Al's journal

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by sedna, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Hello and welcome to Al's journal. Thanks to the wonderful people who helped me id him as an aculeatus! I have been living with him for just over a week now and I'm completely in love!

    He's done with crayfish, there really was no "teaching" him to stick feed or take frozen food, he doesn't seem too picky. Last week I put a hermit crab in a glass bottle w/o a lid. Way too easy for this guy!

    He absolutely seems to have established a routine- fave hang- outs, sleepy and active times, etc. He watches t.v. with the girls, stares down the cats, and even comes out "after bed" to watch The Daily Show with me!

    Yesterday we got him toys to play with, I was hesitant about my hands. My 9 yr old spent 40 min warming him up to it before giving up. When I took over and had my hand deeper in the tank, he went right past the toy and for my finger!!! We played a bit and then he went to sleep. Maybe my hand looks less strange than the toy as I have been playing "follow the hand" on the tank glass since he came home.

    I will really try to keep up with journaling and pictures. In addition to my 3 salt tanks (55 gal, 20 gal &12 gal) I also have 2 cats, 2 crested geckos, 2 corn snakes, a collared lizard and 2 daughters, one of them a type 1 diabetic on a pump. I LOVE to raise living things and take their pics. I have never journaled before, but then I've never had such a compelling reason to!

    mom- in- law "Why didn't you just have more children?"
    my reply "I'll get arrested for keeping kids in glass boxes..."
     
  2. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    :welcome: and great pictures! Make sure the shrimp you are feeding him is raw (it should look gray in color, not pink). It appears that the shrimp in the photograph is pink... He/she looks comfortable in his new home.
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Jennifer,
    I have noticed that some of the raw shrimp we have bought turned pink and I suspect that the retailers may use something like lemon juice to keep it fresh. If I understand ceviche, correctly, lemon juice "cooks" the fish/shrimp. The shrimp we have been getting from Publics does not seem to do this.
     
  4. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Cuttlegirl and D,
    Well, the shrimp may have had a pink tinge in the photo but was fresh and clean for sure (I eat shrimp when I can, too). I talked to the guy who runs the local market fish counter and explained why I needed CLEAN and FRESH marine foods. He was excited to have an octopus as a customer! He then listed off what comes in on which days. He's even willing to special order anything Al decides is a favorite!
     
  5. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    weekend update

    Well, yesterday was a great day with Al showing off for the girls' friends, active all day, ready to play with me and even getting the courage to try and peek out of the tank. I gave him a fresh mussel in the shell, but he had no interest or just no idea that it's food. He immediately gobbled up 2 hermit crabs, though. He also got a visit from Keech the crested gecko, they had an in depth conversation about the differences between transverse lamellae and suckers.

    This morning, though, he seemed to be a puddle at the bottom of the tank, much like the descriptions of Octopus Prime's slump. He reacted to people and cats approaching the tank with color change, but looked listless and disinterested all morning. I obsessed all day. I ran down the list of things: water Q is good, temp is a bit warm (80 F for an aculeatus), small water change... Then I did adjust the power head venturi attachment to bring up the O2 in light of the higher temp.

    By this evening he seemed back to his old self, walking the glass and playing a bit, even more interested in the other side of the glass... Was he over fed, over stressed from so much attention yesterday, hypoxic?

    I know I was even more obsessed today because my daughter's diabetes was acting up and the protocol is pretty similar, testing blood glucose and ketones just as h20, set change for the insulin pump like an h20 change, adjust insulin or glucose levels just like adding buffers. At the end of the day when you know you've done all you can, you sit and wait and see what happens and try not to second guess yourself...

    Well, I have an endocrinology clinic for Elise, and luckily this web site for Al. Any more ideas of things to check for?

    He's absolutely moving into the 55 gal, it's a constant 78 F w/o a chiller. It's a move just across the living room to a long established tank, still, any pointers or hints?
     
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Glad to hear all is going well, and that you have a good place to buy food. My fish store put up a photo of my octopus and liked to tell people that they had an octopus for a customer :smile:

    Nancy
     
  7. gholland

    gholland Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    Hah! Love Keech on the glass in front of Al!
     
  8. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Al makes more friends

    Today my daughter Julie played with Al for he first time! She was thrilled and was even able to lightly stroke his mantle for a moment. For those of you familiar with "Caturday," Linus was looking on asking, "I can has pus?"

    On Saturday I was worried that something was "off" with Al because he seemed to be sleeping so much. Now I've noticed that he just seems to have longer active times, and longer inactive times since he's moved in. Maybe the novelty has just worn off...

    Al has developed some cute habits. When he rests, it usually somewhere near his den. He spends more resting time with 1/2 in, 1/2 out of his den, holding his toy. He never actually plays with the toy, but seems to really like having near the opening of his den and rearranges it a lot. Then treats it like a blankie or teddy at bedtime, always keeping a few tentacles on it.
     
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, he's cute!

    Funny that you should mention holding onto the toy. I haven't heard mention of that for some time. When I kept a bimac called Ollie, I gave her a little corked glass bottle, about 2 inches high. It had some seawater and a tiny shell in it (I made it for for). She never played with the bottle, but you could see it inside her den. When she slept, she always had an arm around the bottle!

    Nancy
     
  10. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Al doesn't do tricks!

    Well, things with Al are going well. Both of the girls have been able to play with him, and he is part of the family now. We know when he is active on the glass that it is time to "play," though he doesn't really want us to do anything but hold our hands close to the glass so that he can pass back and forth and rub the back of his mantle on our hands. My older daughter is able to stroke his mantle with a finger, but when I do it he actually pushes my finger away slowly with one arm. He has started to "noodle" me when I work in the tank, too, instead of hiding or ignoring me.

