should I get a cuttlefish?

Discussion in 'Cuttlefish Care' started by lotus101, Aug 27, 2003.

  1. lotus101

    lotus101 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Hi,
    I’m a student volunteering at EPA setting up display tanks in Rhode Island, US. There isn’t a whole lot of interesting species in Narragansett Bay, so I started asking around what types of things could I put into these 50 gallon tanks? I guess in the past someone tried putting in an octopus, but apparently the person who was feeding it didn’t understand that you actually had to put on the cover perfectly or else it’ll escape. That lasted a couple of days, but that was before my time. I started looking up octos but i came across cuttlefishes. I’m 16 by the way.
    So, getting to the point, I was interested keeping a cuttlefish in one of the tanks. I have 6-50 gallon flow through tanks set up. they're each set at 21 degrees and they should stay constant all the time. I was wondering if I had to worry about anything like ammonia, nitrate, and pH since it’s flow through. Also, I was wondering what size cuttlefish (i was looking at Sepia officinalis) would be best for a 50 gallon tank. The tanks have the same width as height, I think its 1-1/2’ X 1-1/2’ X 3’, but I’m not certain. Also, I have already put down the same gravel in all of the tanks- its “Estes’ Ultra Reef Dolomite”. Would a cuttlefish be able to burrow in that, I’m not sure if it’s too sharp or if it’ll irritate its skin. Also, how clean would I have to keep it? I’m going to school soon and the only days where I could come and check on it (other people can feed it) would be Monday and Friday.
    I think it would be awesome to have a cuttlefish for the public to see, though I would have to post a sign on how to act towards it-“don’t move too quickly” or something like that. Would it be wise for me to get a cuttlefish? What would I have to look out for? I know that you have to be careful with cephalopods but what will the flow through sea water do?
    Thanks for your help.
    -Mike
     
  2. joel_ang

    joel_ang Architeuthis Registered

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    :welcome: to TONMO.com Mike,
    Unfortunately, getting a cuttlefish in the US is not an easy task. There are a few reasons for this, first, there are no cuttlefish species native to the US. Secondly, cuttles don't exactly ship too well, third, most of the imported cuttles are sepia bandensis (see my pic below) which usually arrive as adults which means they don't have long to live.

    So, I don't think getting a cuttle is a good idea, an octopus like a O.bimac would be better and can be purchased from www.fishsupply.com
     
  3. joel_ang

    joel_ang Architeuthis Registered

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    By the way Tony, how do you get the pic small enough to turn it into an avatar?
     
  4. Colin

    Colin Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Hi Mike, :welcome: to TONMO.com

    One of the 1st problems you may have is in actually getting a cuttlefish or two for display purposes, as they are not native to the USA and that they are poor travellers are the first two problems. Most imported cuttles die in transport.

    However, as you are a student you may be able to order sepia officinalis from the NRCC in Galveston. But they only seel to educational places like unis so you will have to see what you can come up with for that??? http://www.nrcc.utmb.edu/

    By flow through do you mean that the water comes directly from the sea to the tank and back or that there is a big filter sump that all tanks are connected to? It is worth doing as many tests on water quality as you can to the system... ammonia and nitrtites are killers so best check anyway.

    The best sand would be silver sand, they wont be able to bury in dolomite and if the tank is part of a system then you wont need to worry about pH and Hardness which is why most people use dolomite

    Cuttles are really messy so you need to ensure that the tank is kept well clean with no uneaten food and unlike an octopus a cuttle especially a S. officinalis at that temperature will need daily feeds!

    Cuttlefish on public display are prone to inking due to getting a fright so you'd maybe want the cuttle tank to be the last tank before the end of the system to deal with the ink... but then the O2 level of the water is going to be lowest by that point so you would need some hefty aeration in the water.. again because 21 is high for S. officinalis

    hope this helps for a start
    C
     
  5. lotus101

    lotus101 O. vulgaris Registered

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    actually, I was planning on emailing the NRCC to see if they could send me a cuttle. the flowthrough basically takes the seawater from the bay (like 100,000 gal of fresh seawater an hour or something like that) , sends it into a huge filtration system (which needs to be cleaned weekly) and sends it to all of the tanks in the lab. actually, the tanks i have are heated so i could drop the temp (it's good for temps in between 15-25).
    Yah, i also had a feeling the gravel wouldn't work either. could I set up more rocks (not too many to hurt itself) so it could hide more? I could also put it in the back row where there is a lot less traffic.
    The stuff I have currently is a sea robin, a cunner tank with some crabs and hermit crabs, a crab tank, and a tank with a mantis shrimp in it.
    The mantis shrimp alone reeked a bunch of havok :D I guess some have been reported to break aquaria glass; also they eat LIVE food so some people have ethical problems. but this one is a "slasher" (opposed to a "smasher" that break the aquaria and can send their claws like a 22 cal. rifle bullet). they will eat frozen squid though.
    thanks a lot! i have to wait a week for my supervisor to get back from a vacation...
    mike
     
