Best skimmer to use with a 55 gallon octo tank?

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by AlanR917, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. AlanR917

    AlanR917 Blue Ring Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Wausau, WI
    Hello everyone, I was wondering if I really need a skimmer for an octopus tank, I've heard both yes and no, but if I do need one, which is the best / most cost-effective skimmer to buy, and how can I hook it up so the octo doesnt escape or get caught in it? Also, what is the best 55 gallon tank to buy? Someone on another forum said that the one I was going to get wouldnt work for an octopus:

    http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3804445

    Will it work, or what is a good alternative? Thank you.
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,084
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    Alan,
    That is really a freshwater package, not one for a marine environment. The dimensions are OK but something 10 gallons larger would provide more options. The filter is far too small to handle the waste or provide water movement for anything but a dwarf octopus and is not practical for octoproofing. A better set up will include a sump, an additional tank connected to the main display that usually sits under the main tank, that will hold both your filtration and your skimmer (the bigger the better). There are hang on adaptations to facilitate the water going to and returning from the sump but they require using a siphon that will need a lot of monitoring. I heavily prefer a drilled tank (holes put into the glass and then connected to hoses using bulkhead) for routing the tubing. With a drilled tank you will also need a shielding "box" arrangement called a weir that will help keep octopuses and other things out of the tubing (look at the difference with tanks that are labeled reef ready to see some of the things that are different between marine and freshwater setups). I also use a strainer in the bulkhead to help keep octos from making a trip to the sump.

    There is a recent discussion on tank set ups here and more in the Tank Talk forum and some specificly sized tank buildouts are listed in the Build Out sticky at the top. Since this is likely your first marine tank you will also need to do some reading on cycling a tank as saltwater is very different from fresh. Octos are not beginner animals so expect to take more than the 3 month minimum cycle time to get your "saltwater thumb" as Thales calls it.

    IMO, a skimmer is necessary. You can spend a huge chunk of money on them or a tiny amount. MOST of the expensive ones are very good, few of the very cheap ones do anything at all. I can't afford the top end and, through experimentation have found that, for the money, the skimmers made by Coralife outperform others in their cost class. There is also a sticky for skimmer discussions in the Tank Talk forum. It is inconclusive for best of breed but will give you the names of some that people do or don't like.
     
  3. AlanR917

    AlanR917 Blue Ring Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Wausau, WI
    Okay, thank you for the info, where would I get a good saltwater tank for a reasonable price?
     
  4. AlanR917

    AlanR917 Blue Ring Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Wausau, WI
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,084
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    There are two things that would make me recommend against this tank. One it that even though it is 65 gallons, it is tall instead of long. For the last couple of years O. briareus has been the most common octopus we are seeing and it really needs a minimum of 4' length. O. hummelincki would be OK but they do like to swim and 4' seems to be let them jet a little without bumping their mantle. Aculeatus seems to dance around more (and is smaller) and would likely be happy in the taller, tank. Keep in mind that octopuses only live about a year and you will not have a newly hatched animal. Additionally, species availability varies from year to year and often the vendor cannot identify the species they have for sale so it is wise to consider multiple species when you build out a tank. The second negative on the tank is that although it says salt or freshwater it is not reef ready (not drilled, has no wier and has no sump). You CAN make it that way (see Monty's Scavenger Tank tank for an example, it is only suitable for a dwarf or very young animal but the configuration may be helpful) if you are ready to DIY some of the changes or have someone with a little experience in saltwater and configuring water flow (we drilled Monty's tank ourselves but you can have them drilled to your specifications). I recommend trying to find one already reef ready at this stage of your introduction OR join a local reef club. Clubs are great for finding people to help you get started and plumb a new tank and often someone will have a full system for sale that won't be new but will be less expensive than building one out yourself.

    Your skimmer will depending upon your tank water volume. With most skimmers, we recommend sizing it to twice the listed capacity but the Coralife brand is rated much closer to actual use. Size UP if the volume is close to the top end of the rated capabilities.

    There is another option that I failed to mention as I have a high preference for a separate sump but that is not always an option. Look at the configuration for LMecher's 120. This is often called an "all in one" design and you need to increase the volume of the main tank (on width or depth rather than height). Essentially, it partitions the tank so that a section works as a small sump. The partition needs to be wide enough to accommodate a skimmer and most of the ready-mades are too small. It is not my preferred configuration but we have seen success with this layout.
     
  6. AlanR917

    AlanR917 Blue Ring Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Wausau, WI
    I'm sorry if I wasnt very clear about which octo I was getting. I am getting a dwarf octopus from this site: http://tbsaltwater.com/ordering/pricelist.html

    Its towards the botton of the page, and I emailed the owner to ask how big they would get, and he said not bigger than a silver dollar. Do you still think size will be an issue for this tank? Thanks
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,084
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    A dwarf may live comfortably in a much smaller aquarium but you will still have to octoproof the filtration (see this recent thread). A 55 is really too big for an O. mercatoris (the most common dwarf found in Florida) and you are not likely to ever see it. Octopuses are very short lived and the mercs have the shortest known lifespan (8-10 ave some live a year) of the ones we keep. Since these are collected in the wild (usually found as hitch hikers in live rock) the age at acquisition will be at least several months and typically you will spend more time acquiring your equipment, setting up your aquarium and cycling (3 months) than you will have your first octopus.

    If a dwarf is the only octopus you wish to keep (they are often not available), then a smaller tank (not suitable for any other available octopus species), possibly a 25 gallon nano all-in-one with heavy weekly water changes may provide a better option. We have had some escape to the back filter chamber of these but providing adequate live rock and denning opportunities should minimize this concern. With mercs, I always recommend placing a cluster of giant purple barnacles about 1/3 of the way up the tank and securely placed into the live rock as this seems to be an acceptable den for most and provides viewing opportunities that live rock alone does not offer.
     
  8. AlanR917

    AlanR917 Blue Ring Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Wausau, WI
    Oh, okay, I already planned out everything I would need for a 55 gallon tank, so I would like to stick with a 55 gallon. Would an O. vulgaris be too big for a 55 gallon? That is another one they have. If it is too big, and the dwarf is too small, I was also looking at bimacs. Which would you put in a 55 gallon tank? Thank you for all of your help.
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,084
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    All the things I mentioned about your original 55 would apply to any medium species (bimac - which are very hard to acquire because of California law AND require a chiller, hummelincki, aculeatus or small Macropus). It would need major modifications to be suitable and will be too small for O. briareus. Without the additional water of a sump, the pollution levels will be impractical to manage and the cascade filter will not be octoproofable. Most adult Caribbean O. vulgaris require a 120 gallon or larger tank (the Mediterranean variety may need at least twice that much space). I have a young one now in a 65 with 35 gallon sump but have a 140 gallon tank I will octoproof if he out grows the 65. The only other one I have kept was exceptionally small and a 62+ housed her well.

    You also need to check with your supplier about available stock as octopuses are not usually kept as a stock item but are more often hitch hickers or brought in by crabbers or individuals (where fish and soft corals are actively collected). You will need more than three months after you have all your equipment purchased to cycle your tank and availability will definitely change over that time.
     

Share This Page