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Cuttle in a frag tank?

Tripwyr

Larval Mass
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Joined
Dec 13, 2012
Messages
4
#1
I am currently planning a 24x24x12" frag tank, and I am curious whether a cuttle would fair well in such a tank. Plans:
  • Primarily SPS, if a cuttle were kept, no stinging coral would be kept (no LPS, no zoa/paly)
  • Large sump (50+ gallons)
  • Large skimmer + algae turf scrubber
  • Carbon reactor + GFO (if turf scrubber does not keep up)
  • Snail/Hermit CuC. No shrimp nipping at coral!
  • Powerful lighting (500+ PAR)*
*I am concerned this might be an issue for a cuttle. Are cuttles stressed by high lighting? This would be a powerful LED array supplemented by 4x T5.

Sourcing food/maintaining live food would not be an issue, and water would be crystal clear. Flow rate would be rather high, likely with a shielded VorTech. Actual display volume would likely be 24 gallons (10" water column), with a >75 gallon total system volume. Would the very low tank height be an issue for a cuttle?

I think I've covered everything. Are there any issues I might encounter, and/or are cuttlefish incompatible with this type of setup? This would not be a standard eggcrate platform frag tank. It would be a fairly standard tank with live rock and sand bed, it would simply never have a consistent coral stock. SPS would come and go frequently.
 

cuttlegirl

Colossal Squid
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Pittsburgh, PA
#2
I would be concerned with several things in this tank, the lighting and 10" water column and the 24 gallon display volume. When I had cuttlefish, they often liked to hang out under the outcroppings of rock (in the shadows). This may work for young cuttlefish, but when they are larger, they will need more than 24 gallons of space.
 

Tripwyr

Larval Mass
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Dec 13, 2012
Messages
4
#3
cuttlegirl;198204 said:
I would be concerned with several things in this tank, the lighting and 10" water column and the 24 gallon display volume. When I had cuttlefish, they often liked to hang out under the outcroppings of rock (in the shadows). This may work for young cuttlefish, but when they are larger, they will need more than 24 gallons of space.
Outcroppings of rock would not be an issue, but if the 24 gallons of space and water column are likely to be an issue, I'll revise my plan a little bit. If I were to increase the tank height to 15" giving myself a 13" water column (32 total gallons), do you think this would be sufficient for a cuttlefish? It is also noteworthy that the reason I am reducing the water height by 2" is for wave creation. Would this amount of flow/intermittent flow negatively affect a cuttle?
 

magnetar68

O. vulgaris
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Feb 25, 2012
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84
#4
Overall, most of the parameters you have described are probably OK. The over system volume, equipment, and even SPS corals are likely fine. i have not seen the cuttles bothered by higher flow nor higher lighting, but I cannot speak to really high flow or really high lighting. The younger cuttles prefer to hide deep under the rock and sand, but as mine are getting older, a few of the bigger ones seem to prefer to bury themselves in the sand out in the light during the day. If you have one permanent piece of live rock with a hiding spot, then the cuttle should not be too stressed out. My guess is that 24 gallons in a 24"x24" footprint is probably OK for one cuttle, but this is 16 gallons smaller than is recommended. Richard Ross reported a pacing behavior that can lead to skin injuries on the front tentacles in too small a tank, but 24"x24" footprint seems like plenty of area for one cuttle. My primary unkown is the 10" water column. That does seem too shallow, but that is based on total conjecture and no solid experience, so I really cannot advice for that; but that does not mean the cuttle won't be ok.
 

Tripwyr

Larval Mass
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Dec 13, 2012
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4
#5
magnetar68;198211 said:
Overall, most of the parameters you have described are probably OK. The over system volume, equipment, and even SPS corals are likely fine. i have not seen the cuttles bothered by higher flow nor higher lighting, but I cannot speak to really high flow or really high lighting. The younger cuttles prefer to hide deep under the rock and sand, but as mine are getting older, a few of the bigger ones seem to prefer to bury themselves in the sand out in the light during the day. If you have one permanent piece of live rock with a hiding spot, then the cuttle should not be too stressed out. My guess is that 24 gallons in a 24"x24" footprint is probably OK for one cuttle, but this is 16 gallons smaller than is recommended. Richard Ross reported a pacing behavior that can lead to skin injuries on the front tentacles in too small a tank, but 24"x24" footprint seems like plenty of area for one cuttle. My primary unkown is the 10" water column. That does seem too shallow, but that is based on total conjecture and no solid experience, so I really cannot advice for that; but that does not mean the cuttle won't be ok.
I will upgrade to 16" (14" water column) which would mean a 35 gallon volume and the ability to raise it to the recommended 40 gallons. The way I am designing this tank will allow me to raise and lower the water level at will, which means I can make the tank as tall as is needed by the cuttlefish (within reason).

The light is going to be ridiculously powerful, but if I notice stresses I will be able to reduce it. It is a LED fixture with T5 supplementation, which means it has a large dimming potential. Same goes for the water flow, it will be VorTech(shielded) which means I can reduce it as well. It will have several pieces of live rock; probably around 20 pounds, with much more in the sump.

It looks like this will be a possibility. I'm thinking I will do something like half display style with live rock, half frag style with SPS. This will allow me to have refuge for the cuttle with mother colonies and hiding space, while still allowing the tank to serve it's purpose as an SPS growout/frag tank.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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#6
Speaking of refuge, is your sump longer and open to display? This might be an alternate way to keep the cuttle in the same system.
 

Tripwyr

Larval Mass
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Dec 13, 2012
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#7
DWhatley;198214 said:
Speaking of refuge, is your sump longer and open to display? This might be an alternate way to keep the cuttle in the same system.
It would not be, no. I may not even end up having one, since the sump is going to be fairly large w/ live rock.
 

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