By Jason Scott, first published at Practical Fishkeeping (PFK) Website -- Authorized for use at in 2003.


Over the past twenty-five years or so I have kept a wide range of strange and unusual marine species, everything from Sharks and Rays to Frogfish and Flying Gurnards. In this time I have accumulated a good deal of knowledge about of how to care for the weirder aquarium inhabitants.

For many years keeping an Octopus had been a really appealing idea, I was fascinated to learn for myself if the stories regarding their intelligence and camouflage were true. I had heard rumours that they were extremely difficult to keep, but always ready for a challenge I decided to take the plunge.

The first problem I came across was a complete lack of information on keeping an Octopus in a home aquarium. I found lots of information about various species, but absolutely nothing about water conditions, filtration, aquarium size, behaviour and other crucial factors.

The first aquarium was fifteen gallons and equipped with a Bak-Pak skimmer with built in biological filter. An eight-watt fluorescent tube provided lighting, this was the smallest available, but still a little too bright. For decoration I used ten kilograms of live rock.

After the aquarium was matured I obtained a small Red Octopus, I later found out this was an extremely nocturnal species (Octopus bocki). Identifying any Octopus correctly is difficult, even for experts. This species only comes out in complete darkness and does not exhibit many of the character traits associated with other more day active Octopus, for example colour changes. It fed well on cockles still in their shell; it used the...
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