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Old 06-24-2004, 06:18 PM   #1
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Pistol? Mantis? Alien?

Hello all,

Throughout my story here, I ask a lot of questions. Hopefully they don’t get too lost in the explanation. Please help me with answering any of them that you can. Thanks!

I have a 29-gallon that I added some more live rock to, about two and a half weeks ago. (15 pounds more)
I started hearing some LOUD tapping/clicking the same night that I added the rock. I researched and after reading up about it, started praying that it was a Pistol Shrimp.
The next night, I saw the source of the sound. It was a Mantis Shrimp out on the prowl.
I quickly moved the Live Rock he was near and snatched him up in a net.
He was medium sized and mean looking. He looked like a clubbing mantis to me. Now, I didn’t want to kill him, but I wasn’t going to put him back in and risk my fish and other creatures, so…he didn’t make it through the night.
I thought, *phew*, I was lucky to have seen it so quickly, and caught it on the first try. Then, the very next night, I heard some tapping, but this time it was a fairly quiet sound.
I assumed that I had another Mantis, but a smaller one that doesn’t hit as hard yet.
After a week of watching for it to emerge to hunt, and still hearing the quiet tapping from time to time, I decided it was time to try and flush it out of the rock.
I got home from work the night I planned on trying to lure the mantis out somehow, and my Laurent’s Hermit Crab was not in his shell. I looked around and saw no evidence of him in any other shells. Now, his original shell was not broken, which I thought it would be had a mantis got him. But, I guess it could be a slicing mantis. But, do slicers make tapping sounds? And if so, maybe they tap quieter than the clubbing ones? Also, the hermit’s shell was just sitting there on top of the live rock as if he were still in it. Not turned upside down or anything. It looked like he had just up and left the shell. But, I haven’t seen him in two nights.
I knew which rock the tapper was in, because it was the only one with caves and holes that something besides a worm could get into, and that particular rock was the apparent source of the tapping sound. So, I decided to try a hypo salinity dip first. I did the dip and one of the four little crabs that I saw in that rock came out, and also a slug-like creature…but no mantis.
Now, this slug like thing was deep reddish brown, about 2 inches long and about as wide as a pencil, with a weird head/neck area. It looked like it had one little pointy thing coming from the head area and what seemed to be a segmented armored neck. (I’ll put a pic of it up in the ID section of the forum in the future for curiosity’s sake)
The crab was very light brown with dark brown tips on his claws, as are the other three that are still in that rock. (I’ll put up pics of those for ID as well, at some point)
Luckily, the hypo dip doesn’t seem to have killed anything else except for one orange tubeworm. I didn’t want to lose it, as he was pretty, but I had to try and get the mantis.
Now, for a couple days, I heard no tapping. I thought, maybe it killed him, but he didn’t get flushed out. Last night, I heard a very quiet tap, and then again about 15 minutes later I heard it again. It was only one tap at a time, both times that I heard it.
So, might I have a pistol shrimp instead of a mantis? Is there ANY way to tell without seeing the creature? I read about pistols making one click at a time and mantises being multiple clicks, but I’m not sure how reliable that is in ID’ing this.
How long can it (whatever it is) stay in the holes and caves, which medium size snails barely fit in, before it has to come out for growing room?
Could it have gotten my hermit with no evidence of foul play except for an empty shell?

Thanks for any help, suggestions, or advice that you can give,

Sea Cat
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Old 06-25-2004, 02:40 AM   #2
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They both make noises... so until you see him, you won't know for sure. That's a funny story because it is so similar to my situation.

After 3 months, I finally caught my mantis shrimp when he made the mistake of hiding in small rock. My tank continued to click, though.

This very morning, I noticed a split skin at the bottom of the tank. The skin is obviously that of a pistol shrimp...so I'm not concerned.

So my conclusions are:
Pistol shrimp are much more secretive than mantis and you will likely see the mantis before you see the pistol. (my experience only)
Keep you eye out for a shed skin...that will tell you what you've got long before you actually see it.

Thanks to all also regarding the excellent comparison between mantis and pistol shimp a few topics up in this discussion group!
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Old 06-25-2004, 09:02 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info Brad. I'm really hoping I see a pistol shrimp in there.

My other questions that I still need some help on are:

1. Is it worth dipping the rock again to see if I get a mantis? If so, hypo or carbonated? Pros and cons to both?

2. My hermit crab didn't go missing until after the first (and hopefully only!) mantis was removed from the tank. I have a yellow tang, a maroon clown, a royal gramma, snails. Nothing there that would eat my hermit, I don't think. Does the missing hermit sorta confirm another mantis? Or is there another reason he would go missing from his shell?

Thanks to all in advance for any help you can give.
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Old 06-25-2004, 09:28 PM   #4
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My personal opinion is that it is never good for live rock to be dipped in anything odd. I don't think it is even good for it to be out of water for any period of time. There seems to be various opinions on how valuable all the other life on/in the rock is.

So I don't think you should go dipping the rock in stuff just to see if you can get out a mantis that you haven't even seen. In a 29gallon tank, you'll see him eventually if he's there.

It is possible that a mantis is the culprit on the disappearance of your hermit, but there are lots of other things that might have happened to your hermit also.
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Old 06-25-2004, 09:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
you'll see him eventually if he's there
I just don't want to have any fish get attacked by it.

Quote:
but there are lots of other things that might have happened to your hermit also
What else may have happened? Please excuse my nieveness, but I am new to having my tank creatures missing, and I want to figure it out as best as I can.
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Old 06-30-2004, 04:21 PM   #6
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Just bumping this to see if anyone has any other ideas on why the hermit would have dissapeared.
I have heard the tapping off and on, but it is only one or two at a time and real quiet. I am thinking Pistol Shrimp is almost a definite, as there are no other creatures missing.
So, for my peace of mind, what else could have happened to my pretty hermit crab besides a mantis getting him?
Thanks!
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Old 07-01-2004, 04:59 PM   #7
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No one has a guess or idea?
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Old 07-06-2004, 10:40 PM   #8
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Could he have gone off to molt and never came back out?
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