Stressing cuttle

Discussion in 'Cuttlefish Care' started by asid61, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. asid61

    asid61 GPO Registered

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    I have planned to keep a cuttlefish at school. I have worked everything out with my teacher, so please don't comment on this. Would it be reasonable to put the cuttles in the tank on Thursday, give them one week to get used to it, then move the tank for spring break to someone who can take care of them? Or would it be better to wait until after spring break? If I wait, then I have only one month with the cuttle before I have to give it back to my friend for summer vacation. Any comments would be appreciated.
    Sorry for the long post.
     
  2. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Seems like a bad idea all the way around. Every time you move the tank you mess with biological filtration and can easily 'recycle' the tank which can cause ammonia and nitrite spikes which can be very bad for fish and cephs.

    How long has the tank been set up? I got an email from your teacher, but never got a reply to my reply asking for more information.
     
  3. Mike Bauer

    Mike Bauer Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    How large is the tank you are keeping them in? What kind of distance are you moving them? How are you moving them hand carry or car?

    No mater what they will be stressed.
     
  4. asid61

    asid61 GPO Registered

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    I'm only moving them a few blocks away. The tank is a 29 gallon normal rectangular. I will be moving the cuttles by car, and I have a large enough bucket that i can move the cuttlefish in it.
    And would there be a good chance that 3 baby cuttles would die when I move the tank or when they are shipped? I'm only going to keep 1 or 2 cuttles and give the third away when they get a few months old.
    Thanks for the info.
     
  5. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Its not the stress of the cuttles, its moving the tank and throwing it biological filtration out of whack causing another cycle.
     
  6. asid61

    asid61 GPO Registered

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    Oh, okay. Do you have any suggestions on how to move them safely?
     
  7. asid61

    asid61 GPO Registered

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    Oh, and I'll ask my teacher to reply
     
  8. spinycheek

    spinycheek GPO Registered

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    Yes, moving aquariums is always a pain. Freshwater tanks are typically easier, but that's more because freshwater animals are very resilient to bad water conditions. When moving saltwater tanks, you usually have to just accept that something will die in the process, even if you're very careful. A disturbance of the sand, rock or filter will change the dynamics of the microbes that keep the water clean, and you get what's called a crash where the bacteria can no longer keep up with the waste. The bacteria will recover, but in the mean time, the cuttles or whatever other animal is in there will suffer and potentially die.

    With that in mind, there are some ways around it, especially if it's a fairly simple setup having only the cuttles and some rocks/sand. Fully stocked coral tanks are when it gets pretty near impossible to move. So first off is to have a back up tank to put the cuttles in until you're sure the original tank is ready to take them again. This back up tank can be as simple as a rubbermaid tub with a canister filter, but it has to be the same salinity and temperature and have an active biological filter. To establish the filter, you need a jug of ammonia (unscented) and and a bottle of bacteria, I would recommend Fritz zyme #9. Don't use the cycling bacteria you find at Petco, it's the wrong kind. Once the back-up tank is filled and running, add the recommended dose of bacteria to seed the filter. then add 1 drop of ammonia per gallon every day to feed the bacteria. When you can no longer detect ammonia 12 hours after adding it, then your filter is established. This usually takes 1-2 weeks doing it this way. Bumping the temp up to 90F will maximize bacterial growth rate and shorten the cycling time. You must stop adding ammonia 1 day before the cuttles go in, otherwise the residual ammonia can kill the cuttles.

    When you move the cuttles from school, transfer them as fast as possible to the back-up tank, then pull down the original tank. Keep the rocks and sand submerged if possible to prevent microfauna from dying and making you re-cure the rocks. When the new tank is moved and re-filled with water, add more bacteria and ammonia as described above and when you can no longer detect ammonia 12 hours after adding it, then you can house the cuttles in it again.

    Make sure the protein skimmer is off for the first day after adding bacteria, otherwise the skimmer will just remove the bacteria.
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    spinycheek,
    Have you tried this cycling method with a ceph? I have not used the ammonia method (but have read about it) and am not comfortable with the suggestion as a general cycle procedure, especially for heavy bio-load animals.
     
