• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

compatibilty with fish

Aug 17, 2007

I'm in the proces of setting up a new 720l tank with a LOT of caves, 3 sides visible, with an 'open' rock strukture i the middle...

my wish fish list is: C. miniata, odonus niger, lunare wresse, snowflake, antanta lion, frog fish, bamboo shark, yellow tang, hippo tang...

Then i met mr. cephlopod, who will probably ruin my perfekt plans!!! so my 20k and actinics are out, probably replaced with 10k and red night ligths(if my many legged spineless friend is live in my tank)

I'm almost equally fasinated by octo, cuttle, squid and nautilus, i think the to first are best suited for my tank though...

Wich of the fish whould not be able to coexist with a cuttle or octo? some could maybe coexist with octo but not cuttle and vice versa? so to help me decide which one? can octo and cuttle coexist(probably need different envirments, cuttle more open areas?)?

Don't worry, the well being of the animals i choose to keep is very important to me, so i wont rush out and buy anyting before i've done all the reaserch so some time next year... If stressed they wont show their facinating natural behavior anywho...

Is there a good book to lay down the basics? i'm a nerd, so technical is fine...
Hi, welcome to TONMO.

As far as I know, the only published material about keeping any cephs on a hobby level is only printed in magazines. I haven't found any books.

All of the fish you listed, are definitely not suitable to be tankmates for an octopus. Very aggressive fish. Groupers grow to insanely huge sizes and would most likely eat the rest of your fish you listed, not to mention an octopus. Niger or any other Trigger is going to pick at anything they see move on the rock, and probably the Lionfish's spines. Lunar Wrasses's grow fairly large too, and are also prone to picking at things, like a worm...oh wait, that's not a worm, that's an octopus arm... any kind of Eel is going to LOVE to eat Octopus. Lionfish might not be too capable of catching an octopus as they are usually very slow swimmers, and trap their prey with their large fins as they home in on it. I still wouldn't risk it, because if you get a larger octopus, it's going to tear the lionfish to pieces and probably get poked by a spine, then you have TWO dead pets. Bamboo Shark, would get picked on by the Trigger, likely get its eyeballs pecked out, and it would probably eat the octopus too. Frogfish won't make a good tankmate to any other fish as large or smaller than itself, as it can eat anything that is as large as itself. Even something long and slender like an Eel is going to fit in head first, likely killing both the eel and the frogfish because if whatever the frogfish eats starts rotting before it's fully digested it causes gas bloat inside the frogfish and then it dies. Plus a Wrasse or Trigger is going to peck its eyeballs out while it sits around looking like a coral or piece of rock with a shrimp/worm lure hanging off its forehead. Happens a lot to frogfish. Tangs being herbivores might not be a bad idea. Then again, they might mistake the octopus for algae since octopus do sometimes mimic algae swaying in the current of the water. Plus, they are actually pretty mean for herbivores.

Really an octopus makes a very, very interesting addition all by itself. If it's a healthy one with some time to spare before senesence sets in it will provide you with hours of entertainment every day/night and you will notice something new about it just about every time you observe it.

If you keep a cuttlefish, you can keep them in groups as long as you feed them well. If you want a community tank, then this is probably the way you should go. Several other TONMO members have kept multiple cuttles together successfully and even successful reproduction also.

If you are really set on keeping the fish you listed, you might try keeping a few species tanks. There are a couple of safe combinations that would include a few of the fish you listed, but ultimately, you have to consider what their behavior in the ocean would be, and that in an aquarium, they only have a limited amount of space to flee a predator.
Hi and thaks for the answer...

About the the fish, One of my friends has a frogfish, adult lunare, and big snowflake togeather for more then a year having no problems but maybe he just lucky, and another i know has had O. niger trigger and bamboo for some time, then the bamboo jumped, maybe it was a placid trigger...

The grouper is kind of my favorite of them all, only grows to 30 - 40 cm, reminds me of my cichlids from the past...
I already have the trigger, wrasse and snowflake, with some other soon-to-be-sold-fish: tang, clowns, damsels, no problems if anything, snowflake chases trigger around a bit when it can smell food, but the trigger is way to big to be eaten, it was caught once though and pulled down to the cave but the eel let go at moment after...

The tank is not ment to include all of the fish from the list at once, but a combination of some of them. I was'nt aware of the the shark eye and lion fin problem, the frog is only there because i find it interesting, it's not high priority, and needed a lot of reasearch, as some of the other species also still do..

Realy depressing to hear that i whould only be able to have one species in my tank, cuttle and octo togeather is also a big no no right?

