How to Raise Squid in an Aquarium

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Although a delicate kind of marine life, squid can be a great element for a home aquarium.
Although a delicate kind of marine life, squid can be a great element for a home aquarium. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

As exotic as squid may be, it can be feasible and practical to raise this delicate marine animal in an aquarium at home. Squid are not the most low-maintenance type of aquatic indoor pet, however, so it's important to follow specific guidelines to ensure that your squid stays healthy and happy during its life in your home. Caring for squid in a home aquarium is not much different than caring for any other kind of crustacean, fish or cephalopod, and squid can be some of the more interesting marine life to watch and observe during its short life span.

Things You'll Need

  • Home aquarium prepped for saltwater; size will vary depending on cephalopod
  • Aquarium-safe rocks, shells and glass jars for squid to hide in
  • Live food, such as small fish, shrimp or crustaceans

First, make sure to understand what species of squid you've purchased by visiting your local pet store that carries saltwater mammals. Estimate the size and lifespan of your squid to determine the size of the tank; squid do not play well with other marine life, so the tank will have to just hold one squid at a time, no other marine life.

Check the water quality constantly. Make sure that the oxygen, saline and nitrate levels are where they are supposed to be; any drastic change in these areas could lead to a quick death for your squid. Set your oxygen levels to no less than 2.5 milliliters per liter, pH no less than 7.5, salinities at between 32 and 38 ppt and no nitrates above 100 ppm at any time. Include a under-gravel filter with powerheads or a canister filter to move the water sufficiently

Secure the top of your tank at all times; squid are intelligent beings and can find ways to escape either by holding onto the tank or aquarium. Use duct tape or plastic-coated dive weights to hold down the tank lid. Make sure to also cover all intakes to power filters or any other type of aquarium equipment that squid could hide inside.

Feed your squid every other day, and because live food is preferred for most pet squid, you might need to infest in a feeding tank for all of the squid's meals. Make sure that the lid is also securely fastened on the feeding tank, as well.

Don't tease squid to get them to come out so you can observe them; squid are naturally shy and any attempt to lure them out from their hiding places will put undue stress on the animal, which may lead to its premature death.

Tips & Warnings

  • Squid don't need any kind of special lighting, but to see your pet better, feel free to install one or two fluorescent bulbs.
  • Do not attempt to keep a pet squid in a home aquarium until you've done sufficient research on the species of the squid, its feeding and caring schedule.

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