Stomatopod Images

Odontodactylus scyllarus - Peacock mantis.

Text and Photo by Brian Chow (website)

I'm Keeping an Eye on You

Brian Chow likes living dangerously - or at least, he likes seeing OTHERS live dangerously (living vicariously and all that, ya know). Which explains why he suddenly had the urge to pair two very unlikely critters together....

Many people think I'm a total nut to put a seahorse and a mantis shrimp in the same tank. On one hand, you have one of the most docile and defenseless creatures in the ocean, that are weak swimmers and are hard to feed and keep alive. On the other hand, you have one of the most ferocious little predators that can kill things many times it's size with little difficulty. It would seem stupid to put these two animals together. And seriously, I would NOT recommend doing this unless you're really sure that the mantis shrimp won't kill anything else in the tank.

The day that I got this mantis shrimp home, he was a real wimp. Even in the fish store, he wouldn't attack any fishes or even any snails then. So I had the tank setup and put the mantis shrimp in, along with some snails and hermit crabs. He didn't touch those and just ate krill, which I fed him from chopsticks. I then added a little clownfish, and he didn't even give him a second look. I then added another clownfish, and again, the mantis didn't give him a second look. So I figured, I might as well tear down my seahorse tank and put the seahorse in the mantis shrimp tank. Against everyone's best recommendations, I put the seahorse in the tank and he's lived for weeks now without the mantis shrimp ever bothering him. The mantis shrimp is now eating snails and hermit crabs, but I guess he's not interested in fishes at all. It just seems like he eats mollusks and crustaceans and won't touch anything else. Everything's been working fine for me with a seahorse and a mantis shrimp in the same tank, but again, I would not recommend this combination together. In fact, people don't recommend having anything inside a mantis shrimp tank except for the mantis shrimp itself. But for me it has worked, and it's pretty cool to have a mantis shrimp and a seahorse in the same tank... Two very cool creatures in a little space that are both very cool to watch. :)

For more, visit Brian Chow's web site!

Tank set-up: 10 gallon mantis tank

10 gallon Tru Vu acrylic tank
50 gallon tank for sump (plumbed with 125 gallon reef)
Euroreef CS8-1 protein skimmer
One 32W power compact smartlite
Hagen 802 powerhead used as return pump
250W Ebo Jager heater

~15 lbs of premium Fiji live rock
~30 lbs of Bio Activ live sand

1 Ocean Rider Sunburst Seahorse ("Dumber")
2 Ocellaris Clownfish ("Baby and Lunch")

1 male Peacock Mantis Shrimp ("Shrampy")
Several red legged hermit crabs and turbo / astrea snails (food for mantis shrimp)
1 colony of pulsing xenia

Web Site Author: A. Sunjian
Site Created February 3, 1998
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