• 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.

THAI CUTTLES - ID and Preparation

Jan 27, 2005
Hello everyone, I've been lurking and now here I am.

I live in Bangkok, Thailand and have discovered a local market with an aquarium section, offering live cuttlefish. The cuttles are about $10 US and they get them regularly.

For years, I've wanted to set up a tank and keep one - now I can! If it doesn't do well, or grows too big, I have the option of releasing it. But I'd like to do this right, so any advice for a first-timer setting up a tank? And how to go about about identifying the species? The people at the shop don't know much about it.


Hi and welcome to TONMO.com! :welcome:

That's quite an opportunity you have! You'll need to identify the species to know how large a tank you'd need to keep them in.

Perhaps you could take a photo of the cuttlefish and post it here. Or, find cuttlefish photos on the web to compare. There are some species listed under
Ceph Base

It's quite common that the salespeople have no idea what species they're selling, so we have to work hard to figure it out.

Looks like Sepia pharaonis....

Thanks for the warm welcome!

Looks like a juvenile Sepia pharaonis, exactly.

Damn, they get big..... I was thinking a tank for the youngster, and then have to see about releasing it when it gets supersize!

- Michael
Welcome, Michael! When I read the subject, I thought you were preparing the cuttles to eat. :lol: Your plan to keep the cuttle until it's too big is exciting.

Cuttles are social, they seem to live in groups. Would a cuttle that has been caught would be able to live with a group that it wasn't born into? If you have a tank with other cuttles, would you be able to introduce a new one?

Pharaonis are captive bred in Thailand for food i believe, probably where the cuttle would have come from. Do note that they grow big very quickly, they get from baby size to 45cm in 9 months
9 months is still a long time though! in all you might have it for 5 before it is too big

still better than someone else who has no idea - read collins article on this site...before u buy a cutle and also read err... anoother great article - cant remember just do a search...its called cuttlefish husbandry!

cuttles sometimes live in small groups (mestus for example is almost always in pairs) and i believe they hang out under overhangs in groups but apart from that they are fine on their own and can be quite solitary i believe - just from observation - i could be wrong but such a food demanding thing would hunt better by itself?
Impatience and Cuttlefish

Thanks for everyone's help.

The market now has two young Pharoahs on offer, about 4 inches and 4.5 inches. They look to be in good health, but I have not seen them eat. The larger tends to follow the smaller one around, flashing zebra patterns (not very aggressively) while the smaller puts on a barred camoflage pattern and hunkers down a bit. I don't want to get two males, is there a way to tell this from behavior?

OK and that's the other thing. The shop insists that a marine tank can be cycled quickly with some bacterial additives, and be ready for the cuttles in a week. Have I missed some advance in aquarium technology or is this indeed BS sales tactics?

Anyway I'm looking into protein skimmers and filters and such, and would appreciate any recommendations on like a website or forum or FAQ that explains how to set those things up, etc.


Definitely bullshit! lol - i did no cycling with mine but that was because i used the undisturbed plenum substrated and biomedia which was kept moist and all the original liverock and i also took all 700 litres of water (the tank was second hand previously set up for 2 years so the move was done in one day and set back up as it was - minus the extremely badly painted doors...lol)

its a good idea to see if theyll eat but perhaps they would have a better chance in ur tank than the shop tank so u might be best to buy them reguardless - only my opinion, if u want to be sure though u should wait... but this is all beside the point dont buy anything before u have cycled for a few months!!! - i dont really have an opinion on skimmer apart from a big one - as far as quality you get what u pay for - it sounds like they are indeed both male as i doubt it was a 'mating dance' if they are so small... though i dont really know (did they line up next to each other?) it sounds as though one was being submissive so am confused!! perhaps avoiding conflict if they are in the same tank?

biological additives are debatable as to wether or not they work at all i believe they cant do any harm though perhaps i wouldnt use them so much if i had to pay the full hefty price (i get them for production price through a friend)

dont buy anything now - set up a large skimmer and cycle and cycle - be patient then buy the cuttles and corals and stuff - good luck
if they lined up next to each other they were probably male but if one was submitting i dunno - i guess it didnt want to get hurt was it much smaller?
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