Tankmates: It Works Until It Doesn't

I'm writing this article to document the result of adding an octopus to an established fish
tank. On April 15, 2009 I caught a batch of six newly hatched O. briareus from one of my commercial stone crab traps in Biscayne Bay Miami, Florida. All six juveniles were placed into a fully-stocked 125 gallon fish tank (60"Lx18"Wx24"H). Too make a long story short, only one of the original six made it, and was named Legs. She emerged at the age of one month to accept a piece of minnow from a bamboo skewer. It was at this time that I did some investigation and found out, through research, that I had made a big mistake adding an octopus to a fish tank.

I made an attempt to catch the fish and relocate them but that proved nearly impossible in a 125 gallon aquarium. So at this point all I could do was wait and see what would happen. Well I did not have to wait long. At three months she killed a Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus Cinctus) when she took over the cave it had dug in the sand. They shared the cave for a few days, but she soon killed but did not eat the Goby. Seeing that she could hunt proficiently I decided to buy her some live food and began giving her live shrimp as her main diet. Up until this point she mostly ate either silver side minnows or shrimp both bought frozen, then hawed and offered on a stick.

With Legs now on a steady diet of live shrimp, she seemed to become friends with some of the fish, especially a Hawaiian Flame Hawk (Neocirrhitus Armatus). The Flame Hawk would always perch near Legs and would clean up and scraps she dropped. It was September at this point and Legs was five months old...
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About the Author
Despite the fact that he grew up living and working on the water, David had little interaction with cephalopods until 2009 when he caught an octopus hatchling in one of his Stonecrab traps. Being that he was a long time aquarist and a fascinated with most anything that come from the sea, he decided to keep the octopus and raise it as a pet. David stumbled upon TONMO in researching his new pet octopus, as many of our members do. David immediately dove right in and learned everything he could. Inspired by TONMO and its members and fueled by his passion for sea life, David went back to school. He is currently a full time student in Miami, working toward a degree in Marine Biology. He hopes to work with cephalopods and their breeding in the future.


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