Can Pistol Shrimp Break Glass?

Thank you for bringing up the possibility that pistol shrimp may indeed be able to break glass aquariums. Home hobbyists sometimes dismiss this possibility as merely a “urban aquarium folklore,” to use your phrase. The pistol shrimp occasionally pose a threat to both the tanks they are housed in and their tankmates.

Exactly how much glass can a mantis shrimp shatter?

Unfortunately, I am unable to provide you with a definitive response. I can offer you some helpful advice, though.

Think about the following:

  • The average size of the mantis shrimp is 5 to 7 inches.
  • A Mantis Shrimp can grow to a maximum size of about 15 inches.
  • A typical 10-gallon glass tank can be readily broken by a 7-inch Mantis Shrimp.

Imagine what a larger shrimp could accomplish if a 7-inch shrimp can destroy a 10-gallon tank. I wouldn’t keep the Mantis Shrimp in a glass tank in the first place, if I were you.

Let’s assume you determine the ideal glass thickness to resist the force of your Mantis Shrimp’s punches.

You still face some very major issues in this scenario:

  • Your shrimp may be 7 inches long, but that can alter based on its diet and environmental factors. The shrimp may also become bigger and stronger. Additionally, a bigger, stronger Mantis Shrimp will be able to strike with a lot more force.
  • The structure of the tank will be heavier as its walls become thicker. When attempting to relocate the tank into a new room, for example, this may quickly become an issue.
  • The light will be distorted by the glass walls since heavier glass makes it harder for light to pass through. It is already known that the light passing through glass tanks distorts, giving the appearance that the fish are larger. The problem will get worse as the glass gets thicker.
  • Imagine investing in a thick, sturdy glass tank, just to have the Mantis Shrimp destroy it nevertheless. The prices are higher. Who knows, perhaps your Mantis Shrimp is a freak with incredibly strong dactyl clubs. It’s not unusual. In that case, the advantages would be negligible at best, but the financial losses would be much bigger.

Therefore, I advise completely ignoring glass storage tanks. It’s time to look at other options.

The Glass-Cracking Mantis Shrimp’s Secret

Mantis shrimp are just around 6 inches long, yet they have powerful “clubs” that they use to hammer down on prey with amazing speed and force. These clubs can break aquarium glass and split open human thumbs with strikes that have velocities comparable to a bullet fired from a pistol. Additionally, due to this movement, an underwater air bubble that is deflating briefly reaches a temperature higher than the surface of the sun.

The ability of these creatures’ clubs to bear such intense force without breaking has long baffled scientists. One of the shrimp’s secrets is revealed by a study that was released on June 1 in the journal Advanced Materials: The appendages are formed of an unusual “herringbone” structure made of interlocking units of calcium phosphate, which is found in human and animal bones, and chitin, a hard but semi-flexible substance found in the shells of many insects and crustaceans. Chitin fibers in the claw’s sinusoidal shape—hence the term “herringbone”—hold together pieces of extremely hard calcium phosphate. According to the study, this design enables the claw to withstand extremely high forces without breaking.

In contrast to current materials, scientists at the University of California, Riverside and Purdue University are now developing materials based on the structure of the shrimp’s claw, including a helmet. The team wants to create even more gadgets, such as materials that are bulletproof, using these discoveries.

According to main researcher David Kisailus, an engineering professor at UC Riverside, “the smasher mantis shrimp has evolved this incredibly robust and impact-resistant…club for one primary purpose—to be able to feed.” But more we understand more about this tiny creature and its intricate structural features, the more we see how much it may aid in the development of better automobiles, airplanes, sports equipment, and armor.


It’s untrue that O. scyllarus broke a window. Unable to locate a confirmed occasion when this occurred. If sufficiently alarmed, large animals can shatter glass, but if this threshold has been reached, you shouldn’t be keeping them. Their burrowing behaviors pose the main threat. The shrimp may burrow too deeply and fracture the bottom glass pane of the must tanks since it is thinner. The bottom glass can also break if their burrow caves in.

Who among shrimp can shatter glass?

The mantis shrimp attacks and consumes its prey with the help of its two very powerful arms. In order to learn how the mantis shrimp uses physics to generate enough force to shatter glass and crab shells, Destin from Smarter Every Day travels to Australia.

Can a shrimp with a pistol break a tank?

Pistol Shrimp CAN break a tank with their claws, in case there are any skeptics out there. The bottom center pane of the window was pierced by mine, and it immediately fractured from back to front. You MIGHT be okay in aquariums made of heavier glass.

How much glass can a mantis shrimp shatter?

Probably not. There isn’t much information on the subject; several sources make conflicting claims, but none that can be considered truly conclusive. You are capable of doing some math, though.

The Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) system divides the bulletproof glass into levels:

  • Level 1: Resistant to handguns with tiny calibers.
  • Can withstand bigger caliber firearms, such as shotguns, at Level 2.
  • Level 3 – Able to withstand three or more.44 caliber bullets.
  • Can withstand a.30 caliber rifle shot at level four.

This continues up to level 8, with following gains in toughness and durability.

