Oatmeal the Mantis Shrimp - RedSea Max Nano Peninsula Tank

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Hair algae hopefully would out compete it but if its growing there's def nitrates feeding it.

Lighting is more or less just a correlation, your setup is fine but most keep them with inproper burrows so they're more 'exposed and stressed' without the dark areas to feel secure in. I don't think keeping one in a reef tank vs. no lights are all would be any different if the water quality is perfect. Lighting implies shell rot is photosynthetic which is possible but we don't really know for sure. Big mantis shrimp are messy so nitrate spikes are a given and shell rot development can be as small as a tiny spec that either grows or scars.

Get some macro algae that's pretty to look at, like dragon's breath, mangrove, etc, mantis shouldn't bother them and they'll drain nutrients out of the water for hair algae, starving it, would substitute for a CUC that way.

EDIT: I just watched one of those videos to see if I could spot anything, this is the spot you need to watch for, this is def shell rot on the carapace above the right arm, check if its still there after the molt or if it scar'd:

1664566798874.png
about 0:07 you can see it in the 26second video.
Ah interesting, thanks - I did notice that little spot you've captured out of the video on the first day that I got her, but concluded (wrongly it seems) that it didn't look like shell rot to me and must therefore be some kind of birth mark. I've just had a close look at it again, and that spot looks exactly the same today as in that video which is nearly three months old, so that's probably a good sign.

Good idea with the macro algae - I've heard that suggested before for managing nitrates but didn't make the connection with out-competing the less desirable algae in the tank. I'll look at some different macro algae options - I don't think my LFS sells it for some reason which is the main reason I haven't taken the idea any further yet, but I'm sure it'll be easy enough to find some online. I presume it'll be fine to stick it towards the back of the tank and keep the rockwork free for corals?
 
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I presume it'll be fine to stick it towards the back of the tank and keep the rockwork free for corals?

Yeah, macro ain't too picky for flow, as long as it gets light it should be good.

That's a good sign the the spot isn't growing, either it's a scar now or its in a location that won't cause too much damage assuming it successfully molted once.

Tbh I very rarely see ones that don't have shell rot already, maybe every 1 in 10 I see are clean, normally the really young ones (< 3") are clean but the mid-full size seemingly get it a lot. She's doing well if it ain't new or growing.
 

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Background

I started in the hobby a little over two months ago with a Juwel Rio 240 litre (65 US gallons) tank and a female peacock mantis shrimp named Oatmeal (after the author of this comic). I put two small clownfish in there with her and she didn't treat them with the love and kindness I'd hoped for, instead chasing them around the tank with murder in her heart, so they were soon evacuated back to the LFS. I considered trying other fish but ultimately thought better of it - if Oatmeal didn't get on with them I'd end up having to sell them or give them away in a hurry. Leaving a tank this size with Oatmeal as the only inhabitant wasn't on the table so I decided to buy her a new home, and thought this time I'd start a tank thread from the outset to document my progress. My Juwel tank will remain where it is, and be repurposed as a mixed reef tank in due course.

My first tank build was a catalogue of errors and I was lucky that Oatmeal survived the new tank syndrome I put her through after a failed quick cycle with bottled bacteria. I've learned a lot over the past few weeks and this time I'm taking things a bit slower, making one decision at a time and hopefully will make fewer mistakes.

Tank Setup

The equipment I've bought and installed so far is:
  • RedSea Max Peninsula 100 litre (26 US gallons) tank
  • Stock ReefLED 50 light
  • Stock skimmer
  • H2Ocean compact ATO with 10 litre bucket for reservoir
  • DD 150W titanium heater controlled by InkBird ITC-306A
  • DD jump guard
  • Flipper Float Medium magnetic cleaner
  • Manual backup thermometer
  • Meross wifi power strip (6 gang)
The tank is going to be situated on top of a kitchen counter with the plumbing and electrical running through a hollow wall into a nearby cabinet. I've already learned one important lesson during installation: don't turn on the heater when there's no water in the tank :face-with-rolling-eyes: I've cleaned off the melted plastic using white vinegar.

