Dwarf Cuttlefish
Dwarf Cuttlefish
Sepia bandensis

Dwarf Cuttlefish

Regular price $100.00 $0.00 Unit price per

The basic requirements for Sepia bandensis husbandry are roughly the same as for corals—clean, stable water conditions that simulate natural seawater conditions. I suggest live rock for biological filtration, ammonia and nitrite levels of zero, and nitrate levels as low as possible. Salinity should be near 34.5, temperature around 78°F, and pH should be between 8.0 and 8.5.


A skimmer is a must, not only for the oxygen it puts into the water and the waste it skims out of the tank, but because it also does a great job of removing any cephalopod ink from the water before it has a chance to do any damage to the animals. With the amount of waste these predators create from unconsumed food, adding a phosphate reactor with phosphate adsorbing media may also be a good idea. Finally, if nitrates become a problem, a sulfur denitrator or remote deep sand bed for natural nitrate reduction can be added.

Tank Size

A single Sepia bandensis can live well in a 30-gallon aquarium, and many of the all-in-one aquariums on the market right now can work very well as cuttlefish tanks. For two Sepia bandensis, I don’t recommend anything smaller than 40 gallons, and three Sepia bandensis should do well in a 55. I have also kept groups of eight in 125-gallon tanks. Groups of Sepia bandensis can be kept together as long as they are kept fed and provided enough space. Without adequate space and food, the cuttlefish will fight and possibly damage or even eat each other.


Sepia bandensis have no specific lighting requirements and will thrive under simple fluorescent lights or more powerful metal halide lighting. Similarly, Sepia bandensis will thrive under different levels of water flow, but I suggest you err on the side of more flow rather than less.


The aquascaping for a cuttlefish tank is mostly up to the personal preference of the aquarist, as cuttles can flourish in a wide variety of setups. Some caves or overhangs should be provided for them to hide in. Growing macroalgae can also be used as nice hiding places for cuttles to hang out, and they can also uptake excess nutrients in the water. An inch or so of sand is also a nice addition because cuttles may bury themselves in sand, but their digging may be detrimental to deeper sand beds.


Cuttlefish can be messy eaters that drop uneaten food all over the tank, and it is important to get that food out before water quality deteriorates. Hermit crabs and snails are safe from predation by cuttlefish and can help with uneaten food. In my opinion, bristleworms make great tank janitors for cuttlefish because they breed readily and quickly consume dropped food.

No Fish Tankmates!

Fish as tankmates should be avoided. If we follow up most stories of cephalopods being kept successfully with fish, we find that the success only lasts a few months before the fish eats the cephalopod or the other way around. Corals, on the other hand, make great tankmates for cuttlefish as long as they are not the stinging variety. There is at least one Sepia bandensis breeder that has had great success breeding them in a full-blown reef tank with bright metal halide lighting and massive flow.

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