Actually 2 persons

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Akyu, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. Akyu

    Akyu GPO Supporter

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    Hi there,

    Akyu is actually my partner and I. We posted about Ossie, our mercatoris the other day, but haven't properly introduced ourselves to you all.

    I'm Sharon and my partner is Westina. On a lark, we decided to purchase an octopus and now we're finding our lives revolving around Ossie. We are very new to this, with me having absolutely no experience with aquariums and her having experience with only freshwater tanks.

    I think from now on, we will never NOT have a tank running in our house. We are seriously hooked.

    We bought Ossie from the Octopus Garden in Berkeley. According to the owner, Ossie is an O. Mercatoris. He recommended that we get a 5.5 gal tank with lots of live rock with only a water pump. In addition, we got 15 hermit crabs for Ossie.

    The next day, we went out, got a small tank and purchased ghost shrimp for Ossie.

    It's been 5 days and though we were fortunate enough to witness Ossie hunting the first day (read my partner's post on Alkalinity levels), she's been pretty much hidden in her den rock whenever the lights are on.

    We're taking the suggestions for a larger tank to heart and will be purchasing a new tank this weekend - we don't have a stand for the 48 gal yet and she's so tiny that I think we'll never find her again if we put her into the 48 gal. one. We are thinking of a 10-15 gal. tank for her new home.

    One thing I'm puzzled over - the 15 hermit crabs were hyper active the first two nights and the last two nights, they've been really sluggish. I put some fish flakes in and that seemed to stir them up for a little while. What could be causing this? We seem to have an inordinate amount of bristle worms, could they be getting to the crabs some how? Or are they just frightened at being in there with Ossie?

    For our small 5.5 gal, we only got a pump for the tank and not a filter or anything and we're using snails to help with algae. What else besides a protein skimmer and a filter should we get for the new home?

    Any suggestions would be welcome. Sometime this weekend, we'll post pix of the home and if we're REALLY lucky, perhaps one of Ossie as well.

    Oh, and keep up stories about your pets... both Westina and I have been loving reading up about them.

    Sharon
     
  2. OB

    OB Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    :welcome:

    Not the person to help you out on this, but it is great to see someone really getting into the hobby with a passion. I would say you won't be able to get along too long with your somewhat minimal set-up, as octopus are really finicky about their water, so a proper filter and skimmer seem more than in order. I'll leave it to the experts, 'though :wink:
     
  3. Akyu

    Akyu GPO Supporter

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    hey,

    Westina here, I'm glad Sharon took the time to introduce us. I have just been enthralled with Ossie! Last night we bought a red light for the tank, to see if she'd come out and I could get a pic of her. She didn't come out until I turned the light off, and even when she was already out and I'd turn the light back on, she'd hurry back to her rock, and hide away until I turned the light off.

    From the small amount of time I saw her last night, she seems to have gotten a little bigger. I didn't get good a really good view of her, but from what I did see, I am pretty sure she got bigger. She quickly blended in with the rocks she was on, and seemed to be aware of what was going on around her. I think she could see the red light though.

    Tomorrow we are going to buy a 15-20gal tank with skimmer, filter and all, and have that run for a few days before we transfer her into it. I'm guessing by Monday she'll be in her new home. We figured we'd move her den rock into the new tank when we make the transition to give her some familiarity.

    I'm hoping to get pics of our current tank and maybe of her up tonight.

    As Sharon said we don't have a stand for the 50gal tank yet, and are debating about getting a custom built stand for it.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know that she appears to be doing well. Thanks for all your advice. Hopefully we'll get a picture of her up tonight!

    -Westina
     
  4. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    :welcome: Weird about the red light-- what kind of light is it? If it's a white light with a red filter, maybe enough of the non-red spectrum is getting through? I'm pretty sure octos in general can't see down at the part of the spectrum where monochromatic red LEDs are, but maybe it varies somewhat from species to species.

    One thing I've read around here (although the "Tank Talk" experts are far more qualified to discuss this than I am) is that cephs are particularly sensitive to fluctuations if the tank hasn't cycled for a long time (weeks or months), so you may want to ask about the best strategy before moving Ossie after only having the new tank for a few days. Of course, it's a tradeoff-- in a small tank like she's in now, there's not much water to act as a buffer if anything goes wrong... I remember some threads about strategies for speeding up cycling and how to tell if a tank is stable enough to be safe, you may want to search the forums a bit about this, or see what the experts say...
     
