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Old 11/15/2007, 01:15 AM
richofoz richofoz is offline
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Location: Melbourne Aus.
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Advice on Flamboyant cuttlefish?

I currently have a 6'x18"x18" reef tank and would love to keep a flamboyant cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi).
The only fish in the tank is a volitans lion of aprox 3"
Will these guys get along?
A friend has been hassling me me for the lion so I can move him if necesary.
I can't find a great deal on keeping them in an aquarium so any info at all would be appreciated. Especially social behaviour...
(I do know they are very poisonous)
Thanks for any help, rich.
Old 11/15/2007, 08:08 AM
Pea-brain Pea-brain is offline
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The lion will most likely try to eat the cuttle. I also wouldn't keep a flamboyant in a reef tank. They seem well suited to the aquarium, but unfortunately their wild populations may be very low. I would wait until we get some breeders successfully breeding them.

This laughter is ill-informed!

"Sanity? What would I do with something as useless as that?"
Old 11/15/2007, 08:54 PM
richofoz richofoz is offline
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Thanks for the reply dan. Can I ask why you wouldn't keep it in a reef tank? I'm happy to pass on the Lion to a friend if that's the prob...
The reason I even considered one is because they are showing up on the wholesale lists over here in Aus and I'm a sucker for strange pets...
I keep mantis shrimp, Tarantula, giant centipedes, a dingo, a raven...
Why not a miniscule poisonous color changing cephlapod!
Old 11/16/2007, 01:56 AM
Echidna09 Echidna09 is offline
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Location: Sandy, UT
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I doubt the Lionfish would try to eat the cuttlefish at the size it is. However I would not recommend the combination because the cuttle might try to eat the lionfish, and that would not end up good. Another thing is cuttlefish have sensitive skin so if the lionfish got angry and decided to go into sting mode, the cuttle would stand less of a chance than a regular fish.

I do not recommend you purchase a flamboyant cuttlefish. From my math, your tank is roughly 150-180 US gallons. I could be a little off, but I think that's about ballpark. Flamboyant's maximum size is 8 cm, which equals to between two and three inches. Unless you plan a group, a 3 inch maximum for virtually the only inhabitant in that big of a tank is in my opinion a waste of space. You can try out a group, though you need to remember that they can and do cannibalize and you may not end up with what you started with. Cannibalism can usually be avoided if they are raised from a young age together, fed non-cephy foods (no squid), or have a large tank- which would be your case. I still would not put it past them to at least fight.

Next is toxicity. I did read somewhere that Flamboyants are believed to be toxic producing something similar to TTX. I don't believe that any further research has been done on the topic, so it is not even known for sure if they are toxic or not.

Finally, like Pea-brain mentioned, the wild populations are not known of this species. It is in a similar boat as mimic and wonderpus octopuses. Though they are offered (usually at an extremely high price, low chance of survival, and being collected toward the end of their lives anyway), most people do not find it ethical to buy one and it is frowned upon by most cephalopod keepers as well. If Australia is getting them in- and people are buying them- it is just a matter of time until they make their way to America, where there will be a bigger demand and more casual keepers that don't know the first thing about keeping this animal wanting to get one. Also, and this is directed toward Pea-brain, breeders have to get their animals from somewhere, so just waiting around for one to try to breed these guys could take forever. Then you aren't even guaranteed that they will be successful and there is disappointment.

Anywho... I would go with a different species than M. Pfefferi. S. Bandensis is a great one to go with. They stay small as well so you would want a group. A bigger cuttle should do fine in your tank too though, like [I]S. Officinalis, S. Pharaonis, or S. Apama. I do not know of availability over in Australia, but I would guess that at least S. Apama should be able to be special ordered.

Hope I helped.
Old 11/16/2007, 08:58 PM
richofoz richofoz is offline
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Thanks echidna. I've done a little bit of research as to what's available over here and the two that are most commonly available are S.apama (Which I assumed would grow too big for my tank, The Melbourne aquarium has some on display that looked to be 2 feet long!)
I also thought they were temperate as they are found in huge numbers off the south coast of Aus where it gets pretty cold

Or S. latimanus which is also quite large

One option I have found is Sepia mestus. (Reaper cuttle) Does anyone know anything about these? They are commonly found on north east Aus reefs.

My tank is 6'x18"x18" so I'm assuming I don't want a species that is likely to grow to more than about 15" in length?

S. pfefferi is not uncommon across the top third of australia. Part of the reason I was interested in such a small cuttle was the potential to eventually keep more than one in an attempt to breed them...

I didn't want to ask the "Can I keep more than 1...." question without finding out a little bit more.
I did think the large tank would work in my favor and if necessary I have a divider for it.

I do agree that brood stock has to come from somewhere, and with such a short lived species IMO it's worth looking into captive breeding.

Being my first cuttlefish though, probably best to learn with something a few more people have experience with.

Thanks again.
Old 11/17/2007, 02:15 AM
Echidna09 Echidna09 is offline
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Your welcome...

I guess your tank should be wider if you were to accommodate some of the massive species. From the species you mentioned, S. Mestus seems to be the best choice. I do not know of care for these animals. You might try contacting the RC member Gonodactylus to see if he has worked with this animal, though I believe he mostly works with octopuses. If you haven't already you should also check out There are a lot of experts there including researchers that may be able to help you out. S. Mestus is known only from Queensland to New South Wales. Because of it's small range, this is not a species that should be purchased lightly, in my opinion.

It is good to learn before you try to jump into breeding.
Old 11/17/2007, 09:14 PM
richofoz richofoz is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Melbourne Aus.
Posts: 164
I do agree it's best to do as much research as possible before trying to breed anything.
I'm not planning on keeping more than one of anything to begin with.
I was hoping to keep a few individuals (one at a time) first to learn about their behavior and any new things I might need to do to the tank.
I'm sure I have alot to learn about keeping just one before I consider getting more than one to get along in a confined space!

I have had some luck breeding Australian tarantula and whilst they are completely different animals in most ways they do share some similarities. in that ther's not a great deal known about there breeding habits and they are both being taken from the wild without any care as to their populations, and that if you make a mistake choosing your breeding pair you'll probably have a fight on your hands!

Will have a bit of a search through tonmo.

Thanks again, Rich.

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