Cuttlefish Care - Getting Started

Discussion in 'Cuttlefish Care' started by Marine Machine, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. Marine Machine

    Marine Machine Larval Mass Registered

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    Im considering haveing a pet Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis). The only thing is though that I have the knowledge of a 'fish monger ' on 'how to look after a Cuttlefish' ;) . I live in the south of England - so finding a Cuttlefish shouldnt be to hard - and would like to know the following questions;

    1) How would I go about obtaining such an animal?
    2) What size tank would be recommended for a single Cuttlefish?
    3) What would it eat, and aproxmately what the annual cost is (Leave this question out if you want ;) )?
    4) What are the chances of them squirting 'ink', and how often would I have to clean the tank?
    5) ANything else that I have missed out but would need?

    Sorry about the broad subject; I just have no idea what to do, and would really like to have my own one :) . Thanks in Advance ;) .
     
  2. Cyrus

    Cyrus Blue Ring Registered

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    Hey cuttlefish lover

    Cuttlefishes are intelligent and incredibly cute and lovable animals and can be tamed easily. You have made the right choice :P . These guys mainly feed on crustaceans such as crabs and shrimps (preferably live feed). They are opportunitic predators that will also feed on other fish in the tank (they don't care how much these fish cost you) :( . To get them, you can either dive and collect them (juveniles) yourself or hatch them from eggs (collected from the wild). Obviously, you got to be a good diver and collector to do that. In countries where you can find seafood stores selling live seafood, you may be able to find smaller specimen (unfortunately, mostly not in good shape and need to be nursed back to health with a lot of love and skill). For you who lives in England, apparently, the best way to get em is to order it thru your local pets shop selling marine aquarium animals. To keep them you need to set up a seawater aquarium with good filtration system and reasonably good water quality. Although they don't need a spacious tank, it is always good to have a larger tank for a lot of reasons. Finally, you must be aware of the fact that these lovable animlas grow fast and die young :cry: ., hehe.
     
  3. NickA5582

    NickA5582 Sepia elegans Registered

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    1) Colin has a link somewhere, look in the "In search of a Cuttle" link.

    2) 200+ for a single sepia officalences. They need that big of a tank because of them going whoosh and hitting the back of the tank and getting a skin part torn open and having it get infected.

    3) Crabs, crabs, and more crabs.

    4) They'll squirt ink whenever frightened or you make a sudden movement, young ones are more prone than adults; and some ink when they die.

    5) I don't know, I've just been repeating info from Colin. :P


    :welcome: to TONMO, Marine Machine!
    :welcome: to TONMO, Cyrus!
     
  4. Burstsovenergy24

    Burstsovenergy24 Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter

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    Yes yes :welcome: to this wonderful hobby! :D
     
  5. joel_ang

    joel_ang Architeuthis Registered

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    For Officinalis, the tanksize has to be real large as they get to about 45 cm ML. Apparently they get to about 30cm if kept in subtropical water so you could use that to you benefit.

    Tanksize: ~ 200gal

    Feeding: Crayfish, crabs and fish. For smaller specimens, smaller crayfish, crabs and ghost shrimp. Not too sure on the cost, it depends on how much the food is there. About S$100 for me but mine is a bandensis.

    Ink: They will ink easily when they're newly aqcuired, but after a week or two, once they get used to their new environment, the likely hood lessens. But still no sudden movements.
     
  6. Colin

    Colin Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Hi welcome to TONMo.com

    you will be able to get cuttles quite easily in the south coast, mine originally came from near Christchurch. But dont buy the ones from local aquatic shops as they will be imported from abroad and normally die within a few days, they dont travel very well at all.

    Failing that, I think that a friend up here still has several juveniles, but setting up a tank can take upwards of a couple of months...

    And if you are near the coast, as least you will be able to collect your own live food.. they eat a lot!!!!

    let us know if you have more questions...

    PS a new cuttlefish article will go live on TONMO in the next week or so :) so check back
     
  7. Cyrus

    Cyrus Blue Ring Registered

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    Hiya Tonmo, NickA5582, Joel and Colin for the great article on cephalopods :talker: .

