View Full Version : Early Cuttlefish ID?

05/20/2011, 09:18 AM
Ok, a little back story. My LFS ordered some cuttlefish eggs and they hatched within about a week of today. I have had 3 of them in my tank in a breeder net since tuesday and they seem to be doing well on frozen mysid and cyclop-eez (I add enough at a time to feed but small enough amount to count). I also have an order of live mysid arriving today in case one of the 3 isn't eating the frozen.

When I purchased them, I was told that they were Sepia Pharaonis. To be honest the ID is more for my curiosity than out of necessity. However when I look closely at them I can see multiple sharp bumps all over the body, and it doesn't look like Sepia Pharaonis has bumps as an adult. The only commonly traded cuttlefish I found with bumps on its body is Sepia Bandensis. Do all cuttles come with them at hatching, or is this a sign that the original ID is wrong? I am attaching a TERRIBLE pic but just for reference, as I don't have anything that can focus on such a small target. Any input would be welcome.

05/22/2011, 06:35 PM
Do you remember what the eggs looked like? Here is a Bandensis egg.

05/22/2011, 08:39 PM
Yep, that's definitely them. Thanks for the idea, I didn't realize the eggs are so different but I looked up the eggs for Sepia Pharaonis and Officinalis and they are noticably different. Officinalis looks to have pointed ends, and Pharaonis apparently isn't black, so if I'm right, that answers my question! Thanks!

Uncle Salty 05
05/23/2011, 09:46 AM
Your pic looks exactly like my three.
How much time passed after hatching before you saw them eat?
I have yet to see mine eat. That doesn't mean they haven't, I just haven't witnessed it. I put a bunch of amphipods in the net with them and they hid beneath the frame of the net. This morning one of the babies was under the frame of the net, I am hoping it was eating the amphipods.

05/23/2011, 09:51 AM
I haven't seen them eat, but I have been feeding them daily in specific amounts, like 6 frozen and 4 live mysis. I feed in the evening and check in the morning. They hide while the lights are on and come out at night. But in the morning, there are always less frozen and no live left so I know they are eating. They have been eating since friday for sure, so less than a week old I would guess.

Uncle Salty 05
05/23/2011, 12:32 PM
I have read that it is not uncommon for them to go for 2-5 days after hatching before their first meal.

05/23/2011, 08:56 PM
I just saw one feed for the first time tonight! I did a water change, cleaned their breeder net, then after everyone was settled I dropped in 4 live mysis. I was watching the mysis swim when I noticed one of the cuttles with his head out from under the cheato. Right as I noticed him, I realized his tentacles were LONG, and just as it occured to me that those weren't his regular tentacles, he snapped up a mysis! I've seen it a million times on youtube, but it was a big relief to see it happen with my little runts. :)

Uncle Salty 05
05/24/2011, 06:31 AM
I will be getting my live mysis on Thursday, and hopefully I will see my little ones eat as well.
I ordered mine from http://seahorsesource.com/
This is the same place I got my H.Reidi seahorses from. Dan and Abby are super nice people and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in seahorses or live foods.

05/24/2011, 08:50 AM
I didn't see them listing mysis on the site, but I went to Sachs Aquaculture at www.aquaculturestore.com. They do small orders, which is good for me because I only have 3 cuttles and don't want to keep mysis on hand for long due to their canabalistic tendencies. I got 100 last week and it was enough, but I ordered 200 this week because hunting the tiny buggers down is getting hard towards the end lol.

Uncle Salty 05
05/24/2011, 08:56 AM
They don't list them on their site but if you call their toll free number they have EVERYTHING needed for raising healthy seahorses.
And they are very nice people with a lot of knowledge.

And I think Sachs sells wild caught. (not sure of that)
But Dan and Abby sell the same ones as Reed Mariculture.

05/24/2011, 09:12 AM
Their prices are on the site, but they offer some specials if you call them. If you want to compare prices PM me, but I don't want to make this a seller feedback thread. :)

Uncle Salty 05
05/24/2011, 09:18 AM
Oh, me neither.
It's all about the cuttlefish.
It's just that seahorse source is closer to me (less ship time) and I am already familiar with them from when I was keeping seahorses.

I can't wait to see mine eat!!!

05/25/2011, 10:40 PM
Update Pic - Pretty solid on the ID now, but I wanted to share since I got a decent pic for once.


Uncle Salty 05
05/26/2011, 07:11 AM
It's like looking into my own breeder net.
That looks exactly like mine.

Uncle Salty 05
05/26/2011, 12:43 PM
When I was home for lunch I netted some live mysis and put them in the breeder net. When I did a small piece of string or something got in there accidentally. I reached my hand in to retrieve it and afterward I saw what looked like two tiny black cotton balls. When I tried to remove them they dissipated and disappeared. They inked on me.

