FreshwaterConvert

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Hi all,

I often find myself awake at ungodly hours of the night scrolling through this forum and dreaming of a mantis shrimp of my own. I’m a freshwater fish keeper, and just recently got a job in the freshwater section of my LFS. However, it’s safe to say the mantis has stolen my heart and has caused some serious saltwater considerations. So, I’ve started hatching a plan, and I would Love some feedback and suggestions. I have a spare 10 gallon tank that rn is a freshwater QT but I haven’t figured out what to do with it, and I would like to use it for a purple spot (smithii) mantis.

For substrate, I’m thinking of doing a thin layer of egg crate on bottom (peace of mind) and a rather course sand, I’m not sure what kind or where to find it.

im planning on using live rock from my LFS, and would also like to source some rubble rock (suggestions appreciated)

im not sure an RODI is in my budget atm so I will likely be using saltwater from my LFS while I save up.

for filtration, I’m thinking of the Tidal 35, but I’m at a loss for what media to use. Any and all advice is appreciated. Also, I want to run a skimmer but all the HOBs I’m finding seem way oversized, so some recommendations would be great.

I also would like to use dark pvc and make a cave underneath for him to ensure the best molting cycle, some sizing advice would be great.

I don’t plan on doing coral at first so I might not get a light, the room is very well lit. I may do a fluval marine light down the road. I want low light so as not to cause shell rot. I may try to do some hardier zoas or something down the road.

also, what test kits would you recommend? Kinds and brands.

thanks in advance for any tips and advice etc. I’m 100% a total noob and I’m really not in a rush. A build probably won’t start till next fall, but it would be nice to have an idea for what equipment to get so I can snag deals.
 
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FreshwaterConvert

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I’ve come up with another question. Mantis owners, how crucial is it to dip live rock from an LFS? I’m not sure if that’s even a thing with live rock, but I know that it is standard practice to dip corals and that pests in most other coral focused and reef focused setups are more of a worry, should I be worried for a mantis only setup?
 
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I wouldn't dip...none of it should be harmful to a mantis.

Get a heater that fits in the tidal as they like to smack heaters.

I don't believe smithii is prone to shell rot. I had one years ago...active and mine had bright blue legs which was beautiful.

Skimmer isn't needed if you do regular water changes.

Dark PVC is fine but they can also build their own burrows with the proper tools available and they like to rebuild them too.
 

cshouston

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Might be tough to find one that fits inside the Tidal 35. I ended up going with an inexpensive mini-heater from Aqueon that is pre-set to 78F. It’s short and stubby so I can tuck it up in the corner, plus it’s black and blends into the black background I spray paint onto the backs of all my tanks.

The shells and crushed coral from my tank is CaribSea’s “CoraLine” marine gravel. They also sell a jug of coral rubble called “Rubble Zone”. You can google those, as for some reason the Amazon links I’m trying to post aren’t working.
 
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FreshwaterConvert

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That’s a really good tip. I’ll definitely go for that and see what I can do. Sounds like a fun DIY type project. I’m debating on the caribsea special grade vs the Florida crushed coral. Should I do one over the other or both?
 

cshouston

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That’s a really good tip. I’ll definitely go for that and see what I can do. Sounds like a fun DIY type project. I’m debating on the caribsea special grade vs the Florida crushed coral. Should I do one over the other or both?
Straight up crushed coral is going to let lots of detritus and uneaten food get lost down in the cracks, potentially fouling up the water. That’s why I used sand with some shells and crushed coral scattered around on top. It’ll be easier to siphon out detritus and waste, but still let the mantis have access to items for building a burrow.
 
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FreshwaterConvert

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Or would I be better off going with the tidal 35 and something like this

BEA403D3-18DB-4FC6-9018-130782050CBC.jpeg
 

cshouston

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So I’m looking at the seachem Tidal line, I was originally gonna go with the 35, but the 55 has a heater holder option. Would the 55 be too much flow for a 10 gallon tank? And if so, would there be a way to turn it down somehow?
The Tidal has a knob to control flow. The 55 wouldn’t be a bad choice. Just FYI, the heater holder is external, not internal, so it’s really not that different than suctioning it to the back wall next to the filter.
 
