40 Gallon Breeder Peacock Mantis

HarrisonAquatics

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
25
Reaction score
44
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Hey! I picked up a 4" Peacock Mantis a few weeks ago, and she (I think it's a she?) currently resides in a 20 long. I wasn't necessarily planning on getting her, but I jumped at the chance - I've tried ordering peacocks several times, and always ended up with different species of mantises or, on one occasion, a coldwater pistol shrimp. Hence the small tank, and the imminent upgrade.

I've tried to write this several times and it keeps on getting convoluted - so here's a list of questions:

  1. I'll be using a standard 40 breeder. I'd like to keep some basic soft coral with her (leathers, xenia, GSP, maybe some "invasive" stuff I wouldn't want in my other tanks), as well as some macroalgae such as Gracilaria Hayi, Caulerpa Prolifera, Halimeda, and a few others. All things that can thrive in lower light. Does anyone have a light recommendation? I'm wanting to keep the overall spectrum a bit warmer than usual, preferably around 10000K.
  2. Would covering the bottom glass with a piece of acrylic be necessary? I've heard of it being done, and I suppose it would offer peace of mind. Does it have to be a certain thickness/type, or would the cheap stuff from lowes work?
  3. How deep of a sandbed should I use? I've got my usual 1" in the current 20 long, and she moves it around and uncovers the bottom glass constantly. Is that just part of having a mantis, or would having a deeper sandbed help? I don't want a DSB, so I'd say 2" might be a good compromise?
  4. Any dietary things I should be aware of? From what I've read, I just need to feed meaty items sparingly. So far, it's been a clam on the half shell twice a week, with the occasional piece of krill/a CUC member to supplement. Is this enough? Too much? Nitrates are creeping up above 20 fairly regularly, so water changes have been a pain. Guess that could mean I'm feeding too much, but I don't want to starve her!
  5. How big of a burrow should she have? Currently she has a 3" PVC fitting, and I'm planning on doing a piece of 3" pipe in the 40 gallon. Is 3" big enough in diameter? Should I do multiple burrows? Should I provide a burrow for her at all?
  6. She hasn't molted since I've had her (3 weeks), although she did molt in the store when they first got her in. Most inverts I've owned have molted shortly after I've gotten them, so I expected the same from this one. Is this normal?
That's all I have for now. Thanks for any help!

Mantis 3.jpg

Mantis 4.jpg
 
Reef Chasers Aquaculture

Tamberav

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2014
Messages
4,220
Reaction score
6,270
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Wauwatosa, WI
1. I can’t help you here as I am wondering the same thing. Powerful lights paired with less than ideal water quality can cause shell rot. So dimmer is better in that aspect too.

2. Cheap stuff is fine... it’s just to absorb some impact if they try to dig through the bottom glass.

3. They like deeper sand so whatever you are willing to give/keep clean. They will burrow and move it around.

4. There is no danger of overfeeding as they will bury it if not hungry or just toss it aside. This effects water quality though. I buy live clams and freeze them as the half shell clams honestly don’t seem as good. I also offer frozen chunks of LRS. She loves it. Live is good too so they

5. 3 inch is probably fine.. I honestly just give them tons of rubble and they have always constructed their own burrows (they make multiple ones) and it’s super fun to watch them make them and then tear them down and make a new one.

5. Large mantis don’t molt that often so I would not be concerned at this time.

They also seem to like objects/toys. Colored dice and action figures to mess around with and check out (you can remove them when they get bored). Once settled they are very curious animals. Sometimes when trying to feed mine with tongs she springs up and sits on my arm and taps me lightly with her smashers (they can control how hard they hit). She is just trying to figure me out.
 
OP
HarrisonAquatics

HarrisonAquatics

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
25
Reaction score
44
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Thanks for all the info! Do you have a peacock, or a different species?

Maybe I'll do 2-3" of sand/crushed coral and just keep it well-vacuumed. I'll probably go ahead and throw a cheap piece of acrylic on the bottom, too, just to be safe. I've offered mine several different live prey items (ghost shrimp, fiddler crabs, small prawns) and she's not really taken to them. She'll come and check them out, but never tries to kill/eat them. She'll go after snails, though, and I've seen her take hermits back to her lair. Guess it's just her preference.

Maybe I'll do some large chunks of marco base rock and then plenty of small pieces of rubble to give her something to build with. I may include her current PVC fitting, too, but I'd prefer a natural look.

Maybe a MarsAqua Black Box LED turned wayyyy down to a spectrum that I enjoy will work best. This is for the mantis, after all - whatever is best for her is what I want to do. I'd just like to add some color to the tank.
 

FreshwaterConvert

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 21, 2020
Messages
179
Reaction score
177
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
1. I can’t help you here as I am wondering the same thing. Powerful lights paired with less than ideal water quality can cause shell rot. So dimmer is better in that aspect too.

2. Cheap stuff is fine... it’s just to absorb some impact if they try to dig through the bottom glass.

3. They like deeper sand so whatever you are willing to give/keep clean. They will burrow and move it around.

4. There is no danger of overfeeding as they will bury it if not hungry or just toss it aside. This effects water quality though. I buy live clams and freeze them as the half shell clams honestly don’t seem as good. I also offer frozen chunks of LRS. She loves it. Live is good too so they

5. 3 inch is probably fine.. I honestly just give them tons of rubble and they have always constructed their own burrows (they make multiple ones) and it’s super fun to watch them make them and then tear them down and make a new one.

