Boo, an Abdopus aculeatus | The Octopus News Magazine Online
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Boo, an Abdopus aculeatus


Aug 22, 2009
I am the recent purchaser of a male Abdopus aculeatus. I'm in my third week with him, it'll be a month this Sunday. He's been a great pet for me, he reacts to our (my wife and I) presence at the tank, he would come up and eat out of my hand, he would display for us, he would endlessly explore things we put in the tank for him (he adored a black coffee mug, he used it for a den).

Unfortunately, I now believe him to be becoming senescent. He's turning grey, he can't hold his colors, instead of using his whole arms to move around he only uses the base and lets the rest flop, he's stopped eating, he avoids his dens to stick on the glass or a corner and his skin looks droopy, for example, it's not tight around the eyes. The thing that gets me the most is that he always seemed to move with a purpose, he would go from rock to cup to rock to crab to rock to den before. Now, he'll leave a corner of the tank, crawl on the glass, then go back to a corner of the tank.

He's grown a bit since I've gotten him, he's about two and a half inches long in mantle length. When I bought him, not knowing what species he was, I figured that his small size (about 1.75 inches mantle length) meant that he was, if not a baby, at least a younger one.

He did come to me appearing to have led a fairly rough life. he was missing one arm entirely, half of another, had three that were very much smaller than the rest and only three full size arms.

After doing some research though, it appears that 1.5-2 inches ML is mature for these guys. This really has me sad, he's been such a cool pet.

I realize there's nothing I can do to stop this, but I imagine there's probably some that I can do to slow it down. I'm gonna read up to see if I can make his golden years nicer.

Well, that's Boo's bittersweet story.


Certified Ceph Head For Life
Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
Gainesville, GA
:welcome: Boo!

Unfortunately, your story is common with the aculeatus (and not unusual for other species). Finding a young one is almost impossible, several have lived in an aquarium as long as a year but it is rare. People have been hopeful when a small one is located to be sadly disappointed to find that it one of the smaller variety in the Abdopus complex. This does not negate the enjoyment of keeping them but must be taken into consideration when you bring one into your home and heart.

Please continue to keep your journal and don't forget your promise to post pictures :grin:


TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Mar 8, 2004
:welcome: Boo, sorry to hear he's at the end of his life.


Aug 22, 2009
A few more observations about my aculeatus, Boo. He built interesting dens by backing up to the base of various rocks, digging behind him with his tentacles and then jetting the sand away until he made a big hole that he could hide in with nothing more than his eyes showing and a sand funnel in front of him.

He was really social within a few days of being brought home. He would crawl right up to the edge of the tank at feeding time and would take his food from my hands. He seemed to be almost communicative with his colors. When it was feeding time, he would put on his striped colors like in the beginning of the vid (I did feed him after that vid. I tried to get the feeding on camera, but couldn't manage both at once lol). When my dogs came by the tank, he would go really dark, he'd be all black except for a few spots and his purple suckers. It was clear he didn't like the dogs one bit lol. He would flash darkly when the cats walked by too, but they didn't upset him as much.

He had a really interesting feeding method. He would use two arms, wrap one right in front of the prey item and put the other behind the prey item, startle it with the arm in front and grab it with the arm in back to pull it in. Once and only once, I saw him dig a tentacle into the sand about two inches away and then reach up to grab a ghost shrimp from under the sand!

Like I said in the first post, he was a curious creature, he liked to explore manmade things, and made a den inside of a coffee mug. Don't worry, it was new and never used. My wife was livid when she saw that I put it in there, she used it for a decoration! lol

He's such a cool little critter. :)


O. bimaculoides
Mar 27, 2009
Awesome looking Octo!!!!!
Not to insult your intelligence but I always ask basic questions. (for my own learning)
I noticed you have under gravel filter and heater, do you have a chiller or does this species handle warm temps?
About 15 years ago, I caught some Octo's and the temp was about 10 degrees to warm and they died after about 1 month.
Now, I always get the water temp of the area they live in (thank God for google) and not use the general rule given by some of the sellers.
His wounds look pretty fresh, like just before you purchased or maybe they had to pull it away from some rocks.
I have a 5 month old (approx) Twin-Spot that lost parts of it's arms, they grew back within 2 weeks. (yes, that fast) The only difference is they were only about 1/2" to 1" missing tips. (I had a puffer fish that was nibbling) HAD!!
The only reason I am questioning anything is the yellowish color. I have had some die and they usually go white with blotchy grey areas. (maybe different species colors are different as they move on)
Thanks for sharing and the great pictures.

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