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FreshwaterConvert

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Update, I might be getting either the 5 gallon or the 13.5 gallon fluval sea tanks since I can get a good deal from my lfs (I work there). I almost got a used one and a mantis that came in on some live rock from Florida but another employee got first dibs :( but hopefully one will appear again soon. If I do get the fluval I’ll just tuck the heater in the back chamber.
 
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FreshwaterConvert

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Update, I might actually be building a 40 breeder for a peacock. My LFS got one in recently and my friend who does their ordering said she’s able to get more in, and I’ve seen several on liveaquaria recently.
Equipment:
Tidal 75 or 110
HOB skimmer? (Friend said I don’t need one but I’m not sure)
Either Fluval E series heater or cobalt heater (plastic guard but big LED display vs narrow, almost completely black)
Egg crate along bottom
Black PVC burrow (1.5 inches or 2, not sure)
Lots of rock, both live and dry
Carib Sea special grade sand, 30lbs
Carib Sea crushed coral
Rubble rock
No light? (Suggestions for a cheap lower output light would be nice, Fluval sea?)
Icecap 1k gyre

I will be setting it up on a stand potentially or trying to level out my desk. I need to figure out if my desk is uneven or if it’s my floor, or both. I still have to purchase everything and tear down one of my freshwater tanks (unfortunately)

I am not sure about lighting as everything I’ve seen suggests that too much light in combo with bad water quality is what causes shell rot, especially in peacocks. I’ve also seen on here that, at least for some people, the mantids were much more outgoing without a light than with. I’m not really looking to grow any fancy corals. Potentially I might want to do some cheaper, easier Zoas if I did get a light, but I also want to do what’s best for the mantis.
I’m going to be purchasing saltwater from my LFS to start off with since I’m in an apartment and I trust the store (I work there and I know the ppl who work in salt) but eventually I will be getting an RO unit and mixing my own salt. I plan on having either backup premixed salt or having backup RO and salt to mix in (probably the first initially until I can afford a reefractometer or Hanna checker). I will be getting my water tested at the LFS since they do it for free and I work there, so it’ll be cheaper to do that than to buy my own test kits to start off with. This will be my first ever saltwater tank. I plan on doing weekly water changes of about 10 gallons or so.
Any advice is appreciated, especially for basic saltwater stuff. As well as feeding the mantis.
 
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FreshwaterConvert

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Alright, sorry for all this confusion and back and forth. I’m currently trying to decide if I should do the 13.5 build for a smithii or Wennerae (depending on availability) and doing some soft corals, or doing the 40 breeder peacock mantis tank. It’ll have to be moved at least once, possibly twice in the next two years either way which is why I’m leaning towards the 13. I also already have a spare heater that would for the 13, and the AIO design would protect it. I work at my LFS and would be able to get the tank at cost which is a huge bonus as well. I’m a bit worried about water quality and issues tho since it’s gonna be my first saltwater tank and everything I’ve seen recommends a 40 or more for a first tank (I’ve been watching a lot of BRSTV lately). However, the 13 would be much easier for me to move and be able to save all the water and I feel more confident about moving that than moving a 40 breeder and having to move that many buckets of water. The 13 also means I can get away without an RODI system and can use RO from my LFS. Ah decisions...
 

Dixon25

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I've had a Purple Spot in a 10g Nuvo for 3 years. No skimmers, etc. Heater and pump. Water changes every two weeks or so. No way I would want to move a 40g tank multiple times in a few years. Water quality won't be an issue with regular water changes. I've kept both species and would recommend the Smithii. Be prepared how much they eat. They need a constant supply of crabs and snails.
 
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