• 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.

Cuttlefish Care - Getting Started

Mar 3, 2004
Im considering haveing a pet Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis). The only thing is though that I have the knowledge of a 'fish monger ' on 'how to look after a Cuttlefish' :wink: . I live in the south of England - so finding a Cuttlefish shouldnt be to hard - and would like to know the following questions;

1) How would I go about obtaining such an animal?
2) What size tank would be recommended for a single Cuttlefish?
3) What would it eat, and aproxmately what the annual cost is (Leave this question out if you want :wink: )?
4) What are the chances of them squirting 'ink', and how often would I have to clean the tank?
5) ANything else that I have missed out but would need?

Sorry about the broad subject; I just have no idea what to do, and would really like to have my own one :smile: . Thanks in Advance :wink: .
Hey cuttlefish lover

Cuttlefishes are intelligent and incredibly cute and lovable animals and can be tamed easily. You have made the right choice :P . These guys mainly feed on crustaceans such as crabs and shrimps (preferably live feed). They are opportunitic predators that will also feed on other fish in the tank (they don't care how much these fish cost you) :frown: . To get them, you can either dive and collect them (juveniles) yourself or hatch them from eggs (collected from the wild). Obviously, you got to be a good diver and collector to do that. In countries where you can find seafood stores selling live seafood, you may be able to find smaller specimen (unfortunately, mostly not in good shape and need to be nursed back to health with a lot of love and skill). For you who lives in England, apparently, the best way to get em is to order it thru your local pets shop selling marine aquarium animals. To keep them you need to set up a seawater aquarium with good filtration system and reasonably good water quality. Although they don't need a spacious tank, it is always good to have a larger tank for a lot of reasons. Finally, you must be aware of the fact that these lovable animlas grow fast and die young :cry: ., hehe.
1) Colin has a link somewhere, look in the "In search of a Cuttle" link.

2) 200+ for a single sepia officalences. They need that big of a tank because of them going whoosh and hitting the back of the tank and getting a skin part torn open and having it get infected.

3) Crabs, crabs, and more crabs.

4) They'll squirt ink whenever frightened or you make a sudden movement, young ones are more prone than adults; and some ink when they die.

5) I don't know, I've just been repeating info from Colin. :P

:welcome: to TONMO, Marine Machine!
:welcome: to TONMO, Cyrus!
For Officinalis, the tanksize has to be real large as they get to about 45 cm ML. Apparently they get to about 30cm if kept in subtropical water so you could use that to you benefit.

Tanksize: ~ 200gal

Feeding: Crayfish, crabs and fish. For smaller specimens, smaller crayfish, crabs and ghost shrimp. Not too sure on the cost, it depends on how much the food is there. About S$100 for me but mine is a bandensis.

Ink: They will ink easily when they're newly aqcuired, but after a week or two, once they get used to their new environment, the likely hood lessens. But still no sudden movements.
Hi welcome to TONMo.com

you will be able to get cuttles quite easily in the south coast, mine originally came from near Christchurch. But dont buy the ones from local aquatic shops as they will be imported from abroad and normally die within a few days, they dont travel very well at all.

Failing that, I think that a friend up here still has several juveniles, but setting up a tank can take upwards of a couple of months...

And if you are near the coast, as least you will be able to collect your own live food.. they eat a lot!!!!

let us know if you have more questions...

PS a new cuttlefish article will go live on TONMO in the next week or so :smile: so check back
Hiya Tonmo, NickA5582, Joel and Colin for the great article on cephalopods :talker: .

Really glad to have found this site. I was supposed to introduce myself but every time I tried, it just throw me back to page 1, :frown: .

Apart from cuttlefish and octopus, I have successfully reared certain common species of squid too. Although squid are pelagic cephalopods, they too can be reared in glass tank. Maybe I shall post some of my old squid photos taken from all glass tanks (yes, transparent and rectagular, not circular) :P .
Hi Cyrus, please do post pics and I am very sure that Steve will be happy to converse with someone else who has kept squid :smile:
Squid in captivity

Hi Colin,

I shall definitly post squid pictures. However I can't tell when I would be able to post them cause I have to look for them,or the negatives and process them into digital stuff if I can't find the photos. They were,unfortunately, not taken with digital camera. These photos were taken when I had the squids for about a week. They were juveniles (length of mantle from 2.5 to 4.5 cm) and were actually kinda schooling with juvenile spanish mackerels of comparable size. If the squids had been bigger then the mackerels, they would certainly make a meal on my precious spanish mackerels (the baby spanish mackerels were a lot harder to come by then the squids, :jester: .

I also have photos of baby cuttles (hatched by myself) too. These guys were mimicking something (pretty sure). I should have used it as a subject of research and might have been able to publish some papers with the discovery. Oh well, I shall definitely post these squid and cuttle photos. I am kinda busy but I shall try to post em ASAP.
Thanks for the welcomeing everyone :biggrin2: I have another question though :wink:

If/When a cuttle 'inks' do you have to clean the entire tank? and if so do you need an equal amount of water - as in that tank - on stand by, so that you dont have to keep on going to the sea or anything?

These questions proberly sound pretty obvious, but there not to me :frown: :biggrin2:
Hi Colin,

I have found the squid photos but I don't have a scanner with me right now. Instead, I shall use a digital camera to take digital pictures of these photos and post em as attachments.

Both the baby squids and mackerels ate a lot and grew really fast. I have to apologise for the poor quality of the photos. Nevertheless, they should be good enough for a cephalopod expert (such as Roy) to indentify them to sp. level, I suppose. This species is a common species and is ubiquitous. I have collected them everywhere. The mackerels were extremely hard to come by. Collecting and keeping the squids was 'piece of cake' to me but to do the same for the baby spanish mackerels was at least ten times more difficult!

Next time, I shall post the photos of my baby cuttles, :smile:
I must say Im extremely jealous Cyrus :mrgreen: !

If you have a good protein skimmer, the ink will usually clear up in a day. A water change, in my opinion won't be neccesary unless alot of ink is let out.

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