Dunlop, C. 2003. Photo 4: Adult S. bandensis mimicking the cyano covered tubing which it is hiding under. However, they always seemed unhealthy and I was reluctant to try my hand with less-than-robust animals. Do larger cephalopods live longer? Cuttlefish Husbandry: Part I - What is a Cuttlefish anyway? Species that mature at a small size and live in warm water have the shortest lifespan.”4. Cuttlefish are generally very poor travellers and many die during exportation from the tropics. Your email address will not be published. Luckily by this stage I had managed to wean the cuttlefish onto non-living foods, and getting suitably sized raw frozen shrimps from the local seafood shop was a lot easier than catching shrimp every couple of weeks and keeping them alive. Just like some of the original S. bandensis, these cuttlefish were fully grown adults likely to die of old age in a short amount of time. ©2020 TFH Magazine, a Central Garden & Pet Company. Ocean acidification caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide may also negatively affects cuttlefishes’ ability to control buoyancy. I live near the SF Bay, and crabs are easy to collect, but I am now worried about the pollution levels being problematic for the cuttlefish, so I don’t use them as my primary food source. Their metabolism is very fast, so I wouldn’t suggest not feeding them for more than a couple of days in a row. Photo, Richard Ross. << Cephalopod Articles | Photographs and text by Dr. James B. Photo, Richard Ross. Norman, M. 2000. This ink has been used by humans as, well, ink; the genus shares its name with ink – Sepia. Photo 12: A ‘net breeder’ used to house and protect baby S. bandensis. Broadclub cuttlefish are cephalopods related to squid, octopus and chambered nautilus. Feeding cuttlefish is anything but easy. The two lovesick cuttles were so eager to get some “unsupervised” time together, that they attempted to mate through the mesh of the tank dividers. Avoid buying these, and that will hopefully discourage exporters and catchers from pursuing them. Larger animals may distress the cuttle. This can cause the delicate skin to rip, exposing the muscle below, and is termed 'butt burn' by Dr. Jean Boul. I was pretty sure I had a pair, and this was confirmed when I caught them spawning. After about six months my seven were ranging from 3 to 6 inches, and I started to make out some possible differences between the sexes, namely the males being larger and more territorial. They don’t grow as large as the other species, obtaining a total length of about 10 cm (4 inches). Recently, I have been working with to help them establish S. bandensis brood stock on a larger scale than what I am working with. These small pseudomorphs can be netted out with a fine net. A sump is essentially another tank below the show tank, often kept inside the tank stand. However, the flamboyant cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi) is largely unstudied. I personally don’t see the point in buying a single specimen with not much time to live and no chance of breeding. Anyway, that’s what I understand the derivation of name to be.”1. Anything that tends to sting should be avoided. ): As a general staple, frozen krill from the LFS or fresh frozen, rinsed shrimp/non oily fish from your local grocery store are great. UK S. bandensis keeper Mike Irving collects mysid shrimp for his baby cuttlefish: “In coastal areas you may find that you have mysids living. However, apart from a few sucker marks the fights looked worse than they were. Hopefully, those reactions will allow me to determine the sex of the animals. The Cephalopod Page: Moynihan, M. 1985. However, the major con is massive – feeding the babies. (He actually supplies cuttlefish and their eggs all over the world for universities and public aquariums.). I’ve been told that the term fische actually refers to any creature that lives in the sea or are caught in nets when fishing, not just fishes. A little about Cuttle Fish and Corals. Please note that weaning your cuttles onto frozen food can be a challenge. Cuttlefish are known for their ability to quickly alter their total appearance, or body pattern, to camouflage or to communicate with predators, prey and conspecifics. Cuttlefish or cuttles are marine molluscs of the order Sepiida.They belong to the class Cephalopoda, which also includes squid, octopuses, and nautiluses.Cuttlefish have a unique internal shell, the cuttlebone, which is used for control of buoyancy.. Cuttlefish have large, W-shaped pupils, eight arms, and two tentacles furnished with denticulated suckers, with which they secure their prey. [email protected] (971)-302-1347. Otherwise you will need to have them shipped to you overnight and incur those expenses. The Care and Management of Cephalopods in the Laboratory. I use Lights of America fixtures. A cuttlefish has 8 arms, with two rows of suckers along each arm, and two feeding tentacles with at least two rows of suckers along each. Ordering live food from the internet: Great but expensive due to overnight shipping costs, and you will need to set up a separate tank to keep them alive. I can only assume as to what went wrong, and in retrospect I think that perhaps she wasn’t ready to spawn and got bullied. Note that the salt does NOT evaporate, so your top off water should be reverse osmosis water or reverse osmosis/deionized water heated to the temperature of the tank. An outer shell once covered the cuttlefish's body but has since evolved into a porous internal shell called a cuttlebone. I get lots of mating, but have lost the parents before egg laying for reasons I believe may include fighting due to limited space, separated cuttles injuring themselves trying to get to each other through dividers, or slow poisoning via live foods collected from the SF bay. There is no escape. Thankfully I had also been supplied with a lot of good