Cuttlefish problem: Weak/uncoordinated strike | The Octopus News Magazine Online
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Cuttlefish problem: Weak/uncoordinated strike

Mikey Donuts

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#1
Hello, I've been keeping three s.bandensis babies for the last six weeks or so. They were hatched in my care and transitioned to frozen mysis with a week or two of hatching. They've grown to the point where they were consuming a single large PE mysis each daily. Yesterday while trying to feed them, I noticed that they all simultaneously developed weak and uncoordinated strikes at the mysis. The tentacles they strike the food with now have a sweeping motion (from wide to narrow) instead of a straight motion to the target. They definitely seem interested in the food because they start to track it as soon as it is introduced but they just can't seem to grab it. Same story tonight as last night.
I'm worried now because they've gone two days without eating.

Params are: Reef tank w/ numerous softies (babies are in a net breeder) 78 degrees, Alk is 9, CA 450, mag 1300, nitrates 0, Amm 0, nitrite 0, Sal 1.025. All other livestock in the tank shows no sign of distress.

Any help is greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance,
Mike
 

Thales

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#3
That's tough. Water change, run some carbon, get some live food if possible. It could be anything from environmental factors to something sprayed in the room with the tank to an issue feeding frozen (this is an issue with cephs even though there has been luck with feeding frozen to bandensis - what brand of mysis are you feeding) to anything else we can think of.

I have seen them get uncoordinated when they are starving - quite possibly the one mysis a day isn't enough. Now that I write that, I agree with myself and remember something about a cuttles digestive system being cleared every 6 hours and that they prolly eat quite often in the wild. I feed at least twice a day. As they get bigger, this is even more important.
 

Mikey Donuts

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#4
Thanks for the responses you guys. I'll perform a W/C in a few minutes and see if that helps. Rich, I was feeding PE mysis and giving the cuttlefish the largest ones I could find. The mysis were about 1.5x the cuttlefish body length. They seemed to be satisfied with this because they would refuse all other food offered throughout the day. They also seemed to be growing pretty quickly. If they recover I'll go to smaller mysis offered throughout the day. I hate to think I accidentally starved these guys by offering one large food item per day.

The cuttlefish should be able to grab the mysis with their main (non striking) tentacles, correct? If I push a shrimp right up to one, it will back off about 1/2" and attempt to strike at it but will miss. I'm not sure what to do at this point. I don't know if live food will help because they'll probably strike and miss.
 

Thales

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#5
Mikey Donuts;130794 said:
The cuttlefish should be able to grab the mysis with their main (non striking) tentacles, correct? If I push a shrimp right up to one, it will back off about 1/2" and attempt to strike at it but will miss. I'm not sure what to do at this point. I don't know if live food will help because they'll probably strike and miss.
That should work. A long pair of tweezers will help pushing a mysid against their arms (as opposed to striking tentacles). I call this hand feeding and have kept senescing animals alive for a long time doing it. I would say be patient and think outside the box to get them to get some food in their bellies - assuming we are right about the problem.

Don't beat yourself up about anything. There is way more that we don't know about raising cuttles and how to feed them no live foods than we know.
 

Mikey Donuts

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#6
Thanks a lot Rich. I will try hand feeding these guys in a little bit. I just shot a video of an attempted feeding and will post in a minute. Please let me know what you think and if you've seen this behavior before.
 

Mikey Donuts

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#7
For some reason this vid keeps freezing up. If it does, just manually scroll forward a little bit. There are multiple strikes on this clip.

Also, I tried hand feeding the cuttles but they just jetted away when I put the shrimp near them. Any tips for doing this the right way?
Thanks,
Mike

 

Thales

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#9
Thats weird. Looks like there is some problem with the tentacles - they seem to be shooting out the same way every time. Are all of them doing it? I suggest taking a break from trying till tomorrow.
 

Mikey Donuts

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#10
I can't tell if their eyes look OK since they're so small. They are under a 150w halide but they've got chaeto to hide under all day.

Rich- All three started to do this at the same exact time. They try to grab the food multiple times as shown in the vid but they just can't seem to grab the shrimp. One day they were totally fine, and the next they started this behavior. I'll give it another shot tomorrow. Any tips on hand feeding, Rich?
 

Mikey Donuts

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#12
I think I've found the source of the problem...Immediately after my last post I shut all of the tank lights off. I tried to feed the cuttles again tonight and one of them had a nice normal strike at a shrimp. That one captured and ate about four small mysis in a row. One of the other cuttles showed signs of a coordinated strike but was still very weak and unable to grab the shrimp. The third cuttle showed no interest in any offered food.

I think Jean was right and the halide/T-5 combo may have effected their sight so they were missing the shrimp. I performed a water change just now so the only thing that changed from three days ago was 30 hours of darkness for the squid. I'm pretty confident at least one will make it. Hopefully the others will come around but they may be too far gone.
 

Paradox

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#13
Just found this thread...

Thats interesting..How far under the halides/T5s do you have them and how many watts we looking at. Since my nursury has always just been inside my stand, I always just used a low powered house bulb to light them. Maybe your lighting is too bright for them during development.
 

Mikey Donuts

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#16
Rich, they've been under the lights the entire time (about 6" from a 150wMH and 2x24w T-5s). Over the holidays I left the MH on about 8-10 hours/day instead of the usual 4-6. There really is nothing else that has changed with the tank other than the lighting schedule.

Do captive cuttles normally ever refuse food for a day or two?
 

Thales

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#17
I would be hesitant to say it was the lights without further data. I suppose it possible, but there are several people keeping cuttles under MH. We really don't know too much about this species, so it could be anything, even something developmental. I guess if you wanted you could leave the lights alone and see if they eat with it on in a day or two.

The do sometimes seem to go off their food and then back on. :biggrin2:
 

Mikey Donuts

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#18
Good news, all three cuttles are now eating. The third has a straight stike but was still missing the shrimp. Eventually he just grabbed it with his arms instead. What really worried me about this entire thing was that abnormal, sweeping strike all three exhibited.

I'm having a problem with some nasty caulerpa taking over as well so I'm going to move all of the softies/zoas into my main reef and just go with the two actinic T-5s for the cuttles.

Thanks for all of your help everyone! This is a great forum and I've learned a lot in the past few months.

Mike
 

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