N. wenerrae tank is forthcoming... would appreciate any advice on setup and care :-)

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Hey all!

After MUCH self debate, some conversations with other R2R members, and a lengthy back-and-forth with @LiverockRocks , I have placed an order through Tampa Bay Saltwater for some live rock, sand, and an N. Wennerae Mantis, and I am now very anxiously awaiting delivery on November 13th :)

I have a standard 20 Long as well as an IM Nuvo 10 currently up and cycling in anticipation of my order (pre-cycling was recommended by TBS). I just tonight placed an order for an IM Nuvo 15 (they are on sale!). My plan is to receive my TBS order and divide it over my 20 Long and my IM Nuvo 10. Ultimately, I want to divide this TBS order into my new IM Nuvo 15 and the IM Nuvo 10.

My IM Nuvo 10 will house my N. wennerae :)

I have done some research, but would appreciate any advice on setting up the N. Wennerae tank.

For example, I was told by another R2R member that N. Wennerae don't need a PVC tunnel, that they live in the rock, so I am not going to include a PVC tunnel in this tank. I will, obviously, be using the rock and sand from TBS, so I believe this will be an ideal habitat for the Mantis, considering it will also come from the Florida Gulf. The sand has lots of shells and larger pieces of rubble, which I believe the N. Wennerae need to build burrows, or to seal up his hidy-hole at night.

The tank is an IM Nuvo 10 AIO. I don't plan on anything special for equipment. I do understand that a Mantis can be messy and create a lot of waste, so if water changes alone won't keep nitrates and phosphates down, I will look into probably a refugium or a manual fleece roller.

I do not yet have a light for this tank. I know the Mantis doesn't need strong light, and would likely prefer dimmer light, but I do aspire to have some inexpensive and fast growing corals and ideally some Rock Flower Anemones too. I'm thinking about all the stuff that most experienced reefers stay away from, like GSP's, Xenia, and shrooms. My thought was, if the Mantis damages any of these corals, they would be able to grow back quickly on their own, and I should be able to get them inexpensively. So none of the animals here need super strong light. I'm leaning towards a Kessil A80. I have a few of their larger lights, and I like them. It's controllable, so I could dim it down if needed. I think the A160 would be overkill here, right?

For feeding, I am going to try to offer as much frozen and prepared food as possible. I know they should take frozen krill and clams on the half shell, and possibly frozen silver sides. I know that they are active hunters and really do need some live food, so I will make available to the Mantis a small CUC as well.

For tank mates, I know you can never fully trust a Mantis with anything, but I have noticed others have successfully kept a quick, savey fish like a damsel with the Mantis. I've read that fish like Mollies and Guppies (both technically brackish fish) are basically too dumb, and swim right up to the Mantis. I think I'd like to try to have a damsel as well, however, even if the damsel is quick enough I don't really want the poor fish living in fear all the time. What do you guys think about adding a damsel to this Matis tank?

Wow, I think that's all I've got lol! Sorry for such a long post. Any advice on the setup and care of an N. Wennerae?

Thank you for your help!
 
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I think you should stick with just the mantis (the tank will probably be too small for the damsel).
Thank you for your reply. Really? A small yellow tail damsel in a 10 gallon would be too small? I have kept damsels in a ten gallon before, as far back as the 1980's, and they seemed fine. Am I totally wrong here? Thanks for your help!
 

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I would just keep the mantis, as water quality will be of the utmost importance and a 10g nuvo will have very little dilution factor (keep in mind you will not be able to recover uneaten bits without disturbing your Wennerae's den, which would cause a great deal of stress... the more filtration dedicated to the mantis' eating habits, the better.

Your live rock included with TBS' Mantis package is more than sufficient for a N. Wennerae, mine loves hers. DO pick up some extra sand though. They will excavate under the rock for their den, and mine stressed out when she found the acrylic bottom.

20231023_154827.jpg
 

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We have good luck housing tiger gobies with mantis.
 
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No fish are suitable for 10 gallons
I’m sorry, I disagree. Here’s a very well known post at NR listing fish stocking options by tank size, with tanks as small as 0.5 gallons.

https://www.nano-reef.com/forums/topic/74703-lgreens-ultimate-guide-to-nano-fish/

I would just keep the mantis, as water quality will be of the utmost importance and a 10g nuvo will have very little dilution factor (keep in mind you will not be able to recover uneaten bits without disturbing your Wennerae's den, which would cause a great deal of stress... the more filtration dedicated to the mantis' eating habits, the better.