    He absolutely loves hermit crabs and will snatch them up before they can hit the bottom of the tank. But when I put them in a glass bottle, he barely tries to get them out. He will wrap his body around the bottle and turn dark like he does when he eats, but within moments of realizing he can't get the crab easily, he gives up. Then he'll come right to the top of the tank to tell me he needs help. I really don't care if he "does tricks" or not, but it's like another kid, "I can't find it, Mom..." I have only let him try for 24hrs or so before I give up and dump out the crab, he's always right there to scarf it up.

    The 55 gal tank would be ready to go except that the nitrates are too high. The tank has been running for 9+ years now and I've always used R/O water, but I have been over feeding the aggressives in that tank. I have done some big H2O changes and added nitrate sponge to the filter but it looks like it's going to take longer than I'd hoped to have it ready. Any ideas for speeding things up?
     
  11. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Glad he's doing so well for you and your family.

    As for the 55, I would just do some water changes and take your time with it so you can be sure about it. You're both going to love the extra space.
     
  12. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    It will be curious to see if Al starts allowing/engouraging more touching over time. Octane initiated his now nightly petting by brushing up against my hand and still pushes hands/things away if he does not like it (like the cleaning siphon or Neal trying to pet him). He swims up into my hand and even offers an arm to have a sucker tickled during our nightly ritual (it is not stagnant and he is the one to come up with the next step). Octane acted similarly with the bottle of live food and cares little about toys. I did get him somewhat interested in a Lego floating octopus with a dangling plastic tie for a day or two but still only if I was there to interact.
     
  13. Bigpapa

    Bigpapa Wonderpus Registered

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    Hello, great interaction there!! I love the gecko shots!! Just a question?? You mention adding him to the 55 but you have "aggressives". Does that mean they are still in there?? If so it could be an issue for either of the locals in there.
     
  14. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Bigpapa,
    Yes, the aggressives are still in the tank but they will get kicked out when Al goes in. I'm not even sure I want to leave the engineer goby or brittle star in there as they are bottom lurkers too and I just don't want to have anything that might shorten Al's life even a bit. The big fish will go to the LFS, I've already worked this out with them. It will be sad to give up my puffer, but I always planned on keeping it and the trigger only until they grew too big for the tank. It's only sad because the puffer squirts at me when the top is open and both will hand feed (to avoid feeding conflicts), but it's no where as cool as playing with Al!!!

    Thanks for all the advice- it's hard to be patient about wanting to move him but again, what's best for Al is my only real concern. Big H2O change again tomorrow!
     
  15. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    more Al pics

    Here are some more shots of Al, one in his fave sleeping place, half out of his den and holding his toy, and one where he has given up on the hermit in the bottle.

    I have been experimenting with Al's attention span (with a BS in Psyc and teaching cert. K-8, he's fun subject for a stay at home mom). Sometimes if I sit right in front of the tank while he's slumped in the corner or balled on the glass he pays no attention to me. If I get up and walk out of the room, then come back in- and do this a couple of times, he seems to take note and want to interact with me. Now if I want to play and he's "zoning" I start by standing several feet away from the tank and wave at him, walk away and repeat. After a couple of times, he'll be "dancing" in the corner of the tank closest to where I'll walk back in the room, anticipating my return. I wonder if he has become so accustomed to the attention he gets that he needs to feel a little ignored? Or, has he become attentive enough to our human routine that he recognizes and is interested in my novel behavior??
     

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  16. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Try going up to the tank and petting him from the outside of the glass. Even if Octane is dozing, I will see at least a slight color change (to the positive, not fearful) when I do this.
     
  17. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't often confess this little behavior experment with my bimac of a few years ago, Ollie. But...I waved at her everytime I was going to spend time with her, either sitting and watching or feeding or interacting. I waved when I left, too.

    After some months, she started waving back! I thought I was imagining it and hauled in witnesses, but all agreed Ollie was waving! She stuck out an arm and wiggled it at me. I always thought she studied me as much as I studied her, and this was the result.

    Nancy
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Don't you wish the cameras were as advanced as they are now. I miss a lot of shots but I do get enough on "film" to be convincing :grin:
     
  19. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Don't dive with Al!

    Have been so busy with summer stuff that I haven't had time to post in a while... Al has a new lego toy, a little scuba diver we named after our dive instructor. We rarely see Al actually playing with it (he was encouraged in the photo), I leave it buried in the substrate. But after we have left him alone for a while Al must get bored because we'll find Diver Mike floating around without his mask on.

    He has a few tank mates, he doesn't like to eat snails which is nice for algae control, and a couple button polyps add interest. He still won't go in bottles for hermit crabs which also turns out to be a good thing. When we go out of town for the weekend, the neighbor has only to let the crabs out to feed him without hassle on her part.

    What does everyone else do for octo care when you're out of town? My husband wants to get Al a jar like the ones they use to preserve heads in on the t.v. show Futurama...
     
  20. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Grover doesn't touch the snails in his tank either. I did find one of the Peppermint shrimps on top of the screen over the tank though. The screen covers the entire top, but in the very center is a small hole for me to drop in food or reach in the with my long forceps to grab leftovers/rearrange things as needed. It appears the shrimp got crazy and happened to flip out of the water in just the wrong spot. I bet someone was chasing it... The other shrimps are still fine.

    What tankmates did you decide upon?

    I can't go out of town. I wouldn't trust anyone to take care of my octos. Too many horror stories for aquarium keepers, octopus or not.

    I have one of my past octopus pets preserved in a small jar.
     

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