[Cuttlefish Eggs]: Ray's 125G Cuttle Rearing System

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by magnetar68, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Here are some shots of my new cuttle rearing system. I hope to start by ordering some cuttlefish eggs and live mysids after Thanksgiving. I am sure it will take a few trys to get this right, but I am excited about the journey.


    The Main Tank
    125G custom acrylic built by ZeroEdge in Chicago. The lights are DIY LEDs. I still need to aquascape the rock.
    [​IMG]


    Plumping
    The drain is a BeanAnimal(ish) design: one full siphon, one open channel, and one emergency siphon. In a true bean animal the open channel should be able to go full siphon, but in my setup, this tube goes from 1" to 1.5" so I can Tee in the gravity overflows from the support tanks. If this goes siphon, it causes some water to push up out of the silencers in the support overflows. Everything drains out through the wall to the closet behind. You can also see the DIY LED power controller. Yes, I need to hope I don't spring a leak.
    [​IMG]


    This is the "ultra-flex" PVC from MarineDepot, although 1/2 of it is not what I ordered, so it is really a combination of regular spa-flex and ultra-flex. The gate value is for the full siphon. The trick to running the full siphons such a long distance is that the tubes must run continually go down. If they don't, they have trouble starting. The open channel and the return are the ones in the back going up and then down. In my setup the open channel won't go full siphon. The emergency drain will and it will make a lot of noise so I know the main siphon is clogged.
    [​IMG]


    The Sump
    36"x16"x18". This needs some wire management :smile2:. I will wait until it is all dialed in before making it more permanent:

    • ATB 804v2 cone skimmer
    • NextReef SRM biopellet reactor (far left in blue)
    • BRS dual reactor for GAC and GFO
    • Refugium w/Chaeto and Home Depot LED
    • Two returns, one for the main 125DT and one for the two 20G and 29G tanks.
    • ATO: line from 6-stage RO/DI unit, float switch that activates a solenoid, and a manual float switch that the RO/DI line runs through in case the float switch fails
    • BRS 2-part Dosing Pumps (not shown and not yet installed - currently dosing manually since load is small)
    [​IMG]




    The Support Tanks
    The Blue are plumbed into the main filtration system for the 125G and the pink ones are standalone with a heater and a sponge filter.
    [​IMG]

    Here's a video too:
     
  2. haggs

    haggs Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    looks good, you will be busy with what you have planned.
     
  3. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    I don't plan on doing both at the same time; but even cuttles alone are a lot of work.
     
  4. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    I have ten eggs in a breeder net in the cuttle rearing tank. Not all look viable but I can see cuttles moving around in a few of them. I ordered through a friend who has a retail business, so they were drop shipped from one of the LAX wholesalers.

    I also order 250 young mysids and a rotifer growing kit from Reed Mariculture. I will feed the mysids the rotifers. My theory is that the younger ones should last two weeks instead of one week and the smaller size should be OK for the new hatchlings. We'll see.
     
  5. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    8 Days Post Hatch Update

    Last Saturday (12/8/2012) at 7:00am, I woke up and checked on the cuttle eggs and there were two cuttles in the net. :grin: I went to find the camera (which I had a hard time locating), but when I came back, there were 8 cuttles in the net. Some may have already hatched and been hiding in some of the algae, but I don't think so. I think I have a pretty good assessment of when they all hatched. Of the 12 eggs, 3 were small and not viable. There is still one unhatched egg that appears to be growing, but it is clearly well behind the others. I now have this in a separate net.

    I have been adding several mysids in the morning and evening and they have been disappearing. Until last night, I was not sure if the mysids were dying or killing each other or being eaten by the cuttles, but last night, I watched two of the cuttles attack and eat mysid pray under a red light flashlight. :smile:

    As for the mysids, 250 arrived via Reed Mariculture on Thursday Nov 28th and I have been feeding the mysids live rotifers 2x per day and frozen rotiers 1x per day (will the help of the nanny at noon when I am at work). I still have about 30 mysids and I have a new order of 500 coming this Tuesday. I also ordered the rotifers from Reed Mariculture. I had a ciliate explosion yesterday, but a fellow Bay Area Reefers pitched in and supplied another culture, so I will have two going today. I expect the first culture to rebound. I can always feed frozen and crushed fish food, but I have been trying the rotfiers in preparation for raising clowns some day if my broodstock ever starts laying again (they stopped after I moved them our of the 125G which will be the DT for the cuttles).

    Here are some pics and vids:



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Likely just perspective but the cuttle in the glass looks big to me for bendensis. The fact that they are eating immediately is also odd for the reports we have on bendensis (everything else looks like I would expect but I am not a cuttle keeper). This makes me wonder if we see premature hatchings and the possibly failure/success rates being related.
     
  7. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    The apparent larger size is definitely from the magnification of the round cup. The actual size is spot on in terms of size for the bandensis. I am 99.9% sure these are bandensis. I can only say for certain they ate at hatch+7 days since that is the first time I observed it; but I do believe it is likely they have been feeding earlier since ~12 mysids usually disappear overnight. They probably did not eat the first few days because most of the mysids were still there the next morning. Also, as you can see from the video, they were not born with an egg sack and were very active within an hour of hatching.
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Sorry, did not mean to imply that I did not think they were bendensis only that they looked larger. I missed that your first observation was after 7 days, which is about the norm for successful animals. Being active this young is new though and likely a good sign.
     