Your live rock included with TBS' Mantis package is more than sufficient for a N. Wennerae, mine loves hers. DO pick up some extra sand though. They will excavate under the rock for their den, and mine stressed out when she found the acrylic bottom.

20231023_154827.jpg
Cool little guy, thanks for sharing the pic! Your point about keeping the water in check I can definitely agree with. There was someone over at NR that did a Mantis and a Damsel in a 10 gallon, so that’s why I was asking about it. Thanks again for your reply and suggestions!

We have good luck housing tiger gobies with mantis.
Hey guys! Thanks for stopping by! I would have never thought about a Goby, I would have thought them to be too slow. The idea behind the Damsel is that they are quick and savey. But, if I can keep my water parameters in check, I will definitely look into a Goby for sure. Thanks for the help!
 

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Following. I'm not sure I agree with the NR list (seriously, a cherub angel in a 10g?), but for sure some of those fish would do fine in an IM 10g. Damsels, small blennies and gobies that like to stay in their burrows. Question is whether any of these are going to be OK long term with a mantis in close quarters.

You can also grow decorative macros in your display, and those help with the nutrients, plus give it a natural look. You might get some macros on your TBS rocks. Kessil A80 would be fine for easy stuff, but if you think you might want more light-loving corals/nems down the line, stepping up to a Noopsyche K7 mini or AI Prime 16HD would be a good idea.
 

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I’m sorry, I disagree. Here’s a very well known post at NR listing fish stocking options by tank size, with tanks as small as 0.5 gallons.

https://www.nano-reef.com/forums/topic/74703-lgreens-ultimate-guide-to-nano-fish/


Cool little guy, thanks for sharing the pic! Your point about keeping the water in check I can definitely agree with. There was someone over at NR that did a Mantis and a Damsel in a 10 gallon, so that’s why I was asking about it. Thanks again for your reply and suggestions!


Hey guys! Thanks for stopping by! I would have never thought about a Goby, I would have thought them to be too slow. The idea behind the Damsel is that they are quick and savey. But, if I can keep my water parameters in check, I will definitely look into a Goby for sure. Thanks for the help!

Lol JC, yes of course you can put fish in whatever tank you want, is that ethical? Truly unbelievable
 
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Lol JC, yes of course you can put fish in whatever tank you want, is that ethical? Truly unbelievable
I'm sorry, I don't want to be argumentative, but there is an entire online community of respectful and ethical reefers at Nano Reef, many of whom keep fish in aquariums 10 gallons and under. Now, I'm not suggesting you pack a Tang in a 5 gallon, but I personally do not think 10 gallons is too small for all fishes as a hard rule. Of course, if you feel differently, then by all means please do not add fish to a ten gallon tank :cool:

I want to also mention, that I will have other, larger tanks I could move a fish to, if either the fish outgrows the 10 gallon, or if the Mantes is showing aggression towards the fish (hopefully I catch that in time!).

At this point, I am going to stick with just the Mantis, and see how the water parameters go. I also want to see the behavior of the Mantis. My reason for wanting a fish is to have some moving life in the tank if the Mantis is holed up all day. If my Mantis is more active and out-and-about, I may not need a fish. If I do add a fish, it will likely be the Goby mentioned previously by the ladies at TBS.

As far as treating the fish with respect, even if a fish *can* co-mingle with a Mantis, would the fish be freaked out by the Mantis all the time? This is a consideration I've had from the start.
 

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Yeah, I wouldn't bother with a fish. I have my Wennerae in a 7 gallon. I acclimated 2 good sized mollies to saltwater and put them in there in hopes they'd eat some algae. I didn't think the mantis would bother them due to how large they were. The Wennerae watched me put them in, watched them swim for about 3 seconds and then immediately killed one and then I removed the other one. I know mollies are not terribly intelligent, but mantis are brutal.
 

