Peacock Mantis Tank Shape

Thalasstronaut

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So, somewhat interesting question, what size footprint would be best suited for a peacock mantis shrimp?

I’ve considered a few options (55g vs 40 breeder) but I have a spot in my living room where a 60 gallon cube would work well. Of those three tank sizes, what would lend itself best to a PMS?

On one hand the 55 nominally holds more water vs the 40b (I believe the actual water volume in a 55 is like 48 gallons vs something like 43 in a breeder) and you have a longer run, but would a mantis appreciate the closer to square dimensions of a 40b? Like how adventurous are they really? 55s are just so narrow and the 40 has the greater “square footage.”

The 60 is intriguing because I could really bury a burrow in there and still have a lot of useable height. The footprint is smaller than the 55 and the 40. Could I get away with a 35g cube? (21 inches all around vs 24 on the 60.)

Any other “ideal” tank suggestions to be aware of?
 

Stomatopods17

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40b is perfect for them.

You also don't want to go too large, cause then there's a lot of empty space that gives them too much exposure (they do roam a lot, especially around 10PM to 2AM for me, but thats because there's tons of rock and they're built close to the glass so its never scared to venture for long periods of time), they need a U-shaped burrow double their length, this is easily achievable with a sturdy rock formation dome shaped (like those coconut logs for reptiles), letting them expand the internal size via sand and littering the bottom (even piling in the back of the tank if you want to hide it) with rubble/shells it'll build the U-shaped entrances with. You can use PVC for this but eh, I have better luck using rock itself and making a dome than PVC.

35 it depends on the dimensions (larger footprint than a 29g?) but it's be fine too, mine live happily in a 29g but I also have an overflow drilled into it for water volume purposes and you can tell there isn't much free roam space for it, it mostly just swims up and down the corners.

 
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Thalasstronaut

Thalasstronaut

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40b is perfect for them.

You also don't want to go too large, cause then there's a lot of empty space that gives them too much exposure (they do roam a lot, especially around 10PM to 2AM for me, but thats because there's tons of rock and they're built close to the glass so its never scared to venture for long periods of time), they need a U-shaped burrow double their length, this is easily achievable with a sturdy rock formation dome shaped (like those coconut logs for reptiles), letting them expand the internal size via sand and littering the bottom (even piling in the back of the tank if you want to hide it) with rubble/shells it'll build the U-shaped entrances with. You can use PVC for this but eh, I have better luck using rock itself and making a dome than PVC.

35 it depends on the dimensions (larger footprint than a 29g?) but it's be fine too, mine live happily in a 29g but I also have an overflow drilled into it for water volume purposes and you can tell there isn't much free roam space for it, it mostly just swims up and down the corners.

The 35 I’m talking about is 21 by 21, so footprint a bit bigger than a 29. Any logic to cutting a pvc pipe in half and leaving the substrate exposed? Basically a half dome so they can dig while having the uniformity of a molded top?
 

Stomatopods17

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The 35 I’m talking about is 21 by 21, so footprint a bit bigger than a 29. Any logic to cutting a pvc pipe in half and leaving the substrate exposed? Basically a half dome so they can dig while having the uniformity of a molded top?
That can work.

PVC works i'm just a bit biased against it since i have much better success without PVC (I still use both methods when necessary, especially for temporary housing). The main argument I could see is that with PVC, you're limiting the room it has to expand its own burrow where as with rock it can mine out the sides or dig deeper underneath the sandbed, it feels way more flexible and hands off.

Cutting PVC into a half piece sounds like a better way to go compared to full PVC. My advice is to rub the inside of the PVC just a little bit with sand paper to rough it up (gives them more texture to hold onto with their legs) and smooth the outter edges that might be sharp from cutting. Its a little extra work and cheaper but rock you can just find the perfect pieces to epoxy together or the perfect large piece that kinda resembles that coconut tunnel I mentioned. My LFS has this purple aquacultured rock and I actually have two pieces near identical that simulate that shape:

1712087918235.png
1712087932754.png


Your main goal when designing the burrow is that it's as pitch black inside as possible (so with PVC so the black kind that reflects less light), two rocks and a flat slab at the top doesn't really work well for this, you want it to be more hollowed out underneath and dome shaped, then just let them handle the U part with a lot of rubble/debris and sand.

___

Also my O. scyllarus does indeed swim from bottom to top a lot, Odontodactylus in particular are very active swimmers, especially O. Japonicus. Height is fine, just not as important as bottom length and width (if you told me the cube was tall i'd assume the base is narrowed to compensate). They're also jumpers so screen of some sort is necessary.
 
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