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NoOneLikesADryTang

ADA 60P - Rock Flowers: A Mantis Playground

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NoOneLikesADryTang

This story begins way back at Christmas 2018... As it was our first Christmas together, I decided she deserved a second ADA 60P. This where the addiction truly began for me... 

 

EQUIPMENT:

  • ADA-60P
  • Vortech MP-10
  • Cobalt Neo-therm 100 watt heater 
  • Aquaclear 70 Hang on Back Filter
  • Mame Design Skimmer
  • AI Hydra HD 26 w/HMS Mount
  • Inkbird Controller (controls heater and clip on fan in the summer) 

 

This tank was designed for a dual purpose. The tank keeper wanted a mantis (G Smithii was at the top of the list), and I wanted a rock flower garden. We decided to compromise, like all good couples and do both. We spent the next few weeks designing and building this tank out. 
 

We wanted to make a box that would be a den, for the mantis with dual entrances, made out of PVC, but would be sturdy enough to hold 30-40 pounds of rock. We cut out our pieces of acrylic and glued them together with Weldon 16. We wanted something fun, to fill the box with, when the tank keeper suggested Gummy Bears, I knew that’d be a perfect match for rock flowers. Roughly 30 pounds of gummy bears later, our box was filled and sealed. Unbeknownst to us, that wasn’t enough weight to keep the box from floating...

 

Once our box was made, we set out to make a rock wall for the rock flower anemones. The wall was also meant to hide our equipment. What we didn’t expect, was for the the box of gummy bears to float. So, we had to get enough rock, to weigh it down. We also had to tweak our original plan, to now make the rock wall one solid piece. The idea was that it would be heavy enough to keep mantis den from floating in the tank, or being able to push rocks out of the tank. We used Marco and Stax rock to complete our rock wall. It’s got space for the AquaClear 70 intake tube, and room for our skimmer. Our heater is also hidden below the AquaClear, and behind the rock wall. 


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Throughout the last year, I found rock flowers are really, really, really dirty in a small water volume. I’ve also found that zoas LOVE the filth of rock flowers. So I’ve set up the base of this tank as my zoa grow out to help support my addiction to buying new corals and additional rock flowers. 
 

Also - I found the best time to get the tank keeper on board with larger rock flower purchases is when she’s had one too many craft beers and is falling asleep on the bar. (Note this is at home, not at an actual bar. She’s usually my DD when we go out.)   
 

Here’s a few shots from the tank this evening. 
 

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NoOneLikesADryTang

Has anyone ever experienced their rock flowers tentacles shrinking? 
 

This photo was from December 7th, 2019

 

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While the same rock flower was photographed yesterday (June 13th, 2020), and its top tentacles have clearly changed. 
 

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The only thing I can think of, is we had some hair algae in this tank for a couple months. Could it have been a lack of light due to the algae? Any other thoughts or experiences? 

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NoOneLikesADryTang

We never found a G Smithii mantis, that this tank was designed for, but we did happen to luck in to a mantis at our LFS. After an hour or so of observation and research at the store, we determined it was a female gonodactylaceus ternatensis, and we decided to bring her home, knowing that we’d give it a better home than most, since our tank was designed with a mantis in mind. For the first month, we didn’t see her much, but we’d hear her smacking shells, and our snail population dwindled, down to just one Mexican Turbo Snail. We’ve aptly named him Lucky, seen here cleaning the outside of the mantis’ den. 
 

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She has now taken up residence in the den that was made for her, and brought a lot of her shells (more like mementos - seriously, I think I may live with a serial killing mantis, that likes to keep her trophies). We’ve named her Cetu. She has eradicated the entire snail population, except for Lucky. I like to think of him as her pet. She doesn’t seem interested in making a meal out of him. She’s content with just letting him clean her tank. Well, at least not until she’s really hungry. Or bored - let’s hope for Lucky’s sake she doesn’t get bored. 
 

