Where to Buy Captivating Mantis Shrimp for Your Saltwater Aquarium

Mantis shrimp, also known as stomatopods, are marine crustaceans that make for fascinating additions to saltwater aquariums. With their vibrant colors, formidable hunting abilities, and unique behaviors, mantis shrimp can transform any underwater habitat into a lively exhibition. But where exactly can you get your hands on these captivating creatures? This guide will explore the best places to buy mantis shrimp for your home aquarium.

Understanding Mantis Shrimp

Before deciding where to purchase mantis shrimp, it helps to understand what makes them such popular saltwater pets. Here are some key facts about these incredible crustaceans:

  • Striking appearance – Mantis shrimp showcase an array of dazzling colors and patterns, including dots, stripes, and swirls in hues of blue, green, red, orange, yellow, and purple. Some species feature fluorescent spots that glow under aquarium lighting. Their bodies are specially adapted for hunting and defense.

  • Complex behaviors – Mantis shrimp are intelligent and energetic. Their behaviors include complex hunting techniques burrowing habits, and interspecies communications using color displays. Some species even exhibit monogamous lifelong pair bonding.

  • Powerful predators – With their raptorial appendages, mantis shrimp can strike and spear prey in the blink of an eye They are formidable hunters that can crack open hard shells Their eyes have 12-16 color receptors (humans have only 3) for sharp vision.

  • Marine habitat – Found across tropical and subtropical marine waters, mantis shrimp thrive in the stable conditions of a saltwater aquarium. Parameters should mimic their natural environment.

  • Solitary creatures – Most species are highly aggressive and territorial. They are best kept singly in a species-only tank with plenty of hiding spots. Avoid housing them with fish or invertebrates that may become prey.

Where to Buy Captive Bred Mantis Shrimp

The best place to buy a healthy, vibrant mantis shrimp is from a specialized saltwater aquarium store or breeder that sells captive-bred specimens. Here are some top sources to consider:

Local Fish Stores

Check with local fish stores in your area that carry a dedicated selection of marine species. A reputable saltwater aquarium store will source captive-bred invertebrates from breeders and can help match you with species that are suitable for your tank size and setup. They can also advise on proper acclimation and care.

Online Retailers

Numerous online retailers sell a wide variety of aquarium-raised mantis shrimp. Look for sites that deal exclusively in marine life and offer healthy specimens shipped directly to your door. Salty Bottom Reef Company, for example, has a naturalist on staff to ensure mantis shrimp are thriving before shipment.

Aquatic Expos

Large public aquarium trade shows and expos can be fantastic places to buy captive-bred mantis shrimp. They bring together vendors and hobbyist breeders selling the rarest and healthiest species. Expos allow you to purchase specimens in person after careful examination.

Reputable Breeders

Serious mantis shrimp hobbyists and professional breeders can be great sources for healthy specimens. Look for breeders that focus on captive breeding, not wild harvesting. Join online forums to find reputable breeders in your region. ReefExclusive is one highly regarded online breeder with a vast selection of aquacultured marine species.

What to Look for When Buying Mantis Shrimp

To end up with the best quality specimen for your aquarium, keep the following tips in mind when selecting and buying a mantis shrimp:

  • Look for activity and responsiveness – Pick specimens that are active, alert, and responsive to stimuli. Avoid lethargic or motionless shrimp.

  • Check for bright, vibrant colors – Well-nourished, healthy shrimp will display bold, rich natural coloring. Watch for fluorescent glowing spots.

  • Examine for damage – Look for intact antennae and appendages. Make sure the exoskeleton has no major scratches or abnormalities.

  • Select ideal size – Choose shrimp that are neither too tiny nor fully grown. Juveniles around 2-3 inches adapt best. Ask about their age.

  • Buy tank-raised shrimp only – Wild-caught specimens often harbor diseases and may not adapt well to captivity. Captive-bred ones make for better pets.

  • Inspect the tank conditions – If buying locally, look for clean, stress-free tanks with proper water parameters. This indicates a reputable source.

  • Ask about guarantees – Many sellers offer live arrival guarantees allowing you to get replacements for any DOAs. This protects your investment.

Acclimating Your New Mantis Shrimp

Once you’ve selected and purchased a healthy mantis shrimp, proper acclimation is key to transitioning it safely into your aquarium. Here are some best practices for acclimating newly acquired shrimp:

  • Check water parameters – Test the pH, salinity, and temperature of the store water and your tank water. They should be nearly identical.

