Total Cost of Feeding S. Bandensis

magnetar68

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#1
If you have to ask, then you cannot afford it? :smile: But I prefer to have some notion of what I am getting into. I am curious about the approximate variable food costs of raising 6-8 Sepia Bandensis dwarf cuttlefish. Also, I realize there are other variable costs (not to mention the significant up-front fixed costs of setting everything up), but except for a little more saltwater and filter changes, I already have a 125G DT reef system so these costs are well understood for me. My focus is on the incremental live food costs of raising a handful of dwarf cuttles from eggs.

I did some math and was curious if others have had similar ballpark expenses.

My assumption is the cuttles live for a year (52 weeks). I want estimate the costs of giving them a fair amount of live food, hoping to somewhat replicate Thales success here. I realize this may not be possible for me at home, but I did find a nearby local bait shop (Mike's Bait in Oakland) that sells a saltwater grass shrimp (I assume this Cragnon spp), so I anticipate being able to keep a 20G stocked with these feeder shrimp. I therefore hope to give the cuttles a fair amount of live food.

Another point, my plan is not use a lot of Live Artemia Nauplli: throwing a punch of Mysids in a tank and then feeding them twice a day is easy and my wife can do this when I travel; constantly staying on top of Artemia Nauplli cultures is not. I plan to feed the feeder shrimp (Mysids, Palaemontes Vulgaris, and Cragnon) a combination of enriched frozen artemia nauplli, cyclopeze, nutramar ova, and mortar crushed pellets/flake food.

So here is the breakdown of costs INCLUDING SHIPPING by week starting with immediately after they hatch (I realize they may not eat immediately, but I plan to be able to put mysids in the tank immediately:

  • Weeks 1-8, Live Mysids, $50 per week (www.liveaquaria.com, order of 100 per week, including shipping)
  • Weeks 9-12, Palaemontes Vulgaris, $110 every two weeks (www.livebrineshrimp.com, order 250 for the two weeks, including shipping)
  • Weeks 13-52, Cragnon, $10 per week (local bait shop, not sure how often I will need to make this trip)

Here's the math:
8 * $50 = $400
2 * $110 = $220
39 * $10 = $390

Total = $710

I will throw in another $90 in the frozen feeds over the year, for about $800 per year or $66/month.

Any comments?
 

DeepBlueWonders

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#2
It's very hard to calculate food cost for an animal you have never kept. I am in the process of raising 12 cuttles now. When my oldest cuttle was 22 days old, and my youngest at 8 days old, I converted them all from mysid shrimp over to baby shore shrimp. I only had $100 invested in mysids. Each cuttle ate about 4 a day in the beginning, but then they started to take up to 10 a day by the end of the mysid feeding time.
I harvest my own shore shrimp, so I catch them in all sizes, and its free. So I didn't have any cost in that category.

My point is, you can't really calcutlate cost like that, because every specimen is different.

Also, check out Sachs Aquaculture Systems for mysid shrimp. They are excellent! Much better than liveaquaria.
 

magnetar68

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#3
I understand the difficulty in estimating, but I do think it is worthwhile. The more data points I have the better, so I appreciate the additional info. Can you answer a few more questions?


  • Was your $100 investment in mysids about 500 individuals?
  • Did you make smaller weekly orders or one big order where you were able to keep the mysids from going cannibalistic by feeding them? If so, what did you feed them and how often?
  • What size container did you keep them in?
  • What setup? Just a sponge filter?

Thanks.
 

Thales

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#4
Great thread!

The shrimp from Mikes Bait are Crangnon, and need to be kept cold to survive, like 65F. They also need a lot of aeration and ammonia control. They are also a bit flakey on hours, and sometimes won't have shrimp in stock. I am actually headed there tomorrow for work!
 

DeepBlueWonders

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#5
My $100 was about 600 mysid. I purchased them in 100 count increments in the beginning, but then as they began to eat more, I ordered 200 count. I ordered 2 100 counts and 2 200 counts over the course of time.
I never fed the mysid, as they were used very quickly.
The only thing I kept the mysid in was a 2 gallon cube tank, with two inches of water. The only thing added to the tank was an aerator with airstone, no filter.

Also, I live very close to Sachs, so I didnt pay for shipping the mysid. I just went and picked them up myself.
 

magnetar68

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#6
That's great info, thanks.

I got a view of a setup yesterday from a fellow Bay Area Reefer who has have a really simple setup for mysids. He uses about 1.015 SG water with a ~30 gallon sponge filter (star shaped) in a round tub that is probably about 30 gallons. He feeds them baby brine shrimp and crushed flake and pellet food. He said if he was to do it again, he would use something shallower.
 

DeepBlueWonders

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#7
Ya the mysids like surface area, not height.
I just never worried about cannabalism and feeding them, mainly because they never lasted more than a few days. The cuttles would have eaten all of them by then.
 

magnetar68

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#9
i do not want to breed them. but if i can make fewer, larger orders, i can save a lot on shipping. my hope therefore is to order 500- 1000 and keep them alive for a few weeks. a few posts i found said they had no luck keeping the mysids from going canabalistic.
 

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