A little help on raising cuttlefish

Discussion in 'Cuttlefish Care' started by Kerrick, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. Kerrick

    Kerrick GPO Registered

    Mar 23, 2011
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    To Thales, and any other Cuttle Experts,

    I'm new to these threads but have been lurking quite a while and have been building a real interest in cuttlefish. As I plan on keeping them soon I wanted to ask the expert a few questions... I appoligize if this is long, I will try to keep them in numbered points. :smile:

    1. Reading many of the journals I find that there is a very high failure rate in the hobby, but that your most recent attempt at the aquarium seems to have been a fantastic success. What would you attribute this difference to?

    2. How important is water quality for S. Bandensis? In reading these journals I think that this may be a cause of some of the high failure rates. It seems salinity, and nitrates need to be right on target(one journal for example had nitrates at 5ppm and all cuttles died). What are the readings at your aquarium?

    3. Do you think that the sheer volume of water you work with at the aquarium gives you an advantage. I've read in several of the journals of people not wanting to do water changes in fear of startling the cuttles.

    4. Food. I'm assuming you feed almost exclusively live mysis to hatchlings. Several journals artilces suggest amphipods may be an alternative and I am looking into culturing them. I live in North Carolina however and have a local source for colderwater trigger pods. I don't know the exact species but do you think that these are big enough to help supplement live mysis when cuttles are hatchlings? Any other food suggestions?

    5. I've seen your older postings from Daisy Hill cuttle farm and was wondering what you attribute the lesser success rate in that attempt as compared to what you've done at the aquarium? (not to say you failed. obviously the scale was different)

    6. My setup: I have a 46 gallon Bowfront with a 10 gallon sump. Protein skimmer/regudium. I have no fish as I want to keep cuttlefish but did get a cleanup crew consisting of 2 turbo snails, 2 peppermint shrimp, and 10 red and blue dwarf hermits. I know that the peppermint will likely be eatin, but can they be harmful to cuttles older than say 2-3 months(when you release them into the main tank). Additionally I had a pistol shrimp hitchhike in on some live rock. I am having a very difficult time catching him. Will he be a problem or just food eventually?

    7. I can apparently order cuttle eggs through my LFS. For my sized tank I was thinking that I want 3 cuttles but would order five eggs just in case. They also have the option of ordering juveniles(3 or 4 months old). I know cuttles don't ship well but would it be easier to start with older specimens?

    Finally, thanks for any help you can give me and if you think of any other tips or tricks please include!

    Thanks again,
  2. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

    Jan 22, 2004
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    No worries! :welcome:

    Do you mean breeding or raising them from eggs?
    If you get good eggs, S. bandensis are really easy to raise. I would suspect that problems come from food issues - either not enough or the wrong kind. No matter how many times people say 'they eat a lot' it doesn't really hit home until you have them in front of you.
    For breeding, I think it boils down to space and food. If you try to cramp them, or keep too many males together, there seem to be issues.

    I'd have to check when I am at work (please bug me if I forget!), but I don't worry too much about readings. Keep stuff within reef ranges and they do fine. I th ink people get caught up on chasing numbers and end up causing more damage with additives and fluctuations. I think nitrates in the main cuttle display at work hover between 20 and 30.

    Water changes should be done as needed as per water testing. The main cuttle display at work is connected to 3 other tanks for a total of about 300 gallons, so there at least I do get some advantage of the larger water volume staying stable over time.

    Tigger pods don't seem to be an adequate food - too small. Amphipods will work, though they can be difficult to harvest because they hide in different media commonly used to culture them. They also fight back and can be difficult for very young hatchlings to hold on to. I use live mysis at home and at work for at least the first two weeks because they work so well as a first food.
    For a local food, I would need to know what it actually is to be of any help.

    When I started with DHCF no one really knew anything about how to raise S. bandensis. There were guesses from work with larger species, but they don't all crossover. Part of the lesser success was not knowing. For instance, I used to try to keep males and females separate, but now know that that isn't necessary or what happens in the wild. Once I got to the aquarium, I had a whole lot more experience and was ready to start experimenting with keeping S. bandensis in groups, so I did it at work.
    The scale at work really wasn't much different than what I had at home.

    As long as the cuttles are a couple inches long the shrimp shouldn't be a problem. Have you tried a cone trap for the shrimp? Cut the top off a soda bottle and flip it so the opening is inside the bottle instead of on top. Super glue or tape it it place. Put some small holes in it for circulation, put some food in it and in the morning, the shrimp should be in there.

    Here is the first link from a google search:

    If the juveniles are wild caught, I would avoid them. They just don't ship well. I would order a bunch of eggs and then see if you can sell off the extras. That way you can keep them till they are old enough to sex.

    Check out the articles on TONMO and the 2010 Drum and Croaker available here:
  3. Kerrick

    Kerrick GPO Registered

    Mar 23, 2011
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    Thanks! Great answers. It is nice to know that nitrates can be a little higher. Certain people in the hobby seem to act like anything over 5 ppm is too high and I'd be amazed if they keep it in such a tight range. Currently I have it right at 10-20 ppm and expect it to drop as my chaeto really takes off. Short of 50% water changes I doubt I'll get it to 0ppm! lol.

    Ok, so I think your idea of ordering more and then sexing them is great. One question though. What is a ratio you suggest for cuttles? If I am shooting to keep 3 or 4 would you just do 3 females and one male? Or 2 and 2? Ever had a male that wasn't up to the task?

    I guess I will suck it up and just order the mysis live for feedings. Anyone know if any suppliers will cut a deal on bulk but multiple shipments?

    And as a side note...., the bottle trap didn't work yet. I can get the little guy to come out for many types of food... But he won't go in that bottle no matter what I put in it. He is kinda cute so if you think mature cuttles can handle a 2 inch long pistol shrimp then I may leave him. I doubt they can catch him... He is very skittish and unless they go into his burrows after him I think he will be fine.

    Thanks for the quick reply!

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