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Spookproofing, Salinity, and Temperature

Jan 27, 2005
Hello everyone,

I'm looking at buying a juvenile Sepia pharaonis very soon and have a few questions.

I'd like to "spookproof" my tank before I introduce the cuttle - what can I do to make the environment less stressfull and ink-jet-inducing and potentially butt-burning? Do I need to cover the back and sides of the tank? Is there some color that has a calming effect?

Also, I measured the salinity of the cuttle tank at the shop and it was 1.019, while mine reads 1.024. It's one of those plastic things and I'm not sure if it's accurate. If it's right, the shop's salinity is rather too low. If it's wrong, then mine's rather too high. The cuttle looks healthy and even rushes up to the glass in anticipation of being fed. How can I get a more accurate reading? And could the cuttle adjust to that much difference in salinity in a 30 minute mixing and acclimatization period?

Finally, I have no chiller on the tank and the temperature hovers at 80 to 81 degrees. I think this should be OK, though maybe lead to a faster growth rate. Any thoughts?

Usually cuttlefish don't live too long at these shops - a Bandensis came in 2 weeks ago and it soon died. Nobody knows much about them. What a pity!


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Jan 22, 2004
Huge pity.

A lot of LFS keep salinity low to help fight parasites or infection in fish - if they are keeping sg low, they may be running copper as well. Either of these actions are not great for inverts.

For the sides of the tank, green or blue would prolly work well, but I don't think it is that important.
Salinity should be NSW values. I would calibrate your swing arm hydrometer with a reftactrometer, then you aren't guessing so much. :biggrin2:
I think your temp is a little high, but should be fine.

IME, bandensis actually ship pretty well, and I am becoming more and more convinced that these animals just aren't being treated well in the dance to the LFS. :biggrin2:
Jun 16, 2005

I read study done in Thailand on farming these cuttles for commercial purposes. The studies seem to suggest that they have on average an 8 month or so life span, however at 80 degrees it can be shortened to as little as 4 months. They reach sexual maturity faster and die young. On the up side, have you tried running some fans over your system, or maybe some very subdued lighting will help bring down the temp without a chiller. At least a couple of things to experiment with. :mrgreen:
Jan 27, 2005
Righty, I suspect that the salinity really is low at the shop which probably means the cuttle will not last too long there. I'll look into the refractometer. I'm concerned my lights are too bright too. My plan is to outfit some small fans over the tank and the sump for an evaporative cooling effect, or last resort make a DIM "refrigerator cooler".

Anyway I tested some water last night and found:

Copper: 0
Ammonia: 0.22 mg/L !
Nitrite: 0.2 mg/L
Nitrate: 10 ppm
pH: 8.5

So I'll not be getting anything too soon! I was a little unrealistic about my cycling time I guess. I've currently got two horseshoe crabs in there. Should I be trying to export that ammonia, or just let it cycle through?

Oh, Reef-Maharani, I'm in touch with that Aquaculture Research Station, and they told me to cantact them again in August. May be able to get some baby Pharoahs! perhaps I should just wait until then?


Dec 22, 2004
After some of the other threads, it's good to hear that someone can (or is willing to?) recognize themselves where they are in the cycle! I think the importance of having a mature tank is too often underestimated--I was still getting blooms of various algaes two months after the tank completely cycled, which in itself was maybe five weeks after it was set up. I understand why people recommend three months when the ammonia and nitrite levels are back at nil in half that time.

Good luck if you try a fridge-chiller. I don't have any plans to make one but I've looked into it quite a bit because I like building stuff like that. It seems like the best thing to do is to is to have a bucket of water in the fridge that that the circulation coils should sit in to optimize the heat transfer (ie, you're going to get cold a lot faster in a 50 degree pool then 50 degree air!). Some people go real high tech with this and use a thermostat to control the pump. Others say the system is too inefficient and isn't too worthwhile.

Nov 22, 2004
I would try to get the temp down to around 75 which is about what I keep mine at. How big is your tank pharaonis get large ~12in. The average life span is 9 months if everything goes good.


TONMO Supporter
Mar 15, 2003
I would just like to say, here, "thank you very much !" to all of you for posting on this thread. It really is a much needed breath of fresh air !!!

My experince with DIY chillers is that they are "ok", but nowhere near as good as the commercially available ones, and to be honest, by the time you add up all that you have spent making your own, you could have bought one for about another hundred bucks.

Best ! greg


TONMO Supporter
Nov 14, 2002
here here...

Also, the price of aquarium chillers like aquamedic titans has really came down recently

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