  9. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    11 Days Post Hatch. I still have 8 cuttles. They were very active feeding last night. I tried putting a frozen one in front of a couple of them last night and used a pipette to move it around, but they did not go for it. Shining the red light on a live one, however, and they sneak up and ate it.
    500 lab raised, pollution free, disease free mysids from Reed Mariculture showed up yesterday. $126.39 including the overnight shipping. These should last me until the first week of January; but the holidays will make the next shipment a little tricky. This should get me to 20 Days Post Hatch, so maybe I can wean them onto frozen starting 12/28?. I might just order another 500 for delivery 12/28 to be safe.

    The 9th cuttle hatched this morning. Still has the egg yolk attached. I don't think he is going to survive. He is much smaller than the others when they hatched. I have him in a separate net for now.
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Did you try shining the red light on the frozen? I am curious if the light makes a difference. It would be a nice discovery if it does.
     
  11. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Make sure the frozen food has eyes, they are more likely to try it then. I would order the delivery for 12/28, mysids never last as long as you need them to...
     
  12. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Yes, I used smaller whole mysids with eyes and I shined the red light on them while gently puffing them with the pipette to get them moving a little. I will keep trying; I did not expect this to work the first time.
     
  13. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    BTW, I do think this is a good idea. While I used the red light on the frozen, I did not do it the same as I did with the live. I will try a week of shining the light on the live mysids every night. Maybe this will get them trained on the light=food idea. Then I will switch to frozen and see if that is enough of a connection to get them to eat the frozen when it drops in.
     
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  14. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Cuttles Eating Live Mysids 13 DAH

    This is a little video update of the cuttles eating some live mysids, but it also shows my setup as of now.

     
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  15. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    A couple cuttles have started to eat frozen. I did two things. (1) I have been shinning the red light on food at night when I feed. (2) I also fed them a few larger volcano red shrimp (Opae ula) I have had on hand for my seahorses. I was hoping to get them used to a larger food item since the PE mysids are bigger than the the live ones I buy.

    On putting some frozen in last night with the red light, a couple of cuttles ate them before they even hit the floor. A couple others needed me to move it around a little with the flow from a pipette. The rest, however, we not yet interested, so I will need to keep trying.
     
  16. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Are your red volcano shrimp reproducing? I bought some to try to establish a breeding colony. They are growing and surviving but don't seem to be reproducing. Suggestions?
     
  17. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    No, I have not seen any offspring. I have had mine in a 2.5G tank for 9 months. While they are about the easiest creature to keep, they are difficult to breed. According to Pete Giwojna of Seahorse.com, Halocaridina rubra need a salinity 1.0114 S.G. a temp of 72-73F and less than 10ppm Nitrates. They reproduce slowly (large females only carry 12 to 14 eggs at a time). They spawn but 4 or 5 times each year, and produce an average of only 5-10 larvae per spawn. They can, however, live for up to 20 years

    From Pete's Book: "The larvae hatch as free- swimming, yolked zoeae after a brooding period of 38 days...[Light] triggers their four-stage larval development. Larval development is abbreviated with four zoeal stages and one megalopial stage occurring before they reach the first juvenile stage. The larvae retain a large yolk sac when they hatch, and this yolk supply is sufficient to sustain them throughout their larval development. The larval volcano shrimp normally do not feed until becoming benthic post-larvae (i.e., miniature shrimp). This transformation takes only a few days, during which the surface-swimming planktonic larvae metamorphose into post-larval shrimp, and these juvenile shrimp then settle down to the bottom and assume a benthic way of life like the adults. The newly transformed juveniles are 3-4 mm in length and look like miniature versions of the adults, except for their large eyes. (Due to their underground habitat, the eyes of adult volcano shrimp are greatly reduced and all but unnoticeable.) The juvenile shrimp gradually lose their well-developed eyes as they pass through a series of molts. In the aquarium, it takes about 24 to 27 days for the young to complete their development and become mature adults at 22°C-23°C. (Note: the development of the planktonic larvae from one stage to another, and their transformation into benthic juveniles cannot take place in freshwater; rather, brackish conditions are required for proper larval development and metamorphosis.)"
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Love Pete. I was aware of the longevity and low egg count (and why I am starting the culture without a need) but it looks like I should try lowering my salinity. These were fairly young when I got them and have doubled in size so maturity may play a roll as well. There are brissle worms in the live rock that I hope are not eating eggs. The person I bought them from mentioned the shrimp laying eggs in the rock but I question her knowledge of this behavior as I believe the eggs are carried like other shrimp. If they do deposit eggs, the worms could be a problem.
     
  19. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Pete also recommends using lots of volcanic rock to build them their natural habitat with lots of small little dark crevices and caves. They need dark places to breed and prefer this. He recommends a dark end of the tank and a light end where some algae can grow.
     
  20. magnetar68

    magnetar68 O. vulgaris Registered

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    I built this critter keeper-based, higher flow container. I got the idea from Richard Ross's article here. The hope is that the higher flow environment will keep the frozen mysids moving and therefore make the frozen food a more interesting target. The cuttles are only 24 DAH, and most of them seem more scared of the PE mysids then attracted to them (perhaps because the PE mysids are so large compared to them and their current live mysid food). I tried this last night with a smaller mysid and one of the cuttles did eat it as the frozen mysid moved back and forth on the gravel in the flow.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a video update as well:

     
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