Raising baby bandensis, care, etc.

Discussion in 'Cuttlefish Care' started by Jamie, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. Jamie

    Jamie Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Hi guys, I've been reading here for a while, but this is my first post.

    I'm really interested in cephs, especially cuttlefish, and this year I'm hoping to acquire some S. bandensis for a science research project. I may be getting some eggs soon, but my fish store didn't know if they were currently available, what species they were, or how much they would cost, so if anyone has a more reliable source I would be interested.

    I currently have four 20 gallon high tanks set up, all have been set up for about 9 months, all are running around 77-80 degrees. One is set up as a sort of reef tank, with one fish, a pygmy angel, so that tank probably won't be available. The other three have just live rock and macro algae (mostly chaetomorpha, some caulerpa) and a few little mushroom corals. One tank has a bit of an aiptasia problem, and my peppermint shrimp don't seem to be interested (and I realize the shrimp will probably be eaten when the cuttles get bigger). Are aiptasia a problem for cuttles? If so, that leaves two tanks immediately available, and once I deal with the aiptasia, three. I've considered connecting them with large-diameter pvc so the cuttles could move between them, but I don't know if that will be necessary.

    So, I have a few questions.

    1. I read (I believe) that two full-grown S. bandensis can live in a 20-gallon. Is this correct, or do they need more space? If the three tanks were connected, would this fix the problem? And how many would be appropriate for a total of 60 gallons?

    2. If the fish store does end up getting eggs, I don't want to bring something that will get way too big for my tanks. Is it possible to identify species solely by looking at the eggs?

    3. What are the best foods for baby cuttles? The tanks are filled with amphipods, do you think I need to purchase supplemental live food that will be easier for the cuttles to catch, or can they catch their own food? Or will they go through all the pods in the tank pretty quickly?

    4. And, can I let them roam around the tank when they're little, or should I keep them in a breeder net? It seems like if they were free to roam, they could hunt for food by themselves and I wouldn't have to worry so much about feeding them, but I also wouldn't see them as often or know if they were eating. Which do you think is better?

    5. Where do people get food for they're adult cuttles? I've heard some will eat frozen, but is live food readily available if they won't? There is a bay sort of near here where there are tons of little (1-2 inches long) clear shrimp. Would these be acceptable/is it okay to feed foods from the wild? There are also lots of mysis shrimp here in the surf, would these be good to feed the babies?

    6. I realize that probably some of the babies will not make it to adulthood, and not all for the eggs will hatch. Should I plan on buying more eggs than I will actually need?

    phew, that was alot. :roll: I'll probably have more questions, but I this is a good start. Thanks in advance for the help!

    -Jamie
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I'll let our cuttle experts address you bullet questions but will make a note about peps and aptasia. IME, peps do a great job at eating the spawned, tiny aptasia but won't touch the adults. Killing the adults with Joe's Juice has worked best for me where my own mixture of pickling solution has had limited success (microwaving the water and pickling mixture helps). Unfortunately, once you have aptasia, it is very difficult to eliminate them and keeping a peppermint shrimp in the tank is the only control method I have found. A larger pep is more likely to survive than a smaller one (ONE of the two in with Beldar - octopus - has been wiley enough to avoid being eaten, the other got too curious when Bel came to live in the tank).
     
  3. Jamie

    Jamie Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Okay, well, I think I'll try lemon juice for now, if that doesn't work then I'll buy some joe's juice. And I have one shrimp in each tank, so I can replace as needed. :wink:
     
  4. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    :welcome: to TONMO. Did you see Thales' article on bandensis husbandry yet? If not, it's under the ARTICLES tab at the top of the page...
     
  5. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    There is also a new article in the current TFH mag - I think it covers all the questions. :grin:
     
  6. corpusse

    corpusse Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    I'm no expert but I'll give you my 2 cents anyway since I have managed to keep all 25 of my babies alive for close to a month.

    I have read several times that a 20 gallon high would be the min for one adult. I plan on 4-8 adults in a 65-110 tank still undecided on my final tank as well.

    When you first get the eggs you will want to keep them in breeder nets so you can deal with the aptasia while the cuttles are in the tanks.

