overviewSepia officinalis is known as the Common Cuttlefish, and is aquacultured in the United States. They are light brown and white in appearance and will show zebra-like stripes when they are threatened or during feeding. They possess 8 arms like all cephalopods, but also have two tentacles, which separates them from the octopi. They use these tentacles for capturing their prey. The main body of the Cuttlefish has two dorsal fins in which they use for movement and stabilization.
The Cuttlefish will do best in an aquarium if provided with plenty of live rock and ample hiding places and a large area in which to move. It prefers an aquarium with caves and medium to coarse substrate with low lighting levels. Cuttlefish are more social animals when compared to Octopi, and may be kept in groups if they are raised from a young age together. Be sure to offer enough food because when food is scarce, they will become cannibalistic.
The Cuttlefish can be surprisingly strong, so in the home aquarium, it is best to anchor the rocks, or even glue them together to keep the Cuttlefish from toppling the rocks into the glass or onto itself. Cover all tank openings very well or it will try to escape. The Cuttlefish is sensitive to high levels of nitrates and copper-based medications. It can be very difficult to acclimate into a new environment.
Always approach the Cuttlefish slowly to avoid causing it to release its ink cloud in defense. In the aquarium, this release of ink will necessitate a large water change to avoid its death.
Cuttlefish can live as long as 1-1/2 to 2 years depending on the temperature of water that they are housed in. This seems short, but not when compared to some other species of cephalopods that may only live up to 1 year. Sexing an adult Cuttlefish is extremely difficult, and breeding is usually accomplished by raising several Cuttlefish in a very large aquarium. When laying the eggs, the female will inject dye into the egg, giving it the appearance of a black grape. The eggs hatch in approximately 50 days depending on water temperature. Feed the fry live foods such as very small ghost or mysis shrimp and vitamin enriched live brine shrimp. Gradually acclimate the young to frozen foods.
The Cuttlefish can be fed a variety of frozen foods including mysis shrimp, pieces of fish and mussel meat. Be sure that the food is completely thawed before feeding. It may be necessary to feed live foods such as ghost shrimp to initiate feeding. They should be offered food at least twice a day, especially young specimens.
Approximate Purchase Size: 1" to 2-1/2"