05/26/2011, 02:27 PM
Hahaha! Awesome!! :)

So far cuttles are winning my vote for most interesting pet of the year.

Uncle Salty 05
05/26/2011, 02:32 PM
I'll second that vote.

I'm wonering how much longer I should keep them in the breeder net.
The net is hanging on the side of my 10 gallon refugium where I released the mysis. Im thinking once they get big enough to not fit through the cover I usually have on the standpipe drain (I have screen covering it now to keep the mysis from going over the falls) that I will just release them into the 10 gallon tank.
What are your plans?

05/26/2011, 02:52 PM
Well the point of the breeder net is only to make sure they can find the food and so you can make sure they are eating. To be honest, if the only danger is the drain, and it's covered with a screen, you could release them in another week or so, as soon as they start getting active, as long as you keep a good number of mysis in there so they are easy to find. However, I would really recommend a seperate tank for keeping live food. Buying in bulk is ideal, but when you switch to larger foods, 100 ghost shrimp is gonna look ridicuous in your cuttle tank. Just my 2 cents.

I have mine in a 12g nanocube and I keep my mysis in a 4g custom acrylic tank in the stand underneath. So in my case, I will want to wait til they are a month or so old because the food isn't readily available. I like this approach better because I get to watch them hunt, and they will associate me with food and come begging when they see me. :)

Uncle Salty 05
05/26/2011, 03:08 PM
Oh the cuttlefish will not live their lives in a 10 gallon tank.
I intend to either partition a section of my 180 (cheapest and easieat and probably the way I will go) or set the empty 55 gallon tank I have in the back room.
I still have not seen mine eat. I will keep them in the net until I am sure they are eating and hopefully weaned onto frozen mysis. I am hoping I can get them to take frozen mysis from the end of a piece of ridgid airline.
Then I will probably release them into the 10 gallon tank until they get a little bigger.

05/26/2011, 03:33 PM
Haha nice. That's a much better plan then mine. My plan is to feed both live a frozen until I can get them to eat both, and if it doesn't happen, my LFS sells shrimp pretty cheap. LOL

05/26/2011, 10:02 PM
I was going to keep cuttles... they died in shipping.

05/26/2011, 10:06 PM
??? Where were you shipping them to and why? Only the eggs ship well...

Uncle Salty 05
05/27/2011, 06:28 AM
I was going to keep cuttles... they died in shipping.

Doesn't the shipper have an "arrive alive" gaurantee?
You should get your money back.

05/27/2011, 10:29 AM
Uncle Salty 05,

This morning I saw one of the cuttles running around the bottom netting, excitedly putting his arms through the holes at several points. As I watched I realized he was chasing a copepod that was nibbling on the frozen mysis from underneath!

Uncle Salty 05
05/27/2011, 10:32 AM
That is too cool!
Mine have been pretty inactive so far. I hope that will change soon.

05/27/2011, 10:39 AM
Yeah mine have been too mostly. For the last 4 nights I have had one that came out to hunt when I fed, and last night finally all 3 came out for feeding time. Ya just gotta "play the long game" with hatchlings, but it'll pay off in the end when they are healthy and happy to see you. :)

Uncle Salty 05
05/27/2011, 12:18 PM
Mine have been staying underneath the ball of chaeto I have in there.
Do you remove yours when you feed?

05/27/2011, 12:42 PM
Here's my system. Once in the morning, if I have time, I lift the cheato gently using the edge of a toothpick, feeding stick, chopstick, whatever and just do a head count and lay it back down. Then every evening I check them again to get their attention. Right after that I use a turkey baster to clean out the old food/waste in the breeder net while I thaw the frozen mysis. Then I add the mysis in a corner and catch some live mysis and add them last. My thought is they are watching me, but they've had a minute to calm down since I spooked them. And I do all this religiously, so they are learning to expect it. Seems to be working so far. They didn't like it the first 4 days but they pretty much don't care now, they just start twirling their tents and then eventually walk back under the cheato if it moved too far.

Uncle Salty 05
05/27/2011, 12:57 PM
That sounds like my routine too.
Just haven't seen mine eat yet. I will try puting the chaeto in one corner and feeding in the opposite corner and see if that will draw them out.
Thanks for the input.

When did yours hatch by the way?
Two of mine hatched last Friday and the third on Saturday.

05/27/2011, 01:35 PM
I showed up at the LFS to see the eggs last tuesday and they had hatched. Noone at the LFS had noticed, so I am approximating only an extra day for hatching. So I am gonna say they are 11 days old today. You're just behind me by a couple days at least and mine only started venturing out 4 nights ago so they should start getting curious in a few more days.

