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New Officianalis setup-looking for input

Jan 4, 2006
I have been lurking for a while, and am finally putting my money where my mouth is. I am looking for input on the setup I am ordering for officianalis (when it is ready). I was into reef/mini reef tanks, but got out of it and mostly into reptiles about 8 years ago. (Only tank I have is an ornate bichir with my turtle currently so all my knowledge is old.)

I am ordering a 240 gallon glass tank with a single overflow, full glass top, DIY wet/dry trickle, and protein skimmer.

Tank Dimensions: 48x48x25
(I talked to the guys who kept the officianalis cuttles at the tampa aquarium and they suggested the tank from the list I had. They said cylendrical would be better, but that is MAJOR $$$)
Glass top covering entire tank -with a 16x48 hinged opening to keep the top heavy and hard to open (in case I get a vulgarius later.)
Single overflow with 4 predrilled holes for 2 Durso standpipes. I wanted to be able to view from 3 sides and overflows are ugly. It will pull from all sides in a elongated "U" formation. The overflow will go all the way to the glass top with only grating open to minimize escape to the overflow chamber.
DIY wet/dry in a large rubbermaid sump -I have made these before and am researching newer techniques for better flow.
Large capacity skimmer-was planning on buying a oversized skimmer, my skimmers in the past weren't as good as store bought-unlike the trickles.
40 Watt Current Satellite Light Fixture w/ Lunar Light-one or 2 of these for lighting and low heat generation.

I was going to convert a cube frig to a chiller, but I read here how it doesnt work well. I dont have a heat problem now, but the Tampa guy said that chilling was the best thing they did and got 2 years out of officianalis.

What do you think? Did I miss anything? Anything else work better for a officianalis or vulgarius?
i dont have nearly that amount of equipment and ive kept 2 at one time and 5 altogether in a 55 gallon with no chiller or skimmer or sump (but a large canister filter might count) my trick was to over filter it with one large filter rated for 100-something gallon tanks. and another good idea is to put it out of the sun because that lets the algae live. with a chiller they will live longer but they will be a lot less active. its like they only have so much juice in them and the temperature decides how fast they use it. i would much rather have an active cuttlefish for a year to 18 months than a lethargic one for 2 years.but its completely your choice. you should still get the chiller if you can afford it, just turn it down because that will keep your temperature constant.
a rabid squid said:
i dont have nearly that amount of equipment and ive kept 2 at one time and 5 altogether in a 55 gallon with no chiller or skimmer or sump...
Are you meaning bandensis? I am setting up for Officianalis. Sorry for the confusion.
Hi Illithid
...and welcome to TONMO.com!

Sounds to me like you are doing it the right way :smile: I'd be tempted to advise getting a half dozen and seeing if you can pass spares onto the aquarium to leave you with a pair when they are older?

As for lifespan, I'd say that if you can manage the low 70s F then you should get close to a year out of an officinalis assuming that you get them as eggs or near to. Around the UK they may live about 18 months in the wild but you'd need a chiller to keep them at about 12deg C to do that... about mid 50s F

Please bear in mind that they can be expensive to feed, have you sorted out a food source? They will only eat live shrimps and crabs between about 12 and 55 - 60mm

Also, make sure the salinity is about true sea strength at about 1.026

As a wee side note, its officinalis and vulgaris you have too many 'i's :smile:

Good luck, sounds like you will do fine :smile:

PS I also have bichirs and turtles!
Thanks for responding!
I like the idea of having a pair. Is my tank going to be large enough to keep 2 together full time? I have read alot about bandensis(thanks to this site), but what about these big guys?
The Tampa aquarium just got rid of thier group :cry: so I might be able to sell the started babies to the LFS-got one here that is pretty good.
How old are they when the males will start fighting?
I have talked with 2 shrimpers/crabbers that catch weekly out of Crystal River on the Gulf of Mexico (60 miles from here in central Florida)-they will sell me the ones that are too small for them and bring back live. I got several months to setup the tank and get it settled in and stable.
Are shrimp hard to maintain for a week? (only had small ornamentals before.)
PS I have one medium ornate bichir, a Fly River Turtle, a Aldabra tort, and a black-headed python -I like the strange stuff.:wink:
In theory your tank should be big enough, but as long as you have, as you said, the over sized skimmers and big filters etc. I ended up with an aquamedic 5000 baby to keep up with mine!!! http://www.aqua-medic.de/eng/produkte/skimmer/turboflotor5000.htm

