[Cuttlefish Eggs]: Here we go...

Aug 13, 2009
I have raised and helped breed cuttlefish in a public facility, but this is my first attempt at doing it on my own at home. I placed an order yesterday at around 10:00am from NYAquatics for nine dwarf cuttlefish (sepia bandensis) eggs. The eggs were shipped via FedEx Priority Overnight by 11:30 am the same day, and arrived at my door by 9:00am today 03-17-2016. In preparation for the eggs, I purchased and assembled two plastic mesh breeder boxes (one for the eggs and the other for live food), and placed them in the main display. I have collected a few amphipods from my sump/refugium and placed them into the feeder box, along with some macro algae from the refugium into both boxes. I will purchase some live mysis shrimp as soon as the eggs start hatching. Utilizing an API test kit and a refractometer, the water quality of my system is as follows: Ammonia – 0.00 ppm, Nitrite – 0.00 ppm, Nitrate – < 3.00 ppm, Phosphate – < 0.25 ppm, pH - 8.1, Specific Gravity – 1.028, Temperature – 79*F. The salinity is a little high because I ran out of RO top off this week and haven't replaced it yet. This will happen tomorrow. The packaging was in pretty good condition. Inside the sealed cardboard box was my invoice with an attached acclimation guide on top of a sealed one inch thick styrofoam box. Inside the styrofoam box were two med/small heat packs, newspaper, and of course...the cuttlefish eggs in what appears to be a half gallon sized (double bagged) clear plastic bag. The majority of the eggs have animals clearly visible inside of them, though several seem to be duds. You can see this in the picture below. The picture is poor quality because I took it with my android phone in one hand while holding the bag up to the ceiling fan light with the other, but you should still be able to make out the fertile eggs with the embryos and yolk sacks and the smaller darker eggs. Acclimation began at 9:10am with the water quality in the bag as follows: Ammonia – < 0.25 ppm, Nitrite – < 0.25 ppm, Nitrate – < 1.00 ppm, Phosphate – 5.00 ppm, pH - 8.2, Specific Gravity – 1.030, Temperature – 79*F. The water chemistry is not too far off, but I'm still going to take a nice slow acclimation. I have the bag sitting in a one gallon aquarium with a drip line into it. The bag was about a third full of water, so when it is near the top I'll move them over. I estimate about an hour or two. I'm probably being a bit excessive, but better safe then sorry. I'll post more pictures when I get them into their mesh box.
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I ordered only 9 cuttlefish eggs, but received approximately 31. While there are about four that do not appear to be fertile, that still leaves 27 eggs. Needless to say I am not currently set up to care for this many animals, if they all hatch and survive adolescence. Luckily I have a coworker that is also looking for some dwarf cuttlefish that I'm sure would LOVE to adopt a few. Again I apologize for the quality of the video and I promise photo/video quality will improve. I'm not sure if you can see in the video, but the eggs are being ever so gently rocked by the alternating current provided by the 3/4" SCWD. I'll do my best to keep this journal updated as time progresses.
Can anyone recommend good quality frozen foods for hatchlings? I intend on supplying 50/50 live/frozen from day one. Right now the only frozen food I have are mysis shrimp and red calanus plankton.
I've read a bit of Tonmo, but I'm not as seasoned as some around here, and I haven't kept cuttles BUT @ekocak might have some thoughts on frozen food for hatchlings. I feel like he was the last person I read about who had success.
Thanks for the input. So far,..not off to a good start. I bought some live rock and a few corals to spruce up the display and add some caves. When I got home from work I found a dead hatchling (the first to hatch) stuck to the side of the mesh box and a deflated egg with a rupture on one side. :sad: I moved the box to an area with a little less flow in it. I had removed the macro algae because it was starting to attach to the eggs and I wanted better visibility in the box. Not sure if that was a good or bad idea.
Due to what happened with the first hatchling, I've decided to switch from a mesh box to a flow through HOB plastic breeder box. I've split the box into two even chambers, one for the eggs and the other for the hatchlings. You can clearly see some are eager to come out and play. :smile:
I came home today and found, what I hope to be, the first of many. I have live brine and amphipods in there with them now, but I have live mysid shrimp on the way.


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And then there were two...
My mysis shrimp should be here on Monday. I wonder how many will have hatched out between now and then. :rolleyes: Even my wife, who is not that interested in my aquariums (or any of my hobbies for that matter) is starting to take an interest in these little guys. I have found her checking on them here and there, and last night she was asking me questions about them and when they will be put into the main display.
I came home to yet a third cuttlefish. These guys are just popping out left and right. I also set up a little shrimp tank for the mysid shrimp, that might also serve as an additional grow out tank if necessary.
While watching tv this evening, #4 hatched out. I think he's a little premature because he still has his yolk sack, and his eyes don't look quit right to me? Does anyone have some input on his eyes? They look like they are popping out kind of.

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No pictures/videos this time, but I woke up this morning to my wife shouting up the stairs..."You have seven babies." I was wondering if anyone has had any issues with snails or other invertebrates harassing/killing juvenile cuttlefish? Nothing can get into the HOB breeder box, but I just want to make sure there is nothing in the main display that could hurt them. All I have are some nassarius snails, turbo snails, and maybe a bristle worm or two. I also have a few amenome species that are going to be re-homed soon, along with a Caribbean cup coral. After that I'm pretty sure there would be nothing inside the system that could hurt the cuttles.
At the rate everyone was hatching, I was really hoping to find more when I came home from work. Still just seven and counting. I added some more adult brine this afternoon and harvested some amphipods from the refugium this evening. Tomorrow they'll get their first batch of mysid shrimp.
Common algae eating snails and (in general) bristle worms are not problems. Meat eating and high stinging corals can be, especially for hatchlings (just as they are for fish).

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