  10. spinycheek

    spinycheek GPO Registered

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    I have not used it specifically for a ceph, but I've used it for saltwater tanks before and it's standard practice in the aquaculture and public aquarium industry, where I learned about it. It is actually recommended for heavy bioload systems because the 1 drop per gallon amount of ammonia is far more than most tanks of livestock will produce so you are establishing a bacterial colony that is much larger than is necessary to make sure all the waste is taken care of. The other advantage is speed, in an aquaculture setting the difference between 1 week and 6 weeks to cycle a tank can very well make or break a company.

    Obviously, I'd suggest that asid61 should just wait rather than move a tank after a month, but I wanted to offer the best method in my opinion if it's going to happen anyways. The worst thing to have happen is a crashing tank and nowhere for the animals to go. At the very least, dose the bacteria, that will help and poses no significant risk.
     
  11. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't recommend any of the cycling products because I have never been able to find a study to show they work, only anecdote. I know, people swear by them, but people also swear that ginger cures saltwater ick and the purple up helps coralline to grow. Spiking with ammonia is another matter, and it bears repeating that if you are spiking a tank with ammonia, there should no animals in the system.

    My recommendation about moving the cuttles aquarium is not to do it because it poses too big of a risk to the animals. Moving a tank so often is not a good idea, salterwater tanks doubly so. The key to saltwater systems is stability, they aren't something you can just pick up and move - well, maybe small nanos, but a 29 gallon, no way.

    If you can set up the tank at school, and set up another at home you can transfer the cuttle, but not the tank.
     
  12. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The problem I have with any "quick fix" method is sustainability of the environment. Having ventured into saltwater in the early days, I see a world of difference using live rock and growing a sustainable bacteria culture vs starting with a dead tank and trying to quick grow bacteria where there is inadequate surface and food to continue the growth. I have no contacts with our local aquarium to inquire about how they cycle a small tank so Thales is the only one I know that might confirm the use in a public aquarium but I would question why they would cycle this way with the plumbing systems they usually have in place.
     
  13. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Sometimes we spike with ammonia and less often we use some bacterial culture that none of us think does anything.
     
  14. spinycheek

    spinycheek GPO Registered

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    I used to operate the filtration systems at the Denver Aquarium, they mainly used this for quarantine systems where they would get a shipment of several hundred fish at a time, going from a sterile empty tank to heavily stocked one in a matter of minutes meant that the bacteria had to be well established beforehand. They used ammonium chloride instead of ammonium hydroxide (cleaning ammonia), but they accomplish the same thing, its just that ammonium chloride is cheaper in bulk quantities and is less dangerous in its concentrated form. After fish are done being quarantined, they move them to display, sterilize the Q-tank and do it all again.

    I completely agree that in the case of a live rock based aquarium, going slowly is much better for a stable tank, but for the situation of moving whole tanks of livestock at once, I think the method I described above is the safest way. I'm not saying I'm necessarily right, that's just what I would do.
     
  15. Mike Bauer

    Mike Bauer Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Well, not really recommended but if you must. I would set up 2 tanks the same and I would do a water change from the main cuttlefish tank and use that water in the second tank to help keep the the same. The day of the move use a black plastic bag to line the bucket and get a battery powered air pump and provide air in the water while moving. Some feel the dark plastic will help keep the cuttlefish from inking during the move by keeping it in the dark. Use at least 5 gal of water from the main tank in the other tank the day of the move. :snorkel:
     
  16. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    There is no must here. Everything proposed in this thread is a choice. The choice to set up a saltwater tank for a short time, and then move it, and then move it again is completely avoidable and I see no compelling reason to do it and intentionally put an animal through stress and/or death. I understand really wanting a cuttle, but there are lots of things we really want that we don't get because we can't ethically take care of them. Keeping animals in a classroom often runs into this kind of problem, and I think the more important lesson is respect for the animals over experimentation.

    I haven't gotten any responses regarding how much experience with saltwater that asid61 or asid61's teacher has, but it feels like none. If that is the case, I would strongly urge them to cut their 'saltwater teeth' on a different, easier animal.


    From http://www.tonmo.com/forums/announcement.php?a=6

     
  17. Mike Bauer

    Mike Bauer Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Well I hate to say this but if you get 3 dwarf cuttlefish to live for 3 months then you are more of the expert than I am. Thales is the more experienced person at keeping dwarf cuttlefish alive and it would be best if you take his advice. But they are your cuttlefish, try not to kill them. Keep in mind, STRESS kills . Good luck.
     

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