Stomatopod Log Entry: Community Tanks (May 31,1998)

Contributor: banyanwanderer


I have been recently experimenting with placing together mantis shrimps in single tanks. I've been doing this because I'm curious about how the critters will behave when confronted by others of their kind (as opposed to the very different crayfishes that I used to saddle them with).

In the near future, I am thinking of placing up to 10 small (<5 cm) mantis shrimps in a large tank that is currently housing only a single marine fish (a clownfish). They will all be of the same species, and this way I'll not only be able to see competitive reactions between the individuals, but I may also be lucky enough to see mating and reproductive behaviors displayed as well.

In the meantime, I started by placing two large mantis shrimps together in a relatively small tank (15 gallons), into which I included many plastic tubes that could function as secure dwellings for the critters. The behavior of the two mantis shrimps was completely different than when I had simply placed crayfishes into the environment. The bigger (and more aggressive individual, at least based on my previous experience) mantis shrimp started venturing out of its tube as soon as possible, its antennae seeming to scan the water in a more thorough fashion than normal.

Soon enough, I heard cracking noises coming from the tank, and rushed to it to find that the bigger mantis shrimp had forcibly evicted the smaller from its tube home. The victor stayed in the tube for a while, then went back to its own home. The evicted mantis shrimp soon went back to its dwelling, seemingly none the worse from its experience. Over the next several days, it was evicted from its home repeatedly, although the victor always went back to its own place after a while. I could almost sense the communication going on between them, with the bigger one "urging" the smaller to "git on outta here, pilgrim, this place ain't big enough for the two of us." I finally removed the smaller one from the tank for fear that it might soon have some sort of nervous breakdown, what with the repeated evictions from its home.

Some notable things:


I am planning on starting this community tank sometime this summer. I will populate it with small mantis shrimps, as well as a variety of potential prey, including shrimps and hermit crabs.



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