The cuttles started fighting about 60 - 70 mm long I think, was a while ago now. But mostly it was harmless. One time that one did kill the other was literally the next day after feeding them bits of squid for the first time... too close to have been an accident. i never fed them squid again, must taste just like cuttlefish?!

i keep a big tank in my garage for the shrimp, again you need a good skimmer and water flow to keep them going. I can keep them going for several weeks, need to feed them a good quality food so that gets passed onto the cuttles.

fly river turtles are cool, like the pig nose effect LOL I have snake necks and soft shells, also just bought two more bichirs on tuesday; P delhazi, nice :smile:
Thanks for the great info Colin!
The Aquamedic looks great, but I would like something that would fit in the sump, and I don't have a 48" stand :wink:. Can you/or anyone else recommend a good shorter one? My stand will be 36" tall-so a 32" or so would work.

Do the cuttles fight for territory, dominance, or feeding response? Would the larger tank help this, or just make the chase go along a longer route?

Can anyone recommend a good description of male/female color changes for Officianalis? I saw the excellent one for Bandensis, what could I take from that and apply to the big guys?

I wanted to have a tank inline under the 240 to maintain the shrimp so I could eliminate duplication, but after researching found that would be to much bioload. Probably have a filtered tub in the garage.

I talked to a guy here in town that makes massive acrylic tanks for resturants and corporations and he recommended his denitrators. www.aquariumsbythesea.com
He said the others didn't work well (his statement-not mine) and that his had to work so that the secretaries didn't have to do water changes. What is the scoop on these?

PS :notworth:cool bichirs, I love softshells, once took care of a chitra (4 ft. long!) at Silver Springs here in town.
Hi again

The bichirs seem to have settled in alright. I have 6 now, 3 species and to be honest I think I will get another 2 of the dalhezi next week. I am certain my senegalus are a male female pair and that the ornatipinnis could be but the dalhezi are tiny compared.

There is a short version of the AquaMedic ranger called, the, er... Shorty and I have not used it myself but i have read that it is very good. Its 25" tall http://www.aqua-medic.de/eng/produkte/skimmer/turboflotor500shorty.htm

I had the baby standing beside the tank between the tank and a wall.

From memory I would have to be honest and say I cant remember them fighting over territory but the worst cases were when 2 cuttles grabbed the same piece of food, then there was a tug of war until one got the better. I also never seen chases until they were near adult.

I had a LOT of hiding places though.

To explain, the tank was originally built for rays and they need a large surface area, but i also wanted rocks in the tank. So I built a shelf.

The tank's surface area was 72 x 30" and i cut a bit of 10mm glass to approx 48" by 18" and siliconed it to some glass supports so there was a 6" gap underneath and i sat rock on top of it.

Essentially a tank that size has a 2160" square surface area but I added an extra 384" on top of that. The cuttles, and rays before them, loved the overhang which was very dark... let me try and find some pics...
even better, found a wee quick time movie from January 2002, have a look and you should be able to see the shelf in the background behind bug eyes there :smile:

I tried a good denitrator on that tank, they might work with a reef but not cuttles, waste of money, save it for salt and good old fashioned water changes :smile:


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and another, i think you need to right click and 'save as...'

the vids are not the best of quality but it shows the shelf... and some algae!



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Love the vids!

I looked up the Shorty-seems perfect, but then I saw the price. :bugout: Would 2 Turboflotor 1000s work? I will have enough space.

I plan on having 3 sumps (1 stacked for bioballs and DSB, 1 in the center for water changes, and last for chemical filtration, skimmers and return pump) hell -I got 4 feet to work with.

I have been trying to think how to aquascape a 48x48 tank without having a desert or getting butt-burn. I like the idea of a shelf too. I might make a big snakeing tube that opens on a side like a cave. Then it could be multi-leveled and more interesting with some low live rock. Is that big bendable black piping used for drainage inert? I was trying to go for the serpentine/natural movement that I dont think I could get from PVC.
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