• 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.

Planning a new tank I have questions.

Aug 29, 2006
I am putting this post under this category because the others just didn’t seem to fit I have just a few questions but first some background.

This coming summer if all goes well I will break ground on a new home, the home will included a full wet basement and a number of built in aquariums, my first plan called for a single 4000 gallon reef tank but it wasn’t cost effective so I have redesigned to have four Tenecor U1320 tanks built into a island with solar tubes to provide natural sunlight that will be supplemented with standard MH/VHO aquarium lighting as needed, I have one tank for reef, one tank for FOWLR one for Aggressive fish and one unknown and that is where the questions come from, seeing I am in the design phase I can alter anything I want I was considering jelly fish for the last tank , Octopus/ Cuttlefish or a tank for sharks, skates and rays. I have a few books and I have read some FAQ’s and posts the only part about the care of feeding of Octopus, nautilus or cuttlefish is the very short life spawns it is very costly to have to replace the livestock every 12 to 18 months so let me give you the questions I have.

1. Is there a species of Octopus, nautilus or cuttlefish that lives years and not just months?
2. Suggestions on other sites to read or books to purchase I don’t mind doing research if you can point me in the right place.
3. I don’t really want to have a 1320 Gallon tank for just one critter what can co-exist with an Octopus, nautilus or cuttlefish.
4. What about a mated pair and raising them? A few sites have said they will fight but others say a mated pair would be okay.

Thank you in advanced

Hi Joe,

There really aren't any longer-lived cephs that are suitable for pets. Its more of an emotional consideration than a financial one, however: replacement cost is insignificant compared to the regular feeding costs!

While I, too, wish they'd live a few years, I try to view it as a blessing: over the next few years I can keep a variety of different animals (cuttlefish and plenty of different octopus species), and experience all their different personalities.

If you are seriously interested in having a ceph tank, you would probably want something a bit smaller than the 1320 gallons. Maybe keep that big tank for one of the reefs, but put a smaller tank in a cozy wall somewhere and plumb it into the system. Most readily-available octopuses would be very pleased with 150 gallons. You could also keep quite a school of dwarf cuttlefish.

The issue is I have four walls in my aquarium podium one tank on each wall, the tanks are designed into the walls to give the illusion that it is one massive tank instead of four smaller ones, the tanks are already purchased its just a matter of what to put in them, that is why I asked about critters that can live along side of Octopuses.
It seems like Sepia officinalis might be a possibility, too. A number of them can be kept in a large tank, and they can also live 2-3 years, and a few people have said that they tend to have "personality." But I agree with Dan that the cost of the ceph itself is nothing compared to the cost of feeding it.

Metasepia might be a possibility; Thales kept one for a while, but I think not much is known about keeping them healthy and happy, and if I remember correctly, there is some concern that people collecting them for the aquarium trade is a bad idea (either because it's not well known if their wild population is endangered, or because so little is known about caring for them that they frequently die even with the best care.)

Nautilus is generally believed to be a lousy pet-- although they do live longer than most cephs, they are not very active, they're hard to care for, they have a lot of requirements like chillers, and they really don't show any personality the way most cephs do.
Well I am new to this but I have been keeping reef tanks for years (my Anemone (Said to be hard to keep) is going on his third year in my tank, lets say I get the dwarf cuttles and feed them ghost shrimp and mysis at 23 cents each (price from one of the links here) how much can one eat 3 or 4 a day? just as a guess, I cluture my own Pods so I would try to do the same for what ever food it best for the critters. I have green water reactors for plankton so I have that base covered, I am torns between the Cuttles and skats and rays (I could spend a lifetime watching rays swim around)
Well, right now my wife and I are spending about $100 a month feeding two cuttlefish. We're using shore shrimp from Sach's that cost us about 50 cents each. The cuttlefish are less than half grown and can easily eat 3 or 4 a day. I suspect a full grown adult might eat more than 10 a day. At that point I hope to be feeding them crabs instead. If you live near the sea you might find live bait crustaceans to use.

The other thing is the short lifespan is to your benefit here if you're uncertain about what to put in the tank. You could buy some cuttles, keep them a year and then put rays in next if you don't want more cephs.

The aquarium room sounds most excellent. In college my housemates and I wrapped our living room in aquariums. Something tells me your setup is going to be much more attractive :smile:

Just as DHyslop said, if you live near the ocean, you can save HUGE costs by catching crustaceans yourself. After a surf session I'll spend 15 minutes at the tide pools and catch around 30 or so shore crabs for my octopus. Keep'em in a big bucket with an inch or 2 of saltwater and a few things for them to hide and climb on. My octo eats 1 or 2 a day so I'm good for 2 to 3 weeks.

There in lies the rub, I live in Milwaukie Oregon nearest beach would be newport 100 or so miles and all the tide pools have big signs about don't remove anything from them. but I don't mind tossing a 120G tank into the basement and raising food in it.
Tampa Aquarium kept Officinalis for 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 years when chilled. They said chilling made them live much longer. They are always out and entertaining in their exhibit.
The exhibit looked like a background of rocks with nothing living, but when you approached to try to find something in it, a cuttlefish would "appear" out of nowhere. Just like a Klingon warship decloaking. (Sorry, but that is the closest thing to something suddenly hovering before your eyes.) They would then wave their tentacles at you.


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