Winkin, Blinkin and Nod

DWhatley

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Thales,
This little guy only fed at night so I rarely saw him eating. I put varying quantities in the tank each night and watched to see how many were alive the next night. Six has been a consistent number for about a month with an occassional live one left. The shrimp are between 1/2 to 3/4 inches in length (cuttle mantle length of about 1 inch). There is a large peppermint shrimp (roughly 2 inches) in the tank as well but it was never attacked and I have only seen it eat dead. I know they will gang up on small fish if there is more than one but I don't think it was eating the smaller shrimp or attacking the cuttle (this rock is prone to aptasia and the pep keeps it controlled well). I would see the cuttle "touching" the cyclop-eeze when he was younger but had reduced feeding to only a small amount as the shrimp were being eaten and he stopped coming up to the cave front when I would put the pipette near the opening.

Stirring the sand and replacing 90 percent of the water has reduced the nitrates to almost 0 (as detected by my strips, not a reagents test and not an absolute test). The rock has been in the tank for several years but the substrate and filtration were replace 7-8 months ago (the cuttles have always been in this tank, even when in a net breeder). I am not fully convinced it was the water but I am at a loss to point to anything else. My last batch of shrimp did not ship well and there is a possiblity that the high death rate was due to pollution rather than heat but none of my other critters have shown a reaction (5 month old octopuses and adult dwarf lion fish). I wish George had been more successful with the captive raised shrimp out west. All shrimp, (this includes the ones from Mike at livebrineshirmp.com) I can find on the East coast are harvested in Florida from brackish water and there is always a possibility of pollution. At different times of the year there are obvious parasites on some of them but lately I have seen very few (some years they are excessive). I have started keeping them in an antibacterial but put them in a plain salt tank for at least 24 hours before feeding.
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
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Hmmm. Not sure what I think about it. I don't think it was the water, and I don't think it was the shrimp.

The main thing I do differently is I make sure to see them all eat once a day. I get worried that if I don't see them eat, they may not - even if shrimp are missing. It is possible that the peppermint was eating the smaller shrimp and the cuttle wasn't getting any. Really hard to tell though.

Sorry again,

Rich
 

DWhatley

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Thales,
That did occur to me but the pep COULDN'T eat that many shrimp each night for a month.

I did notice a behavior pattern change towards being recluse about a week before. It may not be important but the one that died last month was a recluse from the beginning (or at least I think that is the one that died) so the behavior change may have been a warning that something was wrong. I just don't know what the something was - very frustrating.

Do you add extra calcium to your cuttle tanks? I always add some to my top off water but supplement my smaller reef with additional because of the clam. It occurred to me that the cuttlebone is most likely high in calcium and that the cuttles may need more than normal fish, especially as babies.
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
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However the pep could kill that many shrimps a night. Some shrimps are very territorial and will kill any other new shrimps.

I don't add anything to the cuttle system. The cuttle system is actually my easiest system to maintain. My water changes come from skimming wet rather than doing actual water changes.

Your situation is very frustrating. Grrr.
 

DWhatley

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Thales,
One thing I forgot to mention, THE reason I knew something was up with my cuttle is that there WERE shrimp (and still are) swimming in the tank. Definitely NOT the pep.

I do have a mithrax crab in there, any chance he could have been a problem?
 
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:sad: So sorry to hear about your last cuttle. It is possible that this animal had some other issue (maybe an infection or parasite) that had nothing to do with your care of him. It is also possible that it was one of those animals that would not have survived in the wild because of some congenital problem and you prolonged its life because of your care.
 

DWhatley

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Thanks Cuttlegirl,
I have made enough mistakes at this stage to want to learn from them and the frustrating part about my little guys is that I don't know why I lost them (the first one I am comfortable with but not the other two). It is bad enough to be sad over the loss but without a why, I don't feel comfortable trying again.
 

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