Question about Nitrates and Eye Color Connection


Hey all,
Back when I had my cuttlefish, I brought one of my babies to the LFS I work at. The water in the system which the cuttlefish was going was perfect, except for nitrate levels at about 20ppm (which is high for ceps). As a gamble, I went ahead and slowly drip-acclimated the young cuttle into the the tank water. The entire process took about 2 and a half hours, as I wanted to make sure the drastic change from 0 nitrates to 20 nitrates was slow. After the acclimation, the cuttle was released into the system and monitored throughout the day. Colors were darker; the cuttle maintained a dark black skin color for at least two hours. After a while, I witnessed a strange change in color of the eye. Blue and pink colors were seen. Any thoughts as to why this change occurred? Could this be related to nitrate poisoning?



Sepia elegans
Staff member
I think this may have been missed by many of us with the holidays... Thanks for re-asking!

I do not know of any correlation between nitrate poisoning and cephalopod eye color changes. 20 ppm is above the recommended levels for cephs but I have seen systems with higher nitrates and the cuttlefish appear to be fine. I am also not aware of nitrate poisoning affecting cephs that quickly. I have seen ammonia and nitrite spikes have negative effects quickly but nitrate is a bit different.

Some individual cephs also just do not respond well to acclimation, which is why you might get some mortality after receiving a new shipment. So, in this case, perhaps the changes in the cuttlefish you observed were from the nitrate change but there may have also been other stressors going on as well. It is definitely interesting to think about.

Is the cuttlefish still alive?



what kind of lights are on that tank, it looks to me like their is a redish tint to the sand and other things around the cuttlefish it might just be this lightsource being reflected by the cuttles eye


Very good points there. Nitrates were the only thing out of perfect range, parameter wise. The cuttle only survived a day or two. He went MIA in a tank with nothing that would harm him.

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