Bimac Hatchlings

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by SueAndHerZoo, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    Since I'm 3 days away from receiving my first bimac hatchlings I thought this was a good time to start journaling, both for my sake and for others who may be doing the same thing in the future.

    First, a brief synopsis of how this came to be: I became interested in octopus many years ago but knew I was not qualified to care for one. Instead I got into saltwater tanks with fish and corals and became addicted. Three years later I am again renewing my fascination with these wonderful creatures. As I was re-doing my research I saw a post from a student at Boston University looking for homes for some Bimac hatchlings. Being heavily into animal rehab and rescue, I jumped on the opportunity and privilege and will be picking some up this Sunday.

    I've had dozens of different ideas running through my head as to the best habitat to set up and have nearly driven myself (and others) crazy. I've decided to stop thinking of the housing for the "full grown" bimac because I need to cross the other bridges before I (hopefully) get to the adult housing. So, my latest idea as of this morning is below and I am hoping I will receive comments, suggestions, modifications, etc.

    Purchase a 20 or 30 gallon aquarium. (I don't want to use any of my old ones because I want a sterile, uncontaminated start). I then want to purchase another Fluval G-6 (I really love the one I have) which will be VAST overkill for a small tank, but better more filtration than less, right? I will add 10 pounds or so of live rock from my other tanks, and am not sure about a sand bed (thoughts here, please?) Then, inside of this tank, I want to set up a Kriesel type of system. I will purchase the largest plastic goldfish bowl I can find, cut "windows" into both flat sides, and cover them with the finest mesh I can find. I will submerge this into the tank, place a weighted piece of acrylic or glass over the top, and that will be the home for the hatchlings. I don't think I will need an airstone in there because the flow from the Fluval should be plenty strong on the outside of the goldfish bowl.

    Does this sound like a good starter plan? If I find that the hatchlings can't be kept in the same container (fighting) I will place breeder nets in that fishtank with one hatchling in each. (not sure how I would cover those, most I've seen don't have covers).

    My first three questions are:

    • Do I want a live sand bed or a bare bottom (this question applies to the tank and the goldfish bowl)
    • Do I want any macro algae in the goldfish bowl for them to hide in/play with?
    • Will a large canister filter be sufficent for a while or should I plan to put a skimmer in there?

    Fire away - I'm all ears, and VERY excited!
    Sue
     
  2. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    Sue,
    What's the point of the "Kriesel"? just to keep from losing the little bimacs in the larger tank, and being able to spot feed them? That makes sense, but unless you create a circular flow inside the fish bowl, it's not a kriesel. I'm a little woried about the water in the fish bowl being close to stagnant, so I'd like to see some water pumped into the fish bowl from the larger tank outside. That slow moving water would be more of a worry with plants inside the fish bowl. maybe use plastic plants just for structure. Also, why not three small fish bowls instead of one? That is harder to plumb, but there's no chance of them eating each other, and you can notice if one isn't eating. I hate canister filters because I had one clog up on my from lack of maintenance and squirt lots of water on my floor once, but if you already are in the habit of doing maintenance on them, I guess it's fine.

    I have a deep sand bed (DSB - 6" deep) in my main display tank. I have reason to suspect that the DSB reduces nitrates, but also reason to suspect that over time, detritus has built up in the sand and is now breaking down, causing increased nitrates. Also, my bimac sometimes digs in the DSB, which allows oxygenated water to get down and kill some of the anaerobic bacteria in the DSB that would reduce nitrates. The bottom line is that I don't think it was a good idea to have a DSB in the tank, but I think a Remote DSB (RDSB) with enough flow over the top of it to keep detritus from settling, would be a great idea. Google "Remote Deep Sand Bed" and read up. It's just a 5 gallon bucket filled 3/4 full of play sand, with water flowing over the top. It will reduce nitrates without letting detritus build up, and if you ever think it might be problem, it's very easy to disconnect.

    Skimmers are a great idea, but sort of expensive, so get one that you'll end up using on the final (big) tank. If your water tests good, you don't really need a skimmer, and while your octos are small you won't be feeding the tank much.
     
  3. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    Thanks for the thoughts, Joe. Yes, I guess I used the term "Kriesel" loosely..... I was referring to the "tank within a tank" rather than the circular water flow. I'm not sure how stagnant the water in the fishbowl(s) would get until I purchase everything and set it up. I'm actually thinking the return flow out of the Fluval G6 might cause TOO much current in a small tank but it might be just the right amount to keep flow going through the inner containers, depending on how it's all laid out. And, I could always "swish" the inner containers gently a few times a day, right? I'm not sure where I will find the right type of mesh/netting to cover the windows I'll cut into the fishbowls. Is that stuff readily available at any popular chain stores? Or perhaps fabric/craft stores have something in plastic with tiny grids?