IMG_2693.JPEG


Aquascape

The next decision I need to make is how best to disguise this enormous PVC tubing for Oatmeal's burrow. I'm building 3" (82mm) diameter U-shaped burrow per recommendation from @nmotz. The thinking is that the mantis needs to be able to jack-knife inside the burrow whilst molting, which she couldn't do in the 2" tubing I used in her first tank and she was visibly (and audibly) unhappy about it when she molted. I've looked at various possible configurations, grateful for thoughts on whether any of these are unacceptable. Whilst obviously prioritising the needs of the mantis shrimp first, I'm want to be able to clearly see both entrances (the left and bottom sides of the tank will be the most visible), and I want the tube to be as well hidden as possible under sand and rock. I intend to cover most of it with sand. and I was thinking of roughing the edges and gluing small rock fragments all around the top half outside with reef cement so that even if Oatmeal starts shovelling sand she won't expose bare black plastic - then adding my aquascape rocks on top of that base.

1234567
IMG_2698.JPEG IMG_2700.JPEG IMG_2701.JPEG IMG_2702.JPEG IMG_2703.JPEG IMG_2704.JPEG IMG_2705.JPEG

For sand I'm thinking of going with a mix of CaribSea Fiji Pink and a 5mm coral sand so that she has a good variety of different grain sizes for building with, and I intend to build the aquascape with around 10-20lbs of live rock. The sand bed will then be littered with a generous assortment of rock rubble which I'll move from my current tank.

Other Livestock

In all likelihood Oatmeal will be the only inhabitant, although I'm not ruling out the possibility of trying a faster and/or more aggressive fish as a tank mate when I have another tank that I can safely evacuate it to at the first sign of danger. I'll probably try my luck with cleanup crew at some point too when I have the opportunity to pick up some snails or hermits etc. on the cheap, expecting that she'll probably eat them at some point.

I would however definitely like to fill this tank with soft corals (strictly beginner species) and make the tank look pretty.

Oatmeal Herself

00001.jpg


Next Steps
  1. Settle on a burrow layout
  2. Aquascape with sand and live rock
  3. Cycle the tank - properly this time, for as long as it takes
  4. Catch Oatmeal in a trap, and move her to her new home
  5. Start buying fish for Oatmeal's former palace :grinning-face-with-smiling-eyes:
Scary looking dude
 
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wwarby

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Scary looking dude
I'm so much less scared of her than I was when I first got her :D

A couple of months ago I put a piece of live rock in the tank whist she was in it and I was watching her like a hawk, ready to drop the rock and run for my life if she moved an inch. This week I was in there with a toothbrush scrubbing green hair algae above her burrow and when she came out to investigate the toothbrush I just lifted my hand a little and let her take a look at it.

She can actually swim relatively fast if she wants to, but I understand her behaviour much better than I did at first and I don't think she actually poses much of a threat to me as long as I keep an eye on her and maintain a healthy respect for the fact that she's a predator and will strike novel or threatening objects.
 

Steph72

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Background

I started in the hobby a little over two months ago with a Juwel Rio 240 litre (65 US gallons) tank and a female peacock mantis shrimp named Oatmeal (after the author of this comic). I put two small clownfish in there with her and she didn't treat them with the love and kindness I'd hoped for, instead chasing them around the tank with murder in her heart, so they were soon evacuated back to the LFS. I considered trying other fish but ultimately thought better of it - if Oatmeal didn't get on with them I'd end up having to sell them or give them away in a hurry. Leaving a tank this size with Oatmeal as the only inhabitant wasn't on the table so I decided to buy her a new home, and thought this time I'd start a tank thread from the outset to document my progress. My Juwel tank will remain where it is, and be repurposed as a mixed reef tank in due course.