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Cetu, the mantis, has decided she's going to start decorating her den with frags of zoas. I can't say that I blame her - I think zoas are pretty as well, and I don't even see all the spectrum's of color she does. When I was a teenager, I, ahem, collected and hid "magazines" under my mattress too... Ok, it was a water bed and they were between the bladder and frame of the bed. Still, out of sight from the wandering eyes of a parent. 

 

Zoas grow really well in this tank, and it's a way to help support my addiction hobby, by growing, and fragging zoas for sale or trade. I ordered a new frag rack, that's supposed to help hold plugs in the rack better... We'll see if she's strong enough to loosen them, once I get the rack. I think she's taken about half a dozen different zoa frags in to her den... I may need to try and talk the tank keeper in to sticking her hand in there and pulling them out, because you know, mine won't fit. Besides, I need my fingers to type updates. 

 

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We still have not be able to retrieve our stolen flags from our kleptomaniac mantis, and I think she’s even added a few more to her collection. I have ordered a new frag rack from BAO, that should work in the space we have, that’s designed to hold frags in place... Hopefully it’s stronger than Cetu.

 

Nothing else really to report from this tank. I did find some pictures I took from a few months back when we were dealing with a hair algae problem, so please excuse ignore the hair algae.  It’s mostly been beaten back with water changes, less feedings, and Lucky’s incredible, well, luck. Without further ado, here’s some rock flower pictures. 

 

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Cetu has been busy. She’s been out scavenging for things to build her den with. I’m guessing she’s going to be going in to a molt soon, because she been collecting a lot of items recently.  Including trying to break up rock to take the rubble in to her den. 
 

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EfrainChicagoDeepdish
Howdy y'all.  Yesterday I was watching Efrain Jr. AKA Boston Baked Beans on his high standards of deciding which villagers are in the "not ugly" category in order to be invited to his island in Animal Crossings and noticed Cetu raising hell in T2.  She has decided to attack the "lip" of the acrylic box that NOLADT and I spent way too much money and time trying to make.  So I went up to her and asked her what she was up to...
 
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And yes, Animal Crossings would be super cool if it had a stomatopod as a character. 
 
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Please forgive the hair algae in this tank, we beat it back, and it’s come back once again. 
 

About a month ago, we put three feeder Molly’s in this tank, and Cetu the mantis made short work of them. However, we put this Molly in the tank about two weeks ago, and she has left it alive, along with Lucky, the Mexican Turbo snail, that Cetu has claimed as her pet, you can see on the right side of this video. (Notice the algae on his shell? 😂)

 

 

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mndfreeze

Vibrant works well for trouble algae.  

 

My Ternatensis left his fishy friends alone his entire life.  My Ternatensis preferred crabs over snails but would eventually eat both.  

 

Gorgeous tank!

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NoOneLikesADryTang
1 hour ago, mndfreeze said:

Vibrant works well for trouble algae.  

 

My Ternatensis left his fishy friends alone his entire life.  My Ternatensis preferred crabs over snails but would eventually eat both.  

 

Gorgeous tank!

I think Cetu likes crabs as well - we haven't put any hermits in here in a while, but she wiped them all out. 

 

We did put an emerald crab in this tank, after I caught it eating zoas out of our 80 gallon. We didn't see her get it, but we haven't seen the emerald since the first night we put it in the tank. 

 

As far as fish go, we had a six line wrasse in this tank, for about a year. They seemed to coexisit for about a month and a half... Then we couldn't find him, and never found a body. Part of the reason for putting the feeder molly's in the tank in the first place, was to see if she went after fish. It took less than an hour for us to find out, that she had no problem killing, and eating fish(apparently they're delicious even if they aren't battered and deep fried).

 

Somehow, this latest molly has survived. I'd like to think it's because it's coloring is similar to a Dalmatian, and she doesn't want to be confused with Cruella De Vil. 

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TerraIncognita

now I want a Mantis 😭

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NoOneLikesADryTang
42 minutes ago, TerraIncognita said:

now I want a Mantis 😭

You should get one! They're super interesting creatures to observe. They are smart, and have lots of personality. 

