Mantis Shrimp

Quick Facts about Mantis Shrimp

Species NameStomatopoda
Common NameMantis Shrimp
Care LevelAdvanced
Lifespan6 years on average, some up to 20 years
Adult Size1 to 12 inches (depending on species)
Minimum Tank Size30 gallons
Temperature72-78°F (22-25°C)
Water ConditionsSaline, Stable
Optimal PH8.1-8.4
Optimal KH8-12

About the Mantis Shrimp

Mantis Shrimps are marine crustaceans known for their vibrant colors and extraordinarily complex eyes. But it’s their formidable hunting prowess, akin to a praying mantis, which grants them their name. Hailing from the order Stomatopoda, they are divided into two primary categories based on their hunting style: “smashers” and “spearers.” The “smashers” possess a club-like appendage capable of producing one of the fastest strikes in the animal kingdom, while “spearers” have spiny appendages to impale soft-bodied prey.

Mantis Shrimp Lifespan

Depending on their species and environmental conditions, Mantis Shrimps have varied lifespans. While the average lifespan is about six years, certain species can live up to two decades. Proper care, a nutritious diet, and optimal tank conditions can significantly impact their longevity.


Mantis Shrimps are visually captivating. Their carapace can exhibit a spectrum of colors, from neon blues and greens to rich oranges and reds. This dazzling display is complemented by their sophisticated eyes, which are segmented into three parts and can detect ten times more color than a human eye, including ultraviolet light.

Average Size

While smaller species measure around an inch, larger variants can grow up to 12 inches long. It’s important to know the specific type of Mantis Shrimp you’re dealing with, as size varies significantly across species.

Mantis Shrimp Care

Caring for Mantis Shrimp is not for the faint-hearted, given their unique needs and aggressive nature.

Tank Size

A 30-gallon tank is the minimum size recommended for most Mantis Shrimp. This provides them ample space to move, hunt, and burrow. For larger species, even more substantial tanks may be necessary.

How To Set Up Their Tank

The tank setup should mimic their natural habitat. Sand or fine gravel is ideal for burrowing, and rocks or coral formations provide hiding places. A tight-fitting lid is crucial, as Mantis Shrimps are known escape artists.

Lighting Requirements

Moderate lighting works well for Mantis Shrimp. However, if you’re housing them with corals, then the lighting should cater to the coral’s requirements.

Water Parameters (Water Type, Temperature, Hardness)

Stable salinity levels akin to natural sea water, temperatures between 72-78°F (22-25°C), and a moderate hardness are conducive for their well-being.

Water PH

A pH balance ranging between 8.1 and 8.4 is ideal for these crustaceans.


Maintaining a consistent temperature between 72-78°F (22-25°C) ensures their health and vitality.


General marine tank lighting is sufficient for Mantis Shrimp, unless the tank also contains light-sensitive creatures like certain corals.

Best Substrate for Mantis Shrimp

Fine sand or gravel works best, allowing them to indulge in their natural burrowing behavior.

Reproduction of Mantis Shrimp

Mantis Shrimp have a fascinating mating ritual involving visual and vibrational signals. Post mating, females carry the fertilized eggs, which upon hatching, release larvae. The larvae stage is complex and requires specific care to ensure survival.

Disease Potential

While Mantis Shrimps are hardy, they aren’t immune to diseases typical in marine settings. Regular water checks, a balanced diet, and avoiding contamination are vital to keeping them disease-free.

Food & Diet

Mantis Shrimps are carnivorous predators. Depending on their classification (spearer or smasher), their diet can consist of fish, snails, crabs, worms, and other small marine animals.

Behavior and Temperament

Highly aggressive and territorial, Mantis Shrimp are solitary creatures. They are known for their incredible hunting skills, using their powerful claws to either spear or smash their prey.

Are Mantis Shrimp Reef Safe?

No, Mantis Shrimps are not reef-safe. Their predatory nature can lead to them harming or consuming other inhabitants of a reef tank.

Mantis Shrimp and Suitable Tank Mates

Given their aggressive tendencies, Mantis Shrimps are best kept in a species-only tank. If they must share their space, tank mates should be chosen with great caution, avoiding small fish or invertebrates that could become their prey.


Breeding Mantis Shrimp in captivity is complex due to their specific requirements. The larvae require particular care and conditions to ensure survival. Knowledge about the specific species and a controlled environment can lead to successful breeding.

Mantis Shrimp FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)