Uncle Salty 05
05/31/2011, 06:33 AM
Mine are starting to move around the net more now.
I still haven't seen them eat, but the mysis are disappearing so they must be eating them.

Uncle Salty 05
06/01/2011, 02:54 PM
I have been using a bristleworm trap in my refugium to catch amphipods.
Well this morning I had caught 6 to 8 nice big fat ones and I finally saw one of the cuttlefish eat!!!
I was so excited.
I just ordered 200 more live mysis - they should arrive on Saturday.
Still haven't seen any signs of them touching the frozen PE mysis I have been putting in though.

Uncle Salty 05
06/02/2011, 02:33 PM
Do your three seem to be growing at the same rate?
Two of mine have grown, but one is not much bigger than when it hatched.
I am afraid it is not eating.

06/02/2011, 02:56 PM
First, I'll answer your question, then I'll give you my bad news update.

I had 2 that were pretty social, they would come out and hunt right away. The third wouldn't hunt like the other 2 but if something came close enough, he would start bobbing his head up and down, looking sort of a caterpillar walks. If the food wasn't gone by the end of this ridiculous display, he would go chase it down. The other 2 grew at a much faster rate, but I did see the smaller one eat, so just make sure you overfeed a little, so the others don't get 'em all first.

Now the update: I had a baby box fish in the tank and figured no big deal since they're docile and the cuttles were in a breeder net. Long story short, the box fish has a tiny beak mouth and was able to pull food through the holes in the netting. After eating the frozen mysis, he took out the 2 most active cuttle babies (probably cuz they were hunting) and I think he took off the feeding tentacles on the smaller one because he can't use them anymore. I think he is eating frozen when noone is around, but even if he makes it, this was a tragedy to be sure. :(

Uncle Salty 05
06/02/2011, 03:06 PM
Oh man, I am so sorry to hear that.:(
Yeah box fish and cow fish are pretty mean predators even though they seem docile.
I have 200 more mysis arriving on Saturday so hopefully mine will be OK.
I still don't think they have touched the frozen PE mysis I have been feeding them.
The only thing I know for sure they are eating is the amphipods I have been feeding them.
Again, very sorry for your loss. I hope the third one makes it.
I don't know if they can re-grow their tentacles or not.

06/02/2011, 03:12 PM
Just out of curiosity , how much do cuttlefish eggs go for?

06/02/2011, 03:21 PM
Salty Uncle 05, try setting a specific number, like 5, in a stack in the corner. Make sure they are 5 full bodies and are in a low flow spot. Leave them overnight and then inspect them in the morning. Mine seem to be missing their tails most every morning. But the legs and head are the same.

kingfisher62, mine were $10 each at the LFS.

Uncle Salty 05
06/02/2011, 03:24 PM
That is pretty much what I do but mine are always seemingly untouched.

I paid $8 each for mine at the LFS.

06/04/2011, 11:58 PM
2 updates!

1 - My LFS got new eggs in and I got 2 new hatchlings last thursday!

2 - The surviving cuttle was caught eating frozen mysis so I think he's gonna make it! I was up late tonight and I saw there were only 2 mysis left so I added more and 2 my surprise, he snatched one up right in front of me and started munching on it. :D

I tried to take a pic but it's dark and he was almost done with it.

Uncle Salty 05
06/07/2011, 06:32 AM
I have yet to see mine eat anything but an amphipod and that was just the one time. They must be eating something or I don't think they would sill be alive.

What did you do with the box fish?

06/07/2011, 10:59 AM
Yea I have been keeping a constant supply of food available for the hurt one, so I haven't seen any of them eat except the one time. I was specifically feeding a minimal amount before to encourage them to eat frozen, but after the attack I decided keeping him alive was more important than teaching what I wanted him to eat. So far they are all doing well, but the new ones are already as big as the old one due to his "disability" lol.

The box fish was in the sump in seconds, and at the LFS at opening time the next morning. I told my wife that if I had to look at him much longer I was gonna play ping pong with him and she didn't like that idea too much. :P

Uncle Salty 05
06/07/2011, 11:58 AM
I can't say that I blame you on the ping pong idea.
I bought a 200 count of mysis from Aquaculture Store and was very disappointed.
I added them to the 10 gallon tank and in two days they had disappeared. I got two feedings for $45.
I will be using my other source from now on. It costs about $8 more but it is well worth it.
They use Fed-Ex instead of the USPS and theirs lived in my tank for a week.

06/07/2011, 01:50 PM
Ouch! I don't blame you for switching back. I put mine in a 3 gallon tank set up just for them and I've never had that happen, they always last me just fine. But I wouldn't risk it either, not for a measly $8 vs starving your cuttles.