Cuttlefish ink and beak

squishy1

Blue Ring
Registered
#1
I had two concerns, one i've already had to deal with on several occasions, which is the cuttlefish inking. I believe it was around the 2 week old mark when mine started inking when they got scared. Fortunately with the small size of the cuttles, the ink was minimal and did not become an issue with the regular weekly 30% water change. I don't have any extra protein skimmers on the rearing tank so i've just resorted to weekly water changes. Now the cuttles are almost 2 months old, and as i found out during the last water change, very capable of turning a 30 gallon tank completely black. They have gotten a lot better, and dont ink instantly upon seeing my face above the tank, but sometimes they scare themselves and voila you have a mess.

This was from a week ago when i tried taking a video of them: http://youtu.be/o1IMYYgqw_M


Is protein skimming really the only way to rid the tank of the ink? I noticed in my filter that the purigen (nitrate absorbing material) is grey in color now, so i'm not sure if that is possibly absorbing some of the ink? I'm also concerned for when I go out of town and have someone watch my tanks for a day or two, whats the easiest and best way to clean out all the ink. I don't always have ready made saltwater on hand so I was trying to find some other last resorts.


The second concern i had was the beak once they become adult. I did some searching online and didn't find a lot in regards to how dangerous they could possibly be at adult size. I was planning on placing a breeding pair into my 65 gallon reef tank in about a month and my concern is i have my hands in that tank a bit working with coral frags. I saw one video on youtube where a cuttle grabbed the guys hand and he immediately pulled his hand out of the tank. Could they do much damage to your fingers, hand or arm? I've been bitten by a african grey parrot once and it was painful, couldnt move my finger for 2 weeks, but there was no long term damage.


Here are the freshly hatched ones, they started hatching on June 18th and the last ones finished up today: http://youtu.be/XyxbyM4HiDw

Here are the 2 larger ones, just under the 2 month old mark: http://youtu.be/hRegeiK2g3s
 

cuttlegirl

Colossal Squid
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#3
How many cuttlefish do you have? The inking could be from crowding. Make sure they have plenty of hiding places for when you do a scary water change. You might want to consider a protein skimmer for the tank, that way the water quality can stay more stable.

I wouldn't worry about being bitten, they are not really aggressive animals. I've worked with S. bandensis and S. officinalis. I used to swim with my S. officinalis to clean their tank (it was a big tank...).
 

cuttlegirl

Colossal Squid
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#4
Sepia Bandensis;190423 said:
Hi! What species do you have? Also, cuttle pairs can be placed together for mating ONLY because they could fight and kill eachother, as territorial reasons
If the cuttles have been raised together, they can live together. They will display and have male to male aggression and fight, but usually they work it out.
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#5

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#6
Squishy - how are you doing the water changes? You can probably change your methodology to eliminate the inking. It may take a while if you have inadvertently trained them to ink.

I have been bitten by S. bandensis, but it was really hard to do and I have dealt with 1000's of them. I am not all that worried about it, but I do try to respect them.
 

squishy1

Blue Ring
Registered
#7
From what I've researched there isn't a problem keeping a pair together, although there always the possibility of an accident even with a mated pair. I've had a similar issue with McCullochi and Orchid Pseudochromis killing each other during mating. All of my cuttlefish (Sepia Bandensis) are in a 30 gallon long tank for right now. I have 2 breeder nets in the tank, one was holding the egg clutches I got from blue world aquatics, and the other one had the 2 older ones from another supplier that did a poor job of shipping (only 2 survived). I actually just released the 2 older ones out of the breeder net and into the aquarium to give them more space as they were starting to get big, I haven't seen them since. I then split up the 26 eggs I have in half, 13 in one net 13 in the other net to prevent overcrowding. They didn't ink because of crowding, it was more because they were scared of me. They've kinda figured out that I'm not a threat, but while cleaning the tank I had them in a 1/2 gallon container while doing a water change, and when I came back into the room to put them back into their tank the container was pitch black. I was even in the room so something else startled them to ink.

As far as water changes, I just use a small container and take out 10 gallons of water, then slowly fill it back up over the course of an hour or two. I usually also take the breeder nets out, get the eggs/baby cuttles out of the net into a container and clean the breeder nets. They seem to collect all the ink and leftovers from the egg casings falling apart. I'm a little worried about using a protein skimmer as I dont have a sump on the system and am afraid of putting one into the tank and having one of the cuttles get caught in the intake or something.