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I'm sorry, I don't want to be argumentative, but there is an entire online community of respectful and ethical reefers at Nano Reef, many of whom keep fish in aquariums 10 gallons and under. Now, I'm not suggesting you pack a Tang in a 5 gallon, but I personally do not think 10 gallons is too small for all fishes as a hard rule. Of course, if you feel differently, then by all means please do not add fish to a ten gallon tank :cool:

I want to also mention, that I will have other, larger tanks I could move a fish to, if either the fish outgrows the 10 gallon, or if the Mantes is showing aggression towards the fish (hopefully I catch that in time!).

At this point, I am going to stick with just the Mantis, and see how the water parameters go. I also want to see the behavior of the Mantis. My reason for wanting a fish is to have some moving life in the tank if the Mantis is holed up all day. If my Mantis is more active and out-and-about, I may not need a fish. If I do add a fish, it will likely be the Goby mentioned previously by the ladies at TBS.

As far as treating the fish with respect, even if a fish *can* co-mingle with a Mantis, would the fish be freaked out by the Mantis all the time? This is a consideration I've had from the start.
Your mantis' activity outside of it's burrow will be directly related to the stimulation YOU provide it. They are intelligent, curious, and perceptive. Interacting with them it does not take long to train them to both a routine and to visual or auditory cues. I tap the corner of Murderbug's 5g as a 'wake up knock' when I'm going to introduce something into her tank. Feeding is always the same time, so if it's not that time, she comes out in a different manner than feeding time. Bearing in mind I have had Murderbug about three months, a little less if you count molts, that is a remarkable response.
 
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Yeah, I wouldn't bother with a fish. I have my Wennerae in a 7 gallon. I acclimated 2 good sized mollies to saltwater and put them in there in hopes they'd eat some algae. I didn't think the mantis would bother them due to how large they were. The Wennerae watched me put them in, watched them swim for about 3 seconds and then immediately killed one and then I removed the other one. I know mollies are not terribly intelligent, but mantis are brutal.
Hi! Thank you for your reply! What I read is that *typically* freshwater brackish fish such as Mollies and Guppies are poor choices for a Mantis tank because the typically freshwater fish don't perceive the Mantis as a threat. I have read that they will bumble right up to the Mantis, often to their demise :-( I'm glad you rescued at least the one.

Again, I saw someone over at NR using a Damsel, which should be pretty quick and fully aware of what a Mantis is. Interestingly, the Tampa Bay Saltwater team recommended a Goby.

Your mantis' activity outside of it's burrow will be directly related to the stimulation YOU provide it. They are intelligent, curious, and perceptive. Interacting with them it does not take long to train them to both a routine and to visual or auditory cues. I tap the corner of Murderbug's 5g as a 'wake up knock' when I'm going to introduce something into her tank. Feeding is always the same time, so if it's not that time, she comes out in a different manner than feeding time. Bearing in mind I have had Murderbug about three months, a little less if you count molts, that is a remarkable response.
Thank you again for your help! I absolutely love the name "Murderbug"!

I do understand these creatures are highly intelligent do really need to stalk and hunt prey. I plan to offer him a modest CUC to pick off as he sees fit. I do want to try to use as much frozen and prepared foods as possible, as my wife just doesn't like the thought of anything, even snails, being killed for food, even if that's what happens in nature (though I know she is going to love the Mantis). I am hoping she won't really notice if the CUC suddenly goes from 6 to 5 snails lol!

I live in the North East and very popular around here are steamed little neck clams. I can get a bag of very small (slightly smaller than a golf ball) live clams for pretty cheap from the grocery store. I may try these, if I throw a few in the tank, they may even help filter the water.

Thanks again to everyone for your replies and help!
 
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Following. I'm not sure I agree with the NR list (seriously, a cherub angel in a 10g?), but for sure some of those fish would do fine in an IM 10g. Damsels, small blennies and gobies that like to stay in their burrows. Question is whether any of these are going to be OK long term with a mantis in close quarters.

You can also grow decorative macros in your display, and those help with the nutrients, plus give it a natural look. You might get some macros on your TBS rocks. Kessil A80 would be fine for easy stuff, but if you think you might want more light-loving corals/nems down the line, stepping up to a Noopsyche K7 mini or AI Prime 16HD would be a good idea.
Hi! Thank you so much for your reply, I'm not sure how I missed it!

Thank you for backing me up about at least *some* fish would be appropriate for a 10 gallon. I've never heard of anyone taking such a firm stance to the opposite.

