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aggressive baby food

Mar 30, 2007
I was wondering what kind of food is generally best for baby cuttles. i heard that mysid shrimp were a good fit, but i think that they might pick on the cuttles and i wanted your opinions. i've heard talk of copepods. i looked it up on wikipedia but that didn't tell me anything i didn't already figure out. what exactly are the virtues of a copepod?
Small copepods like Tigger pods from Reef Nutrition are only good for the first few days. Live mysids are perfect. Even though I have access to free amhipods, I have decided to buy mysids because they are just a great food that baby cuttles, at least bandensis, take to immediately and with gusto. There is no issue with mysids hurting cuttle babies.

Keeping live mysids can be challenging because they can be cannibalistic, so if you don't have a flow through kind of system to keep them in, try to keep on top of your ordering. There might be a lot to talk about here, but I'm sick right now. :smile:

For wild caught mysids try

For cultured mysids try
I bought live mysis from the auaculture store to culture, tossed them in my unused 12 nanocube and added some sand, Live rock, and some Ulva and amphipods and I've been feeding ground up formula one flakes to them and there population has been stedily large. This species likes to spend its time on open sand bed to keep that in mind. Unfortunately seacrop took bandensis eggs off there site the day I went to order them, so I've been waiting around for them to show up some where, but I have a nice strong culture of at least 300 individuals of different ages going in my little tank. I also got some great little tunicates going in the Ulva too.
I would like to qualify posting my method by saying that Winkin' and Blinkin' are the first cuttlefish I have tried to raise. They were purchased from Seacrop as new hatches, not eggs, and are now 6 weeks old, growing consistantly and appear healthy.

The first two weeks I fed a combination of new hatched brine shrimp (not over 8 hours hatched, providing egg sack nutrition but no digestion difficulties from shell development), live mysis (minimal quantities), copepods and frozen cyclop-eeze. After 2 weeks I introduced very small shore shrimp and continued with twice a day feedings of the Cyclop-eeze but eliminated the copepods and brine. At 6 weeks, I feed Cyclop-eeze only once a day and as many live small shore shrimp as they will consume in a day (usually 4 but sometimes 6 - I restock daily to ensure 6 in the net at the beginning of the day).

The cyclop-eeze is consumed by both the shrimp and the babies and is gone from the net in no more than 15 minutes (either by consumption or being washed out by the current). So far both my 5 baby Mercatoris and my two Bandensis are growing well with this feeding regime (the Cyclop-eeze remains in the net longer with the octos). There is not enough observation yet to see if the Cyclop-eeze provides true benefit but, so far, survival appears to be positively impacted.
Drink some chicken soup (homemade from real chicken)! I have been looking forward to your presentation next week and you are simply not allowed to be ill!
Thanks D - I had a bad day yesterday, but am better today. I fly back home tomorrow and then onto FL on Friday. :biggrin2: Thanks for the kind words, and I wouldn't trust English/Irish chicken soup as far as I could throw it!

On to cuttles -
Did you see the cuttles strike at the Cyclop-eeze and baby brine?
Thales, looks like I need to split my cultures up then, maybe move one into the 29 gallonI am culturing LR in as well.
I never saw (see Winkin. Blinkin and Nod in Journals for an "at the time" observation) the cuttles eat anything during the first two weeks. I still don't see them strike at food and I don't think it is because I don't observe the tank often enough. I withdrew the brine and mysis when I saw shrimp disappearing and tails sticking out between the arms though :biggrin2: I believe they intentionally don't eat when I can see them but neither moves away when I squirt Cyclop-eeze in the net, even when I put it right on top of them and I notice the arms twiching. This is particularly significant with Blinkin since he will not stay in direct line of site once he notices me and will ink if I try to observe him from underneath the net. I had used the kitchen sink method (throw a little of everything in the mix) with the baby octos and only lost the one that climbed out of the water (there were only 6 hatchling total and that in it self may be a significant factor). I am coming to believe that a more varied diet might have benefit and that several different sizes of food should be offered, especially with new hatch.

At 6 weeks, I also put in a small amount of frozen mysis (large size from PE but only 3-4) that is enriched with Cyclop-eeze. It disappears but I don't know if it is the cuttles or the live shrimp that consume it (the frozen shrimp are too large to go through the netting).

I was able to catch several new born gulf pipes the last time my male released babies and tried feeding only Cyclop-eeze from the get go but lost all of them the first week. They are very difficult to raise for the first 3 weeks so I can't say the experiment was a total failure without trying it multiple times. I have found that the larger babies are more likely to survive and I will go back to using brine for the first week the next time (my mandarines find them a delightful change in diet so I only have the opportunity to try raising them when I actually see them being born and get there first).
I don't think that they are eating the cyclop-eeze. :biggrin2: Too small, not moving and such.

