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This is a discussion on Msowlr within the Saltwater Fish forums, part of the Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks category; --> I recently came into a 48 gallon corner tank (22.5" on each side, 24" deep) for only $20. Since it had a filter, light, ...

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Old 10-24-2008, 10:59 AM   #1
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I recently came into a 48 gallon corner tank (22.5" on each side, 24" deep) for only $20. Since it had a filter, light, and stand with it I couldn't pass it up. So I have a tank and am pondering what to do with it. One of the things I do know is that I want a saltwater tank at some point. Unfortunately I don't have the money to go whole hog on a reef tank. However I do know of one little reef inhabitant I'd love to have, a mantis shrimp. Given that mantis shrimp are apparently lethal to anything edible in the tank and destructive to everything else I'm thinking that a modification of the FOWLR idea might be perfect here.

So lets see, questions.

1) Lighting
Since this will be a mantis shrimp tank I'm not really worried about having a coral grade lighting system. My concern is mostly with color and making it not too intense for the shrimp. The mantis I want is called a peacock mantis shrimp. Any recommendations as to what kind of bulb I should look for to help him look his best?

2) Filtration
I'm planning on a good deep bed of sand and a lot of live rock so he can have himself a good cave along with a powerhead to keep the water moving. I will likely look at a small protien skimmer as well. My plan for the moment is to have a small sump, maybe only 20 gallons, just for the skimmer and a heater for the tank. Will I need to consider any other filtration for the tank?

3) Clean Up Crew
I know mantis shrimps will eat snails and well... everything. Will I need to keep a good count of my clean up crew and periodically restock it as he wipes it out?
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:35 AM   #2
Peacock Mantis's are by far the most prettiest mantis. They are however, one of the biggest, and can reach almost 12" in length (you probably know this already).

Eventually, you can keep corals if you ever want to. Mantis's rarely touch corals, and if they do, it is not lethal.

Actinic Lighting would definatley make a Peacock pop. You will want that, but with a decent daylight 10000k bulb. You may also want to invest in some moonlighting (either blue or red) to see his predatory actions. The Depth is what I would be worried about... How long is the tank in the front? You may have to hang some sort of light system to make sure the light gets everywhere.
If I had to recommend some cheap, but good lights for a FOWLR, then I would suggest this:
Compact Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: Single Satellite Compact Fluorescent Fixtures

I like your plans for filtration. You will most likely need more than one powerhead to sustain enough turnover (Your looking for at the very least, 20 times turnover. IMO, 25-35 is ideal). Koralia Powerheads is my favorite.

For your CUC, I really wouldn't even bother having a full-on crew. A "good" Mantis can wipe out any decent CUC in a day or two if the shrimp wasnt a hitchhiker. Most Mantis's are fine with like a hermit or snail being dropped in every day/every other day (for small ones), and as they get bigger, you can introduce crabs.
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:45 PM   #3
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Great topic! I'm actually interested in doing something similar, on a smaller scale. I'd have to get a smaller species of mantis, of course, but I still have that 20 long laying around.

Does anyone know how a mantis would do in a setup with no sump and no skimmer? I could add a HOB skimmer if needed but would prefer not to because of the noise. Would adding a HOB power filter be a good idea since I wouldn't be using a sump, or would a DSB and live rock be enough to handle the shrimp? I would of course need the DSB and lots of rock to make the shrimp happy.

Also, does anyone have any ideas for mantis species that would do well in a tank this size?
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Old 10-24-2008, 04:52 PM   #4
You could easily keep a Mantis with no skimmer, especially because the tank is only 20G. You would just need to make sure your levels stay good after feedings.

I would just add some sort of HOB filter, like an AC110, just to contain sponges (cleaned out daily), biomedia, or purigen if you would need that. I would only add one to ensure water quality stays up.

I am no expert on Mantis Shrimp species, so I can't help you on that. But, I want both o you guys to see this posting. It is a LOT of reading, but it really shows good Mantis setups and species.
The Mantis Tank Thread - Forums
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Old 10-25-2008, 12:54 AM   #5
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It's pretty late, so I only got three pages in, but I'll definitely give the thread a read. Thanks!
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Old 10-25-2008, 01:02 AM   #6
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just for anyone interested, there are 2 kinds of matis.
smashers and spearers.
smashers in the wild will dig until they reach a rock, and naturally try "smashing" through it, that being said mantis can crack the bottom pane of glass in your tank!
so you will want to put down some plexi or something of the sort to prevent this from happening.
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:47 AM   #7
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Yep, a sacrificial piece of acrylic in the bottom of the tank. Peacocks are smashers.

Whoa... 98 pages of Mantis shrimp. Well I've got 12 hours to be at work with 2 hours of actual work so time to read.
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Old 10-25-2008, 11:14 AM   #8
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Just a thought, if this is really only a mantis tank, then i would personally allow the live rock to handle the biological filtration. You could simply add a hang on filter for mechanical filtration, which would be needed after feeding time.

If you wanted some skimming capacity, a skilter would be a good inexpensive choice. They are awesome mechanical filters, and would at least provide for some basic skimming.
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Old 10-26-2008, 06:53 AM   #9
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I might consider some zoas or mushrooms, something inexpensive to try and see how the mantis reacts to it. I'm not worried about him getting stung, my concern is that in his redecorating efforts he'll bury a $100+ piece of coral under the sand and kill it. I'm also not looking to get into the more expensive side of reef keeping at this moment. I just really like mantis shrimp.
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:46 AM   #10
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I've heard that mantises can occasionally bury uneaten portions of their prey and this can lead to a spike in the bioload that can be deadly and that a skimmer is a good idea not really for day to day use but as a "Just in Case" kind of measure.
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