  • Use a sterilized quarantine tank – Acclimate shrimp in a separate uninhabited tank before adding to your display for a few weeks. This prevents disease spread.

  • Go slow – Gradually mix store water with tank water over several hours to equalize conditions. Avoid shocking shrimp with rapid changes.

  • Turn off lights and pumps – Keep the quarantine tank calm and quiet during acclimation to minimize stress on the shrimp.

  • Watch behavior closely – Monitor for signs of distress like darting movements. Be prepared to halt or slow the process if stressed.

  • Discard store water – After finishing acclimation, remove all the store water rather than adding the shrimp directly to avoid introducing pathogens.

Caring for Your Mantis Shrimp Long-Term

To keep your mantis shrimp healthy and happy in your saltwater tank, provide the following care:

  • Appropriate habitat – Setup a species-only tank with plenty of hiding places. A soft sandy substrate lets them burrow. Include rubble and live rock to resemble their natural environment.

  • Stable water conditions – Maintain water parameters like salinity, pH, and temperature within the optimal ranges suited for your particular mantis shrimp species. Perform regular testing and water changes.

  • Varied diet – Feed them a diverse diet of live foods including shrimp, fish, crab, and shelled mollusks to fuel their active predatory lifestyle. Target feed them to ensure they get enough nutrition.

  • Proper tank mates – Unless keeping paired mates, house mantis shrimp singly. Avoid slow or docile species that can become prey. Large, hardy fish can work but use caution.

  • Routine maintenance – Check your filtration system and equipment regularly. Siphon waste and uneaten food away. Trim algae and clean the glass. Conduct partial water changes.

  • Prioritize safety – Exercise great care during tank maintenance and handling. Mantis shrimp packs a powerful punch that can break human skin. Use appropriate gloves and nets.

Finding the Perfect Mantis Shrimp Specimen

Mantis shrimp require a significant commitment, from selecting the right species to caring for them long-term in a well-equipped aquarium. Take the time to find a healthy, vibrant specimen from a reputable source. Captive-bred shrimp from a trusted local fish store or online saltwater aquarium retailer will be your best bet. With their stunning beauty, fascinating behaviors, and top-tier predatory abilities, mantis shrimp are truly captivating additions worth investing in for your underwater saltwater habitat.

where can you buy mantis shrimp

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where can you buy mantis shrimp

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where can you buy mantis shrimp

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where can you buy mantis shrimp

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where can you buy mantis shrimp

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Mantis Shrimp Care & Where to Buy Mantis Shrimp


Where do you get mantis shrimp?

This species is found in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The peacock mantis shrimp can kill prey larger than itself and typically feeds on gastropods, crabs and mollusks. Mantis shrimp typically grow to lengths of 2 to 7 inches.

Can you get mantis shrimp as a pet?

Many hobbyists wrote them off as pests that hitchhiked in their live rock, giving them a notoriety around reef keeping. However mantis shrimp are fascinating marine invertebrates and we think they’re cool, and many hobbyists have taken on keeping them in a species only tank.

Are mantis shrimp legal?

These feisty shrimp can be taken by hand, in a shrimp and prawn trap, or less likely but still legally, in a dip net or Hawaiian style throw net north of Point Conception (California Code of Regulations Title 14, sections 29.80(f), 29.80(i)). The bag limit is 35.

Where can I buy live mantis shrimp?

Live Mantis Shrimp for aquariums at the lowest prices online at That Fish Place – That Pet Place. Call 1-888-THAT-PET to order.

What should a mantis eat?

Their diet should consist of a varied menu to ensure proper nutrition. Offer a mix of live or frozen foods, such as small fish, shrimp, squid, and crab. Occasionally providing treats like mysis shrimp or brine shrimp can add dietary diversity. The cost of mantis shrimp food can vary depending on the type and brand.

What do mantis shrimp eat?

Mantis shrimp are carnivorous predators with hearty appetites. Their diet should consist of a varied menu to ensure proper nutrition. Offer a mix of live or frozen foods, such as small fish, shrimp, squid, and crab. Occasionally providing treats like mysis shrimp or brine shrimp can add dietary diversity.

Are mantis shrimp expensive?

Some mantis shrimp species are abundant and readily available in the pet trade, making them more affordable. However, rare and exotic species with limited distribution and smaller populations are harder to find, leading to higher price tags. The rarity of a mantis shrimp is often linked to its natural habitat and conservation status.

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