Newbie needs help keeping a mantis


Premium Member
I would like to keep a mantis shrimp, but don't
that much about them. I have a 10 gal aquarium
that I use for a quarantine tank. It's divided
length-wise down the middle, so I can use half
of it for quarantine, and the other half for the
mantis (the same water circulates thru both
halves, however).

If anybody would, please help me with the
following questions:

1) What species of mantis are the most colorful
and/or fun to watch. I would prefer not to get
one that grows very large. Also I definately want
a "spearing" type.

2) Is my divided 10 gal tank big enough to start
with a small mantis. I can always get him a larger
tank if he out-grows this one.

3) What material and how much should be used on
the tank bottom?

4) What's the best thing to feed a mantis. I know
this sounds cruel, but what would you suggest for
interesting prey?

5) Where can I buy a mantis on-line?

Thanks in advance,
Question 1: I have a female Peacock Mantis shrimp and a male Gonodactylaceus ternatensis. I think they are both interested and gorgeous creatures. I think that all Stomotopods are gorgeous and very interesting to watch. As far as to how large one species grows to another or which is the smallest that would be a question for a more experiences keeper of Stomotopods or a question for Dr. Roy.

Question 2: If you start with a smaller mantis shrimp as far as a inch maybe 2 I think you should be just fine. But the KEY is to provide your mantis with sufficent and a comfortable burrow or caveren. If the mantis feels that it doesnt want to be seen or needs to molt it will need a place where he or she can go and not be bothered, seen, and left alone. The second part that is very important is water quality, I cannot stress how important this is for a Stomotopod.

Question 3: I think that any material you can get would be fine. I use Sand preferably as I think it looks and feels more natural. I also have the benefit of having my 2 mantis tanks which are 6gallon eclipses hooked up and sharing water with my main reeftank. This supplies awesome water quality so I dont need to have a large tank to keep water quality high and have room for error.

Question 4: Interesting prey, well no it does not sound cruel, it is nature. And the nature of the mantis is to eat other creatures. I feed my mantis's a variety of stuff. From Littleneck clams which they love to crack at and crack at to mussels, snails, hermits, crustatean and a occasional damsel once a month as a treat.

Question 5: You can get a Peacock Mantis shrimp from Flying Fish Express. That is where I got my Peacock from. But Peacock's get large. They normally dont carry them, if they have them they would be listed in the Collectors corner. But the best way to get them is to put an order in for it, and tell them as soon as you get one in, call me to make sure I will be home the next day, charge my card and send it out ASAP! :)

I hope I answered your questions, some people will have different views and I hope that they are expressed here. The Mantis shrimp is a very hated animal in this hobby of keeping reefs. I have read alot and heard alot of horrible things done to these wonderfull creatures, which I do not care to repeat in this reply. Let me know if you have any other questions, and yes the type of mantis you get is very important if you are limited to space and like I said, Dr. Roy and others can help on that part and some of your other questions.