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Sepia Bandesis In a 34g?


Blue Ring
Jun 7, 2011
Looking at possibly keeping a few sepia bandesis. The tank I have open right now is a RSM 130 (34g). I currently have a TLF Phosban 150 reactor running rowaphos and a bunch of sponges and filter socks for mechanical filtration.
I also have a bag of activated carbon hanging in the overflow. I am hoping to setup a small DIY refuge soon for macro and live foods. Would it be better to get a skimmer or a powerfilter for these guys?The tank usually runs around 75-77F. The temp is controlled by a heater in the overflow.

My plan, if I do decide to keep cuttles, would be to order a batch of around 5eggs from nyaquatics.com (reputable place? I couldnt find anywhere else that sold bandesis eggs). In the end, Im hoping ot only keep two cuttles in the tank. I will order five in case of dud eggs or dead newborns:sad: I will have them in a small breeder net until they are around 1 inch in growth and then I will release them.

Im planning on releasing a bunch of copepods in the breeder net for the first few weeks after they hatch and slowly add mysids until they are all eating around 4 mysids a day. Then, after about 1 month or so, I will start to feed shore and ghost shrimp and hopefully each will be eating about 2 a day. After about 1.5 months, I will hand off any extra cuttles if I have more than three to my LFS. From then, I will hopefully be able to sex the remaining and find a male and female to keep in the DT and give the 3rd (if there is one) to my LFS. From around 2 months, I will start going to the store and buying fresh shrimp, crab, etc and try to wean them on to that. I would do 2 feedings a day with the fresh seafood. I would also occasionally throw in some live shrimp for them so they can keep their hunting skills up to par.

As for maintenance, I would most likely do a 25% w/c once a week.

For aquascaping, I would make a few caves and arches but have a lot of the tank devoted to swimming room for them. The tank has been running for almost a year now with LR and LS so I wont have to cycle or anything. I also wont have any corals so I can focus just on the cuttles. I will also probably has some blue leg hermits (once the cuttles are larger), nassarius snails, and turbo snails for a CUC, and hunting for the cuttles. Ill also make sure there arent any sharp rocks that the cuttles could cut themselves on.

Now for questions. What should the flow in the tank be? There are 2 built-in powerheads in the RSM. Do the cuttles like low or high flow? I could not use either of the powerheads and buy another for medium flow if them prefer that.
And what kind of lighting do they like? The stock lighting for the tank is 2 55w CF bublbs, though I can swap them out for 65w CF bulbs if they would prefer that.

Does this all sound good?
I'm not a cuttle expert but from what i under stand a 34 g shoudl support two adult cuttle fish just fine, but no more. other than that from what i knpow that setup sounds fine. i think the stock flow should be fine for them as well as the stock lighting.

25% waterchange every week maybe a little excessive. I typically top off weekly and a small 25% water change monthly. and a larger change every 4 - 6 months.

I THINK, remember i'm not a cuttle keeper, but i think that only live mysid are recommended for feeding in the beginning, so i'm unsure of the coepods being a good starter food.
As with CaptFish, I am an octo keeper and have followed the cuttle forums regularly. Pod and brine have not been successful for keeping the new hatch animals alive. The ONLY food that has been consistently successful has been live mysis. Keepers have had better longevity success buying the initially more expensive (but less expensive in the long run) aquacultured animals over the wild caught. There are discussions on sources for both in the Food for Cephs subforum

Live food is a must in the beginning - and live food throughout their lives is probably best (and expensive, but then you know that this is not an inexpensive hobby). 34 gallons is fine for about the first 5 months or so - that's when I moved mine to a 55 gallon, they seemed a little cramped in my 29 gallon. I had 3 in a 55 gallon - 2 females and 1 male.
Well I'm back! In the end, money was tight, so the tank ended up getting turned into a FOWLR.

But now, I'm rethinking cuttles.

I was thinking of doing a 40g breeder. Now here's the dilemma. Though the tank won't (if at all) be setup for a while. But, no matter when, I doubt raising them from eggs is in the budget due to the rigorous first month of feeding. I have summer school all this summer, so I couldn't get a job (I'm in high school) until next summer.

I was hoping to find a pair that is just big enough to take small fiddlers and shore shrimp. I can afford to feed 2 shrimp or 2 fiddlers a day to each (is that enough?).

My only other question is, is a sump necessary with these? I know it is with octos since there would be no other place to put equipment since the octopuses would try to escape. I know that a sump makes it easier, but could I just use an HOB skimmer? If I could, it would probably save me a while of earning money which would be nice.

And also, does anyone here or online sell "teenage" S. bandesis?
it's not to common to see cuttlefish for sale online or in stores becouse they don't ship well and the eggs are much easier to collect and ship, blue zoo has them sometimes but thats just when the eggs they have in stock hatch and then if they survive shipping they still need to be fed live mysids.
i have hopes of breeding and posibly selling some "teenage" cuttlefish hopefuly geting them to eat frozen mysis by 2-3 months old so the buyer can still have them for 9-10 months but i would only sell them localy becouse of shipping problems, before i can make that happen i need to get a system to breed mysis shrimp up and runing
Dr. Jai Dwivedi of Marine Biomedical Technologies quoted me for shipping live cuttles. He said he has been shipping live cuttles for years and he said they are highly successful at it (he said the only couple of issues they have ever had was when FedEx messed up). You can try sending him an email (linked here), maybe he can send you some that are old enough to eat the live foods that are readily available to you. JD said he can also ship out cuttles that are eating frozen. If I had only wanted a couple of cuttles, I would have tried this route (they are about the cost each of aquacultured live seahorses). Since I wanted 8 or so, however, it was more cost effective to start with eggs (I also am glad to have the experience).

I think you will be OK with two S. Bandensis in a 40G breeder but you will likely have issues with two males. You will need nearly pristine water quality but I would think a 40G breeder with a high-quality HOB skimmer and dual reactors with GAC (carbon) and GFO (phosphate reducer) and plenty of live rock and live sand to handle nitrates should be OK (on my seahorse tank, I have a biopellet reactor without the GFO reactor and it has so far kept nitrates and phosphates at 0). You will also need a cuttle proof clean-up-crew (I recommend (blue legged) hermit crabs, a brittlestar, and snails -- no shrimp). And you will need frequent water changes (25% per month at least - that is what currently works for me).

My primary caution is around costs. The fact is that cuttles are an expensive pet. Keeping these animals on a budget is a challenge unless you live next to a marine body of water that provides for abundant live food. I find it strange that people don't give more advice about the cost of things, so here's my two cents:

Two cuttles shipped will run you about $200. The best case scenario is that they are old enough that and are already transitioned to a larger frozen food. Each cuttle will will require about 1-2 shrimp per day. From costco, the 2lb bag of 31/40 count shrimp (not sure that is the right size) is about $15, or about $0.40-$0.48 each. Let's call that $1.00/day. For 2 cuttles, that's $2/day or $60/month on food. That does not include the other costs of maintaining a saltwater tank with high quality water (cost of media and water changes). You could easily be looking at $100+/month to maintain and feed these cuttles. ANd since they live for a year or so, this is a ~12 month commitment Your total cash outlay would be your initial $200 investment plus the ~$100/month for 12 months, or $1400 in the year you have the cuttles.

Of course, if you live near a marine body of water to supplement with live foods you catch yourself and you have a means to mitigate the costs of a saltwater tank (e.g., a parent who has his or her own tank so you don't need to pay for most of your maintenance) then the cost can be substantially cheaper. I don't mean to discourage this, but cuttles are a more advanced sea creature and expensive to keep, so it's best to go into this with your a good foundation of the costs involved.

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