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Sepia Bandensis - First Round

snowmaker

Vampyroteuthis
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Dec 22, 2009
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296
#1
Hi there!
Wanted to share my first Sepia bandensis experience, and will probably have some questions as well.

I was fortunate enough to get some cuttlefish Sunday evening. Huge special thanks to Rick of New England Aquarium Service and The University of New England.
I will keep a log book and hopefully be able to gain and share any knowledge regarding rearing and raising these. Likely species is Sepia bandensis (Dwarf Cuttlefish) but that will have to be determined as I believe these eggs were wild caught.

Started with 3 hatchlings and a small clutch of eggs in Biddeford, ME this evening. When I got home and acclimating, 2 more hatched, and as you can see in a picture, there is at least 1 more visible inside the egg.

I used a 2.5 gal tank and installed a 1" bulkhead in one end, 1/2" of aged, sw rinsed sand and macro algae, and set the tank inside the sump on a stable, 130g system, with:
temp. of 78'
Alk 8.8dkh
Ca 360 ppm
pH 8.2
NO3 0 ppm
Tank is fed water via the Carbon reactor outlet at a very low rate.

Drip acclimated cuttlefish for about 1 hour. In bag and during acclimation they were somewhat active and a couple were changing color - white / clear to red or rust color. Color changes were nearly instant and somewhat pulsating. After they were in their tank, they settled down and appear to be pretty inactive at the moment.

For first foods, there are about 20 - 1/16" - 3/8" amphipods, 50 or so 1/8" isopods, and maybe 200 Tigger Pods. I started a new batch of bbs - for the pods to munch on and ordered 100 mysis (small species - up to 1/4") from Sachs Aquaculture. I hope to be able to produce enough bbs to feed the mysids and get them on their 14 day breeding cycle and to keep separating the young to keep these going. Basic plan is to wean off of live mysis to frozen / PE mysis by putting in a few live ones along with dead ones and as dead ones tumble slightly they will be eaten.
 

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snowmaker

Vampyroteuthis
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Dec 22, 2009
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296
#7
I'm pretty excited to see 3 of the 6 eat this evening. When I got home today, I shook 2 chaeto clumps in a bucket with 3" of water in it, sieved out the pods - mostly amphipods, and put them in the tank. Then I got comfortable on the floor and just stared at them for 20 - 30 minutes. The adult pods seem way too big and the cuttles just move out of their way when contact is made. The really small amphi's and adult iso's must be perfect size as I watched the cuttle rear up, color up, then strike. The first two strikes were misses, then the same two had successful catches. I was beaming! Right after the catch, they would remain a dark red color for a few minutes. One of the same nabbed an isopod up against the glass, then a 3rd cuttle caught a very small amphipod. Their catching tentacles are about as long as their body and pretty fast.
I went to a 40b w/ sump and pulled the chaeto ball out of that and rinsed in a bucket, and this was like hitting the jackpot for iso's and amphi's. I put all the adult amphi's back and put the rest in cuttle tank, so there should be plenty of food for a little while (should have live mysids tomorrow evening)
The foods they are taking right now are 1/16" or less and they seem to ignore anything bigger. I added a small portion of bbs in attempt to possibly give pods something nutritious to eat. I've also set up a bbs (cookie jar) for feeding the mysids and been stocking that as well. One person on TONMO didn't get his mysids alive / in time, and fed a few adult bs while adding frozen mysis and got his on frozen foods that way, so I might as well have them on hand.
 

snowmaker

Vampyroteuthis
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Dec 22, 2009
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296
#8
So here is one question I have. Are the eggs all fertilized at the same time? Any reason why there are still a few that have not hatched? The one I can see through the egg looks to be fully developed. Should I attempt a manual extraction (C- Section), or just leave it be?

Thank you,

Joe
 

cuttlegirl

Colossal Squid
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Sep 16, 2005
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Pittsburgh, PA
#9
The eggs might not have been laid at the same time (or even by the same female). My female laid eggs over a period of months and often laid them in the same place in my tank, so you could have variation in the eggs. Just hang in there, it is best to leave it be.
 

snowmaker

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Dec 22, 2009
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296
#10
Thank you,

Will do.
Only a couple eggs left look inflated, the others are somewhat shriveled or wrinkled.
Another question I have that I could not readily find an answer to - What should be my target Alkalinity in dKH, and Calcium levels? Sunday I measured 8.8dKH and 360ppm Ca.

Joe
 

snowmaker

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Dec 22, 2009
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296
#11
Dec. 26:
Noticing that these are a little light shy. W/ fuge lights on this morning, I had to look for them. 10 minutes or so after the fuge lights went out I took this picture (using flash).
I think the pods tend to crawl around on the macro algae and feel safer doing so then being on the sand. Obviously a huge false sense of security.
There were at least 8 or 10 mysid in there yesterday morning. I couldn't find 1 this morning. I think the cuttles' hunting and capturing skills are getting better.