My first tank build was a catalogue of errors and I was lucky that Oatmeal survived the new tank syndrome I put her through after a failed quick cycle with bottled bacteria. I've learned a lot over the past few weeks and this time I'm taking things a bit slower, making one decision at a time and hopefully will make fewer mistakes.

Tank Setup

The equipment I've bought and installed so far is:
  • RedSea Max Peninsula 100 litre (26 US gallons) tank
  • Stock ReefLED 50 light
  • Stock skimmer
  • H2Ocean compact ATO with 10 litre bucket for reservoir
  • DD 150W titanium heater controlled by InkBird ITC-306A
  • DD jump guard
  • Flipper Float Medium magnetic cleaner
  • Manual backup thermometer
  • Meross wifi power strip (6 gang)
The tank is going to be situated on top of a kitchen counter with the plumbing and electrical running through a hollow wall into a nearby cabinet. I've already learned one important lesson during installation: don't turn on the heater when there's no water in the tank :face-with-rolling-eyes: I've cleaned off the melted plastic using white vinegar.

IMG_2693.JPEG


Aquascape

The next decision I need to make is how best to disguise this enormous PVC tubing for Oatmeal's burrow. I'm building 3" (82mm) diameter U-shaped burrow per recommendation from @nmotz. The thinking is that the mantis needs to be able to jack-knife inside the burrow whilst molting, which she couldn't do in the 2" tubing I used in her first tank and she was visibly (and audibly) unhappy about it when she molted. I've looked at various possible configurations, grateful for thoughts on whether any of these are unacceptable. Whilst obviously prioritising the needs of the mantis shrimp first, I'm want to be able to clearly see both entrances (the left and bottom sides of the tank will be the most visible), and I want the tube to be as well hidden as possible under sand and rock. I intend to cover most of it with sand. and I was thinking of roughing the edges and gluing small rock fragments all around the top half outside with reef cement so that even if Oatmeal starts shovelling sand she won't expose bare black plastic - then adding my aquascape rocks on top of that base.

1234567
IMG_2698.JPEG IMG_2700.JPEG IMG_2701.JPEG IMG_2702.JPEG IMG_2703.JPEG IMG_2704.JPEG IMG_2705.JPEG

For sand I'm thinking of going with a mix of CaribSea Fiji Pink and a 5mm coral sand so that she has a good variety of different grain sizes for building with, and I intend to build the aquascape with around 10-20lbs of live rock. The sand bed will then be littered with a generous assortment of rock rubble which I'll move from my current tank.

Other Livestock

In all likelihood Oatmeal will be the only inhabitant, although I'm not ruling out the possibility of trying a faster and/or more aggressive fish as a tank mate when I have another tank that I can safely evacuate it to at the first sign of danger. I'll probably try my luck with cleanup crew at some point too when I have the opportunity to pick up some snails or hermits etc. on the cheap, expecting that she'll probably eat them at some point.

I would however definitely like to fill this tank with soft corals (strictly beginner species) and make the tank look pretty.

Oatmeal Herself

00001.jpg


Next Steps
  1. Settle on a burrow layout
  2. Aquascape with sand and live rock
  3. Cycle the tank - properly this time, for as long as it takes
  4. Catch Oatmeal in a trap, and move her to her new home
  5. Start buying fish for Oatmeal's former palace :grinning-face-with-smiling-eyes:
She’s so beautiful!!!!
 
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wwarby

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Yeah, macro ain't too picky for flow, as long as it gets light it should be good.

That's a good sign the the spot isn't growing, either it's a scar now or its in a location that won't cause too much damage assuming it successfully molted once.

Tbh I very rarely see ones that don't have shell rot already, maybe every 1 in 10 I see are clean, normally the really young ones (< 3") are clean but the mid-full size seemingly get it a lot. She's doing well if it ain't new or growing.
Had a look around yesterday and it seems dragon's breath (which looks very cool) is basically impossible to get hold of in the UK. Mangroves look like they grow right out of the tank above the water line which I'm not keen on, and a lot of species within easy reach don't look much better than green hair.

