Prepping tank for cuttles

Discussion in 'Cuttlefish Care' started by bones, May 13, 2009.

  1. bones

    bones Larval Mass Registered

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    So I work in a research lab in my university and we'll be getting cuttles soon so we can do research on them over the summer. It's going to be a student-run project, so my labmate and I are entirely in charge of acquiring tanks, setting them up and getting cuttles, etc. (though our research grants will be paying for them, of course). So, you guys will probably be seeing a LOT of me on these boards, since I have minimal experience taking care of cephs (we have two nautiluses I care for, but from what I hear, cuttles are much more difficult) and I'll have a lot of questions.

    First off, how soon should I prep their tank before I get them? I've seen a number of different suggestions-- some people say you should let the water circulate a few days before getting them, some sources say you should wait a few MONTHS--- any insight?

    Oh, p.s. we are getting two S. officinalis, and considering two S. orbignyana as well.
     
  2. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    How big is the tank? Is it running sea water or artificial sea water? Is it plumbed to a larger system? What temperature is the water? Oh, and :welcome:
     
  3. bones

    bones Larval Mass Registered

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    So, the tank we have right now is a 50 gallon, which should be fine for a while since we're getting hatchlings, but we're going to have to get a 200-gallon pretty soon since officinalis get so big. We have access to seawater here at the lab, and yes, it's connected to a larger system. We'll probably be keeping them at about 20 C, but I'm going to call and ask our supplier what temperature they keep theirs at just to be sure.

    Oh, and thanks :)
     
  4. #30Girl

    #30Girl Wonderpus Registered

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    :welcome::welcome::welcome:
    good luck on your cuttlefish!
     
  5. bones

    bones Larval Mass Registered

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    Thank you!

    Anyone have any advice on the water circulation bit? We can go with either real seawater or artificial.

    Also, does anyone know if the NRCC is still up and running? I can't get a hold of them, I'm starting to think it doesn't exist anymore. Does anyone know where I'd be able to get my cuttles from? I've emailed a few places that will sell to research institutions, but they haven't gotten back to me yet. I live in Seattle, if that helps.
     
  6. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    :welcome: Bones,

    The time to a stable tank is lengthy, generally about 3 months. This is especially important with cephs as they produce much more waste than a similar sized fish (and they are messy eaters!) so it's really important that the tank is established with good bacterial colonies to deal with nitrates etc.

    Personally I go with real seawater, but I'm lucky that our institute sits on a harbour with very clean seawater on the doorstep. Something like instant ocean should be fine, so long as it is mixed ahead of time.

    Will your tank be plumbed into an open or closed system? Closed systems (i.e. recirculating) require much more intensive monitoring than one that is open to the sea. And need longer cycling.

    J
     
  7. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    S. officinalis are prone to getting "butt burn". They swim quickly backwards and get abrasions on their posteriors. They will quickly outgrow the 50 gallon, so make sure the larger tank is already set up by the time you get the hatchlings. You can also place a flexible piece of thin plastic against the back of the tank. If you use a piece of plastic that is longer than the back of the tank, you can make it curve, providing a bumper for the animals.

    Have you tried contacting any public aquariums that keep S. officinalis?
     
  8. spinycheek

    spinycheek GPO Registered

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    If you want a rapid cycling of the tank, I suggest something like Fritz Zymehttp://www.fritzpet.com/nitrifying-bacteria/. This will have the essential nitrifying bacteria established within a day or two, provided that you seed the tank with ammonia and increase the temperature to about 90 F. And as cuttles produce copious amounts of waste, get a giant protein skimmer to handle it. Taller ones are better like these: http://www.lifereef.com/frame.html. Just don't use the protein skimmer while the bacteria are establishing or they'll get skimmed out. The sooner you get the tank(s) set up the better.

    If you set up the bio-filter, remember that the bacteria need some kind of ammonia source to keep them fed while there aren't any animals in there. I use regular cleaning ammonia (unscented) to keep empty tanks cycled. Stop dosing ammonia and do a water change the day before you put the cuttles in and you should be good.

    I believe NRCC is still running. I spoke with them a couple months ago, they're still rebuilding from the hurricane, but they are operational last time I checked.
     
  9. bones

    bones Larval Mass Registered

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    Thanks for the fantastic advice, guys. I'm unsure of the exact plumbing situation this building has, but I'll ask around and find out specifics. I know we have access to circulating seawater. though one of my labmates swears by instant ocean because it's cleaner (though he has brachs, so maybe they're a different story).

    Thanks for the advice about butt burn! I read about that a little while back and had been brainstorming ideas to keep that from being a problem. That sounds like a good solution. We also have an issue with our nautiluses jetting into the tank walls as well, so we're going to set something up in their tank, too.

    As for the NRCC, spinycheek, how did you get in contact with them? I've found a few contact numbers online, and they all connect to the Galveston hospital now. Even the one on their website (409.747.0768) doesn't work anymore. I hear they got slammed by the hurricane, but it'd be awful if they had to shut down completely. Thanks for the advice about cycling, protein skimmers, etc. That's very helpful.
     
  10. Architeuthoceras

    Architeuthoceras Architeuthis Staff Member Moderator

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    :welcome: to TONMO Bones.

    Being a student of paleontology, is your cuttle research in that context?

    Good luck with it on any account.
     
  11. spinycheek

    spinycheek GPO Registered

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    I used the number from their website, but I can't be certain it's the same one as what's on there now. I don't have it written down or anything anymore either. I wonder if the phone company screwed the connection up. I've had that happen before, have you tried calling using different phone providers (Verizon, At&T, etc.)?
     

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