• 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.

Why is there so little info about squidkeeping?

Jan 10, 2020
Portland, Or
Sorry if I posted this to the wrong sub-forum, I wasn’t sure where else it would go.

In my deep dive of cephalopod keeping, I’ve noticed that the main focuses have been octopuses and cuttlefish, heck I’m even seeing more and more articles about keeping nautiluses in the home aquarium, despite being very difficult to raise.

However I’m noticing a huge lack of info on keeping smaller squid species. Why is this? Are they notoriously difficult to care for? Under-appreciated and overshadowed by their octopus brethren? I love these animals and would be interested in knowing how to take care of one.
Hi @Sanatana, good question! (FYI I've moved this to the Exotics & Rare Species forum, with a redirect from the original forum (Octopus Care)).

Since squid are pelagic, and are also mostly very good swimmers, a home tank (or even a public aquarium) typically will not suffice. Although cuttlefish, and especially nautilus, are found in the water column, they are not particularly aggressive swimmers. Octopuses are benthic and typically found on the sea bed.

There was a time when @Steve O'Shea attempted to keep juvenile squid in a cylindrical tank, with the idea of releasing them once raised (this was a precursor to attempting this with Architeuthis. Although he did observe a larval specimen, the project never fully materialized. That's my recollection of it, anyhow! :squid:
With exceptions for Euprymna genus bobtail squid species, the only squid that I'm aware of at this point that has been kept really successfully is the Bigfin Reef Squid, Sepioteuthis lessoniana, and they require some very large tanks to keep.
Are they notoriously difficult to care for?
In captivity, yes - in addition to the pelagic lifestyle, squid are also known for running into the walls of their tanks and injuring themselves. If they're startled, they can jet into the walls and accidentally kill themselves that way; otherwise, they can rub against the sides of the tank and cause lesions which lead to infections and death, etc.

Cylindrical tanks are known for being beneficial for species that swim a lot (most squids) and for helping squids avoid rubbing on/bashing into the walls too intensively.

Anyway, most squids are not terribly well suited for being kept in tanks. The Bigfin Reef Squid is noted as being less mobile unless they're stressed (good for minimizing the necessary tank size), and it's noted that it can use its fins to swim slowly or stay still in the water; both of these factors help them avoid colliding with/rubbing against he walls of the tank and make them a better candidate for keeping than many other squid species (they've been kept in rectangular tanks successfully).

I'm sure there are some small squid species out there that could make good candidates for keeping (as long as they could survive the shipping process), but the market for them is likely too niche (both commercially and on the hobbyist side of things) to make it a profitable endeavor to take the time to find them and catch them for sale.

As far as small squids/squid-like creatures are concerned, the best I'm aware of for hobbyists at this point are likely the Euprymna species bobtail squids, but I'm not sure where hobbyists can buy them anymore. The next best option are cuttlefish, which are available, but still can be tough to come by.

All of that said, them being under-appreciated and overshadowed likely plays a big role in the lack of information.
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