practical information, and most of it still holds true today. It would be even safer for the eggs if you were able to move them by moving whatever it is that they are attached to, or you could suspend the eggs in the middle of the water column via monofilament or bent rigid airline tubing. Best described as captive farmed, the eggs are collected from lobsterpots in the English Channel and hatched out in large vats by a cuttlefish aficionado. Make sure you change or rinse the filter media often. HOW CAN WE HELP YOU? Photo, Richard Ross. Indiana University Press. The highest price I have seen them going for was over $200. Reef and Saltwater Fish Info | TFH Magazine, Dwarf Cuttlefish Husbandry and Breeding | TFH Magazine, Raising Sepia bandensis | Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine. is the world's leading destination for sustainable coral reef farming and the aquarium hobby. There are two main problems associated with wild-caught cuttlefish that also apply to S. bandensis. Then, I move them into sectioned off areas of the 100 gallon tank. Marks at the bottom of the frame are 1/8 inch apart. It may very well be the case that keeping groups, especially groups raised together, of S. bandensis in the same aquarium turns out to be a great way to keep them. Last year offered captive raised Sepia officinalis for sale – and plan to again this year. Cuttlefish are caught all over the world for delicacies like risotto in black sauce (the black sauce is the ink), fried snacks, deep-fried cuttlefish, fish stews etc. Knowing it’s possible, why not consider the possibility of keeping cuttlefish? If you set up a cuttlefish tank the same way you would go about setting up a reef tank, then you won’t go too wrong. They require live food and steady tank specifications. The Common European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) is often available but its large size (up to 18") often limits its potential for home aquariums, a 6-foot tank is minimum for one adult! Aug 4, 2020 - Explore Claire Pape's board "Cuttlefish" on Pinterest. There are essentially two species of cuttlefish that are ‘available’ to the aquarium trade – Sepia officinalis and Sepia bandensis. Another reason there is hobby-side information on S. officinalis is because they have been relatively easy for European hobbyists to obtain. If you are going to raise a cuttlefish in an aquarium setting, you will need to consider the cost of keeping a saltwater tank. They use their chromatophores (pigmented skin cells) to create different patterns for camouflage, stalking prey, courting mates and fighting rivals. Some people will use enriched small brine shrimp but only in a pinch – it is thought that long term, brine are not an adequate cuttlefish food. When I shipped in live food, I was very happy with, a division of Reed Mariculture. I just didn’t realize that the cuttlefish would eat so much! I decided that Crangon crangon, a locally caught shrimp found on sandy beaches near my home, would be perfect. Live saltwater fish from an LFS: Not the best option because this usually means damsels, which can be pretty aggressive and can even injure the cuttlefish – not to mention expensive. Through it all, I hoped for a cuttlefish of my own, but none ever seemed to reach the market. It is an amazing time to be involved in the marine aquarium hobby. This is very frustrating and can lead to problems associated with husbandry. Let me also steer you away from using live feeder fish. Cephalopods are a class in the phylum Mollusca which also contains bivalves (scallops, oysters, clams), gastropods (snails, slugs, nudibranchs), scaphopods (tusk shells) and polyplacophorans (chitons)”2, however unlike their relatives, cephalopodsmove much faster, actively hunt their food, and seem to be quite intelligent. Their short life expectancy might put off a lot of people, as well. It is important to note that I am not a cuttlefish ‘guru’ and that I expect that some of my ideas regarding cuttlefish husbandry will change as more people start keeping these animals successfully. Photo, Richard Ross. Although non-toxic, the ink produced by Sepia species certainly doesn’t seem to taste very good and is thought to cover taste buds and cause confusion. At any time, half of their body may be one pattern, while the other is completely different pattern. The common cuttlefish is also known as the ink-fish. In short, I would NOT recommend having fish and cuttles in the same tank. I think that as long as they are given a large enough tank that they should be fine, but I have no ideas as to what constitutes ‘large enough’. I doubt you would need one for this species. In addition to inking, nervous cuttlefish may react by jetting and hitting the side of the aquarium. Ifyou don’t, but are still interested in keeping a cuttlefish, I suggest you check out’s New Reefers Forum ( (Photo 6), Live saltwater fish collected locally: See above – but remember that. Photo 1: Adult Sepia bandensis ‘begging’ for food. Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. There are approximately 120 known species of cuttlefishes in the world, including the dwarf cuttlefishes on exhibit at the Seattle Aquarium. (Photo 7). The pastor watched for hours as the cuttlefish slept alone in the aquarium. The water should be reverse osmosis water or reverse osmosis/deionized water mixed with a good quality salt mix, heated and aerated to tank temperature for 24 hours before adding it to the tank. After sorting out the logistics of converting a 200-gallon tank, I initially ordered five baby Sepia officinalis that were just two weeks old. The flamboyant cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi) was reared successfully for the first time by aquarists here at the Long Island Aquarium. Much has been written about S. officinalis because they are bred all over the world for different kinds of research – from