    Ahhhh yes, the old debate about the pros and cons of DSB's. There seems to be valid points and facts to both sides but the concensus in the reef club I'm involved in seems to shy away from DSB's these days. The remote idea is interesting, though..... I'll look into that. Of course the last thing I need is yet another unattractive bucket in my living room, but what's one more. :)

    I'm going to keep my eyes open for a good used skimmer... reefers are always upgrading and selling so if a good one comes along, I'll jump on it. In the meantime, it's probably overkill.

    Thanks.
    Sue
     
  4. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    The tank within a tank idea will allow particles of food etc to settle on the bottom of the small tank and decay, causing water quality problems inside the small tank. If you put the windows one either side of the bottom, then the flow would run across the bottom and either sweep junk out, or at least flush it into the mesh on the output side, and flush clean water through it. You may need to vacuum the small tanks every couple of days to clean up that kind of junk.

    used skimmers is the way to go. Just decide on a few different types and sizes of skimmers, and then wait for one to come up cheap (craigslist is often good). Sometimes you will find someone who is selling a whole tank setup, that includes a skimmer you want. If you take the whole thing for a low price, you can sell off everything except the skimmer on your own, and often end up getting the skimmer for net free, or even make a profit. There's a lot of hassle, and a little risk involved, but if you have more time than money, it can work.
     
  5. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    Another great idea.... make the windows LOW on the fishbowls. Wouldn't have thought of that. Yes, there are a lot of whole-system set ups going cheap these days due to people having to get out of the hobby for economic reasons. I'm trying NOT to buy another big, whole system because my "multiple tank syndrome" will get out of hand. If I buy myself a plain 20 gallon tank for this I may not get as tempted to permanently turn it into another saltwater tank. Of course, that thought process is subject to change without notice. :)
    Sue
     
  6. SabrinaR

    SabrinaR Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    :lol: I have 5 and counting! :grin: My MTS started and hasnt stop yet so much so that my husband is giving me my own fish/octopus room :grin:
     
  7. iAlex

    iAlex Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    I only have a 65 and a 5, and the is not being used. I wish I could have more. xD
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Sue,

    You NEED live rock or equivalent in the holding chamber (not just algae or plastic plants). They need to be able to find dens and will not yet be able to move shells around so the den must be ready made. They are BENTHIC, and live on the substrate from a very young age (after two weeks, mine were not even on the glass). I know the temptation is to follow the seahorse set ups but these guys only swim for VERY short sprints (watch my red light video and note how quickly they go to some form of substrate). You can try barnacle shell clusters. If they don't use the shells they will at least use the places between the shells to hide (I have only seen the mercs use dens with only one entrance but have seen pictures of octos using snail shells and my ( mercs used these until they were large enough for the barnacles)

    I would forgo the sand and use a bare bottom tank but include LR for both filtration and to house any escapees.
     
  9. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    Thanks, D.... point well taken. I have lots of live rock rubble in the sump of my 92 gallon so I will pull out some nice pieces for the octo hatchlings. The person who has them now sent me some photos the other night and from what I can see they are in a BARE tank. Some of them are almost three weeks old, others are only a few days old. I have no idea what I'll be coming home with Sunday night but I will try to have a habitat to keep them all happy. THanks for the input -- I need all I can get. Off to watch the red light video (red lights are something I have lots of -- I'm always peeking in my tanks after dark.) :)
     
  10. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    Went octo shopping last night and bought a 20 gallon tall, a Fluva G6, a few more breeder traps, and a glass lid for the tank. I'm going to go set up the stand and tank soon and will then fill the tank with water I keep in the basement for water changes (RO/DI water that is salted, heated and kept circulating). When I set up the new Fluval, I was thinking that instead of putting in the new bio rocks that come with it, perhaps I should take the bio rocks out of one of my other Fluval's and put them in the new set up? Good idea or bad idea?

    Oh, I heard from the original keeper of the hatchlings last night and apparently one cannabilized another so it's definitely time to keep them in separate habitats when I get them.
    Sue
     
  11. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    I'm assuming that the "bio rocks" are where the bacteria will live, and not for chemical filtration like charcoal or GFO. It's not a bio-filter until lots of bacteria show up, and you don't have the time to wait for the thing to cycle, so yes, take the "bio rocks" our of an existing running filter, and don't wash them with tap water, let them sit in stagnant water, or do anything else that might kill the bacteria during the transfer. Good idea, but won't that deplete some existing filter?
     
