• 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.

Sepia Bandensis - First Round

Dec 22, 2009
Hi there!
Wanted to share my first Sepia bandensis experience, and will probably have some questions as well.

I was fortunate enough to get some cuttlefish Sunday evening. Huge special thanks to Rick of New England Aquarium Service and The University of New England.
I will keep a log book and hopefully be able to gain and share any knowledge regarding rearing and raising these. Likely species is Sepia bandensis (Dwarf Cuttlefish) but that will have to be determined as I believe these eggs were wild caught.

Started with 3 hatchlings and a small clutch of eggs in Biddeford, ME this evening. When I got home and acclimating, 2 more hatched, and as you can see in a picture, there is at least 1 more visible inside the egg.

I used a 2.5 gal tank and installed a 1" bulkhead in one end, 1/2" of aged, sw rinsed sand and macro algae, and set the tank inside the sump on a stable, 130g system, with:
temp. of 78'
Alk 8.8dkh
Ca 360 ppm
pH 8.2
NO3 0 ppm
Tank is fed water via the Carbon reactor outlet at a very low rate.

Drip acclimated cuttlefish for about 1 hour. In bag and during acclimation they were somewhat active and a couple were changing color - white / clear to red or rust color. Color changes were nearly instant and somewhat pulsating. After they were in their tank, they settled down and appear to be pretty inactive at the moment.

For first foods, there are about 20 - 1/16" - 3/8" amphipods, 50 or so 1/8" isopods, and maybe 200 Tigger Pods. I started a new batch of bbs - for the pods to munch on and ordered 100 mysis (small species - up to 1/4") from Sachs Aquaculture. I hope to be able to produce enough bbs to feed the mysids and get them on their 14 day breeding cycle and to keep separating the young to keep these going. Basic plan is to wean off of live mysis to frozen / PE mysis by putting in a few live ones along with dead ones and as dead ones tumble slightly they will be eaten.


  • conv_304111.jpg
    70.8 KB · Views: 171
  • conv_304110.jpg
    49.5 KB · Views: 209
See the cuttle inside the egg? Look directly below the tweezers tips. Healthy dose of tigger pods.


  • conv_295746.jpg
    49 KB · Views: 153
  • conv_295747.jpg
    42.4 KB · Views: 177
From this morning, a tank shot and real bad shot through a magnifying glass.


  • conv_295748.jpg
    50.9 KB · Views: 180
  • conv_295749.jpg
    55.4 KB · Views: 145
I'm pretty excited to see 3 of the 6 eat this evening. When I got home today, I shook 2 chaeto clumps in a bucket with 3" of water in it, sieved out the pods - mostly amphipods, and put them in the tank. Then I got comfortable on the floor and just stared at them for 20 - 30 minutes. The adult pods seem way too big and the cuttles just move out of their way when contact is made. The really small amphi's and adult iso's must be perfect size as I watched the cuttle rear up, color up, then strike. The first two strikes were misses, then the same two had successful catches. I was beaming! Right after the catch, they would remain a dark red color for a few minutes. One of the same nabbed an isopod up against the glass, then a 3rd cuttle caught a very small amphipod. Their catching tentacles are about as long as their body and pretty fast.
I went to a 40b w/ sump and pulled the chaeto ball out of that and rinsed in a bucket, and this was like hitting the jackpot for iso's and amphi's. I put all the adult amphi's back and put the rest in cuttle tank, so there should be plenty of food for a little while (should have live mysids tomorrow evening)
The foods they are taking right now are 1/16" or less and they seem to ignore anything bigger. I added a small portion of bbs in attempt to possibly give pods something nutritious to eat. I've also set up a bbs (cookie jar) for feeding the mysids and been stocking that as well. One person on TONMO didn't get his mysids alive / in time, and fed a few adult bs while adding frozen mysis and got his on frozen foods that way, so I might as well have them on hand.
So here is one question I have. Are the eggs all fertilized at the same time? Any reason why there are still a few that have not hatched? The one I can see through the egg looks to be fully developed. Should I attempt a manual extraction (C- Section), or just leave it be?

Thank you,

The eggs might not have been laid at the same time (or even by the same female). My female laid eggs over a period of months and often laid them in the same place in my tank, so you could have variation in the eggs. Just hang in there, it is best to leave it be.
Thank you,

Will do.
Only a couple eggs left look inflated, the others are somewhat shriveled or wrinkled.
Another question I have that I could not readily find an answer to - What should be my target Alkalinity in dKH, and Calcium levels? Sunday I measured 8.8dKH and 360ppm Ca.

Dec. 26:
Noticing that these are a little light shy. W/ fuge lights on this morning, I had to look for them. 10 minutes or so after the fuge lights went out I took this picture (using flash).
I think the pods tend to crawl around on the macro algae and feel safer doing so then being on the sand. Obviously a huge false sense of security.
There were at least 8 or 10 mysid in there yesterday morning. I couldn't find 1 this morning. I think the cuttles' hunting and capturing skills are getting better.

Still wondering about target Alk. and Ca. levels. Any experience here?


  • conv_295757.jpg
    53.1 KB · Views: 152
Inverts do not have a target alkalinity and calcium level. They are not effected by them. That being said if your parameters are way out of wack and you adjust them too quickly the ph will shift too quick and that will effect the cuttlefish.

If you're keeping them without corals then whatever your salt mix mixes too will be fine. Without corals you will not notice a drop very quickly. Any changes in levels should be effectively replenished with regular water changes. Just stick to IO or whatever is cheapest unless they are in a full blown reef.
Flow for the cuttles

Im just wondering how much current-flow you have in your cuttle tank???? Are your baby cuttles always swiming? or just hanging out on the bottom???
Thank you for those answers. The system the cuttles are kept in is a 130g tot. frag farm. I do run Ca reactor. As for the current in the 2.5g I would guess at maybe 70 - 80 gph - not very much. There is flow in there though. Just enough to slightly crater the substrate under the fill tube. The babies appear to mostly just lay there. I can see slight movement of the macro algaes. The babies do swim around occasionally - seems mostly in lower light.
Their stalking and capturing technique is much more refined now. They don't miss much anymore.

One important observation though. I keep reading that they won't eat for the first week or so. I found this is not exactly true. I witnessed a 2 - 3 day old strike at food. It was live a tigger pod. These are extremely hardy and easy to culture. Now at 10 - 12 days old, they are still taking them, and mysis, and very small amphipods. Tigger pod size as adult probably around 1500um. I'm thinking these are better first foods than mysids as they are smaller and taken sooner.

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.