neuron research to behavioral research. Live freshwater crabs/shrimp: It is questionable if freshwater animals make good food source for saltwater animals – there may be missing nutrients or may have incompatible amino acids. Common cuttlefish populations are currently stable, though they are heavily fished in the Mediterranean and fisheries may be approaching unsustainable levels. Is it a 2-inch cuttlefish fully grown, or is it a baby of a species that will be fully grown at 36 inches? (Photo 14 and 15). I also need to thank my wife Libby for allowing the absurdity of attempting to breed cuttlefish in a house and for her immeasurable help in writing this article. The first pair I successfully bred produced one clutch of eggs using this method. The cuttlefish isn’t a fish at all – it is a cephalopod. Keeping cephalopods, and especially cuttlefish, in home aquariums is still in its infancy, so I thought I would write an article with all the information I would have wanted when I started keeping them. Aquarium Invertebrates: Metasepia pfefferi – the aptly named Flamboyant Cuttlefish - The Flamboyant cuttle is one of the most amazing animals I have encountered in the wild or in captivity. They will almost always be expensive, but can be a good option in an emergency. Raising cuttlefish in captivity from helpless eggs to full-grown predators can present daunting challenges for an aquarium. Sepia bandensis or more commonly known as the Dwarf Cuttlefish. Considerations for keeping cuttlefish in tanks; * Cuttlefish could be kept in an aquarium due to their specialized needs however I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone other than an expert level aquarist. Communication and Noncommunication by Cephalopods. They maneuver around their tank like hummingbirds, vertically, horizontally, their fin appearing blurred like bird wings. If you have a cuttlefish that lays eggs, leave them where they are until they start to inflate. I have had so few animals, and I didn’t want to risk losing them to possible injuries from fighting. Photo 6: Adult S. bandensis eating a locally caught crab. The HOB filter will also give you plenty of circulation for, Chiller (if you need it). Cuttlefish Care. Sepia bandensis is an ideal species of cuttlefish for captive husbandry. Aquascaping – I like to create big arches so the cuttles have places to hide, but are still easy to find. Cuttlefish have traditionally been thought of as a difficult animal to keep. Researching for a more aquarium-friendly cuttlefish, I found what seemed to be the perfect species. Considered the ultimate invertebrates by their fans, the otherworldly cuttlefish make great pets for those willing to meet their very specific needs. The male was inserting his specially modified arm, called a hectocotylus, into the female’s body cavity to transfer sperm. As you net disturbs the mysids and sweeps through the water, you will catch the mysids. Make sure to really consider your decision before purchasing a cuttlefish, especially regarding their diet; it can get expensive feeding them, and if you can’t supply the correct food in the right volume then they might not be for you. He is an avid underwater videographer and has been fortunate to scuba dive in a lot of places around the world. The big worry is that these animals are treated with copper or other chemicals that can be detrimental/disastrous to the health of the cuttlefish. Bloomington, Indiana. The body patterns of some species have been extensively documented to gain a better understanding of their behaviors. They really seem to be the perfect cephalopod for the home aquarium. I keep newly hatched S. Bandensis in net breeders so I can keep track of them and make sure they are all eating (I turn the net of the net breeder inside out so the extra material is on the outside of the net breeder so the babies don’t get caught in it).,,, filter intake should be covered with a filter sponge, water, and make especially good water movement,,,, Reef Breeders Photon V2+ LED Light: The Definitive Review, Fauna Marin’s ICP Analysis now Available for Direct Shopping, The Ice Storm Clownfish is the “Next Gen” Snow Storm. For more information on my set up, and cuttlefish video (I am quite proud of the videos) please check out As you now know, our cephalopod pals are not all that long-lived, with less than 12 months being about the norm for longevity. I suggest feeding cuttlefish at least once a day, and promptly remove any uneaten food from the aquarium. In more recent times there have been importations of egg clusters of S. bandensis into the shops, both in the United Kingdom and United States. Richard enjoys all aspects of the aquarium hobby and is a regular author for trade publications, a frequent speaker at aquarium conferences and was a founder of one of the largest and most progressive reef clubs in Northern California, Bay Area Reefers. This can be problematic because live food can be expensive, and even though cuttles will eat fish, they really are crustacean eaters. I have also kept groups of cuttles together to see if they would pair off or mate without intervention, but have had little success, mostly due to apparent fighting. I took more than an hour using a dripping airline to gradually add the new aquarium water. Baby fish can also be an option ( sells baby saltwater guppies). They were sent by overnight courier and were lightly sedated to help them with the transportation. My cephalopod husbandry began after I had the idea that it would be interesting to have a pet cuttlefish. It seems a much more common practice in the United States as opposed to the United Kingdom, but it’s really not recommended. 2 Like octopuses, cuttlefish have been successfully raised as pets in home aquariums, though even their bare necessities are significant. To make it even more painful, senescence can last for days or months. (Photos 8 and 9).