Keeping live food

Discussion in 'Sources for Cephalopods and Food' started by Lmecher, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. Lmecher

    Lmecher Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    I am curious as to where you all keep live crabs and shrimp until they are added to the octopus tank. I have several tanks I could put them in. has anyone had issues with shore shrimp and fiddlers in reef tanks? What information I find says fiddlers are reef safe, still question them though. Cannot find anything on shore shrimp but I assume they'd be fine. Interested in personal experiences. :smile:

    (Sorry, if this is the wrong forum please move it)
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I keep a couple of small bare tank about for live food. Fiddlers are supposed to need surface access but do well in a reef tank when not eaten. I keep mine in shallow tanks (2 gallon) with a piece of lava rock as they don't seem to do well in a small tank with LR. I have found that feeding them a little dried algae works best but others feed them flake food (Experience suggests they are more of an herbavore than a meat eater). Shore shrimp are also scavengers so anywhere you have to put them and can catch them is fine but they are shrimp so monitor for dead one.
     
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Actually, I don't know where this post would best fit, but it's a good question.

    Shore shrimp are no problem and they help keep your tank clean. Keep them in a feeder tank or a reef tank.

    Fiddlers are another matter, because they don't really live in the water full time. If you put them in a tank, they will live few weeks. (When you see them along the shore, they are living in burrows in damp sand.)

    So, you can fix up a small tank that has shallow water and an ample place to climb out for these little crabs. I've tried a shallow turtle bowl with rocks sticking out of the water. For a more permanent set up, I've used aquarium sand or pebbles with a "pool" made of a plastic dish sunk in the sand. Food can be left on the sand (fish flakes, lettuce, fruit). I've never ordered more than 20 at a time.

    I've also known people in warm climates who keep them outdoors in a kid's swimming pool with a sand "beach"

    Nancy
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The problem with anything too large is cleaning the environment though. I find with the two gallon acrylics have modest loss if I keep a small amount of coarse marine substrate and one piece of fake rock in the center (they will escape if anything is too close to the side) and rinsing the entire mess (sans crabs) in fresh water once a month or so (depending upon mortality or odor). I do a final rinse with saltwater and then fill with about 2 inches of new. The marine algae has little smell even after a couple of weeks and seems to keep them happy where othe foods I have tried foul the water.
     
  5. kpage

    kpage Wonderpus Supporter

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    Hey do you know a source for live foods in/around chicago? I know aquaculturestore.com, but do you know anywhere local?
     
  6. Lmecher

    Lmecher Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    Now that you mention it, I remember the little fiddlers scurring around on the beach in Florida. I have a small 2 1/2 gallon tank I can set up for them and the shrimp (when I do order them) will just be put into one of my reef tanks, I think I will keep them seperate from my peppermints, I have quite of few of them and don't want to loose any.
    Some very good suggestions, thanks so much :grin:
     
  7. Lmecher

    Lmecher Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    I have never tried fiddlers, I know I could order them online cheeper but I thought I call around to see if I could get a couple to test. Ocean Design Aquarium near Irving/Auntin has some. They are expensive but I am going just buy 2 and see if my octopus goes for them.
     
  8. corpusse

    corpusse Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    I'd be a bit leery keeping them in such small tanks unless they are really small quantities. I keep shore shrimp in a few 10g and 20g tanks. They dont seem to mind any water quality or salinity changes.

    I've had some for many months and I never change the water only top off and they're still fine. I'd be scared to test the water. but they live and grow.
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    As long as you keep the water from being polluted with dead crab/food decay the 2 gallons will support 15-20 (they do not eat each other, even in the soft shell stage). I do loose some and will feed or freeze them but I have not had better success with larger environments.
     
  10. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    where did you get he shrimp?
     
  11. corpusse

    corpusse Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    I'm keeping 100+ in 10-20g tanks

    I get them from aquaculturestore.com shore shrimp, or any live food other then tigger pods are tough to come by in Canada. Fedex shipping is expensive.
     
  12. Lmecher

    Lmecher Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    I just thought I'd post an update...
    I have been keeping my fiddlers in a 2 1/2 gallon pico with appx 1 1/2 inches of sand, 1 chunck of rock. small lid from a jar with salt water and a tiny 10 w. light.

