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Old 03-26-2008, 11:40 PM   #1
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Possible predator in tank

I had a conch in my tank that has been there since I set the tank up about one and a half years ago. Yesterday, its shell was empty, and there was a hole pierced through the back of the shell. I saw it moving around normally two days ago.

I'm trying to figure out how this could have happened. The tank has a yellow-tailed blue damsel, a clark's clown (about 5 cm) and a royal gramma. Apart from that, there are some hermits, a urchin and a couple of small hitchhiker crabs.

I do hear clicking sounds from the tank occasionally, they've been there since I set the tank up. I've read that this could mean that I have a mantis or a pistol shrimp somewhere, but I've never seen anything like that. How big would one of these have to be to be able to pierce a 6-7 mm hole in a conch?
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:43 AM   #2
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How many clicks do you hear? I have a pistol shrimp and I'll only hear one click (a warning click) mantis seem to click multiple times (rapid) , but I think at that point it is too late.
I have seen my hermits try to take out my conch but have been unsuccessful as they have a "leg" that can propel them out of danger.
A mantis can take out fish, depending on their size and the size of the fish.
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Old 03-27-2008, 01:45 AM   #3
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I usually hear a few clicks in succession, but usually with a few seconds between. The lights going off quite often triggers a click or two.
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Old 03-27-2008, 02:12 PM   #4
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Sounds like you have a mantis in there. You may be able to see it an hour or two after lights out using a red filter over a flashlight. Catching it is the next trick.
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Old 03-27-2008, 02:18 PM   #5
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Anybody got a pic of this feindish mantis?
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Old 03-27-2008, 02:38 PM   #6
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i think its honestly pretty cool that you have a secret predator in your tank. Obviously from a tank health standpoint, it sucks, but I still think its pretty amazing what can get into these SW tanks inadvertently
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Old 03-27-2008, 04:43 PM   #7
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Mantis shrimp, Odontodactylus scyallarus
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Old 03-27-2008, 04:49 PM   #8
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that is quite possibly the awesomest thing I've ever seen. Too bad it'll eat your whole tank systematically, if I had one of those I'd want to leave it around.

Really interesting how they have the best color vision in the world.
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Old 03-27-2008, 07:03 PM   #9
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The fist link is to an artcile about research done at UC Berkely. Dowload the presentation and watch it. It's long but facinating.
04.21.2004 - Mantis shrimp may have swiftest kick in the animal kingdom

For some shorter video clips of a mantis in action go to U-Tube and watch these...
mantis attack
YouTube - Mantis Shrimp Attack (turn volume up)

mantis vs crab
YouTube - amazing mantis shrimp video

mantis fish klll
YouTube - Mantis Shrimp Kill
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:08 PM   #10
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I've often looked around in my tank a few hours after lights out using a flashlight. I'll try that with a red filter as suggested and see.

So... how do I go about catching this livestock killer?
I just heard a click now, I think he's onto me.
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