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EMeyer

Dwarf cuttlefish tank

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Finally got around to taking some video of my dwarf cuttlefish and thought I'd share.

I've had the tank running about 6 months, the cuttlefish themselves are about 3 months old now. The display tank is a 29 gal with macroalgae and soft corals. It drains to a 20 long sump + macroalgal refugium, and the return pump also feeds a 20 long shrimp refugium. I have very light skimming (a skimmer from an old biocube) but all this live rock and macroalgae keeps the nutrients in check so far. /crosses fingers

Here are pictures of the cuttlefish a few days after hatching. (eggs from bluezooaquatics) Currently I have 4 of these, plan to thin down to 3 as they grow.

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Here they are now, at about 3 months old

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They share the tank with macro algae, soft corals, and the few inverts they wont eat

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A video of the cuttlefish from a week or so ago

A video of the cuttlefish feeding, today

Here are the display tank, shrimp refugium, and sump/macro refugium. Return pump in sump feeds both the DT and shrimp tanks, and these both drain back to macro refrugium/sump.

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On 6/10/2017 at 7:35 PM, EMeyer said:

 

"the few inverts they wont eat"

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"inverts cuttlefish will tolerate" .... turns out thats right up there with "hold my beer and watch this". That crab was about 4x the size of the cuttlefish but that just means he took longer to eat.

Heres an updated video of some color changing and staring down the camera. 

 

Edited by EMeyer

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Update time! No pics close at hand but what a story. I'll fill in some pics and vids later. Since my last update:

First, they reached reproductive maturity and things got complicated. Turns out I had 3 males and one female left. Which was exactly 2 males too many. One disappeared completely, its unclear who ate him but I only found his beak. Not even the cuttlebone! Another weak male I rescued after he took a beating, but he died shortly after from his wounds. 

After that, the strong male and only female settled down to domestic tranquility and behaved like a strongly pair-bonded couple. They had funny interactions during feeding and were more or less attached at the hip... err, mantle? They mated constantly, and produced 11 batches of eggs over the next couple months. Sadly, I was unable to get any to hatch. Not sure what the issue was, since I have good luck with purchased eggs. I will note that none of these homegrown eggs plumped up as much as the purchased ones... perhaps there were fertility issues?

In any case, what came next was a surprise.

It all started with a sea urchin. This MFer was constantly messing up the tank, and one Saturday morning he was up to his tricks tearing up mushroom and zoas. So I stuck my hand in the tank (what comes next is never good) to grab the urchin and scared the female cuttle. She darted across the tank... face first into the anemone.

This is nominally Calliactis polypus, the symbiotic anemone found on hermit crabs. Funny enough, the remaining male had long ago eaten the hermit crab himself but his anemones remained...

I immediately brushed her out of the anemone, within seconds, but her fate was sealed. She suffered from intense poisoning over the next 4+ hours, and eventually succumbed. It seemed like a neurotoxin (she basically acted really really drunk) so I held out hope she might recover in my hospital tank but alas, it was too much. Powerful sting, that little anemone. RIP.

Minutes after I removed her from the tank her mate swam to the top, obviously looking for her. That night he refused to eat. And for the next 2 days. On the third day I bought some live food ( a rare treat, I'd had them on frozen krill for months)... but he had passed on. He floated there in his hiding spot, still neutrally buoyant, but dead.

Its an anecdote, with no control. But these animals have intense behavior and personality that I would rate nearly on par with dogs. I watched the behavior and it truly looked like a pair bond followed by death of a broken heart.

There is biological precedent for this but I am unaware of another example in invertebrates. So call me cold hearted or easily distracted by shiny hypotheses, but we are gonna actually do the experiment to see if this is a thing. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I couldnt resist and bought some more eggs which promptly hatched and have just eaten their first meal. pics to come. But I figured the story was worth sharing on its own :)

Edited by EMeyer
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Sorry to hear about your mated pair but fascinating story/behavior.  Thanks for sharing.... looking forward to hearing how things turn out with the second batch. 

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Amazing experience, thanks for sharing.  That would be a fun thing to try some day...  Sorry for your losses...

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