Baby Octos not doings so well


Pygmy Octopus
Jun 23, 2010
I have a couple of young octopuses, raised from hatchlings, that have had a rough week and are not doing so well. I am hoping to glean some advice on what to try to turn them around.

A bit of history. I got them the beginning of May from a local fish store that had an octopus that had eggs. I started them on live mysis, moved to frozen mysis once they began to take it, and then to ghost shrimp once they were large enough. I have two out of 5 left, and these two have been very healthy up until the last couple days. I am raising them in small containers in a larger tank with water being pumped through with an airline.

Last week is when the problem started; the local fish store was out of small ghost shrimp. So I offered them frozen mysis and krill, both which they turned their noses up at, though one may have eaten a little. Both still seemed pretty healthy, and active though, "pouncing" on anything that came near their caves (powerhead fittings).

The big problem seemed to come Monday night, when we lost power. Now, one of the earlier offspring that didn't make it, we lost because the water flow to his container was cut off for a few hours. So knowing this, I took a battery powered air pump and got air circulating in their containers. I set the flow down low, but they didn't like it much and spent much of the night trying to escape their containers frantically, when their normal behavior is to hang out in their caves. We got a generator the next day and were able to hook up the pump as normal, but one of them looks really weak, and the other, while it looks better, is refusing to eat.

The weak one just sits outside its cave with its tentacles curled around it. If prodded, it will move. I offered a ghost shrimp (I was able to get small ghosts again Monday before the power went out) but it just sort of reaches at it half heartedly, then ignores it. He also stays a light color, instead of rapidly changing like his sibling or like he did before all this happened.

The other is still very active, pounces on and kills ghost shrimp, but then throws the bodies out of its cave, uneaten.

I really don't want to lose these guys, I've grown really attached. Any thoughts on what I might try to turn them around would be really appreciated.


Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Mar 17, 2003
A couple of things. First, ghost shrimp are not particularly good for octopus.

Second, air bubbles (fine) can cause problems. They can get sucked into the mantle cavity, coalesce and distress the animal.

Third, activity (caused by distress) in a closed space can lead to skin abrasions and worse.

There is nothing you can do now about the power failure. Stuff happens! I would try live mysids or at least gut load the shrimp with supplements or rich food such as cyclopese.


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