Cephlopods and mantis have always facinated me, i'll get the matis in a smal spec. tank of 150l and i have room for one 720l tank, which i already on its way... Think i will read all the article here on the site, and think about my options and desires...
There are always exceptions, but I own a Frogfish, and when I first saw it at the LFS I purchased it from, it looked great. Went back a few days later and bought it, got it home, and found it was missing an eye and had an ulcer on its lip. They were keeping it with a Yellowhead Moray and a Wrasse, and I know the damage happened sometime inbetween me seeing it the first time, and buying it a few days later. They are really interesting fish. I've considered adding a mid-sized Zebra Moray in with her since they generally only eat crustaceans, and would be too large to fit in my Frogfishes mouth. Still haven't decided. I was unable to catch a small Yellow Coris Wrasse in the 60 gallon I was keeping my Frogish in, and it was never caught by the Frogfish surprisingly, so a really quick/smart fish might do okay. I did eventually catch the Wrasse though, mainly due to a tank leak, which interestingly led to my Frogfish laying a clutch of eggs.

Snowflakes are pretty timid for Morays, but Eels LOVE to eat Octopus. I keep a small "Freshwater Moray" (really brackish to saltwater) in with a Green Spotted Puffer, and the GSP gets chomped occasionally when they both go for the same piece of food. I was worried at first but no serious damage has ever happened. I'm surprised the GSP doesn't get fed up with the eel and chomp him back.

As for Triggers, Nigers have a reputation for being the most docile but they are still aggressive fish.

These are all great fish, individually. I don't blame you for your interest in them. That would be a really cool setup. There are some people who somehow make crazy combinations work, but most of the time this type of scenario turns into disaster.

I remember someone posting a thread about having an octopus in with a cuttle. I don't remember them keeping us updated on the situation though, so I would lean toward it not being wise. It would probably make for a very interesting battle to observe though as much as I hate to put it that way.

Mantis Shrimp are in my opinion the ultimate crustacean. I could have had one for free but I passed on it, kinda scared that it might pop a crack in my tank or snap my finger while cleaning the tank. They are MEAN! Have fun with that one.
:welcome: to TONMO!

I don't have much to add on tankmates and the like, and I don't remember hearing about an octo and cuttle in the same tank... it's a curious thought experiment, but I wouldn't really want to try it in real life, as I suspect it would be likely to end badly for one of them. I would expect that if they were disproportionately sized, one would see the other as prey, and if they were similarly sized, they would see each other as a threat, leading to either constant stress or combat.

As far as books go, since you're unafraid of the technical, there is one book about raising cephs in a laboratory situation, although it's rather old and not really aimed at hobbyists: P.R. Boyle The Care & Management of Cephalopods in the Laboratory. I got it about 3 months ago, and I couldn't find it on Amazon, but I did find it at a specialty bookseller, Steven Simpson Books. It's also a bit at odds with some of what we've found on TONMO, so I consider it interesting but possibly outdated in some areas.
yeah i don't want to count on luck... But the cephlopod part i really demoralizing, i never considered caphlopods for my tanks, but then i saw this amazing vulgaris in my LFS and the guy working there told me that i whould do fine with the fish list above. So i posted a thread in the danish equivalent of reefcentral, and there was one who had a vulgaris in his community reef tank til it spawned and died. So i was like WHAT!!!! need! must have!! why doesn't everybody have this amazing animal!?! and you just told me why...
monty;100099 said:
I don't have much to add on tankmates and the like, and I don't remember hearing about an octo and cuttle in the same tank...

Someone posted that he was keeping an Aculeatus and Bandensis in the same tank. I believe one was a forced addition due to tank leak, or something like that (don't really remember). When he posted they had been together for a few days to a week and were fine. I still wouldn't recommend it, especially at how hard cuttles are to get right now.

Cephs are best kept in species tanks. Cuttles have quite a good bit more tankmates than octopuses do; corals probably being the biggest plus to keeping a cuttle. People have also found that seahorses work.
"Cuttles have quite a good bit more tankmates than octopuses do; corals probably being the biggest plus to keeping a cuttle. People have also found that seahorses work"

steenmillinder;100120 said:
"Cuttles have quite a good bit more tankmates than octopuses do; corals probably being the biggest plus to keeping a cuttle. People have also found that seahorses work"


I'm a bit reluctant to house horses and cephs, The reason is that in my diet research for my thesis I found pipefish/seahorse remains in squid stomachs, so cephs do eat sygnathids.

We have had small Sepiolids in our horse tank BUT the Sepiolids are small (Sepioloidea pacifica around 4 cm total length) and our horses are giants (Hippocampus abdominalis up to 30 cm long) but I would NEVER put an octopus in with them, not even one of the midgets (Octopus warringa/huttoni 10-15 cm total length) as many cephs prefer large prey and I've seen these guys take down a large (about the same size) shore crab complete with nippers....so I'd be really wary of keeping cephs and horses together.

