my knowledge or witness, posed any real threat to the fish. So fast-forward to this week - I have a tank divider in place to let the frisky 4-stripe damsel get acclimated to the coral beauty.  The two Emeralds were on one side, together with the 4-stripe, two snails and two peppermints, but on the other side from the suspicious rock. Yesterday I saw the carcass of the larger, more aggressive Emerald, lying upside-down on the gravel.  I've been fooled by crabs molting in the past, mistaking them for having died, but this one I am 99.9% sure is really dead.  I removed the carcass - it seems the right weight etc, has no "escape" hole that she could have gotten out of. In fact, the only thing differentiating it from a living crab (besides the fact that it is dead) <Yes- being dead is generally the best indicator that it is dead! LOL> are that the abdominal cover (the baseball-catcher chest-protector like thing between its legs on the underside) has been loosened so it is only attached posteriorly (exposing some clear muscular looking tissue), and, most interestingly, seems to have had a hole punched though it!  The hole seems like it required some force to create - like a puncture wound right through the abdominal shell. I can't imagine that the other Emerald crab could have done it - taking down a larger, more aggressive crab. <Neither could I...I vote for the mystery shrimp> I can't imagine that any of the known inhabitants in the tank could have done it, actually. So the only explanations I can think of are: 1) the crab died "naturally", due to an unknown water parameter, poor nutrition, etc, and the other crab and/or peppermint shrimp scavenged the carcass, creating the wound; <Possible, but too many similar coincidences recently> or 2) an unknown murderer is living in my tank, picking off my pets one by one. I have still seen no sign of the clown (no measurable water changes either, that would indicate a hidden decomposing fish), so I assume what ever got it ate it, or, if it too died naturally, was consumed thereafter. <Both good possibilities> Have you ever seen a fish just disappear without a trace (in a 30G tank), and a crab get stabbed to death?  Any advice on how to further investigate/prosecute this case?  I apologize for the length of this question, but I thought it was all relevant.  I appreciate any help. Respectfully yours, Tom <Well, Tom- based on the circumstantial evidence (that sounds soo cool to say that!), I'd have to believe that you have a nocturnal killer. If it is the "mystery shrimp" (and I believe that it is), you'll have to lure him out somehow with some bait (like the scallop you used before), and maybe utilize one of the commercially available "traps" for this purpose. I used to think that they were a joke until a friend of mine caught a 3 inch mantis shrimp in one! Keep trying to bait this little *&^%$# out, and get him out of the tank as soon as you can. Don't give up! Regards, Scott F>

- What to do with a Mantis Shrimp [is it safe?] - <Greetings, Jason C here...> Let me start by saying...mantis shrimp are tricky little boogers!  To recap, I purchased some uncured deco rock, and while curing it in a 20 gallon tank, I heard clicking/popping noises off and on.  The noises stopped, so I blamed my paranoia and imagination (and my husband says I'm in denial!).  Of course, now that the rock has been transplanted to my main tank, the noises have begun again and lo and behold, I have spotted the culprit.  The mantis shrimp is about 1 1/2" long and mostly hides in the rocks, but seems to be getting bolder by the day, actually coming out into view when I shine a light in his hole.  My current tank inhabitants include: a maroon clown, a strawberry Pseudochromis, a Christmas wrasse, a three-striped damsel and critters include: Astrea snails, a few peppermint shrimp, a green brittle star, a pincushion urchin, a small red starfish and a pink and green cucumber.  I just want reassurance that I do indeed need to remove the mantis shrimp.  Any chance of the inhabitants continuing to live in harmony? <There is a chance, albeit a remote one, I wouldn't risk it myself. I'm sure you've read up on these, but I'll quickly reiterate - mantis shrimp [stomatopods] come in two basic varieties: smashers and spearers. These descriptions accurately portray their offensive capabilities. If your mantis is a spearer, your fish are most certainly in jeopardy as soft-bodied prey is the preferred food of the spearer. If your mantis is a smasher [the clicking certainly makes it seem like a smasher], then it would prefer crabs, snails - things it can bash into submission. That being said, all stomatopods are wily predators and will have no problem taking something not usually on their list. So... the choice is yours. There is also the chance that this is not actually a mantis shrimp but a clicking shrimp, also known as pistol shrimp. These shrimp make a lot of audible clicking sounds, and typically are much noisier than a mantis. If you haven't already, check out our pages on the subject: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomapods/mantisshrimp.htm > I think I know the answer, but I don't want to believe it!  As always, thank you so much for the information, the website and the correspondence.  You guys are super-cool! <If I might add one more possibility for you... stomatopods make really fascinating pets, but would best suited to a tank all to themselves. A 10 or 20 gallon tank would suffice. Cheers, J -- >

Hitchhiker - Mantis Shrimp Hi Crew, I recently purchased 45lbs. of uncured deco live rock, which I am curing in a 20 gallon tank.  Off and on I hear clicking sounds coming from the tank and I am guessing that I have either a Pistol Shrimp or a Mantis Shrimp in one of the rocks.  I have never seen the shrimp, but from all I've read, this seems like the logical explanation for the clicking noise.  My question is, should I try to remove this shrimp.  The noise isn't really loud enough to be bothersome, but I fear that if it's a Mantis Shrimp, he will do damage to his future tankmates.  Is there any way to id the shrimp if I can't see him?  Should I not worry about it unless it becomes a problem?  If you do suggest trying to remove him, how would I go about this? Thanks in advance for any help you can offer...you guys are awesome!! <If there is a clicking sound it is likely a mantis shrimp. The easiest way to remove him is to suspend the rock above a bare bottom tank and catch him/remove the rock when he comes down to eat. If it is a mantis he could cause damage and or eat any future tankmates.  When you catch him you might try "advertising" him on the WetWebFotos chat forums, there are some folks that love keeping Mantis Shrimp and will purchase him from you.  They can be quite beautiful.  There is much more on WetWebMedia.com, search on mantis shrimp in the google search.   Craig>

Re: missing fish! I have a 75 gallon salt water tank with ten fish (all compatible and reef safe).   <How do we know?> 2 days ago one of my cardinal fish vanished! Then yesterday the same thing happened to my scooter blenny. Besides that I've had 1 banded starfish ripped apart and killed, and now the new banded starfish is missing 2 legs that were just there. What could be going on? All of my other fish are doing great and my corals are growing beautifully. My water tests which I do once or twice a week continuously come back good. I have live sand and Tonga ridge rock, could there be something hiding in my rocks? <Yes, likely a Mantis Shrimp. Does your tank make a clicking sound? Go to WetWebMedia.com, scroll down to the google search engine and type in "mantis shrimp". You have to trap it. Be careful they can injure you, no joking.  Perhaps a crab too.  Craig>

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