A few questions before I start

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by YakkitySax, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. YakkitySax

    YakkitySax Larval Mass Registered

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    Hello! I'm new here and to the octopus owner world.

    I've been thinking really hard about getting an octopus for a pet, particularly a Bimac since from when I read they're probably the best to keep as pets and for a first time owner I'd like to try and have the best experience possible with them. I'm not getting one just yet, since I don't have the financial means to do so just yet, but I'm already preparing myself for where I need to go to get all the supplies I need for my new little guy.

    My biggest concern from what I've read is the misidentification of an octopus when you order them. Is there any sure way to make sure I get a Bimac or is it always a gamble when you order one?
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    YES.

    It is unlikely you will be able to order a bimac. I don't know if they live far enough north to be caught locally but we don't see many imports from Mexico and California has rules against catching and selling them. Occassionally members will have them available for one reason or another (very recently two were caught and offered for free if the receiver could arrange shipping and a Boston college lab is looking for locals to take hatchlings that could not be cared for in the lab but these are the first to show up in a couple of years). Sometimes you will see a "Caribbean bimac" offered that is similar in looks but is O.hummelincki. Should you see one for sale insist on finding out where it was collected (water temperature is the biggest concern). Most of the hummelincki's are collected in Haiti and a few in FL. The advantage to O.hummelincki is that it does not need a chiller for optimum temperature but in Seattle you will need a heater most of the year (depending upon your house temperature).



    O. rubescens is another common octopus up your way that may be locally available but we don't see them offered on the web (also a cold water species and requiring a chiller).

    Since the lifespan of an octopus is so short establishing an aquarium large enough to accept the full range of octopuses (130+ gallons for O.vulgaris, 65+ gallons for an O.briareus and 55+ for most other non-dwarfs) we commonly see offered is recommended. Cycling your tank will likely take as much time as you will be able to keep your first octopus. On occassion we see very young ones but usually they are at least half grown and keeping one for 7 months is optimistic. One strong advantage of the bimac is that it seems to have a longer lifespan (we have seen several live beyond a year, a few for 18 months and one with a second one creaping up on 2 years).
     
  3. YakkitySax

    YakkitySax Larval Mass Registered

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    Thanks so much for the response!

    I can't have aquariums in my current apartment, so getting my first little guy will be several months down the road.

    I wouldn't know exactly how to go about searching for a rubenscens to purchase. Would I be able to ask some local aquarium shops if they're able to order them or maybe one of the universities in the area?
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Octopuses show up in various ways. The most common is on-line but you won't find a ruby that way (so, now someone will make a liar out of me but none have been listed in availability or through the most common suppliers) so you will have to get creative. Most educational facilities won't (can't) sell to non-educational concerns but if you have an in that way, I would inquire. The most likely way you will find one is to check around with your LFS and see if they can order one or let you know when one shows up on their wholesaler's list. Checking around at the fishing docks is occassionally a source as well at talking to the local fishermen. Creative hobbies take creative thinking :grin:.
     
  5. YakkitySax

    YakkitySax Larval Mass Registered

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    Oh yeah definitely! I didn't think about the fishermen..

    I was thinking originally about the downtown aquarium, but I doubt they would give me any information since I think they fall under a similar category as the educational facilities. Though I might be able to get some information from some of the volunteers there, I know a lot of them are home aquarium owners.

    If I was able to get a hold of one, what size tank do you think I should get? I was planning on getting about a 75 gal-ish tank to start out with.

    It says they can get to be about mantle length of 8-10 cm, and arm length of 30-40 cm. Would that be a good size or too small of a tank?
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    75ish would be a good size for most of the octos we keep. I have not kept a rubescens (I did look into one when I had a chiller active but a certain professor seemed to acquire any that were available :grin:) but several of our members have used them in educational studies. Use Google and search:

    rubescens site:tonmo.com

    Cephalopods are short lived and I always try to get new keepers to think about the long run because it will take a long to get the than bought, set up and cycled as you are likely to keep your first octopus. The only animal we commonly keep that needs something larger (and we have not seen many until this year) is the Caribbean/Atlantic vulgaris. For that species 130+ is minimal. Even with a 75 for the smaller animals, I would consider a sump and getting it drilled for an overflow. This give you some place to put the needed skimmer (expecially for ink but also to handle the excessive waste) and filtration without compromising your octoproofing.
     

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