    Really glad to have found this site. I was supposed to introduce myself but every time I tried, it just throw me back to page 1, :( .

    Apart from cuttlefish and octopus, I have successfully reared certain common species of squid too. Although squid are pelagic cephalopods, they too can be reared in glass tank. Maybe I shall post some of my old squid photos taken from all glass tanks (yes, transparent and rectagular, not circular) :P .
     
  8. joel_ang

    joel_ang Architeuthis Registered

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    I envy you on the squid Cyrus. I've tried obtaining squids but they perish so easily :(
     
  9. Colin

    Colin Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Hi Cyrus, please do post pics and I am very sure that Steve will be happy to converse with someone else who has kept squid :)
     
  10. Cyrus

    Cyrus Blue Ring Registered

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    Squid in captivity

    Hi Colin,

    I shall definitly post squid pictures. However I can't tell when I would be able to post them cause I have to look for them,or the negatives and process them into digital stuff if I can't find the photos. They were,unfortunately, not taken with digital camera. These photos were taken when I had the squids for about a week. They were juveniles (length of mantle from 2.5 to 4.5 cm) and were actually kinda schooling with juvenile spanish mackerels of comparable size. If the squids had been bigger then the mackerels, they would certainly make a meal on my precious spanish mackerels (the baby spanish mackerels were a lot harder to come by then the squids, :jester: .

    I also have photos of baby cuttles (hatched by myself) too. These guys were mimicking something (pretty sure). I should have used it as a subject of research and might have been able to publish some papers with the discovery. Oh well, I shall definitely post these squid and cuttle photos. I am kinda busy but I shall try to post em ASAP.
     
  11. joel_ang

    joel_ang Architeuthis Registered

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    What species of cuttle and squid have you kept? Btw, how did you get the squids, from a fish store or caught by yourself?
     
  12. Marine Machine

    Marine Machine Larval Mass Registered

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    Thanks for the welcomeing everyone :D I have another question though ;)

    If/When a cuttle 'inks' do you have to clean the entire tank? and if so do you need an equal amount of water - as in that tank - on stand by, so that you dont have to keep on going to the sea or anything?

    These questions proberly sound pretty obvious, but there not to me :( :D
     
  13. Cyrus

    Cyrus Blue Ring Registered

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    Hi Colin,

    I have found the squid photos but I don't have a scanner with me right now. Instead, I shall use a digital camera to take digital pictures of these photos and post em as attachments.

    Both the baby squids and mackerels ate a lot and grew really fast. I have to apologise for the poor quality of the photos. Nevertheless, they should be good enough for a cephalopod expert (such as Roy) to indentify them to sp. level, I suppose. This species is a common species and is ubiquitous. I have collected them everywhere. The mackerels were extremely hard to come by. Collecting and keeping the squids was 'piece of cake' to me but to do the same for the baby spanish mackerels was at least ten times more difficult!

    Next time, I shall post the photos of my baby cuttles, :)
     
  14. joel_ang

    joel_ang Architeuthis Registered

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    I must say Im extremely jealous Cyrus :mrgreen: !

    If you have a good protein skimmer, the ink will usually clear up in a day. A water change, in my opinion won't be neccesary unless alot of ink is let out.
     
  15. Marine Machine

    Marine Machine Larval Mass Registered

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    a protien skimmer ay, thx ;)
     
  16. joel_ang

    joel_ang Architeuthis Registered

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    One more thing, If you see the cuttle inking, you can remove some of it immediately using a fine net.
     
  17. Colin

    Colin Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Very nice pics... thanks for taking the time to get them online :)
     
  18. Steve O'Shea

    Steve O'Shea Colossal Squid Supporter

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    The resolution on the pics really isn't high enough to identify those squid(lets), but they do look awfully Sepioteuthis-like.

    What kind (shape) of tank did you keep them in? Are they eating the small fish? Did you collect them live, and if so, what sort of mantle length were they when collected/when released or died, and how long were you able to keep them?