5. Large mantis don’t molt that often so I would not be concerned at this time.

They also seem to like objects/toys. Colored dice and action figures to mess around with and check out (you can remove them when they get bored). Once settled they are very curious animals. Sometimes when trying to feed mine with tongs she springs up and sits on my arm and taps me lightly with her smashers (they can control how hard they hit). She is just trying to figure me out.
With the objects/toys are there specifics to stay away from or to try and get as far as “reef safeness” goes or is it not a concern without corals? I’m super intrigued by this but I’ve heard not to put fake decor in saltwater tanks that aren’t reef safe. Any recommendations would be great, I’d love to provide as much enrichment for my mantis as possible.

mom planning to aim for a 2-4 inch sand bed of special grade Carib sea and some crushed coral. I’m gonna do a 3” pvc as well as lots of rock and rubble for burrows.

lighting wise, (and I’ll post the link in a moment) there was a guy in another forum who has kept tons of mantids and seems to be the only person to reverse shell rot, and supposedly it was with less intense, cooler light and high water quality. Like I said, I’ll post the link so you can determine for yourself what you think as I’m not 100% sure.

Im thinking of maybe doing some soft corals and the “pest corals” like GSP and xenia, like you. I was listening to an old episode of the Reef news Network earlier today and they were discussing Non Photo Synthetic corals which are really hard to grow. However, being that they’re not photosynthetic, I’m intrigued on how they’d do in a mantis tank that’s only light by daylight and ambient light with frequent enough feedings... (I’ve never kept saltwater or corals, so if I’m way off on this I apologize, just curious what ppl think who have mire experience in this wonderful hobby)

 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock

Tamberav

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2014
Messages
4,220
Reaction score
6,270
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Wauwatosa, WI
With the objects/toys are there specifics to stay away from or to try and get as far as “reef safeness” goes or is it not a concern without corals? I’m super intrigued by this but I’ve heard not to put fake decor in saltwater tanks that aren’t reef safe. Any recommendations would be great, I’d love to provide as much enrichment for my mantis as possible.

mom planning to aim for a 2-4 inch sand bed of special grade Carib sea and some crushed coral. I’m gonna do a 3” pvc as well as lots of rock and rubble for burrows.

lighting wise, (and I’ll post the link in a moment) there was a guy in another forum who has kept tons of mantids and seems to be the only person to reverse shell rot, and supposedly it was with less intense, cooler light and high water quality. Like I said, I’ll post the link so you can determine for yourself what you think as I’m not 100% sure.

Im thinking of maybe doing some soft corals and the “pest corals” like GSP and xenia, like you. I was listening to an old episode of the Reef news Network earlier today and they were discussing Non Photo Synthetic corals which are really hard to grow. However, being that they’re not photosynthetic, I’m intrigued on how they’d do in a mantis tank that’s only light by daylight and ambient light with frequent enough feedings... (I’ve never kept saltwater or corals, so if I’m way off on this I apologize, just curious what ppl think who have mire experience in this wonderful hobby)


Sun corals, fathead dendros would be easy to keep. You just target feed them and they come in a variety of colors.

Toy wise..just common sense and harder plastics. We are not keeping these items in the tank (they will get bored anyways) but just providing for short term enrichment as they are very curious. Toss something in for a few hours every now and again for them to explore.

I got the idea from another reefer years ago when we both had a peacock mantis. This is a video of his mantis shrimp Betty checking out some dice (bird in the background).

 

FreshwaterConvert

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 21, 2020
Messages
179
Reaction score
177
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Oooh ok. The shorter time makes sense. Did the mantis ever try and take the toys into its burrow? I assume that the toy sessions are supervised the whole time, or is it sometimes plop it and come back in a few hours and it’s ok. I can’t wait to watch the video (I’m driving cross country rn )
 

Tamberav

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2014
Messages
4,220
Reaction score
6,270
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Wauwatosa, WI
Yah they do. They tend to throw them out of the burrow when they get bored.

All his mantis videos are pretty awesome.

These are some of my favorites:


 

Tamberav

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2014
Messages
4,220
Reaction score
6,270
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Wauwatosa, WI
Nice article about shell rot. I had mantis many years ago but picked up one recently at a LFS and have her in my frag tank right now. I am in the middle of setting up a 20 Long with sun corals and a large oversized hob skimmer. A small UV is something I have also considered to combat shell rot. I will probably upgrade to something around 30-40 gallons after we move. Something nicer looking than a 20 Long.

You would be surprised how these peacock mantis settle in and respond to interaction. Especially if you put them in the area of the house where they can people watch all day.
 
BRS
OP
HarrisonAquatics

HarrisonAquatics

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
25
Reaction score
44
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I actually didn't realize this as IslandofTiki from N-R until I went to his YouTube channel. That guy had some crazy tanks!

That article was good! Lots of info in there.

Mine is pretty reactive, and seems pretty passive in general. They'll come up and try to check out my finger through the glass, or she'll watch me as I move around the room.
 
Tropic Marin USA
Top