Mantis on the way, heater question


New member
Hi all. I have an Odontodactylus scyllarus ordered from my LFS. It is destined for my 6 gal eclipse until I can remedy the pump death on my 20g custom acrylic tank.

Anyway, my question is whether I should worry about this bad boy breaking my heater? I've read about some here having this happen, and I'm wondering what the circumstances were.

Also, if it IS in danger, would placing it at the top of the water line help? I'm not sure how much swimming these guys do.


S !
Depending on the size and type of your heater...

If there's a heater guard (like the ones available for Tronic heaters), get it.

Or see if you can fit it into the filter chamber of your hood. You might need to do something to partially block the water outflow to keep the heater constantly underwater.
I used to lose heaters (Jaegers) all the time to O.s. They either touch it when it is on and strike at the hot glass or they are startled when the pilot light comes one and strike at it. I've always wondered if they could sense the change in electormagnetic field, but that is another story.

We reduced, but did not eliminate our breakage by placing black tape over the pilot light. A better solution was placing a plastic shield over the heater I used thin plastic 1 1/2 inch tubing open at the ends and with a few 1/4 inch holes punched into it. It kept the animals away from the heaters and I don't remember losing any heaters protected in this way.

Now we keep the entire lab and aquarium rooms at 76 and I don't bother with heaters - except two days ago when the entire Berkeley campus lost power and temperature in the lab dropped to 58. Fortunately, we have an emergency backup generator that allows us to fire up space heaters and we didn't lose too many animals.



I picked up a black plastic heater shroud at the LFS for $3. I'll give that a go.

Thanks for the replies. I'll let you know if he breaks one!

S !
I've got one of the new titanium heaters in my 20 gallon peacock tank. It works wonderfully and she's never shown the slightest interest in it. The light is located on the control unit which is mounted on the wall above the tank.

I've kept two O. scyllarus and one G. platysoma in a 6g eclipse with a 50w Tronic heater (with heater guard). None of the stomatopods showed any interest in the heater at all.

I wouldn't keep an O. scyllarus in a 6g tank (or anything smaller than 15g or so) ever again though.

What a shame about your lab Dr. Caldwell!
Orkspace - can you relate your experiences with the OS in the small tank?

Also, what are you hosting your mantii in now?

Hehehe, mantii. :D

S !
Per Dr. Caldwell and my personal experience, O. scyllarus demand high water quality. My two O. scyllarus both died within days after molting. I believe that both of the O. scyllarus died from the stress caused by high nitrates, which were a result of infrequent water changes and uneaten food. In my opinion, O. scyllarus are simply too sensitive to keep in a small tank unless one is incredibly vigilant about water changes and able to keep the small tank very stable.

The G. platysoma that I kept was a different story entirely. In the time that I had him, the G. platysoma molted successfully twice, had a voracious appetite, and entertained lots of my office-mates. I didn't even keep a heater in the tank, which stayed between 75 and 78 in the climate-controlled office. Because I'm getting ready for law school (and trying to reduce the number of tanks I have!), I gave the G. platysoma to Dr. Caldwell.

Once I get settled after my move this fall, I'm going to try another O. scyllarus in a 29g tank. I would also love to find a G. chiagra or smithii.
I agree. I keep O. scyllarus in 10 gal tanks as needed for experiments, but we perform major water changes and even then we lose too many animals. THe same species in our 125 gal systems do very well. I have never hooked up a nitrate reacter to a small system. It is easier for me to change water, but that might help.