    Very nice, and especially nice to know someone else is also keeping squid.
    Cheers
    O
     
  19. Cyrus

    Cyrus Blue Ring Registered

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    Hi Steve,

    Welcome back from your trip! Wish you have better luck with the weather next time. Very interesting photos of the light traps. I am really interested in these traps. Could you tell me more about the design and construction of these traps and how they are deployed during day time collection and night time collection? please. Some more photos showing more detail would be a big help.

    Oh, about the baby squid, :D . I used to collect and keep common species of squids quite often (but I prefer octopii and cuttles because they are apparently more intelligent, :P ). Please refer to my earlier posts dated Mar 4 and Mar 5 in this same column. My squids were mostly baby and juvenile (mantle length 1.5cm to ~6cm) because they are easier to collect and, being smaller, more manageable. The largest one I have ever kept had a mantle length of ~15 cm, in a 6'L by 2'W by 2.5'H glass tank.

    Obviously, being pelagic species, it is harder to keep squids in glass tanks compared to cuttles and octopus which are so much easier. Also, they are also much more sensitive to poor water quality. I have always kept them in glass tanks (rectagular) because I want to observe them from the side (offers much better observations) rather than from the top (if opaque circular tank was used instead, as in research facilities). To acomplish this, there are quite a few additional precautions to be taken (compared to keeping octopii and cuttles). I won't recommend other people to try keeping squid in rectangular glass tank unless they know exactly what they are doing.

    Please also understand that the fish that you see in the photos were no ordinary fish. I guarantee you won't see photos of 'live-and-kicking baby spanish mackerels in fish tanks' anywhere else. The tank that you see in the photos was a bare rectagular glass tank with no rocks or inside filter. Apart from the mackerels(around 5) and the squids(around 8) which were schooling together against the water current, there were only a few baby batfish in the plastic crate (the black object floating to the top right hand corner of the photo). Both the mackerels and the squids were fed live baby mullets, ~1 to 2 cm TL because they are both pelagic piscivores. They were weaned onto frozen baby mullets later with difficulty. Should there be a significant size difference, I would not be able to keep them together (they seemed to enjoy each others company, :D ). If the baby mackerels (Scombermorus Commersoni)had been baby dolphinfish instead (Coryphaena spp.) , they may attack smaller individuals of the squids. :wink: cause baby dolphinfish prey on baby squids.

    Regretably, I must point out that the baby S. commersoni (mackerels) were the focus of interest at that time because they were at least 100 hundred times more difficult to find, collect and keep alive than the squid. I am also a fishmaniac. I never plan to keep the baby squid for too long before I have to release them because they grow too fast and eat a lot. They compete with the mackerels for live fed. The supply of live fed (baby fish) was never reliable. Sometimes I didn't have time to collect them (at jetties or at the marina). Sometimes they are too big. Sometimes I couldn't find them at all.

    I think the longest time I kept squids in tanks was about four months before I had to release them (with a mortality rate of ~50%, nearly all within the first 2 months). Again, food supply was my major problem. Sometimes I ran out of live fed for a while. Those refused to take frozen food are starved and some eventually die before I released them.

    I have written too much again! Have to dash.....


    cheers
     
  20. Steve O'Shea

    Steve O'Shea Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Thanks for all of that Cyrus. What I'll do tomorrow, when at work (the equipment template file is there), is start up a new thread on the R & D forum where I'll place the plans for the light traps. I think it is best to start a thread there (R & D as opposed to Ceph Care Q & A) so as not to contaminate this particular thread with equipment design (not really to the point of the cuttlefish nature of the original post, even though Colin, Nancy and a few others might be interested in this aspect of specimen collection).

    I'm sure that a better trap design can be designed; what I've done is basically use off-the-shelf products to manufacture something that is otherwise prohibitively expensive. I've since learnt that a cheaper option probably exists (and by cheaper I mean a cost of NZ$200 per unit, as opposed to the $500/unit I've had to fork out).

    The collection of appropriate-sized and sufficient quantities of live-animal foodstuffs is one of the greatest hurdles to overcome when it comes to keeping live squid; as you note in your previous post, they are somewhat reluctant to take dead food (although today was a rather magical day for us, as after ~ 90 days they did take dead shrimp; first feed in the morning, hungry squid).

    Ta
    Steve
     

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