• 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

The resolution on the pics really isn't high enough to identify those squid(lets), but they do look awfully Sepioteuthis-like.

What kind (shape) of tank did you keep them in? Are they eating the small fish? Did you collect them live, and if so, what sort of mantle length were they when collected/when released or died, and how long were you able to keep them?

Very nice, and especially nice to know someone else is also keeping squid.
Hi Steve,

Welcome back from your trip! Wish you have better luck with the weather next time. Very interesting photos of the light traps. I am really interested in these traps. Could you tell me more about the design and construction of these traps and how they are deployed during day time collection and night time collection? please. Some more photos showing more detail would be a big help.

Oh, about the baby squid, :biggrin2: . I used to collect and keep common species of squids quite often (but I prefer octopii and cuttles because they are apparently more intelligent, :P ). Please refer to my earlier posts dated Mar 4 and Mar 5 in this same column. My squids were mostly baby and juvenile (mantle length 1.5cm to ~6cm) because they are easier to collect and, being smaller, more manageable. The largest one I have ever kept had a mantle length of ~15 cm, in a 6'L by 2'W by 2.5'H glass tank.

Obviously, being pelagic species, it is harder to keep squids in glass tanks compared to cuttles and octopus which are so much easier. Also, they are also much more sensitive to poor water quality. I have always kept them in glass tanks (rectagular) because I want to observe them from the side (offers much better observations) rather than from the top (if opaque circular tank was used instead, as in research facilities). To acomplish this, there are quite a few additional precautions to be taken (compared to keeping octopii and cuttles). I won't recommend other people to try keeping squid in rectangular glass tank unless they know exactly what they are doing.

Please also understand that the fish that you see in the photos were no ordinary fish. I guarantee you won't see photos of 'live-and-kicking baby spanish mackerels in fish tanks' anywhere else. The tank that you see in the photos was a bare rectagular glass tank with no rocks or inside filter. Apart from the mackerels(around 5) and the squids(around 8) which were schooling together against the water current, there were only a few baby batfish in the plastic crate (the black object floating to the top right hand corner of the photo). Both the mackerels and the squids were fed live baby mullets, ~1 to 2 cm TL because they are both pelagic piscivores. They were weaned onto frozen baby mullets later with difficulty. Should there be a significant size difference, I would not be able to keep them together (they seemed to enjoy each others company, :biggrin2: ). If the baby mackerels (Scombermorus Commersoni)had been baby dolphinfish instead (Coryphaena spp.) , they may attack smaller individuals of the squids. :wink: cause baby dolphinfish prey on baby squids.

Regretably, I must point out that the baby S. commersoni (mackerels) were the focus of interest at that time because they were at least 100 hundred times more difficult to find, collect and keep alive than the squid. I am also a fishmaniac. I never plan to keep the baby squid for too long before I have to release them because they grow too fast and eat a lot. They compete with the mackerels for live fed. The supply of live fed (baby fish) was never reliable. Sometimes I didn't have time to collect them (at jetties or at the marina). Sometimes they are too big. Sometimes I couldn't find them at all.

I think the longest time I kept squids in tanks was about four months before I had to release them (with a mortality rate of ~50%, nearly all within the first 2 months). Again, food supply was my major problem. Sometimes I ran out of live fed for a while. Those refused to take frozen food are starved and some eventually die before I released them.

I have written too much again! Have to dash.....

Thanks for all of that Cyrus. What I'll do tomorrow, when at work (the equipment template file is there), is start up a new thread on the R & D forum where I'll place the plans for the light traps. I think it is best to start a thread there (R & D as opposed to Ceph Care Q & A) so as not to contaminate this particular thread with equipment design (not really to the point of the cuttlefish nature of the original post, even though Colin, Nancy and a few others might be interested in this aspect of specimen collection).

I'm sure that a better trap design can be designed; what I've done is basically use off-the-shelf products to manufacture something that is otherwise prohibitively expensive. I've since learnt that a cheaper option probably exists (and by cheaper I mean a cost of NZ$200 per unit, as opposed to the $500/unit I've had to fork out).

The collection of appropriate-sized and sufficient quantities of live-animal foodstuffs is one of the greatest hurdles to overcome when it comes to keeping live squid; as you note in your previous post, they are somewhat reluctant to take dead food (although today was a rather magical day for us, as after ~ 90 days they did take dead shrimp; first feed in the morning, hungry squid).

about my cuttle pics

Hi Steve and Colin, I tried to attach photos of my cuttles but didn't work this time. I shall post em next time. They are not of high quality anyway (old photos reproduced using digital camera). :heee:

I am in the process of setting up my own aquatic wharehouse, going to be 99.9% marine stuff, :talker: . There will be 1 x ~600 gallons (9 tanks system), 2 x ~300 gallons (twin tanks systems), 1 small shark pool (~500 gallons) for baby sharks, perhaps plus up to 10 seperate tanks (from 70 g to 100+ g). All DIY stuff, . There are going to be lots of fishtanks, stands, filter boxes, big skimmers, fluidised filter columns to construct plus lots of PVC pipes, lots of glass and lots of acrylic and more....... :jester: .