 

Cetu, had a shell that either had a rock flower baby, or a sunkist bounce baby attached to it, that she kept moving around to different parts of the tank. She's shove it in to different places, and then the next day we'd look for it, and it would be gone. We'd have to search the tank, to where she moved it to. It was usually at the top of the rock work somewhere, getting blasted with light. I ended up taking it the other day out of the tank, and moving it to my little 4.7 gallon tank, so it can grow, and we can find out what the heck it is. 

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TerraIncognita
37 minutes ago, NoOneLikesADryTang said:

You should get one! They're super interesting creatures to observe. They are smart, and have lots of personality. 

 

Cetu, had a shell that either had a rock flower baby, or a sunkist bounce baby attached to it, that she kept moving around to different parts of the tank. She's shove it in to different places, and then the next day we'd look for it, and it would be gone. We'd have to search the tank, to where she moved it to. It was usually at the top of the rock work somewhere, getting blasted with light. I ended up taking it the other day out of the tank, and moving it to my little 4.7 gallon tank, so it can grow, and we can find out what the heck it is. 

There’s like an 80% chance I really will haha.

 

did you buy yours online or from LFS?

 

only LFS in L.A. that has them normally is about an hour drive for me ugghhh.

 

I need to research the smaller species as well, any good research sites?

 

heres the 2 my LFS had 2 weeks ago.
 

I felt bad for them in these little tiny tanks. 🤕

 

 

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47 minutes ago, TerraIncognita said:

There’s like an 80% chance I really will haha.

 

did you buy yours online or from LFS?

 

only LFS in L.A. that has them normally is about an hour drive for me ugghhh.

 

I need to research the smaller species as well, any good research sites?

 

You should!! If you're patient, you can probably find a really cool one, being in LA. 

 

We got ours at the LFS - they had ordered a peacock, and they got this one. They had no idea what species it was. We identified it in in the store, and brought it home, as we had specifically set up a tank for a mantis. 

 

The best place to identify them, and learn about each species is Dr. Roy's, which can be found here: 

 

https://ucmp.berkeley.edu/arthropoda/crustacea/malacostraca/eumalacostraca/royslist/index.html

 

Every mantis in the Gonodactylellus family stays fairly small. We wanted a G Smithii, but could never find them online, or at any LFS, and happened to luck in to this G Ternatensis locally, so went for it. 

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Nothing real new to report with this tank, but I didn’t get a few shots of Cetu, when trying to get a good photo for this months photo contest, eyes. 

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i decided to go with the last picture, but I really liked them all. 

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Clownfish king

How Is she doing still have lucky the snail around?

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nolongerusing

I hope Cetu has an Instagram. 

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mndfreeze

CETU UPDATE PLZKTHX

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Sadly, about a month ago Cetu went in to her den, for what we thought was a molt. After about two weeks, the tank keeper spotted her poking her head out, but she didn’t come out of her den, and wouldn’t take any food. Little did we know at that time, that it would be the last time either one of us would see her. Cetu sadly passed away in her den. The tank keeper has taken it really hard, and has blamed herself, but there’s nothing she could have done to have prevented it. 
 

We are currently trying to decide what creature we want to put in to this tank moving forward. We have discussed getting another mantis, as well as a wartskin angler or frog fish. We are open to suggestions, if anyone has any ideas of something cool, and kind of unique, please feel free to share them. 

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Clownfish king

Something cool could be a eel like a snowflake eel

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NoOneLikesADryTang
11 minutes ago, Clownfish king said:

Something cool could be a eel like a snowflake eel

It’s only a 17 gallon tank, so I don’t think that would work... But keep the ideas coming!

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Clownfish king

Oh ok so maybe a Pygmy angler fish

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NoOneLikesADryTang
8 minutes ago, Clownfish king said:

Oh ok so maybe a Pygmy angler fish

Am angler is definitely something we’ve talked about!

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mndfreeze

Another Mantis is the only acceptable option really.  All other animals are subpar and would be an insult to Cetu's homeland.

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