First time raising S. bandensis

Discussion in 'Cuttlefish Care' started by declancowan2954, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. declancowan2954

    declancowan2954 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Hey everyone! My name is Declan and I have just taken on the challenge of raising S. bandensis, the dwarf cuttlefish. Earlier today I picked up my eggs, they are fairly round and some of them have visible embryos developing already! This is my first time raising cephalopods and I am aiming to only raise one this time around as I only have a twenty gallon species tank. However, I did purchase seven eggs (in case some don't hatch or do well after hatching) from a friend who owns a LFS and I wanted to know what to look for as they develop, as well as the best way to tackle feeding new born cuttlefish.

    I know I will need plenty of mysid shrimp but I wanted to know when I should start feeding larger foods and what is recommended as the best food for the dwarfs after they mature? I'd appreciate any feedback from you guys and gals and want to make sure I do this right; my tank is well cycled and has a steady amphipod population for hunting when my new friend gets bigger, but the looming question of how exactly these delicate animals should be handled still remains.

    I've been reading forums here on TONMO and have also read the book Cephalopods; Octopuses and Cuttlefishes for the Home Aquarium multiple times, but as I've been saying, any direct information from people who have been doing this for awhile is happily welcomed!

    Sincerely,
    Declan

    PS
    I know there is no way a twenty gallon tank can house seven cuttlefish, so I made arrangements to sell back any juveniles to my friend for nearly full price as he is interested in raising them as well.
     
  2. GPO87

    GPO87 Sepia elegans Staff Member Moderator

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    Welcome to Tonmo Declan!

    Just thought i would say "hi". Unfortunately, I'm not an aquarium owner, but there are several members of TONMO who have raised cuttlefish. I'm sure that they will be able to give you some first hand tips. All the best.
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    :welcome: Declan,
    I'm an octo keeper but keep up with the cuttle crowd so I will point you to some available reading that is not always easy to find. If you have not located our Articles section yet, Thales (Richard Ross) has contributed two to the care section that will be of interest and answer some of your feeding questions. Start with his oldest (ancient by TONMO standards), Keeping and Breeding the Dwarf Cuttlefish and then to his somewhat more recent (and more detailed to your interest) Sepia bandensis: husbandry and breeding. Then go to the journals under Raising Cuttlefish from eggs for a glimpse at keepers' notes and observations.
     
  4. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Hi Declan,

    This is a slightly more up-to-date article by Richard Ross: http://packedhead.net/2010/display-husbandry-and-breeding-of-dwarf-cuttle/

    Here is an excerpt about feeding:

    For the first few weeks after hatching, the hatchlings were fed twice a day with live mysids from Aquatic Biosystems and Aquatic Indictors. Mysid shrimp were gut loaded with newly hatched Artemia . Live mysids seem to be a perfect food because they are easily caught by the hatchling cuttles. After several weeks, amphipods were introduced into the diet. There seems to be a learning curve to the hunting ability of hatchling S. bandensis; amphipods are strong and when introduced too early in S. bandensis development, they are able to easily escape from the hungry cuttles possibly causing damage.

    Around week 4, locally collected fresh water mysids were introduced into the diet, which the cuttles were able to catch and consume before the shock of being placed into saltwater stunned them into no longer moving.

    Around week 6 we began to introduce thawed and rinsed frozen Piscine Energetics (PE) mysids into the diet. Initially, these were placed into the aquarium along with live mysids. Because of the decent flow rate, the cuttles would strike at the PE mysids as they was blown around in the water column. Within a week, one of the daily feedings became solely thawed PE mysids.

    Around week 8, our hatchlings were between 1.2 cm (½ inch) and 2.5 cm (1 inch) in mantle length, and larger foods became necessary both from a nutritional and cost perspective. Fresh water ghost shrimp were available from a local wholesaler, however, keeping these alive long term became challenging. Marine ‘janitors’, Palamontes vulgaris, from http://livebrineshrimp.com/ were purchased and easily housed long term in a 20 gallon tank with an air driven sponge filter. These shrimp were approximately the same length as the cuttles and were readily consumed.

    Feeding adolescents and adults

    Once the S. bandensis were larger than 2.5 cm (1 inch long), saltwater grass shrimp, Cragnon spp. were purchased from a local bait shop and introduced into the diet. The Cragnon were kept in an auxiliary aquarium on a coldwater system kept at 11C (52F). Purchases of Cragnon include shrimp of different sizes, so it is easy to pick out the best size for the S. bandensis – even though at this size the cuttles can easily take prey larger than themselves. From time to time, they are also fed thawed silversides for variety, and have also been fed live saltwater mollies.
     
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  5. declancowan2954

    declancowan2954 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Thank you all for the help! Right now I have several sources locally for mysids and later on larger crustaceans! I also have already read the articles posted by Richard Ross that you all recommended before purchasing the eggs, I wanted to do this right :). Out of curiosity though, what should I look for to tell how the eggs are doing, or even if the cuttles inside are still alive? I was careful during the transfer and did a very slow drip acclimation to the eggs and kept them submerged during the process. However, I did touch the eggs gently to move them out of the bag and I just started worrying if that may have caused harm... Last I saw I could still see little cuttlefish embryos inside and they moved time to time on their own (w/ the powerhead turned off) so I thought that would mean they were fine. Regardless, I just wanted to know, what signs should I look for in egg growth and to tell how they are doing inside of the eggs? Thank you all for the help!
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I can't help much with what to watch for as cuttled develop. I know shining a light through the eggs will give you a better view (look up candling but just focusing a light to shine from the side should work) of the development and members have done that without ill effect A stable reef PH, clean stable saltwater and enough water movement to keep algae of the eggs are the only two things I know to recommend. You might read over some of the journals to see if new keepers remark on observations that are not in the articles. You might also ask on one of the current journals if the keeper remembers why they thought egg hatching was going to be soon.
     
