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FAQs about Mantis Shrimp Food/Feeding/Nutrition

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Related FAQs: Mantis 1, Mantis 2, Mantis Identification, Mantis Behavior, Mantis Compatibility/Control, Mantis Selection, Mantis Systems, Mantis Disease, Mantis Reproduction, Crustaceans, Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Hermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Anemone Eating Shrimp Crustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Mantis shrimp wont eat  8/28/12
Hi there, I have had a mantis shrimp for a about 5 months now in a 200 liter tank, its a 6" peacock and he lives with a pair of maroon clowns, a devil damsel, a dwarf angel and two barnacle blennies (never hurt a single one of them!!!). he's not molted since i have had him and I do water changes every week however he has stopped eating this last few days and stands out in the open not doing much even when the lights are on. There's no sign of shell rot and wanted to know if you have any ideas what may be wrong with him? Thanks very much!
<When he's hungry, he'll eat! Peacock Shrimps may become reticent around moulting-time, so bear that in mind. Ensure you're keeping iodine levels right in the tank (insufficient iodine is a common cause of moulting failure) and naturally review its diet to see if there's something missing.
I am surprised this chap hasn't attacked your fish, and I kept my Peacock very definitely on his own and he ate all sorts of foods including juvenile tilapia (I admit I was much less informed about live feeder fish back then, but then again, we were breeding hundreds of tilapia at university so they were safe and in regular supply). Also, contrary to their public image, Mantis Shrimps are quite shy, nervous animals that are definitely "on the menu" for all sorts of predators. If your specimen feels threatened, he may not want to come out an eat. And one last thing, they're largely nocturnal, or at least crepuscular, so best fed when the lights are dim or off.
Cheers, Neale.>

Hey crew, its salt water time! Stomatopod keeping    10/15/10
Greetings my fine friends.
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,
<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.
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?
<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,
<Have fun with your pet! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hey crew, its salt water time!   10/15/10
Looking forward to it.
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.>

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  >>

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