• 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.

More talk on cuttlefish/octopus food.....

Feb 18, 2005
I know this topic has been brought up before, but I still do not feel like there is a good clear answer.

Has anyone had clear evidence or reason in which feeding freshwater ghost shrimp can lead to negative effects on a cuttle/octo? Upon appearance, themarine shrimp look exactly like ghost shrimp.

I understand that Freshwater animals are considered osmoregulators (osmotic difference between thier body fliuds and environment) and marine vertibrates are somoregulators (no osmotic difference between thier body fluids and thier environment). Does this difference between the freshwater and marine shrimp have a significant difference in the types and amount of nutrients found in them to be bad?

Has anyone had any long term experience with feeding ghost shrimps in comparison to marine based food?

If the difference between fresh and marine physiology is enough to be considered "bad", this makes me question if using salt water acclimated guppies or mollies as food being a good idea? Does this acclimation process to salt change their physiology to be more adequiet in terms of a proper cephalopod diet?

Any comments or information would be very welcomed..And yes, these questions are motivated by my reluctance to keep spending 70 bucks overnighting marine shrimps to my house when I can buy ghost shrimp at the store down the road... :lol:
When I have another octo I'm going to try the Aquaculture Store. You can get 50 one-inch sw shrimp for $22, shipping included. If you want, you can get a lot of 200 for $60. Even if half of those died in two more days of shipping, I would guess the unit cost is still below overnighting.

That is a good price. If you're worried about pollution, however, the aquaculture store is--by name, at least--implying their shrimp are aquacultured. Judging from the seahorses and other things on live brine shrimp's site, I suspect theirs are all wild-caught.

OK Paradox,

Did some checking! It appears that fw fish are bad,bad,bad :biggrin2: BUT FW shrimps etc may be OK if they get enriched to make up for some nutritional deficiencies!

FW shrimp are lower in energy (KJ), protein, lipids, Vit B complex, Vit C, saturated fats, LA (Omega-6, linoleic acid - 18:2), ALA (Omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid - 18:3), EPA (Omega-3, eicosapentaenoic acid - 20:5), and DHA (Omega-3, docosahexaenoic acid - 22:6) :shock: than their marine counterparts.

Check out

Advanced Aquarist

for the actual numbers!

Personally I wouldn't want to take the risk of feeding such food to our cephs.......but having said that I have an easy source of marine crusts on my doorstep! As an emergency food OK once they had been enriched.

This article is mainly about feeding marine fish and I'd be a little wary translating across to cephs as their energy requirements can be much higher than many fish (some cephs I believe have an 80% food to growth ratio..............that's HUGE!!!)


I've ordered those shrimp from the Aquaculture Store before. At that time they were wild caught, but the owners were getting more into breeding all sorts of small creatures. I'm sure they'd be glad to tell you the source. They were salt water, not fresh water.

I live in a major city (Dallas) and had so difficulty with the shrimp and the fiddler crabs (although I avoided ordering during temperature extremes). I also made sure I was home to receive the shipment and put them into clean water right away and fed them. Very few arrived dead, even by priority mail. Some were smaller than promised, some were larger. I always felt I got a good deal. By the way, my bimac loved them!!

Jean, could you also research krill, please. I know a few people have used them as octo food. Are they OK for octos and cuttlefish?


Hi Nancy,

If we're talking about Euphausid Krill (eg Euphausia suberba or Nyctiphanes austalis ) then I don't need to research it! From stomach contents analysis I know that Nototodarus sloanii eat 1000's of the things (I had to count the eye's............they seemed to be resistant to digestion!!!!)

I'll see what I can find out about the proximate analysis of the krill tho'... I have a paper somewhere in the heaps of stuff on my desk!!! We feed N. australis to the aquarium critters including the midget octis (Hannibal is too big for these guys!)


Wow!! Thats the exact information ive been looking for...SO I guess there really is a significant difference between using ghost shrimps vs marine shrimps...

Thanks...now to get a cup of coffee to read that long article!
I looked at the package of krill in my freezer It's called Krill Aqua Yums and yes, it's Euphausia suberba enriched with lots of vitamins. So I guess I can add that to the food list. Only thing is, that 4 oz package isn't going to last long with an octo!

Nancy said:
Only thing is, that 4 oz package isn't going to last long with an octo!


:lol: No it's not ! One of the small squid in my samples (about 180mm DML if I remember correctly) had eaten 1600 krill (Nyctiphanes australis) , 20 Lanternfish (Lampanyctodes hectoris ) and a juvenile red cod (Psuedophycis bachus ) :shock:

Jean, do you think it is harmful to once in a while offer a 2 inch crawfish? I ask this because they a good prey for octos to chase and catch and the octos seem to find them delicious. Crawfish are, I've been told, a type of freshwater lobster.

Here's a thought. I have fed all my octos exclusively on local caught food except in the winter where I have had to supplement with baitshops and have ordered fiddlers for aquaculture. The areas where I collect always have disgusting looking stuff not only in the water but on the surface as I go at low tide and everything seems to be exposed. I am now wondering if there is any affect from contaminents. All my octos have lived pretty full lives, but that really does raise the question on if they are affected by this.

From the tracking I've done over the last few years, I can tell you that octos fed with generous amounts of live food seem to live longer than the others. Yours are among the longest lived of the Tonmo octos.

Maybe there is some contamination but perhaps this is offset by the good nutritional qualities of the live food.

It's certainly something to think about and monitor, though.

Thats all great information. Alth the artical Jean shared earlier shows that freshwater shrimps/crustaceans arent a bad substitute, but are still not nearly as good, Ive decided to take the route of purchasing live marine shrimp and using shore caught crabs..

Id love to see a study showing long term affects on locally caught animals vs freshwater animals vs frozen vs marine food sources, but Im sure others feel as I do in which I do not want to expose any of my cuttles to anything but the best...

Thanks again for the great feedback....

Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.