Cuttlefish Injured Tentacles

Discussion in 'Cuttlefish Care' started by AMichels, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. AMichels

    AMichels Larval Mass Registered

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    Hi, everybody. I joined this forum so I could get some advice regarding a recent injury to my cuttlefish. I don't know if something like this has happened to many others, however.
    A week ago I purchased a dwarf cuttlefish (bandensis, I think) from my LFS, who had already kept it for a few months. It was surprisingly healthy and active; the first night I brought it home it ate a white cloud I offered it from my planted tank.
    I'm keeping it in a 29-gallon tank with 40 lbs. of oolitic sand and 25 lbs. of LR. I'm running a Bak Pak 2, a small back filter with phosphate remover and carbon, a Fluval 304 powerhead and a RIO 400 powerhead. I keep SPS corals and have a 150W 20K HQI metal halide. My water parameters, I figured, are excellent for a cuttlefish: high calcium and strontium, clean water, etc., except for the bright light. But this cuttlefish is remarkably healthy.
    Last night I found it hovering above my pink bird's nest coral. Upon further inspection I noticed its retractable tentacles were stuck inside the coral, keeping the cuttlefish from pulling itself free. A Trapezia guard crab was holding onto the tentacles and eating the end on one. I figure the cuttlefish tried to grab the crab, but couldn't pull the crab out or pull itself free.
    It began shooting ink, and I had to manually pull the tentacles away from the crab with my hand. Now the retracting tentacles hang out limp like they're stretched out and stick to everything the cuttlefish touches with them.
    My question is can a cuttlefish heal from something like this? I've read they can regenerate their tentacles. If I feed it frozen foods it won't need those tentacles to catch live prey, will it? Is my cuttlefish going to die? What can I do to help? Its behavior seems back to normal, except it's a bit shook up still like it doesn't know what to do now that its two retractable tentacles don't work. If they can heal, how long should it take?

    Your advice is greatly appreciated.
    Adam
     
  2. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    This seems to be par for the course for wild caught cuttles. They often do fine, and suddenly the don't. Its pretty shocking. I have never see one that recovered from 'limp tentacles'.

    Sorry I can't be more optimistic.
     
  3. AMichels

    AMichels Larval Mass Registered

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    Cuttlefish Injured Tentacles

    Thanks, Righty. I kind of figured . . . these guys are pretty delicate. This is my first cuttlefish; I don't want it to be the last. I also don't want to be the guy who keeps getting exotic marine creatures only to kill them. What do you think? Have you experienced a high rate of mortality? Should I push through this one bad experience. When I first started raising discus, I lost several. Since then, I've bred many. But these cuttlefish for the most part aren't captive bred like the discus. I don't want to take these amazing animals from the ocean if I can't sustain their well being.

    Thanks again. This is heart-breaking stuff.
    Adam
     
  4. dbbga

    dbbga Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    :welcome: Adam. Sorry to hear about your cuttle:cry: doesn't sound good. While some people have luck with them, most do not. I think for now I will stay with octos. Even with octos, tho, you have ups and downs. It is very heart breaking but when you get that, one, it make all the others worth your while. Others members will give you more advice, this is just mine. It is a hard decision.
     
  5. squall7733

    squall7733 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Poor little guy :(

    Keep the faith and maybe he will be special and recover! If you can keep him on frozen foods I dont see why not.

    I had a green severum who got a bladder infection a couple weeks after I got him. Couldnt control himself at all, just floated around the tank, eventualy he sank to the bottom and couldnt really float back up to the top. Little guy lived for 3 more years, he learned to eat food that fell to the bottom.

    Maybe if you can keep it eating it will survive. I know octo's can regenerate their tentacles in time, I have no idea about cuttles.
     
  6. Feelers

    Feelers Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    If it were me I'd feed him heaps. Just to give him a boost. If hes gonna die anyway why not pump him full of food, just get good high enegry food, like prawns or something. Might help if he's gonna go through a stage of not eating which is very likely.
    Perhaps someone with cuttle experience could say if this is a safe idea?


    What is the most nutritious food for cephs?

    Its been a few days now is he still alive?
     
  7. AMichels

    AMichels Larval Mass Registered

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    Miraculous Recovery!

    You all will be happy to know that the little cuttlefish has experienced a full recovery!

    I spent last night with it, offering frozen krill, which it refused and kept blowing away from it with its siphon. Its tentacles were still hanging out, exposed. When a tentacle touched a piece of rock or glass, the cuttlefish would have to jerk itself free. Those things are sticky!

    This morning, less than 36 hours after the incident, I found the cuttlefish still resting on the bottom, but it had retracted its tentacles. I thought maybe it had bit them off, but when I offered it an algae-eating shrimp from my planted tank, it took it eagerly with its two sticky tentacles.

    These guys are more resilient than we give them credit for.

    I think it will be fine. If this cuttlefish is as smart as they're supposed to be, I hope it learns its lesson and never again tries to catch a Trapezia crab living in a piece of stony coral. Those little guys mean business!

    Thank you all for your concern.

    Adam
     
  8. main_board

    main_board Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    I have always been under the assumption that tentacles have suckers, or hooks, on them which are under the control of the nervous system. Wouldn't these suckers be under the control of the cuttle, and therefore shouldn't they only stick when it wants them to? Or is it more of a reflex, something touches the tentacle clubs and they automatically suck on to the object? Confused...

    Cheers!
     
  9. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    I think it's both, they will stick when the critter wants them too but there is an element of reflex. Freshly dead octopus and squid suckers still suck (even when the head and mantle is removed! )

    J
     
  10. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Great!

    Keep an eye on him - he may have had a "pre" senescence attack. That I have seen before. The cuttle gets lethargic, recovers, only to slide back days or weeks later.

    I hope thats not the case and you have him around for a long time!
     
  11. squall7733

    squall7733 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Wonderful news! I hope that he doesnt have to live in an injured state for the rest of his life like my fish did. But he's going to make it thats the important thing!
     

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