|Text and Photograph by Scott L
I think stomatopods as aquarium pets are highly overlooked.
I started with an Eclipse Six gallon aquarium. 5 cm live sand. Heater. Rio 90 powerhead for added current. Live rock formed into a cave tunnel for the beast complete with front and back door entrances. One 14 cm, bright green, male O. scyllarus delivered UPS from Flying Fish.com (A fine establishment). Introduced the bug who promptly occupied the cave tunnel I designed and moved a lot of live sand, small rocks and shells until after about a week, he had his perfect home. Really cool to watch.
Cut to 1 year later. I currently have three eclipse Six's going. One with the green male named Lefty cuz he arrived missing his right arm. One tank with a bright orange, 10 cm male O. scyllarus just starting to turn green named The King , after Elvis, cuz he's cocky. The last tank has a 10 cm female named Ruby because she was bright ruby red/orange when I bought her at the lfs. She has, as have all my shrimps, dulled and darkened in color with each molt.
I spoke with Dr. Roy Caldwell (THE Stomatopod guy) who said that O's color shift towards their environment and light factors of course. He also said it seems to be a factor of the darkness of their burrow. The darker the burrow, the brighter the bugs' colors. He says the shrimp in his laboratory are given a black PVC tube. I have since given two of my three shrimps a black tube to live in and while they really seem to enjoy them, it hasn't seemed to help their color any. This has been the only unfortunate side effect to captive six gallon life I can notice. Mine are active day and night, smart, funny, always doing something neurotic.
I do bi weekly water changes. Three times a week I feed them slices of shrimp, injected with Selcon and frozen. Sometimes for a treat, I buy them a few of those small red fiddler crabs from the lfs. I have been pleased to find that I can keep one or two hearty (preferably fast) fish in the tank for decoration. I have tried to keep snails in the tank for algea control. They last for a few weeks max. O's love snails and crabs but seem to make peace with most other reef life if kept well fed.
Web Site Author: A. San Juan
Site Created February 3, 1998