Nancy, can definitely help out! I'm working for a company who develop high end diets for the aquatics industry now, looking at a ceph diet! We've got one for pretty much everything else (Including sharks)!!
The big problem with any ceph in the UK is that no one really imports them as there isn't enough of a demand. Bit of a catch 22 situation really!
Small cuttles like bandi's and metasepia are available sporadically but generally octos tend to be biareus (spelling) / vulgaris types.
You could keep native octos like the lesser (eldone cirrosus???) relatively easily, most fishermen will come across them from time to time or failing that a company called Aqualogistix may be able to help, the guy there is called Keith!
The diets we develop are actual products, using the highest grade of materials you can buy and we manufacture them in completely unique processes so nothing is cooked, meaning all the nutrition gets into the animal rather than leaches out into the water.
So are you going to keep octos and see if they will eat what the biologists concoct and/or are you going to try to directly develop something? If the idea for creating a food based on the new interest in raising octos as food (I have seen studies done to try to find cheaper foods to feed them) or for octos in aquaria (commercial and home)?
There are a lot more regulations in creating diets to be used in aquaculture if the organism in question is being bred for human consumption, at the moment we're not registered for that and the quality of our products is so high that it drives the end cost up to levels which no aquaculture company seems to want to pay. Making a diet for the aquarium / hobbyist market is much more straight forward (but still requires more paperwork than most human food consumption items!!)
We are already one of the fastest growing aquarium food company in the UK apparently and have just broken into the public aquarium market in the US so it's all going well! We feed the Dubai Mall Aquarium as well as designing large bespoke aquaria!!
We develop the diets around the nutritional requirements of an animal so that it is nutritionally as close to perfect as it can be. 99 tims out of 100 this also is reflected in the palletability of the diet. Where the animal doesn't take the food we look at what triggers a feeding response and then aim that in (usually amino acid complexes).
We work along side one of the world's leading Fish Nutritionists (Professor John Adron of Aberdeen University) and he has been developing diets since decade before I was born!
As far as octopuses go, I can't imagine most of them eating flakes. Is the spray what you had in mind?
On the other hand, maybe my 6-lined wrasse would eat your tropical flakes. He is a picky eater and and likes thin, easily breakable flakes. So far he will eat only Ocean Nutrition Formular One, and spits out anything else I've tried.
Definitely try the flakes, I've tried it all and I know that Colin Grist is a big fan!
The Pellets can be any size I dictate within reason, we are set up to cut to diameters of 1.5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 15mm, 65mm and an elliptical pellet for sharks! The 6/8/15mm would be good for most adult cephs I would think whilst the smaller pellets for juvenile / small species! I've tried one of our shark pellets on an O. vulgaris before (as it has lower levels of available copper) and it took it quickly without making too much mess so improved water quality is a real possibility!
Looking at the copper requirements in cephs will be the big issue when we come to design the diet, we've got it sorted for elasmobranchs which also find high levels of copper toxic so cephs will hopefully not be much more of an issue. As i've said we're all hypothetical at the moment and have not either researched this or produced anything, please don't think that we are just stabbing at it and hoping for the best!
Once we've got it nutritionally sorted we'll work on the attractants in the diet and this will generally be based around amino acids found in natural pray to elicit a feeding response. Once we've got that it's onto the palletability and then hey presto you've got a ceph diet!
I miss my pharonis!! They're awesome!!
The company I work for is New Era Aquaculture, we're fairly well known in the UK now in both public aquarium / zoo world as well as the retail hobby sector and are hoping for the same in the US. We are available retail wise at the moment in Big Al's in Fort Lauderdale as far as I know!