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Mantis Shrimp: Pet or Pest? - Keeping One

Keeping Mantis Shrimp as Pets

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Mantis Shrimp

Mantis Shrimp

Dr. Roy Caldwell
Before Dr. Roy Caldwell consented to giving us permission to use his Odontodactylus havanensis photo in this article, he asked us if it was going to be about them as pests or interesting pets? Having studied Stomatopods for thirty years, he stated that, "I find them far more interesting in an aquarium than most fish. The trick is finding the right species for the right tank". Dr. Caldwell has a deep respect for Mantis Shrimp, and he strongly feels they are wrongfully misjudged and misunderstood, which is quite true, so we can understand why Dr. Caldwell feels this way.

In the aquarium hobby, Mantis Shrimp are made out to be the worst, monstrous creatures that have ever inhabited oceans or aquariums. For those marine aquarists that have lost many a valuable specimen to a Mantis Shrimp, you can see their point of view as to why they have this reputation. However, if a Mantis Shrimp is accidentally introducing into your tank while adding some new live rock, what do you expect from a carnivorous creature like this? Is it the shrimp's fault it ended up in your tank and began to eat everything in it? Mantis Shrimp may "seem" to be monsters, but they are just doing what they naturally do... hunt!

Some aquarists love Mantis Shrimp and enjoy their company, as you can read in this "Mantis Shrimp are really cool" posting from The Krib. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to maintain mantis shrimps", says The Lurker's Guide To Stomatopods. They are hardy and difficult to kill, aren't picky about tank water conditions or filtration, are easy to feed and cheap to maintain. This is not to say that if you have one you should neglect their tank environment, but just to make the point that they are easy to care for and are not very demanding like a lot of other marine animals can be. Whenever you decide to keep any marine animal, the responsibility to properly care for it is expected. You, as their caretaker, should respect that!

Here is additional information contributed by Dr. Caldwell to learn more about Mantis Shrimp species identification and their characteristic traits.

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