The 30 gallon tank is only temporary, im about to get a 150 gallon system finished for them, along with a few dividers to seperate out any aggressive ones. Chances are I'll be bringing a few into the local pet store or trying to sell them to other reefers since I have a total of 28 of them right now. I really only want 3-4 breeding pairs, but you never know the sex of the animals until they're adults so I didn't want to risk getting almost all males or females.

I also just finished my mysid culturing system which should be up and running tonight to help out with feeding all these guys. I can post some information regarding the culturing system if anyone is interested once it is up and running.
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
Supporter
#8
You can get rid of the ink in two ways, if it's a teeny amout a turkey baster can be used, large amounts the pantyhose covered net works a treat!
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#9
There are many people that would be interested in an at home culturing system for mysid. It would be VERY helpful if you would use the Tank Talk thread and describe the system build out AND post your results as the system matures.
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#10
squishy1;190433 said:
They didn't ink because of crowding, it was more because they were scared of me. They've kinda figured out that I'm not a threat, but while cleaning the tank I had them in a 1/2 gallon container while doing a water change, and when I came back into the room to put them back into their tank the container was pitch black. I was even in the room so something else startled them to ink.
I would stop taking them out.
 

Sepia Bandensis

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
#11
Sorry for the misinformation... From what I have read, from two or three articles, is that the pair is only introduced once to mate, then removed to prevent fighting.. So o guess they were incorrect... So now I guess it will be easy for me to breed my own dwarves
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#12
Sepia Bandensis;190462 said:
Sorry for the misinformation... From what I have read, from two or three articles, is that the pair is only introduced once to mate, then removed to prevent fighting.. So o guess they were incorrect... So now I guess it will be easy for me to breed my own dwarves
Was that specifically about S. bandensis? Do you have links to those articles? Thanks!
 

squishy1

Blue Ring
Registered
#13
How would you go about cleaning the breeder nets the eggs/baby cuttles are in? The only way I've found to really clean the nets is by taking them out and taking the hose to it at high pressure, even then it can take a few rinses before I get all of the gunk off the net. I may have the issue of them clogging quicker and heavier due to the lack of a protein skimmer on my system. As much as I'd love to drop the money on a protein skimmer, at this point in time I think a generator is a much much smarter investment. The power outage we had last year cost me 3 breeding pairs of fish and all of my zooplankton cultures.
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#16
squishy1;190466 said:
How would you go about cleaning the breeder nets the eggs/baby cuttles are in? The only way I've found to really clean the nets is by taking them out and taking the hose to it at high pressure, even then it can take a few rinses before I get all of the gunk off the net. I may have the issue of them clogging quicker and heavier due to the lack of a protein skimmer on my system. As much as I'd love to drop the money on a protein skimmer, at this point in time I think a generator is a much much smarter investment. The power outage we had last year cost me 3 breeding pairs of fish and all of my zooplankton cultures.
My nets never got all that gunky - even after a few months. If you keep them out of the light, or cover them, it will help. I don't think that a skimmer is something that you should bypass of a ceph tank.
 

cuttlegirl

Colossal Squid
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#18
I really think you should invest in a protein skimmer. You have so many babies, in such a small tank, a skimmer removes things that a regular filter cannot.
 

squishy1

Blue Ring
Registered
#19
Water changes also remove those things. I also have a lot of macro algae and a few mangroves to help keep the nutrient level down. But weekly water changes on such a small tank aren't a big deal. They'll be in a much larger tank in a month with all the proper equipment. With rolling blackout season quickly approaching the generator appears to be the much smarter choice for long term survival of these guys. You can't really run a protein skimmer without power, and we seem to lose power here at least once a year. I have 9 tanks currently running.

On a side note, some of the babies ate their first ghost shrimp yesterday (very small ones). One of them even managed to take down a cherry shrimp twice his size. But for some reason I can't get them to eat any crabs. I was able to locate some really small ones at the beach, but the cuttles show no interest in them.
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#20
A skimmer isn't only for export, it also is great at oxygenating the water, and in the mid run is much cheaper than water changes. You don't need an expensive skimmer either, they all are with about 8 percent of the same 'efficacy'. That said, please don't think I am telling you what to do...there are a million ways to skin a reef.
 

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