  5. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    :welcome:

    This whole affair seems rather "rushed", don't you think? After all, most tanks will need several months of acclimation, and a fifteen gallon is hardly room enough for even the smallest of octopus...I would heavily recommend the 50, whether you obtain a custom stand or not.

    :) greg
     
  6. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    :welcome: to both of you. Given the fact that you have only had the 5.5 gallon set up for about a week (am I correct about that???), I would still move Ossie to a bigger uncycled tank. At least the water volume will even out some of the chemical cycles that are going to happen. Good luck, also I wouldn't listen to the LFS people anymore, they are not giving you good advice.
     
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi and welcome to TONMO.com :welcome:

    I know your hearts are in the right place, but the aquarium store you bought your little octopus from didn't give you good advice. You do need a larger aquarium and you do need good filtration and a protein skimmer. Unfortunately, tanks need to go through a cyclying process which takes several months after they are set up.

    Did the person in the aquarium store also tell you that you need to test the salt water for specific gravity (or salinity), pH, nitrites, nitrates and ammonia?

    There are articles that give you much needed information (click on articles, then Ceph Care above).

    Perhaps the best thing would be daily water changes to try to keep the water parameters in line - maybe 20%. Are there other suggestions from the rest of you experienced octo (and aquarium) keepers?

    We recommend a 30 gallon for mercatoris, but it can be kept in a 20 gallon.

    Nancy
     
  8. Akyu

    Akyu GPO Supporter

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    Thanks for all the advice folks. We contacted the nearby professor who does research on octopus, esp. pygmy ones and are getting help from him as well.

    Will keep you updated and hopefully soon, we can post some pictures of Ossie.
     
  9. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    Is that Neogonodactylus (Roy Caldwell)? He and Mucktopus are at UCB... Just curious.
     
  10. Akyu

    Akyu GPO Supporter

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    Hi,

    Westina here again. to answer monty, yes Prof. Caldwell and Prof. Meyers (not of UCB) were the people we asked.

    The red light, I think is a white light with red glass. Our LFS didn't have any moonglo lights.

    I got to see Ossie today, she seems to be doing fine.

    We did a 20% water change this morning, and bought a test kit for all the things you mentioned Nancy.

    We tested them this evening.

    temp. - 70F
    ph - 8.0
    alk - high
    ammonia - 0.25
    NO2 - 0.1
    NO3 - 2.5
     
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm glad Ossie is doing fine.

    I'd do another water change on Saturday - ammonia should be zero.

    The hermit crabs you're feeding her are more nourishing than ghost shrimp. You might also try a small priece of thawed frozen shrimp (removing it promptly if uneaten).

    Keep us posted!

    Nancy
     
  12. Akyu

    Akyu GPO Supporter

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    WHEW!

    Sharon here. I'm very very happy to report that the tank seems to be okay for now.

    One of the things I did this afternoon was let the sun hit the tank directly for about an hour. This seems to have stimulated some growth on the rocks which seems to have stimulated the crabs.

    Another reason we think things are going to be okay is, we got to witness Ossie hunting!

    After we had turned off the lights for about 1/2 hour, we decided to check on her. Westina went to use the flashlight, covered with red cellophane and discovered Ossie outside her den. I convinced her to turn on the inside lamp, which was still the red bulb and to our surprise, Ossie didn't budge. After about 20 minutes of observation, we think we figured out why she wasn't moving. She was munching on something - we think it was a snail that had been hanging out near her den.

    Well, I tried to snap a few shots of her but one time, I left the flash on. Three seconds later, she was back in her den. We turned off the lights for about 15 minutes, then turned the red light back on, and found her poking her tentacles out of her rock playfully, as if to entice the ghost shrimp we had put in earlier. That trick didn't work as the ghost shrimp had found a safe haven in a little plastic cage ball I had put in for Ossie to play with.

    As we watched, Ossie came out of her den to hang inside an enclave in her rock. I've uploaded a picture here. [​IMG] From what we can tell, this is her favorite place to hang out, so to speak. She must've hung there for 40 minutes (yes, we watched the entire time) before deciding to move.