  7. declancowan2954

    declancowan2954 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Alright! Thanks again for the help, after reading more threads I found that one very helpful user was cuttlegirl so I sent her a link to my thread to ask her advice, she seemed very knowledgeable :)
     
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  8. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    The eggs will get more transparent over time (although never fully transparent) and the cuttle will grow in size. I did not see a lot of movement with mine and wondered whether they were dead. I disturbed mine a fair amount by moving the container a few times and I was worried about that but all 8 hatched hatched at roughly the same time in the morning after 3 weeks in the net.
     
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  9. declancowan2954

    declancowan2954 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    That makes me feel so much better :) I'll keep all of you posted over the next few days as to how they're doing!
     
  10. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Hi Declan,

    It will be hard to raise even one cuttlefish in a 20 gallon tank, but good luck. Is there a way to upgrade as the cuttlefish gets larger? Can you see the yolk sac on the front of the cuttlefish? It will look like it is carrying around a ball in its arms. The yolk will get smaller as the cuttlefish matures in the egg. You should have mysids on hand before the cuttles hatch. Do you have access to source of mysids?

    How much experience to you have with salt water tanks?
     
  11. declancowan2954

    declancowan2954 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Hey cuttlegirl, sorry for the late reply, I've been having some laptop issues the past few day. Anyways, as for the questions:

    1. I understand it will be difficult in a 20 gallon aquarium, but I have also taken precautions and am prepared to upgrade tank size. Also, according to this article (http://www.thecephalopodpage.org/sepiabandensis.php) from Richard Ross it is possible and adequate for one cuttlefish.

    2. I was worried because I could not see a yolk sac on some of the eggs but surprise! I have a baby as of this morning and there are two more cuttlefish I can see starting to push on the sides of their eggs! Maybe that's why the yolk sacs were small xD There are still some small yolk sacs present on other embryos.

    3. I have mysids on hold at my LFS and just ordered some online last night as well. Also a friend of mine and I are going out to the bay tomorrow with his dive light to collect some more mysids for quarantine (just to make sure they're okay for feeding).

    4. I will admit this is my first saltwater tank, but I have had it set up for 8 months and have dealt with many different fish (all of which were returned to my LFS in good health), including mandarin gobies, so I am used to the live food ordeal already! I have also had many freshwater tanks before this and made the switch to saltwater to have a cuttlefish; even before the tank was set up I was buying books and reading TONMO threads to make sure I was prepared. All in all, I've spent probably a year reading on how to care for a dwarf cuttlefish and have spent 8 months just working with saltwater to make sure I could have a well suited tank for one.

    I hope that answered everything thoroughly and I appreciate all the questions so if you have more please through them my way! Also if you have any information related to monitoring baby cuttlefish now it would be appreciated as well! The babies are in a breeder net and I'll put a mysid or two in tomorrow to see if they are interested!
     
  12. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi there! I don't think that is the spirit of what I said in that article. "S. bandensis can be kept in tanks as small as a 20 gallon high, although a 30 gallon high is better for a single animal."

    But more importantly, that is from an older article we we were just getting our bearings on S. bandensis husbandry.

    From a newer article - http://www.tonmo.com/cephcare/sepia-bandensis.php :
    IME, a cuttles kept in smaller tanks fail to thrive. Good luck!
     
  13. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    :razz: 3x Good luck. Not sure how old the article from Richard Ross is, but you will notice how small the tank will seem once they get larger...

    Thales, you beat me by 2 minutes...
     
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  14. declancowan2954

    declancowan2954 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Alrighty then! I'll start getting my other tank up and running immediately! Sorry for misinterpreting the article and its information; I can easily have thirty gallon (maybe even a forty) ready for them by the time they start getting bigger! Again, thank you all for the information and I think it will help me a lot, I'll just buckle down and get a better tank ready :). On a positive note, my first cuttlefish is playing hide n' seek routinely and its little buddies are getting more active in their eggs every hour it seems!
     

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  15. declancowan2954

    declancowan2954 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    This is why I joined TONMO, any information, even constructive criticism will be well received if it means giving these little guys a good life :smile::cuttle:
     
  16. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Cute little guy! I miss them... I would get the largest tank you can up and running. Maybe even a 55 gallon? Then you could keep more than one.

    I'm guessing that one of the issues with a smaller tank is the amount of waste that cephalopods in general produce. The larger the tank, the more stable the water parameters are. Also, if something does go wrong (heater malfunctions, specific gravity is off, you put off a water change...) there is more of a buffer to keep everything stable.
     
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  17. declancowan2954

    declancowan2954 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    That's definitely a good point and one that I will admit has me nervous... The filtration isn't scaring me so much while they're small, I have approximately 22 pounds of live rock in a 20 gallon tank as well a protein skimmer designed for a 30 gallon tank. The issue of heater malfunctions (or worse, power outages) is one I should get a larger tank for... One a bright note, the little guy has friends! 3 more hatched and another two are trying! The 7th egg never developed, I just checked it under a light and it was milky with only a bit of a cuttlefish in it; the egg also was shriveling. Even still, 6 out of 7, I'd say it seems like a good turn out for a $30 purchase :heee: ! I already have a good friend (the same one who sold them to me so cheap) who is willing to take them back when they get bigger for his own tank if I don't have the biggest possible tank to support 6 happily; he's a good guy and I trust him wholeheartedly :)
    Here's the four hanging out, though the one at the top is a little loner :tongue:
     

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