The ones that caught my eye that are available in pretty much the only online retailer I could find with any stock in the UK (https://www.plantedreef.co.uk) are Red Grape Botryocladia, Caulerpa Racemosa Green Grape, Caulpera prolifera and Caulpera taxifolia. Do you have any opinions on any of these species? Or if you have any other suggestions for species I could look out for, I'm all ears.
 
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Had a look around yesterday and it seems dragon's breath (which looks very cool) is basically impossible to get hold of in the UK. Mangroves look like they grow right out of the tank above the water line which I'm not keen on, and a lot of species within easy reach don't look much better than green hair.

The ones that caught my eye that are available in pretty much the only online retailer I could find with any stock in the UK (https://www.plantedreef.co.uk) are Red Grape Botryocladia, Caulerpa Racemosa Green Grape, Caulpera prolifera and Caulpera taxifolia. Do you have any opinions on any of these species? Or if you have any other suggestions for species I could look out for, I'm all ears.
I have Botryocladia in my tank and it’s nice to look at. Grows exceptionally. It did go sexual, however, which is a risk you’ll face with most macroalgae species. It’s basically a red forest in my tank now, but it could be worse I suppose. It does wonders for nitrates growing like it does. Caulerpa sp. are also quite aggressive and you’ll have to trim a lot. If you don’t mind that it’ll certainly keep your chemistry in check. It can be shocking how fast it grows. Just be prepared!
 

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For Macros you could do red pom pom (kinda similar to dragons breath), calurpa (i like the kind that looks like grass, Caulpera prolifera, but there are all types), shaving brush, agar agar, red ogo, mermaids tail. . . the list goes on, but those are a few I like that seem fairly common.

I guess calurpa can "go sexual" and die off so might do some research before going that route

Here are some links:
 
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I have Botryocladia in my tank and it’s nice to look at. Grows exceptionally. It did go sexual, however, which is a risk you’ll face with most macroalgae species. It’s basically a red forest in my tank now, but it could be worse I suppose. It does wonders for nitrates growing like it does. Caulerpa sp. are also quite aggressive and you’ll have to trim a lot. If you don’t mind that it’ll certainly keep your chemistry in check. It can be shocking how fast it grows. Just be prepared!
Thanks @nmotz, I remember your tank having plenty of macroalgae. My nitrates aren't bad in the mantis tank at the moment - 5ppm, but I'm well aware that could change at any moment. Botryocladia is definitely on my list. I don't mind doing the work to trim away what I don't want, as long as it's possible to keep it under control that way - I don't really want my tank to be overrun with algae as I have a few soft corals in there and plans to add a few more, and I don't want them getting crowded out by algae.
 
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For Macros you could do red pom pom (kinda similar to dragons breath), calurpa (i like the kind that looks like grass, Caulpera prolifera, but there are all types), shaving brush, agar agar, red ogo, mermaids tail. . . the list goes on, but those are a few I like that seem fairly common.

I guess calurpa can "go sexual" and die off so might do some research before going that route

Here are some links:

Thanks very much - I'll take a look at each of those species. I live in the UK and the supply of macroalgae is incredibly limited here - I've heard there's a complete ban on all imports of the stuff so all that's available is cultured supplies. My LFS have a couple of species but not particularly attractive ones and not very much of it, and I've found one retailer online, plantedreef.co.uk which has about 10 species in stock, and that's pretty much all I can get hold of. There's enough choice on that website to find something suitable but nothing like the variety you guys have in the states.