  6. lotus101

    lotus101 O. vulgaris Registered

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    I was looking at the NRCC website and was interested in the cuttles that were 20mm-60mm. Would that be ok for my tanks? Too large/small?
    would it really be better if I get an octo instead of a cuttlefish?
    I was looking at my past posts and relized how terrible I worded them.
    I also collected stuff today by saining-the most interesting thing i found was a pipe fish which I really like. so far I have 3 tanks set up out of the 6.
    thanks again for all of your help! I hope this will pull through...
    Mike
     
  7. o.vulgaris

    o.vulgaris Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    What I did is that I told them to ship it to my uni because I was researching info on them and I needed one, I had to give them the uni's shipping address, I also stated that I was a student because I am lol, it worked out allright.If you say that you're just a advanced aquarist they will definelty will not take the time to listen you out, say that you're a student and give them the uni's shipping adress, mind you I got the octo the next day by fedex, quick delivery. :)
     
  8. lotus101

    lotus101 O. vulgaris Registered

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    I also forgot to add that the fish in the tanks I'm setting up are all from here and the water gets really cold here, down to 0 degrees C (which means my fish love colder water) but we will heat it for the winter. So I'm not sure if I could keep an octo. the tanks are set up in two rows, one facing the hallway, the other facing other fiberglass tanks for experiments. Aeration shouldn't be a problem, in fact I have probably too much!
    Could I feed it frozen Krill that we have? Or maybe misids?
    thanks again!
     
  9. o.vulgaris

    o.vulgaris Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    colin didn't I have a thread about discussion's on getting a ceph from the nrcc???
    ...let me check...
     
  10. o.vulgaris

    o.vulgaris Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    also lotus, the nrcc doesn't reply to your e-mail's as soon as possible, they take week's to e-mal back lol, I suggest you give them a call or e-mail john(head director iat the nrcc) john.forsythe@utmb.edu, he'll contact you a.s.a.p. lol.
     
  11. lotus101

    lotus101 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Thanks for the advise, I was too busy writing a response to see what you wrote. I'm sure glad I know more about how to order because I knew squat about ordering from them.
    Also, my work probably will pay for them, but federal money is so wierd, you have nothing for like 9 months, and then for the remaining three, you have to spend it all or else the money remaining gets taken back. Right now I can buy something, but my supervisor is gone for this week and I have to wait until she gets back, but then my school starts (goin to be a junior, taking 3 honors courses, going to be interesting...)
    To tell the truth, I'm becoming more and more interested in cephalopods. I'm on the web researching them when ever I have free time, like I have nothing else important to do (except take care of the fish I already have of course)
    chow for now
     
  12. lotus101

    lotus101 O. vulgaris Registered

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    I was just looking on the web for what temps (in degrees C) Octopus bimaculoides can live in, and NRCC says that it is between 12 and 25 C, so would it be possible to keep one in one of my tanks with the temp being around 18-21C?
    Another question about cleaning... if theres some alegea build up on the bottom in the gravel, how clean does that have to be? it always seems like theres at least some in the tanks, and i'm concerned about disterbing a possible future cuttle/octo. Is it ok to siphon clean the gravel using one of those gravel syphon cleaning thingies? Fish I have now are already skiddish of me because of that.
    ttyl
     
  13. o.vulgaris

    o.vulgaris Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    okay, you're in your third year in highschool, that's good, why not take AP courses??
    first off the nrcc will most likely not let a highschool student buy a ceph, you can bypass the "law" hehe and say you're studying marine/oceanic biography at a uni and you need a ceph for reaserch and testing, you'll get it lol.
    the octo bimac's are okay with the temepratures you listed, they'll LIVE okay 8) , now about algea you can read Rockthis post's about the cleaner shrimp's and that might do you some good, it won't intefere with your pet's, just remeber to check nancy's very helpful thread titled "octo checklist" I think. :)
    for 17 you seem to be heading in the right direction, of course you need to be really obsessed with ceph's to actually go through with studying marine biology, mind you I got hooked with ceph's at age 7 lol. :goofysca: and now i'm 23 arrg i'm getting old. :grad:
     
  14. lotus101

    lotus101 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Yah, the thing with the AP courses is that I'm worried I'll have too much homework to actually care for the tanks...
    Well that sounds promising that I could do either, it's just that there are so many contadictory reports-cuttles are easier than octopi because they're more social and they can't escape-wait that doesn't mean easier grrr
    I love both species, so which one? I'll have to ask around I guess (at the lab).
    I guess it depends on whose not as messy because I'll probably only be available one or two times a week after school to make sure everything's fine...I can give a care sheet to my advisor (or the person who will probably feed it too much) what to do when.
    I kind of want to get a ceph for our house too, but my parents always say "bah! you'll never take care of it! and it's too expensive to buy all of the equiptment!" and stuff like that. Right now we have a pretty messy freshwater tank (a 40 gal.), so we'll probably have the chance to convert it because it's extremely pathetic right now...
     