Once I get em filled (another couple of months), I shall post my new high quality pictures of captive cephs (wild-caught, or wild-abducted and all without consent, :frown: :oops: ) , hopefully.

by the way, did you read the article on the guy supposedly harassed (or attacked or whatever) by giant squid. For a cephlomaniac like me, that wasn't a bad way to go at all. I mean, how often do you see a live giant squid in action, ya just can't complain. These days, it a lot easier to be an astronaut than to be able to see a live super-oversized squid (so-called Giant Squid) in action :lol: .If you let me choose between being the 1st group of settlers to colonise Mars and being the 1st human to see a live Giant Squid in action, I don't even have to think about it :talker: .
On the trail of the Giant Squid

Hi Steve,

I am not sure whether you are back or not. I have posted another message (dated Mar 9, right after you posted your last message in this column).

I have been watching 'On the trail on the Giant Squid' on Discovery Channel. While I enjoyed it immensely, I was wondering how long ago the documentary was made. Also, what progress in terms of the techniques of collection, transportation and keeping baby Architeuthis was made since then.

I paid particular attention to the way the baby Architeuthis was handled after the tow. This includes sorting, screening and identifying the baby Giant Squid (in presumably small glass jars), subsequent observation and filming in the plexiglas container and eventually, the transfer of the baby Architeuthis into the specially designed circular temporary holding tank. I have also noted the behaviour of the baby Architeuthis in the plexiglas container.

Regretably, based on my experience in collecting, handling, transportation and keeping delicate marine animals alive, I have predicted the death of most, if not all, of the baby Architeuthis on arrival at port before I saw what happened at the end of the documentary.

I wish you have better luck since then and I would really like to talk to you more about the handling and care of the baby Architeuthis.
Hi Cyrus....

Steve is normally very busy and doesnt always get the chance to read all forums, in fact when you started posting i sent steve a PM to make sure he checked the forum's thread and seen your squid etc...

Best bet is to maybe send him a PM and point him to this thread, just to make it a bit easier, there are so many posts made these days its hard to keep up :smile:

Hi Colin,

Thanks for all that, :smile: . Seems like you yourself have been a bit busy for quite a while too.

By the way, did you read my two messages (both dated Mar 9, one in this column and one in the Hiya cephalomaniac column) to you and Steve? :lol:

hmmm possibly not... I'm sorry if i miss things but in real life I am up to my neck in it and getting busier.. sometimes when i log on there there may be over 100 posts to sort through as well as all the emails i get, but i'll check out your posts... thanks
Re: about my cuttle pics

Cyrus said:
I am in the process of setting up my own aquatic wharehouse, going to be 99.9% marine stuff, :talker: . There will be 1 x ~600 gallons (9 tanks system), 2 x ~300 gallons (twin tanks systems), 1 small shark pool (~500 gallons) for baby sharks, perhaps plus up to 10 seperate tanks (from 70 g to 100+ g). All DIY stuff, . There are going to be lots of fishtanks, stands, filter boxes, big skimmers, fluidised filter columns to construct plus lots of PVC pipes, lots of glass and lots of acrylic and more....... :jester: . ]

Ah ah, you need to find an old thread of mine called 800 tanks. Last year about this time i was just finishing a project which was to equip a wholesaler/importer/exporter in scotland with an entire new set up which was 800 tanks (obviously :bonk: ) and 30 ponds... Took about 6 months total work to cut, build, drill tanks and then set up filters.. if anything i learned never to do it again LOLOL :lol:
:jester: :jester: :jester:

Excellent stuff but too bad, you are not doing it for yourself and they are for goldfish and presumably F/W fishes. What a waste for your 6 months hard work. If the entire facility is for marine stuff like cephalopods, stomatopods, baby oceanic fishes (spanish mackerels, dolphinfish, blackmarlin, tunas, bonitos.......mola lola), baby Architeuthis...... and ... other deep sea monsters....

Just imagine that.........

:lol: :lol: :lol:
...yeah millions of stuff and no-one buying it!!! THAT would be a waste of 6 months!

:jester: wouldnt want to work in the aquatic trade again.... not for a seriously long time anyway when the whole thing gets its arse into gear and sorts itself out!

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