Same situation with a lot of things over here unfortunately - I had to order a bottle of Selcon from America because you can't get it here, and postage cost more than the bottle. I also liked the idea of seeding my tank with copepods after watching the research by BRS Investigates, but those species blend bottles of pods from Algae Barn just don't exist here or anything like them. All I can get hold of are single species packs. You guys in America are spoiled for choice compared to us Brits :)
 
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Quick update on Oatmeal's tank then. She's been doing really well in her new tank, is eating well and I see plenty of her these days - I can pretty much guarantee that if I stand by the tank I'll see her pop out of one of the burrow entrances within a minute or so, if she's not already out.

The algae is a problem though. I got a really bad outbreak of GHA almost straight after cycling the tank, and it's not going away. I tentatively added a tuxedo urchin which lasted a few days before Oatmeal found and killed it. The trochus snail lasted less - maybe two days. Lesson learned - Oatmeal is a savage and she'll kill pretty much any clean up crew I put in there. I've scrubbed the rocks more times than I can count with a toothbrush and it just keeps growing again, so I've been trying to cultivate some macro algae to outcompete the bad stuff. I have four different types of macro algae in there now, all surviving but don't seem to be helping much with the GHA. Perhaps I'm just being impatient and need to wait out the ugly phase, so for how I'm trying to just learn to live with it.

Finally managed to get out to the coast to pick up some shore crabs - I brought home seven of them in a 20 litre bucket of sea water with a bit of sea weed, which I'm now keeping in a plastic tub in my garage with an air stone. Oatmeal LOVES them - she's had three of them so far and each time she's destroyed them within 30 seconds. Managed to get a video of today's savagery:

 
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Quick update on Oatmeal's tank then. She's been doing really well in her new tank, is eating well and I see plenty of her these days - I can pretty much guarantee that if I stand by the tank I'll see her pop out of one of the burrow entrances within a minute or so, if she's not already out.

The algae is a problem though. I got a really bad outbreak of GHA almost straight after cycling the tank, and it's not going away. I tentatively added a tuxedo urchin which lasted a few days before Oatmeal found and killed it. The trochus snail lasted less - maybe two days. Lesson learned - Oatmeal is a savage and she'll kill pretty much any clean up crew I put in there. I've scrubbed the rocks more times than I can count with a toothbrush and it just keeps growing again, so I've been trying to cultivate some macro algae to outcompete the bad stuff. I have four different types of macro algae in there now, all surviving but don't seem to be helping much with the GHA. Perhaps I'm just being impatient and need to wait out the ugly phase, so for how I'm trying to just learn to live with it.

Finally managed to get out to the coast to pick up some shore crabs - I brought home seven of them in a 20 litre bucket of sea water with a bit of sea weed, which I'm now keeping in a plastic tub in my garage with an air stone. Oatmeal LOVES them - she's had three of them so far and each time she's destroyed them within 30 seconds. Managed to get a video of today's savagery:

Stay very still, crab! Don't move!!

Which macroalgae did you end up getting?

You could try a long-spine urchin. Think that would deter the savagery?
 
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Stay very still, crab! Don't move!!

Which macroalgae did you end up getting?

You could try a long-spine urchin. Think that would deter the savagery?
Yeah I’ve got my LFS on the lookout for a long spine urchin actually. They’re not that easy to come by in the U.K. but it’s definitely worth a go.

I have some red grape, some dead man’s finger, and some Caulerpa (prolifica and taxifolia). The prolifera is doing best at the moment - the red grape looks nicer but it’s getting strangled by GHA like my poor GSP frag!
 
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Yeah I’ve got my LFS on the lookout for a long spine urchin actually. They’re not that easy to come by in the U.K. but it’s definitely worth a go.

I have some red grape, some dead man’s finger, and some Caulerpa (prolifica and taxifolia). The prolifera is doing best at the moment - the red grape looks nicer but it’s getting strangled by GHA like my poor GSP frag!
GHA makes certain macros difficult--pom pom, Botry, and pencil caps for example. Oh, and might as well forget about galaxaura, which will just get smothered. For the Botry, I use long aquarium tweezers to pull it off of the grapes. As long as it's not rooting, it comes off pretty easily.