  15. o.vulgaris

    o.vulgaris Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    bad idea lotus, chances are you've put those chemical's and it probably has been tampered with copper, I would rather buy a new tank just to be safe, equipemnt is VERY expensive, hate to say i'm agreeing with your parent's.Taking care of a ceph even just one is very hard, you have social thing's that might keep you from maintaing it and sooner or later it will die and more problem's ahead of you lol.I suggest you wait a bit longer perferably while you're in college to get a ceph, after you've succesfully manage to keep one for more than 3-4 week's you might be able to get another one if you're up for the challenge, ceph's are very high maintenance, they have special need's and they are not like any ol' pet, they need care and love and they need to have a friend, a friend in the tank otherwise they will get lonely, doesn't neccesarily need to be a soon as you get the ceph becasue the issues of territory might be a issue but after you see you're cuttle being out less fequent look into getting a friend, doesn't need to be acuttle, maybe a hard shelled animal like a hermit crab lol, sound's more like a meal to me lol. :P
     
  16. lotus101

    lotus101 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Thanks for all of the advise (I'm sure my parents are breathing easier- my sister wants to get a horse and me a ceph! lol). Now are cuttlefish as picky as octo of what they eat because I was reading past posts of giving a whole variety of foods to the ceph when it was first eating.
    Some people in my lab are biologists, but they probably won't go for things eating other live things, go figure! lol.
    Actually, now that I think about it, the tank that has all of the algae is the one with a little too much fish.
    OK I think I'll stick with the cuttle idea. Now would a BIG hermit crab hurt it? It could possibly step on it when the cuttle was burrowed, huh? guess not...I know that hermits are good bottom feeders and they keep the gravel clean really well (I know this because the ones with them are the cleanest! lol)
    I'm probably writing way too much in these things...
    thanks again!
     
  17. lotus101

    lotus101 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Its me again
    I've been looking all over the web for where to buy the silver sand that colin suggested and I can't find one source that sells it!
    Anyone have any suggestions?
    Also, what size of cuttlefish would be optimal for my 50 Gal. tanks? I was looking at the 20-60 mm sizes.
    Hope everyone's ceph is healthy and happy!
     
  18. o.vulgaris

    o.vulgaris Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    umm that's weird, how old is your sister then, my little sister would like a pony too ya know, but she's 8 year's old lol.

    they are both cephalopod's so it's logical that they share some feeding habit's lol.

    well you certainly want to avoid any potential hazard's, how big is this hermit anyway's, you'll be surprised once your cuttle/octo eat's the hermit lol. :)
    hope this help's.
     
  19. lotus101

    lotus101 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Actually, my sister's 13 and a very serious rider, so it's very understanding she wants one
    The hermit's shell is acutally a good sized conch shell that's about 2 inches wide on the smaller side, so it's a huge hermit, so I guess not.
    OK, now what would you suggest to start feeding it? Is a 30mm cuttle ok? what would you feed him? little shrimp probably, or frozen krill?
    Thanks for replying!
     
  20. o.vulgaris

    o.vulgaris Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Oh so she's a rider, that's interesting lol.
    You don't really need to worry about the cuttle being killed, worry about the hermit lol, i've woke up many times and seen pieces of crab all over the tank cause of my octo being in the mood of having a midnight snack, but then again it's my o.vulagris and he is not one that takes meal's lightly, he shreds them to pieces, he's about 24 inches go figure.
    Well I know that nancy has a checklist thread so you can check it out for any more info you might need, anyway's I would start feeding it krill if I can't locate a fish supermarket, otherwise any seafood like squid might be good.A 30mm cuttle is okay and it's a fair size, i've seen begginer's handle 5mm ceph's which is kinda of a hard task, it's very fragile but also very active.Personally I would feed him krill if I had no choice but I dislike LFS choice of food very much, bloodsucker's ahhh!! :goofysca:
    I would feed him squid/shrimp if he's okay with it, at the local fish supermarket they sell squid/shrimp by pound's very very cheap so no prob there.
    As posted above krill is fine.
     

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