I am definitely worried about how a fish will do with the Mantis. I'm going to start with just the Mantis, and consider the fish down the road.

My thought is to kind of make this little tank a Caribbean themed tank, since I am going with TBS cultured Florida live rock and sand, which I hope will come with some nice macro algae. I'm also interested in Florida Rock Flower Anemones, I just hope the Mantis doesn't walk all over them.

Thank you again for your reply!
 
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@JoJosReef I completely forgot to ask, where the heck do you get a Noopsyche light? Are they strictly on AliBaba? I do see them on the for sale thread from time-to-time.

Than you again!
 

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@JoJosReef I completely forgot to ask, where the heck do you get a Noopsyche light? Are they strictly on AliBaba? I do see them on the for sale thread from time-to-time.

Than you again!
Get them from their website. AliBaba is evidently third party ann, as seen in some posts, voids warranty. Don't have their page handy, but @Zach B distributes for them in US.
 
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Get them from their website. AliBaba is evidently third party ann, as seen in some posts, voids warranty. Don't have their page handy, but @Zach B distributes for them in US.
Cool! Thank you, I didn’t realize there was a US source for these lights.
 

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Rule of thumb is mantis are lazy and will eat whatever is easy and worth the effort to them. One concern of mine is actually when I feed reef roids, as my O. scyllarus has no issues attacking corals soaked with them and even comes up to suck on the pipette I'm using to spot feed with, it isn't sustainable food but it smells free and effortless to them.

Damsels traditionally work because (they're cheap so thats all anyone actually tries) if you ever tried catching a rogue one you'd quickly find out it's easier to drain the entire tank into a bucket and move it that way. To predators energy is everything and they take too much energy to chase/pull out of the rockwork with their flat bodies.

N. wennerae being a smaller species can co-exist with just about anything that is larger than it, but there's always that risk of a defensive strike that can domino effect into infection, disease, internal damage, etc to the fish. Idk about gobies, to me that's a case of 'neither the mantis nor the goby moves so they never interact', but in general fish that are fast, can hide in rocks, etc are really good.

I may attempt a royal gramma with my O. scyllarus one day to see what happens but I never had luck with those fish even in my big tank. My yellow tail damsel spends most its time in the corner of the tank next to where I sit so it doesn't use up all the 29g's space, I wouldn't feel bad about it in a 10g just based on how it behaves but thats just me ig.
 
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Rule of thumb is mantis are lazy and will eat whatever is easy and worth the effort to them. One concern of mine is actually when I feed reef roids, as my O. scyllarus has no issues attacking corals soaked with them and even comes up to suck on the pipette I'm using to spot feed with, it isn't sustainable food but it smells free and effortless to them.

Damsels traditionally work because (they're cheap so thats all anyone actually tries) if you ever tried catching a rogue one you'd quickly find out it's easier to drain the entire tank into a bucket and move it that way. To predators energy is everything and they take too much energy to chase/pull out of the rockwork with their flat bodies.

N. wennerae being a smaller species can co-exist with just about anything that is larger than it, but there's always that risk of a defensive strike that can domino effect into infection, disease, internal damage, etc to the fish. Idk about gobies, to me that's a case of 'neither the mantis nor the goby moves so they never interact', but in general fish that are fast, can hide in rocks, etc are really good.

I may attempt a royal gramma with my O. scyllarus one day to see what happens but I never had luck with those fish even in my big tank. My yellow tail damsel spends most its time in the corner of the tank next to where I sit so it doesn't use up all the 29g's space, I wouldn't feel bad about it in a 10g just based on how it behaves but thats just me ig.
Thank you very much for your reply! I completely agree about the Damsel being fast as well as being OK in a ten gallon, but others seem to have a strong opposing opinion about that; to each their own I guess. And yes, they are cheap, so not a lot lost if it does get killed, though I definitely don't want that to happen. I think you're right about the Goby and the Mantis combo too.

For now, I think I'm going to start with just the Mantis and see how the tank does. Maybe in the future I will add a fish if it seems appropriate. I was actually kind of thinking of maybe a Neon Goby, if that's not a horrible idea.

Is there anything else you think I need to know to be ready when the Mantis arrives next month?

Thank you for your help!
 

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