Maybe this can help:

I've been using a feeding pipette and a baby bottle nipple cut with an opening at the tip just large enough to push the pipette through and using this in the tank to dispense hydrogen peroxide onto the GHA in patches. If you keep the air in the nipple, press it on top of the GHA and then slowly drip the peroxide onto the GHA, you basically get a full blast of peroxide on the GHA that you can let sit for a few minutes. Afterwards, the patch goes white in a day and completely clears in a few days. Do this every day or two and you'll slowly clear off all the rocks--I don't do more than one or two patches a day so as not to put too much h2o2 in the tank.
 
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GHA makes certain macros difficult--pom pom, Botry, and pencil caps for example. Oh, and might as well forget about galaxaura, which will just get smothered. For the Botry, I use long aquarium tweezers to pull it off of the grapes. As long as it's not rooting, it comes off pretty easily.

Maybe this can help:

I've been using a feeding pipette and a baby bottle nipple cut with an opening at the tip just large enough to push the pipette through and using this in the tank to dispense hydrogen peroxide onto the GHA in patches. If you keep the air in the nipple, press it on top of the GHA and then slowly drip the peroxide onto the GHA, you basically get a full blast of peroxide on the GHA that you can let sit for a few minutes. Afterwards, the patch goes white in a day and completely clears in a few days. Do this every day or two and you'll slowly clear off all the rocks--I don't do more than one or two patches a day so as not to put too much h2o2 in the tank.
Thanks very much for the suggestion, I’ll do some reading on hydrogen peroxide. It’s a stretch to call my GHA areas “patches” - it it literally on every inch of rock, every stone on the sand bed and every inch of sand. Any patches of non-green in the tank are just places where I’ve recently turned the sand or oatmeal’s moved a rock.

Does the GHA not just spread straight back to the parts you’ve cleaned from the parts you haven’t? I’ve gotten tired of scrubbing - I have all this rock rubble on the sand for Oatmeal to play with and once a week for four or five weeks I’ve taken every rock out during a water change, scrubbed it clean with a toothbrush in the outgoing water bucket and put them back - and every week they all get covered again. I’ve also scrubbed all the aqua scape clean a few times - I worried about letting the loose GHA spread but figured it was so bad already I could hardly make it worse.

Is hydrogen peroxide safe for inverts do you think? The last thing I want to do is harm oatmeal by trying to clean up the algae.
 

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Thanks very much for the suggestion, I’ll do some reading on hydrogen peroxide. It’s a stretch to call my GHA areas “patches” - it it literally on every inch of rock, every stone on the sand bed and every inch of sand. Any patches of non-green in the tank are just places where I’ve recently turned the sand or oatmeal’s moved a rock.

Does the GHA not just spread straight back to the parts you’ve cleaned from the parts you haven’t? I’ve gotten tired of scrubbing - I have all this rock rubble on the sand for Oatmeal to play with and once a week for four or five weeks I’ve taken every rock out during a water change, scrubbed it clean with a toothbrush in the outgoing water bucket and put them back - and every week they all get covered again. I’ve also scrubbed all the aqua scape clean a few times - I worried about letting the loose GHA spread but figured it was so bad already I could hardly make it worse.

Is hydrogen peroxide safe for inverts do you think? The last thing I want to do is harm oatmeal by trying to clean up the algae.
I believe there is some information on here about dosing h2o2 directly into your tank. @vetteguy53081 do you know what the dosing amount of h2o2 is usually per gallon--I vaguely recall asking you this a long time ago. And is it safe for mantis shrimp?

I generally try to do only a small volume at a time, like 1-2mL in the pipette. The parts where it dies usually stays GHA-free for a little while as it seems to kill it at the root (why I think GHA comes back so fast when you just pluck it), but it will spread back over time. So I go little patch by little patch, and I think only laziness has kept me from clearing off the rocks completely!
 
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