Thoughts on keeping cuttlefish in larger groups?

corpusse

Vampyroteuthis
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#1
It seems most people just keep a couple of sepia bandensis together. There are articles stating you can keep them in larger groups in larger tanks and others mentioning fighting. I thought I'd share my experience and get other peoples comments.

In case you don't know my cuttle tank is a custom 90 gallon its 36x24x24. Lots of live rock, lots of hiding spaces, I even put a breeder net full of cheato in to give them an additional option + I'm hoping eggs will be layed in there.

I started with about 12-13 in the tank now I'd say I'm down to about 5-6. It is not a water quality or food quantity issue. They are fed daily and the tank has a very powerful skimmer and corals are doing well. I have seen the rings on cuttlefish that i learned on here are a result of fighting. One who has since died also had a very puffy eye.

I have seen lots of mating an courting but no eggs yet. I am assuming most of the fighting is a result of mating, but I can't say for certain. This is my experience with a larger group thus far. I'd love to hear others.
 

snowmaker

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#2
I put 5 in a 40 breeder at around 3 mos. old. There was some posturing and minor squabbles at first. Into month 4 the fighting went to another level, at times approaching violent. Coming into month 5 fighting was bad enough that I had to pull out all but the male/female pair.
Now, they are fed well. If I run out of live foods and resort to frozen krill, which does not seem to satiate them as well, then even these only 2 will fight over food if I can't get them both fed within a few seconds of each other.
Another observation with 2 I gave to a friend, kept in a 30 cube. I thought were males until one laid eggs (had one hatch already). When feeding once, one got the first piece, the other attacked it, again and again. The fleeing one succumbed possibly from injuring itself as damage was to tail of mantle.
I guess my point is maybe possible to keep more (in larger tank) but to keep them fed well to avoid fighting. I don't think these can be over fed but that is just a guess. Mine won't eat for several hours to a day after devouring a sizable (for them) crab.
 

MAKOOKAM

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#3
All I can say is that from my personal observations keeping one male with one female results in a total love fest. No fighting over food. Lots of snuggling and lots of ceph sex. Maybe I feed them too much. :)
 

Thales

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#4
In anything less than 120 gallons you can keep large numbers until they start to get sexy. Then you need to refine the group, or they will do it for you. 5-6 with the right ratio of males to females seems to be about right - I am not defining the ratio because the size of the males seems to be important. Larger males equals fighting.

Word from the field seems to be that these guys pair off to mate and breed.
 

rryyddeerr

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#5
so, what your saying is that cuttles have evolved BEYOND "little-man syndrome". or, maybe they havent gotten there yet? too confusing. 2 cuttles. my ambition stops there.
 

snowmaker

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#10
I did enjoy seeing sub-dominant males fake looking like females (cross dressing) so they could sneak past the dominant (larger) males and mate w/ the female. Analysis showed the females "selected" these smarter, albeit smaller males, possibly for their cunning craft.
The show was on PBS. NOVA The Kings of Camouflage:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/camo/
 

Darth Kraken

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#12
If by very careful selection of an all-male or all-female group, do you think that larger groups like the ones originally proposed here could work? Or would they all still fight each other?
 

DWhatley

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#14
Thales, does this mean you have not seen females fighting? Would your consideration work with one male and the rest females or do you see the males attacking the females as well?
 

Thales

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#15
One male and many females is fine. One female and many males isn't fine, leads to fighting and no egg laying probably due to the females being harassed by males constantly as they all try to mate and defend her. Males seem to have the ability/desire to flush the mantle cavity of the female before inserting their spermatophore, and it may be that constant mating doesn't allow the previous matings to take. A refined group of several females, one large male and one smaller male seems fine. When the males are the same size there seems to be more fighting.
 

MAKOOKAM

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#18
Size and color displays. My male pulls off a really high contrast black/blue white pattern that the females dont and also has a particular arm spread sideways display the females dont do...and hes twice as big.
 

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