    Photos were posted in my journal but I will repost them here~
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I change water daily, moisten the sand bed every couple days and feed plankton krill flake food 2x daily, they seem to love it. It has been appx 4 weeks and have lost one. Funny as soon as I purchased the fiddlers I lost my octopus :sad: This system for keeping fiddlers is working well so far.

    Today~
    [​IMG]
     
  13. CrossFire86

    CrossFire86 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Shore shrimp are fine, fiddlers I would only put in one at a time until they are eaten but I do not believe they will harm the coral. As for keeping them before feeding I have done several different things they all worked fine in their own different ways I just like trying different things. You can set up a refugium specifically for ceph food to run in line with your system, you can keep a small tank inside your main tank with some drilled out holes, preferably with non transparent sides as so it does not drive your hungry critters crazy seeing their food, and chances are they will figure out how to open it pretty quickly, you can keep a separate 10 or however large gallon and even subdivide it for certain food sources if desired, I've even just kept a home depot bucket with an air stone and done frequent water changes... you can go as simple as tupperware or as nice a set up as Lmecher has made it's up to you
     
  14. MrThate

    MrThate Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Quick question of my own:
    Me and my roommate catch shore crabs and keep them in a 5 gallon buckets about a 1/3 filled with the water we get them from.. That used to be fine, we could keep them there for a week at least, and lose just maybe 1.. but lately, they all die in no more than 2 days, even when we aerate the water by scooping the water and pouring it back in.. We have nowhere else to put them right now besides straight into the tank, and we dont want our cuttle to overfeed or eat too many so that they dont last long.. any ideas on how to keep the food alive longer?
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Is the temperature in the dorm/house warmer now with the heat on? Also test the water for ammonia, you may be getting more plankton that is dying off an poluting the water quickly, both or either may be causing the problem. You might try using the water you draw off your tank during water changes in stead of the water at the collection site.
     
  16. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    Are you getting your water from the beach? It's been raining a lot lately (winter) so maybe there is a lot of runoff pollution or an unnaturally high percentage of fresh water (low salinity), especially near the surface.
     
  17. Lmecher

    Lmecher Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    Update:
    Had to upgrade my 2 1/2g tank. I received an orde rof 40 fiddlers, they were in transit for 3 days I lost quite a few. I was keeping 1/2 in a bucket. (had to keep cleaning it, very smelly) I have kittens, found out real quick that wasn't going to work, one of the kittens kept getting int them UGH! I decided to go with a 5g and same design. I have to say my system is extremely easy to keep. I just add wate revery day, moisten the sand every few days and I feed plankton krill flakes a couple times a day. I have yet to attach the little light I turn on each morning and off at night to give them day/night and a little warmth. I have never noticed any odor, must be microbal activity in the sand, it was formerly from a used tank w/some new rinsed sand. The sand bed is appx. 1" deep, they love to borrow into it. I added a couple more chunks of rock I had laying around so they can hide too if they wish. I have to say, I really don't mind the way it looks.

    Photos~
    from the front
    [​IMG]


    top down
    [​IMG]
     
  18. corpusse

    corpusse Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    After 3 days was the heat pack even still warm?

    Anytime you are getting stuff live even if it is feeders it should be sent overnight.
     
  19. Lmecher

    Lmecher Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    This is the second time I ordered from Paul Sachs, they were suposed to come w/2 day shipping. First order was on time I lost 1 crab. This time there was a mix up, I am not placing blame on anyone in paricular, just a series of misscommunication and mishaps. I will use him for fiddlers again, things happen :roll:
    The heat pack was spent, I should have taken a photo. They were extremely cold and the water was dark red and the smell, I am trying to forget. I used tongs to take the live crabs out had to dump some water so I could see them. I was shocked that I only lost about 5 initailly. The next day however I lost a few more. The ones I have left, hard to tell from the photo, I counted about 30, are very active and eating well so I think were are in the clear.
     
  20. corpusse

    corpusse Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    I'm not going to bash Paul. I have ordered from him before and have been very happy with the service. However he should not be offering these slower shipping services for live animails. I suspect the shipping costs turns many people off, but that is the cost of them arriving alive.
     

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