Steenmillinder, Tankmates - animals that share the same tank.

Jean, I think Shipposhack was referring to cuttles and seahorses and particularly S.Bandensis and seahorses. I have also heard they can coexist easily and have been tempted but not daring enough to try. I agree about the octos though, I wouldn't even try a dwarf with an Erectus just watching my little guys grab at shrimp. It is not likely they could damage the Erectus's boney hide but I think the grabbing would stress the animal enough to kill it.
i can't believe i'm actually considering to sacrifice all my present and comming fish for an octo or cuttle tank! but there is also the issue of my wife since the main tank is in our livingroom, so it's not only my opinion...
so many choises so little room (and money)...
I think i need time for research and decision making, can i squeeze in a 3rd tank?(it's gonna be tuff convincing the miss'es, or i could sacrifice my mantis plans..)

I'm not just facinated by these creatures, i keep thinking about the subject during the day since my incounter with the vulgaris, I can't really let go of it. And youtube certeinly doesnt help getting rid of this obsession like state that i find my self in, i'm almost through all the octocasts, and instead of reading airlaw and radio comunications(i'll be in naples florida all 'octo'ber and november doing pilot lessons, any octo/cuttl'ers near by i could visit?) i read about marine headfoot'ers damm it!!

I miss breeding my rift vally cichlids(a lot actually), maybe in the future when my knowledge is sufficient and i feel ready, i'll try and breed cephs, but that is a dream for the distant future.
I want to breed something challanging and rare(i thougt maybe bangai cardinals, or copperbands, but compared to cephs!?!! they seem like gubys and mollys). But not just for the fun of it(and because the baby's are probably adorable), also to help beare some of the load put on nature, so less of these facinating and beatyfull cratures have to be kidnaped from the oceans just to "entertain" a bunch of hairless abes...
Depending on your time, there is a research aquarium in Sarasota that just happens to have two Vulgaris that you can get up front and personal with (everyone know where I'm going here :wink2:). I think it is about 100 mile (give or take) north of Naples.

To see a preview:

Pics, Presentations, Videos, and Stories from TONMOCON II

about the middle of the page (further down in the thread I have a link to pictures of my visit to Mote that includes more photos of the vulgaris - look for my avitar and an imbedded link). You will find numerous pictures of Mote Aquarium


in the thread as that is where TONMO's second gathering occurred earlier this year.

There is also an aquariuim in Miami but I have not been in a long time and don't know if it is still worth going to see. Further north, in Orlando there is a large aquatic theme park called Sea World for an entertaining day but no cephs.

If you continue north into my neck of the woods (Atlanta, GA) we have a brand new aquarium with a single GPO (Giant Pacific Octopus) and a nice display of Leafy Sea Dragons.

Further north and west is the Chatanooga aquarium but no cephs.

Ready, set Google.
thats cool, thanks a lot, i'll see what options i have...

I probably wont be posting as much for now coz most of my questions are slowly being answered in the articles.
So far there is no way i can afford having a ceph, but but but it's not that bad. I dont need huge matal halides, nitrate filters (don't know about phosphates yet), dont need heaters. Since nitrates arent that bad, maybe a sump with a huge skimmer and loads of large surface area filtermaterial like bioballs or something could do it.
I whould probably put in a lot of glas "walls" that seperate the sump into chambers. Every second wall whould be higher then the water surface and the bottom of the wall being an inch above the bottom of the sump, so that the water i forced to flow under. The rest of the walls are to be in contact with the bottom and the top of the wall about an inch blow the surface, so that the water i forced over the top.
I dont know if i'm clear, but what i try to describe is something like a continuos spaced out bubble trap with the water flowing op through the first chamber, down through the next, up through the camber after that and so on(a picture >1000 words).
So since the water has to travel a longer distance, the contact potential between the water and the surface of the filter substrate is an equevalent amount larger. And also adding some air into some of the chambers and a powerfull return pump whould help feed the archea ( Archaea predominate among ammonia-oxidizing prokaryotes in soils - Nature kida cool it's archea and not 'just' bacteria, thats why i added the link) and bacteria the oxigen needed... instead of electrical bills, live shrimp bills
i still havent given up on it yet, think it whould be a bimac if anything, got my new tank, it's a little more then 6,5 feet long, and 2,3 feet deep and about 230 us gallons... i'm in florida from the 3. of oktober to the 10. og november, naples, if anybody lives near by, id love to see their cephlopod tank...

the tank can be seen in the bottom pictures of this thread... http://www.saltvandssiden.dk/debat/vis/15269

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