Still wondering about target Alk. and Ca. levels. Any experience here?
 

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corpusse

Vampyroteuthis
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May 30, 2009
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#12
Inverts do not have a target alkalinity and calcium level. They are not effected by them. That being said if your parameters are way out of wack and you adjust them too quickly the ph will shift too quick and that will effect the cuttlefish.

If you're keeping them without corals then whatever your salt mix mixes too will be fine. Without corals you will not notice a drop very quickly. Any changes in levels should be effectively replenished with regular water changes. Just stick to IO or whatever is cheapest unless they are in a full blown reef.
 

AandC

Larval Mass
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Dec 18, 2009
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#13
Flow for the cuttles

Im just wondering how much current-flow you have in your cuttle tank???? Are your baby cuttles always swiming? or just hanging out on the bottom???
 

snowmaker

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Dec 22, 2009
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#14
Thank you for those answers. The system the cuttles are kept in is a 130g tot. frag farm. I do run Ca reactor. As for the current in the 2.5g I would guess at maybe 70 - 80 gph - not very much. There is flow in there though. Just enough to slightly crater the substrate under the fill tube. The babies appear to mostly just lay there. I can see slight movement of the macro algaes. The babies do swim around occasionally - seems mostly in lower light.
Their stalking and capturing technique is much more refined now. They don't miss much anymore.

One important observation though. I keep reading that they won't eat for the first week or so. I found this is not exactly true. I witnessed a 2 - 3 day old strike at food. It was live a tigger pod. These are extremely hardy and easy to culture. Now at 10 - 12 days old, they are still taking them, and mysis, and very small amphipods. Tigger pod size as adult probably around 1500um. I'm thinking these are better first foods than mysids as they are smaller and taken sooner.
 

corpusse

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#16
L8 2 RISE;147761 said:
how have you gone about culturing these magical tigger pods?
At least around here tigger pods are readily available. Serveral local reef shops carry them as mandarin food. They store for several days in the fridge in a dormant stage.

I actually did try feeding them before to my cuttles but they were not interested however I had already started them on mysis. Perhaps the reason why snowmaker's ate so quick is they stayed in the eggs longer.
 

AandC

Larval Mass
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Dec 18, 2009
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#18
L8 2 RISE;147823 said:
Same here, I'd just rather not have to pay for them every few days.
There way easy to cultrue go to aquaculturestore.com and get a order of copepods!!! Then but them in a 5 gallon bucket and feed them a good quailty live plankton and a little light source!!!! They dont need circulation!!! and they reporduce al the time!!!
U can get a screen to harvest them from brineshrimpdirect they also sell copepod cultures!!! There is tonz of info on the net for culturing alsorts of stuff!!!
 

me2003

Pygmy Octopus
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Oct 22, 2009
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#19
tigger pods are easy to culture. The cuttlefish in the two different batches of eggs I have started raising like
them in the first weeks. So far my observation for ranking first foods is
1. tigger pods first week or two.
2. amphipods
3. mysid shrimp

They prefer the amphipods the first couple of weeks because they are easier to catch. I have to select the smaller
amphipods to feed to them. The tigger pods are not large enough to sustain them on over time but work well with amphipods.
The mysid shrimp are a good quality food and should be used also during the first few weeks and after. There are several
types of amphipods and mysids. Here in Maine both can be collected locally and are larger species.
I am going to try to collect some locally in the next couple of days. January is not the best month for collecting.
I have a cuttlefish who is a 1 1/2 months old and eats a lot. I have not seen it eat frozen mysid but all the
amphipods and mysids I put in the tank are gone in two days even the frozen mysid. The foods for the first month
need more research. I am not sure if anyone has raised them on amphipods alone. Amphipods are easier to raise than
mysid.
 

snowmaker

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Dec 22, 2009
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#20
I agree that the tigger pods are probably the easiest to culture as they are so hardy. As stated - get a start from someone or buy a jar, transfer to progressively larger containers and keep them fed and they'll multiply fairly quick.
As I stated, I observed a 2 to 3 day old cuttlefish hatchling eat tigger pods. It had not, to my knowledge, eaten anything else at this time / age.
At 1 to 2 weeks, they were loving the very small amphipods. I was shaking them out of several chaeto clumps I have in 3 different systems. The chaeto clumps are fed daily - powdered zoo plankton like ZooPlan, or finely ground flake foods.
After shaking out a chaeto clump, the large amphipods were returned to the sumps (for now), so I will have some for when the cuttlefish get bigger.
I took a few pictures last night. Had a cover over front of tank to block room light and waited for them to come out, then used the flash to get these. The 2 that appear to be poking out of the water are not. The little tanks water level is about 1" above them.
 

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