I have seen newly hatched cuttles strike at RN Tigger pods (essentially live Cyclop-eeze), but only for the first few days. After that they ingnored it. I also tried Cyclop-eeze, but didn't see any interest.

At two days I see baby cuttles strike at amphipods, which sometimes get away. However, I have never seen mysids given at the same age get away from the baby cuttles.

The only food I have seen baby cuttles eat without hesitation in front of me has been mysis. When I fed amphipods, I almost never saw them strike.

I have no idea if a varied diet would be more beneficial to baby cuttles or not - especially if we have no way to tell what they are actually eating and what they aren't eating. My feeling is that it is more important to get them the food they will eat most that is most nutritious, and so far that seems to be mysis.

Now, I could be wrong about the cypolp-eeze, but since you are feeding with a kitchen sink method there just isn't any way to be sure.

The only reason I bring it up is because I worry about people deciding to raise baby bandensis on cyclop-eeze based on your report, but the reality being that they aren't actually eating it. People are still trying to raise them on enriched brine and having dismal results because of old, persistent reports of it being a suitable food. Anecdotal evidence has been a major problem in other areas of the saltwater hobby, so I am cautious when I see it. :smile:

Like I said above, I have stopped with the amphipods and switched to just mysis starting a couple days after hatching and the growth rates I have seen have been amazing. Its also neat to see baby cuttles catch mysid after mysid after mysid which chewing on the first mysid.

I have also been rethinking my stance on net breeders for the reasons you mention. I recently built a baby nursery - basically a small tank plumbed into the main system - with a sand bottom, and I have seem more activity from the cuttles in there than I ever saw in net breeders. The net breeders do make a great, convenient way to keep baby cuttles in a larger tank, but perhaps the constantly exposed nature of the container make the babies uncomfortable (hows that for anecdotal!)

I saw more color patterns on my cuttles in the first day in the tank than in the six weeks or so they were in the net breeder. The breeder is a very convenient way to keep them, but my experience seems consistent with yours.

How big is your baby nursery? The nice thing about the breeder is its small enough that I can put x number of mysids in, know they'll be seen, and be able to keep track of if they're eaten. I'd be worried about losing that capacity in even a two-and-a-half gallon tank.

The net breeder I am using is at least 1.5 x (possibly 2 x) larger than the standard affair (I am bringing one to TONMOCON to show because I have found it so versatile). I have it situated so that the overflow from my filter is in direct contact with one side and I have a rather large (for a net breeder) piece of LR in the net that provides almost a cave. I think the set up may come closer to emulating Thales' small tank than the typical net breeder. Winkin and Blinkin show high patterning and color change (I think the LR is the primary reason along with the white, rather than blue or green, plastic supports). I suspect they are ready to graduate to their first tank but will wait until after TONMOCON so that I can monitor their food consumption.

Thales, I have been paying close attention when I feed the cyclop-eeze and up until today could not guarantee that they were eating it. Since I feed very small shore shrimp and I know the shrimp eat the Cyclop-eeze, I also know the cuttles are ingesting some of it indirectly but today Winkin actually came up to the top of the rock when I added the evenings food and I am quite sure she was eating it (Blinkin will not come out from under the LR when he sees me but does not ink or leave the area when I squirt the Cyclop-eeze close to or even on top of him). Both appear to be "grazing" with their arms when I squirt it near them.

I fully agree that feeding ONLY brine (and I am very careful to specify that brine must be new hatch) or ONLY Cyclop-eeze should not be the message I communicate but these two are so fat and healthy looking I hesitate not to report what I see as it occurs. My fear is, of course, that further down the road there could be health problems if the supplement is not fully suitable. I would like to encourage others with access to a more scientific environment to add it to their list of options to try but perhaps I should only mention my attempts in their journal until these two live out their lives and I can fully document a complete life span. Unfortunately, with only one trial, it would still only be anecdotal.
My nursery is 20 x20 x8 with a sand bottom. Within the first week, the cuttles were hanging out at the far end away from the current where the mysids get 'blown' and chowing on them within a minute. It seems to me the sand bottom is what makes the difference. Perhaps without it they feel constantly exposed. Oh - there is nothing but sand in the nursery.

D- You should be mentioning your attempts everywhere! I am just cautious when it comes to stuff like feeding baby cuttles because I have seen so many die from people trying what they think they heard somewhere as a food. :biggrin2: Anecdotal evidence is important stuff, its just that its easy for people to grab onto it as fact. Nothing we can do about it except be careful.
BTW, very cool about the C-eeze. Next time I have baby cuttles I will be giving it a try.
Perhaps now that NRCC has some of these guys, some real science will be done on them.

Speaking of the NRCC, has anyone reported back recently about Baby-A's eggs? I was hoping we would hear that they had started breeding.

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