It is pointless to go over each one unless we are certain that the Mantis Shrimp can break level 1 glass. Can it then?

Here is a rough calculus:

  • Three shots from a small-caliber handgun like an FMJ, traveling at about 1,175 f/s, can penetrate level 1 bulletproof glass.
  • A single FMJ shot has a force of approximately 500 joules, while three bullet impacts increase that force to almost 1,500.
  • A Mantis Shrimp punch has a maximum force of 1,260 joules.
  • Accordingly, the Mantis Shrimp can shatter level 1 bulletproof glass with just two punches.

Therefore, a level 1 bulletproof glass may be broken by a Mantis Shrimp with two punches, according to the calculations. Given that not many individuals are willing to have a tank made of bulletproof glass, this knowledge is both intriguing and essentially useless.

Since we’re here, I should also point out that a human skull can only be penetrated by a bullet with a force of about 1,250 joules.

What if you get shot by a shrimp pistol?

When searching for food, it crawls behind rocks in reefs and uses its antennae. The Pistol shrimp stuns its prey by snapping its claw and making a loud noise. Faster than a speeding bullet, the bubbles struck. It then carries the meal back to the shrimp’s burrow where it gorges itself.

The snapping shrimp switches from its huge snapper claws to its tiny ones when in danger. With a lost limb, The Pink Floyd can still scare off predators! As a backup, this species possesses a smaller claw.

The little claw quickly grows larger than before. The Pistol shrimp can keep producing cavitating bubbles to suffocate unaware prey.

Additionally, they snap to communicate. Fun fact: The Pistol shrimp makes a mating call by flexing its big snapper claw. Humans may find the half-sized body and enormous front limb strange, but the female of the species does not.

Male Snapping shrimp are more seductive to females when they have a huge claw! Beauty truly depends on who is looking at it.

They cannot harm a human, to answer your query. This crustacean’s claw has no pincer at the tip. They can only irritate you by snapping loudly.

Is keeping pistol shrimp challenging?

The Pistol Shrimp, also known as the Snapping Shrimp, is a striking, distinctive, and sought-after marine invertebrate. It is renowned for having a claw called “the Pistol” that snaps with such ferocity that it may kill small fish and invertebrates.

The answer is yes if you’re asking whether a small creature with such incredible abilities can be kept in a saltwater tank. The majority of Pistol shrimp species are reef-safe, friendly to corals and non-aggressive fish, and not too difficult to maintain.

Without further ado, let’s get started with this article’s useful insights about the captive care of pistol shrimp.

How powerful is a shrimp pistol snap?

The claws of the pistol shrimp snap together with such energy that a torrent of water is released, moving at a speed of about 71 mph (105 feet per second) towards its target. But when these bubbles break, the thunderous crack can be as loud as 218 dB. It also:

  • lasting one billionth of a second, emits light.
  • Temperatures in the bubble rise to around 4,800 degrees Celsius for a brief period of time (an amazing result from a two-centimeter length critter closing its claw!)

almost as high as the surface of the sun and noise louder than a pistol firing?”

The snapping claw of the pistol shrimp has a distinctive structure that provides the solution.

Water pours into a “socket” created as a pistol shrimp opens its claw. The plunger on the claw’s other half swiftly closes and expels water at a high rate of speed through tiny grooves.

What follows is a process called a cavitation bubble. Pressure suddenly lowers, which causes the nearby water to evaporate. Tiny bubbles expand as pressure decreases, and when pressure returns to normal, they abruptly burst with enormous energy.

When this bubble bursts, temperatures can rise to 4,800 degrees Celsius, a flash of light can be seen for as short as 10 nanoseconds, and a loud roar can be heard. Prey in the line of the shockwave caused by cavitation are stunned or even killed.

Pistol shrimp will repeatedly cock their claw back and fire at their target (pistol shrimp consume crabs, other shrimp, small fish, and other opportunistic foods).

The pistol shrimp uses its smaller pincer claw to bring its prey back to its lair after knocking it out cold.

Will a mantis shrimp be able to shatter glass?

Mantis should not be maintained with any other animals due to their strong predatory instincts. They will eat any fish, shrimp, crabs, or snails that are kept with them. Additionally, there is a little possibility that a powerful Mantis could really destroy the enclosure’s glass or acrylic.

A mantis shrimp can I keep in a glass tank?

It is conceivable but unlikely. Only a small number of stomatopods can actually break glass. Additionally, they have control over their strikes and don’t always strike hard. They will strike the glass hard enough to give the impression that it is breaking.

What do gunshot shrimp consume?

The carnivorous tiger pistol shrimp mostly eats small invertebrates. Additionally, it may consume debris and macroalgae, and it will scavenge dead animals close to its burrow. It might receive food if it has a symbiotic interaction with a goby. It is occasionally held responsible for the deaths of fish in aquariums, but it is extremely unlikely that it would have the strength or motivation to kill fish for food. It can be fed a variety of common foods that are provided to aquarium shrimps, including flakes, pellets, and the majority of frozen foods, and it typically accepts prepared foods without any training.