    One of the things we had done was add backing to the back of the aquarium. She seems to have loved this. She glided along the back of the next rock until she reached an overhang I had set up. Slipping up the back, she perched there, tentatively reaching a tentacle out to inspect the plastic cage ball. A shrimp hung near the top of the ball, seemingly oblivious to her presence.

    to be continued...
     
  13. Colin

    Colin Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Hi you two :welcome:

    Welcome to TONMO and nice to see such enthusiasm :grin: You jumped in with 4 feet!

    I would test your water parameters every day at this stage, especially ammonia and nitrite levels. Your tank isn't established and is currently going through a bacterial bloom. The beneficial bacteria are colonising your tank and playing catch up with the amount of waste your octopus is churning out.

    Make sure that you have your skimmer on 24 hours a day to begin with and don't worry if nothing happens. Skimmers can take a couple of days to break in and a wee bit of tinkering.

    Do you have a large 5 gal bucket? Make sure it is clean and never used for any chemicals and then fill it with marine water freshly made up. This is in case of emergencies! Try and match it to exactly the same salinity and temperature as the tank.

    Daily water changes will draw out the length of the cycling time but will be erring on the safer side of things.

    Your ammonia and nitrate readings should both be zero, they are both fairly toxic to marine life.

    Don't feed your hermits :wink: that is just adding unnecessary bioload to your new filters and they are in the tank to scavenge and scrounge... don't spoil them

    You will get a lot of bristleworms because they are also scavengers and octopuses are quite messy when it comes to feeding. Some people are obsessed with their removal but I generally left them alone... in fact once ended up with a monster called Big Jim who could eat a whole mussel

    Anyway, all the best with your cephalopod interest and hope you have a smooth ride... post away with any questions

    cheers
    Colin
     
  14. Akyu

    Akyu GPO Supporter

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    Thanks Colin!

    Yes, we're going to be testing every day and prolly changing out 20% of her water daily until the levels are right. Thanks to all of you for your advice! It's been one roller-coaster of a week.

    Hmm, just realized the photo I referenced wasn't the one of Ossie hanging out in her enclave but the one of her outside her den completely. The enclave is facing the camera directly, looking like the frowning, sad mouth of the tragic half of the acting mask.

    Just outside the frame of the photos to the left, is the overhang. It's about twice as high as her den, to give a reference point.

    Continuing what we witnessed...

    Ossie gripped the ball with one tentacle, then struck at the shrimp at the top of the ball. Twice, she attempted this, but both times, the ball thwarted the attempt. She flung the ball away from the rock so that it could float around the tank (it had been hung up by the top of the overhang, thus giving the shrimp a stable haven).

    For a while, Ossie perched behind the overhang, waiting for the shrimp to swim by. One shrimp found safety above the pump; the other swam with the floating ball. At times, the shrimp would swim close to where Ossie was waiting to spring into action but never stayed long enough or near enough for her to strike. She moved closer to the top of the overhang but by the time she was near the tip, the floating ball had gotten hung up near the pump.

    To my eyes, it looked as if one of the shrimp was actively swimming to hold the ball in place.

    With both shrimp hovering safely out of reach at the water pump, it seemed Ossie reached the end of her patience. She glided along the back wall, then lept for the side of the pump. A strike of the tentacles was followed by a brief struggle, then Ossie swam back to the overhang with two quick flicks of her mantle.

    Westina and I quickly assessed the situation. One of the shrimp was still safely on top of the water pump. The other was swimming around the top of the now freed ball. It seemed it was three strikes and Ossie was out.

    Ossie didn't even bother to slide along the rocks. It definitely looked as if she was miffed and was stalking off along the back wall towards her den. She hung in her crevice for a few seconds, then slid insided her den. Westina was about to turn off the lights when I said wait a few.

    Sure enough, our sulking Ossie slid back out, and hung in her crevice for about 10 minutes. Then she went to hang out back and that's where the photo comes from. A few minutes after the photo, we decided to leave her alone.

    There are plenty of crabs for her to eat. It seems that she has taken to grabbing all the crabs and throwing them into a corner. How else to explain that when we turn off the lights, they are scattered, and when we wake up, they are stacked in the corner. Alive, but stacked.

    She seems to be enjoying herself for now. I had the eeriest feeling, she was watching me as much as I was watching her, and that somehow, we had passed the test.

    Will keep you all updated.
     

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