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thinking of setting up a tank


O. vulgaris
Jan 22, 2008
Okay so I'm thinking of getting back into the SW hobby and I was always interested in keeping cephs so I'm considering making the jump. I haven't been in the hobby in about 6ish years now and will be starting from scratch. Has there been any major changes with keeping cephs in this time? I live in an apartment so my tank can't be huge, was thinking at most 40gallons. Cuttlefish seem to be the best bet, but was wondering on your guys' opinions on keeping cuttlefish vs octos? What is the daily maintenance like? I am interested in the hobby for a reason to spend time on it lol, but I am a bit busy and don't want to spend hours a day on my tank. I will obviously be doing a lot of research and I'm just in the planning stages now, but how different is keeping cephs to anything else in SW? I know the tank needs cycled properly and I need good equipment/filtration to keep the water on point.

Any pointers/things to think about/links/information would be very helpful. I just came on here to post this, I'm going to start looking around and catching back up on reading.

thanks in advance.


Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
With the short lived nature of cephs you might want to consider building out a warm water tank that can support either cuttles or octopus. The primary difference in the setup would be the need for a secured top (for octopus and could be added later but acquiring a tank that would easily accommodate a top might be a consideration). To be able to keep either, you will also need to consider tankmates. Some low stinging corals may be kept with cuttles where there are very few that are either safe for or safe around octopuses.

My primary focus is on octopuses so I will send you the a collection of links for beginning octo keepers, here. For cuttle (as well as octo) care, reading over some of the journals should give you a feel for the care requirements. Since an octopus will be wild caught the age (and thus its longevity) and species will be unknown (note the, Box of Chocolates, post. The upside is that they usually take to frozen foods rapidly and IF it survives the first 2 weeks, it will likely live out its natural lifespan in the aquarium. Feeding regimes vary among keepers and as seldom as 3 times a weeks has been successful (I feed smaller amounts daily, fasting one day a week as the animal ages).

One of the down sides of keeping cuttles is the initial cost and time needed after the eggs hatch (most cuttlefish will be purchased as eggs). They need live mysid shrimp for roughly the first month+. Mysid are difficult to keep alive (they are cannibalistic) over an extended period and often have to be ordered weekly/every 2 weeks and fed multiple times a day. Once they are large enough to eat bigger foods and once a day meals, the challenge to get them eating frozen can be frustrating (if you want them to breed, live foods MAY be needed throughout). The upside is that you know the age and may have them a bit longer than wild caught octopuses.

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