I use southdown play sand from home depot.Basically its like buying 60.00 worth of LFS sand for 3 bucks.Plus the added benefit of keeping the buffering capacity up.Just make sure and wash it and when you think its ready wash it some more.I have never had cloudy tank syndrome using it.
I decided not to wash my southdown for my mantis in the 6gallon. I was cloudy for a while, but cleared up in a few days. Then I started doing water changes with the water from my reef to help establish the sand. Worked great.
i a tank like that i would have 4 inch of crushed coral (finer the better) but give it some liverock to burrow under, have the rock ( flat piece) laying flat on the sand so it can dig underneath.
the more rock the better.
how big is the mantis?
my two mantis are 2"and 1 and a half inches.
could I put in some more crushed coral without removing my livestok? my mantis is burrowing under one rock
but I want him to burrow in front so I can see him.
p.s do you know any thing about Hawaiin feather dusters? if you do please tell me.
Just take all the rocks out of your tank put the crushed coral in and when you put the rocks back make a cave for him. Try to make a deep, dark cave. Are your mantis the same species? think they are a mated pair? do they ever fight? If they dont get along make 2 caves. If they arent a mated pair when they get bigger they might try to kill each other.
I don't know if they are a mated pair but I think they are the same species. I got them both from the live rock in my moms tank. The're legs are red and they're backs are rusty red. I think they are smashers. I never see them fight. I still have some more crsushed coral. I will add it tomorrow and another piece of live rock. THANKS.
ive only got about 4 inch of crushed coral sand in my tank and with a mantis the size that you have i wouldnt overly worry about putting in more. i would leave the tank as is because you already have a mantis building a home and i would want to mess up his home for a couple of extra inches of substrate he probably want use. i can only get mantis that are 2 to 3 inch long and mine have never made it to the bottom digging with a 4 inch substrate.
i would add as much liverock as possible as i found that a mantis will come out alot more if he knows he can duck into a hiding place quickly if he has to. mine roams around all day and actually occupys a few liverock caves i have built for him.(5 caves)
if their not fighting then i would leave the tank be as they might have their territories set out and moving it around might cause some trouble with fighting over the new hiding places.