  12. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    You're correct, Joe..... the little porous, rock-like media that is used in a Fluval is for beneficial bacteria. I'm not worried about depleting the tank I'm going to take it from.... I have tons of live rock in there, lots of live sand, the tank has been up and running for 2 years, and it's got a low bio-load. I don't really need a canister filter on the 46 gallon at all but I had it so I figured, why not use it?

    If I do anything at all while transferring the media from one filter to another it will be lightly rinse it in salt water if there's any globs of detrius on it.

    Getting excited..... the original Octo-Mom told me today that she'll be sending me home with seven hatchlings. :)

    Here are a few pics she sent me:
     

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  13. Lmecher

    Lmecher Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    Oh wow, I am getting excited for you. When are you getting them, today? Good luck, will be checking in from time to time. :heee:
     
  14. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    Not getting them till tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. in Boston. It will be a 3-hour ride each way so I don't imagine I'll get home with them until about 11:00 p.m. and then will acclimate them S L O W L Y. Lucky thing I took Monday off from work to stare at them all day. :)

    Sue
     
  15. SabrinaR

    SabrinaR Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    Welcome to the obsession!

    I am excited for you. I wish you luck.
     
  16. SabrinaR

    SabrinaR Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    I am excited to know how everything went! Updates??
     
  17. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    Hi there.
    The very long ride ended with me bringing home 7 bimac hatchlings. Unfortunately, at this point, I can only find 6 of the 7. My first challenge was to find a way to safely transport them for 3 hours. The "Mom" suggested I bring a 5 gallon bucket but I was afraid that three hours of sloshing around in a bucket in a car would stress them too much and they'd ink themselves. I decided to find some live rock that fit tightly into the bottom of the bucket so that they could have something to hang onto, and that's what I did. Of course the fear there was that the rock would shift and hurt or kill one of them. Very stressful ride - I cringed at every bump in the road and after the winter we've had in New England, the roads are in TERRIBLE shape.

    I got them home about 10:30 p.m. and started the careful search for the tiny critters in the bucket. They were all hanging onto the rock so as I spotted one I would gently encourage him onto my finger, then relocate him to the acclimating container that was floating in the 20 gallon tank I had set up. Unfortunately I have only found 6.... hopefully the last one is happily tucked away inside a deep nook or cranny of the live rock. First lesson learned..... only give them solid rock to hang onto during transport. I had provided a very porous, open, airy type of rock with hundreds of hiding places. I guess I'm lucky only ONE is MIA.

    I slowly started changing out their original water with my tank water but that was probably overkill because the salinity of both were spot on the same (.026) and the temperature was within one degree (68 degrees versus 69 degrees). There was a lot of fighting going on in that acclimating container so I knew I had to separate them soon. I had set up 5 separate containers within the 20 gallon tank so started placing one in each with a piece of live rock rubble. Then I siphoned out live mysid (from my rapidly depleting mysid supply) and placed 3-4 in each container. Unfortunately a lot of them are escaping the breeder traps and swimming freely in the 20 gallon tank. This morning when I checked on my remaining mysid supply they are dying off fast so I siphoned out alll the live ones I could get and turned them loose in the 20 gallon tank. Have already ordered another batch.

    This morning (after a "nap" since I was up most of the night looking for the seventh one) I nervously approached the tank. I can't believe how scared and nervous I was - I was so afraid they'd all be dead! To my relief they are all breathing (which I can only tell by using a magnifying glass and flashlight) but they are very inactive. I have no idea if that's normal or not. When they were in Boston they were all in one, bare bottom, baron tank and they moved around a lot to avoid each other's attacks, but now that they are separated they are pretty sedentary. Then again, they've been through a lot in the past 12 hours.

    If I can't find the seventh one in the next hour I am going to rearrange things in the 20 gallon and just place the large piece of rock in the tank with him hidden in it. I can't keep it in the bucket much longer or that water will become unhealthy.

    I took some videos last night during acclimation but I can't figure out how to get them on here. Do I have to post them somewhere else, first? (like Facebook?)

    Sue
     
  18. SabrinaR

    SabrinaR Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    You need to go to some place like photobucket or youtube to upload the videos then you the links to post it on forums and post that here.

    I am really excited to see renewed interest in keeping bimacs. The other posts I have read about raising them from hatchlings were quite successful so you might have some re-homing to do lol. Good luck to you.
     
  19. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    Hatchling Video

    [video]http://s17.photobucket.com/albums/b57/Sue777/Fish%20tanks/Octopus/[/video]

    [​IMG]

    Hoping this works.... this is a video of the hatchlings while they were acclimating last night.
    Sue
     
  20. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    you posted a link to the album which works but if post the direct link to the picture it will show up. I fixed it for you.

    [video]http://s17.photobucket.com/albums/b57/Sue777/Fish%20tanks/Octopus/?action=view&current=100_0261.mp4[/video]
     

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