    Mysid shrimp are the ideal first food. Amiphipods are just too big and tough. Now that my guys are 3 weeks old and have eaten quite a few mysids they are big enough to take down most amphipods but the larger ones I won't feed to any but my largest which are seperated. They grow quick but need to eat smaller foods to take down the amiphipods which actually fight back unlike the mysids which seem content to be sucked in and eaten :)

    I had a couple of cuttlefish escape my breeder nets and caught them a week or so later. They were fine and had indeed grown but there was a wild population of mysid they were likely eating not just amphipods.

    I probably had about 30-35 eggs, 25 hatched and 25 are still alive 3 weeks later.

    I've already started training them to eat frozen mysids which most will but I'd say this only makes up about 50% of their current diet. I'm now feeding amphipods as well as continuing with live mysids. The good thing about live food is there is no mess.

    Training can be difficult but if you're patient even the babies can be taught to eat frozen, but frozen should not be their only source of food as they have to be convinced to eat the frozen but devour the live in seconds.

     
  7. Jamie

    Jamie Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    TFH stands for... ? (sorry :oops: )

    monty - yep, thanks.

    corpusse - so, if I connected the three tanks, then I could hypothetically keep three adults, yes? I guess I could leave all the tanks separated, and house them individually, but I was hoping to see some interaction. I may also invest in on of those small plastic ponds. Cheap and plenty of room for everyone. Of course, then I could only view them from above, unless I installed a viewing window or something. I guess it's not urgent, since I'll be getting them as babies, but that might be a good long term solution. I'll be going to the beach in the near future, so I'll see if I can get some mysids; if not I'll have to get some online.

    Thanks everyone for your help so far!
     
  8. Jamie

    Jamie Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Okay, well, I've bought an egg, and I have more questions.

    The shop owner didn't know what type the cuttle was, but the egg is black, and the right size for S. bandensis, so that's what I'm assuming. The egg is fully inflated, and looks like it is going to hatch very soon, if it shouldn't have hatched already. If I hold a flashlight up the the egg I can see that baby inside, and he's pretty big, at least 1/2 inch, maybe a bit bigger. There is no yolk sac, he looks completely ready to be out in the world. I've read about people having to let cuttles out of their eggs, should I be concerned that he seems trapped inside? At what point would it be reasonable, if ever, to break open the egg?

    I'm ordering some mysids online tomorrow, but he honestly looks big enough to catch amphipods. I'm wondering if maybe it's a bigger species, but the egg is pretty small, so I don't know.
     
  9. Jamie

    Jamie Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Here are some pics of the setup

    The tank
    [​IMG]

    The breeder box
    [​IMG]

    Illuminated egg with baby cuttle, by the way, can shining a flashlight at the egg hurt the cuttle inside?
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Six-Seven

    Six-Seven Pygmy Octopus Supporter

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    Has he hatched yet?!
    Thales has said he doesn't think removing the cuttlefish early is a good idea and he know what he is talking about!
    TFH stands for Tropical Fish Hobbyist.
    Also, Ive read that most likely they wont eat right away so I am waiting to order mysis until mine hatch and will offer them live brine the first day or so just to see if they are interested, but brine shrimp are not a good source of nutrition for cuttles!!!
    Hope this helps but I am not an expert by any means!!
     
  11. Jamie

    Jamie Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Yes, he hatched! Sorry for the lack of updates, I was out of town and my parents were taking care of him. He hatched about a week and a half ago, and has (according to my mom) tripled in size. No one has ever seen him eat, but he's been supplied with lots of live foods (mysis, amphipods, brine shrimp) and he has grown quite a bit so I assume he must be eating something! I just got home, so no pics yet, but hopefully I'll get some within the next few days. He's (or she) adorable. :)
     
  12. Jamie

    Jamie Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Sad news, unfortunately this guy didn't make it. He lived for about three weeks, grew significantly, and was eating, so I don't know what happened. Just found him floating at the top of the tank one day.

    I'll probably try my hand at s. bandensis again in the future, but I'm giving it a months rest or so - I haven't had enough time to devote the kind of attention a baby cuttlefish needs. Once school starts and I get back on a regular schedule I should be back.
     

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