Aposematic coloration

spinycheek

GPO
Registered
#1
I was an on Australian based forum where the admin primarily collects his own livestock from the Great Barrier Reef. He has kept some interesting cephs including flambouyant cuttlefish and Pyjama squids, which are apparently common enough that he even uses the pyjamas in his homemade fish food :shock:

Anyways, he had stated that he's kept flambouyants with other predatory fish (lionfish) without issue. Presumably because the lionfish knows the cuttlefish is toxic and vice versa.

It makes sense from an ecological standpoint that they wouldn't eat eachother, but I wanted to know if anyone else has noticed this type of interaction. It would be interesting to note, as it could potentially expand tankmate options, such as toxic cephs with large predators, or toxic inverts with regular cephs. I doubt anyone in the USA would experiment with their extremely rare and expensive flambouyant, but other combos would be interesting.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#2
You are not the first to be curious and the moderator is not the first to try it BUT we are talking about an artificial environment and no matter how you try (granted there are a few aquariums with huge ocean fed tanks that come close) you are not going to emulate the ocean in a box. Thales coined (at least from a TONMO perspective) a phrase, It Works Until It Doesn't and CaptFish was brave enough to document an outstanding example (many will report their initial success, few report the doesn't aspect later, they just stop reporting.

Sometimes I scratch my head when aquarist argue, "they live together in the wild" and don't quite understand how they miss the, "they eat each other in the wild" aspect. There are many, many beautiful videos of shark swimming peacefully with lots of fish. Open up the shark though and you will see the remains of some of those fish. JuggleMatt often sees the leather jackets swimming in his octopus observation scallop bed BUT he also saw this one day.

IMO if we take animals from the wild, we should attempt to provide a safer, no stress environment in exchange for the original habitat.
 

spinycheek

GPO
Registered
#3
I see your point, but I was focusing on species that would never eat eachother, not even in the wild. This would basically be restricted to the smaller of the two being extremely toxic and/or distasteful and better yet if they instinctually avoid eachother because they live in the same habitat. Brightly colored nudibranchs are eaten by very few things because of their advertised toxicity and based on the other guy's experience, the same may hold true for brightly colored Cephalopods.

I'm not trying to advocate reckless husbandry for the cool factor, I'm just pointing out an interesting observation with toxic Aussie cephs.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#4
Spinycheek, I did not mean to sound on the attack as I don't disagree with some forms of experimentation. I try to keep up with, record and reference the results of some of the things that had been tried and try to reason through some of the negative results. In some cases keepers with a bit of experience can predict the outcome because of the nature of the animals (TONMO example: seahorse with octopus, warned against, explained why, tried anyway, reported success for two days, stopped reporting, inquiry gave the predictable result). One of the difficulties of accessing the "successful" out come of predator/predator tanks is the lack of continued reporting.

Predator/prey relationships often reverse as animals change size. Successful parings need to be documented through the tank life of the animals and with multiple parings to be able to claim success. We just don't see this in the journaling. It simply stops being reported when it no longer works. When keepers think about an experiment that has not been documented and is clearly not an immediate consumption issue of one or the other of the pairing (ie the keeper has researched the possibility and would like to attempt the pairing), I beg for a continuing journal so that everyone can learn from the experience. There have been a few cases of ribbon eels kept with cephs for an extended period and the combination was of personal interest. After the keeper stopped reporting, I requested an update. I did not get details :sad: but was told that it did not work out. Unfortunately, there is no public reference and this is painful for moderators that try to backup their statements and warnings without specific examples. I also would encourage you to post a link when you find interesting experimentation (we encourage information linking that is topic relevant and not commercial). Many members are associated with other forums and can often add personal knowledge to outside postings.

So, to think about pairings for a normally species specific tank, the forum is a good place to discuss explicit criteria before experimenting. For cephs, "brightly colored" would not be a good criteria for choosing an experimental tank mate. Cephs are color blind so any warning colors would not be detected. Tank size would be something to consider and openly analyze and, as you mention, discovering what is known about a specific predator/prey relationship between the two specific species as well as conspecifics of both. Reef keeping in general is a relatively new hobby and there is a lot we don't know but we have come a long way in beginning to understand and propagate. Without experimentation with both success and failure we would understand a lot less. My hesitations concern separating the known from the unknown and documenting what is learned.
 

spinycheek

GPO
Registered
#5
I meant to reply sooner, I have been slammed at work and still am, but I will put up a link (wasn't sure if that was allowed) to the thread when I get a chance this weekend. I agree that specific pairings are important to note, in this case a highly venomous and large lion fish with a highly toxic and colorful flamboyant cuttlefish. Either trying to eat the other would likely end badly, although that doesn't always stop a mutually lethal attempt (some animals' prey choice still baffles). Herps frequently make very poor food choices (as I think of a rattlesnake choking to death on a horned lizard...).
 

spinycheek

GPO
Registered
#6
Here we go:

Excerpt:

We are lucky to be able to collect for sure!

Yes there are flamboyants here, I had one as a pet for a while, sadly their life span is quite short.
It was funny and very smart and the lion fish in with it new it was toxic so they all got on quite well, it learnt so much in the year I had it until I put a blue spot juvenile ray in with it, for two weeks they were fine, than one day it was dead and had a huge tear in its gut,the ray got it with its barb!

I would hand feed it crabs and the ray would try to get them off it,oh well you live and learn.
Local Brisbane cephs:


http://southeastqueenslandm.aforumfree.com/t1295-cephalopods-found-near-brisbane-in-seq
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#7
until I put a blue spot juvenile ray in with it, for two weeks they were fine, than one day it was dead and had a huge tear in its gut,the ray got it with its barb!
This is the "it works until it doesn't" part that is so often the case and so seldom documented to conclusion. In the wild, it probably would not happen but in a home aquarium, there is just not enough room not to eventually have a negative interaction.
 

spinycheek

GPO
Registered
#8
True, it wasn't absolute success, but a year with a lionfish without incident appears to be much more successful than the average fish/ cuttlefish interaction. Too bad the ray interfered with the trial....
 

Members online

No members online now.