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Stomatopod Aquaria

Grendel pic.
Text and Photograph by Dan Neal

Monster Feast (Dan Neal's Grendel)

Tank SetUp

  • Eclipse System 6 (23L acrylic tank w/ built in power filter, 8w fluorescent fixture, and bio wheel)
  • Hagen PowerGlo 8w fluorescent tube (claimed to be 18,000 K)
  • 50w Tronic heater
  • 85 gph powerhead for additional circulation
  • Clip-on 18 cm fan for evaporative cooling on very hot days.
  • 1.5 kilos of Fiji live rock purchased from Aquarium Concepts in Hayward, CA
  • Approximately 1.8 kilos of crushed coral substrate

This tank setup works remarkably well as a mantis shrimp habitat. I was originally planning on using a spare 11L (3 gal) Eclipse tank to house a mantis shrimp, but since Grendel is about 15 cm long I thought he'd do better in slightly larger accommodations. This tank previously housed a single orange-tail damsel (Chrysyptera cyanea) who, unfortunately, perished when my tank hit 36°C on a horribly hot day. By using the clip-on fan, I've been able to keep the temperature under 27°C in hotter weather. Without the fan, the tank runs at about 27.8°C to 28.9°C. Understandably my heater gets very little use.

Maintenance

Maintaining Grendel's habitat is really a simple affair. (Providing he doesn't shatter any of the bones in my hand when it's in the tank — Caution is the word when dealing with a 15 cm mantis shrimp!) I've been able to maintain ideal tank conditions (salinity stable at 1.023, pH is 8.0-8.2ish, and no detectable ammonia or nitrites) with the following routine:

Daily

  • Feed Grendel one large freeze-dried krill.
  • Check water level and top off what's lost to evaporation

Weekly

  • Scrub algae off of the inside of the tank using a long-handled acrylic scrub brush.

Biweekly

  • Change approx 4L of water and replace with saltwater that has been aged and aerated with an airstone overnight.
  • Change the filter/carbon cartridge in the little Eclipse power filter.

Diet

I usually feed it either the freeze dried krill or a single cube of frozen formula one every other day. It also gets a small feeder goldfish as a treat every month or so -- I know a diet of only feeder goldfishes would be quite unhealthy, but it really seems to enjoy catching them as a rare treat.

Web Site Author: A. San Juan
Site Created February 3, 1998
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