Care cost?

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by ReleaseTheKrake, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. ReleaseTheKrake

    ReleaseTheKrake Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Hello everyone.

    I'm considering finding out more about owning an octopus. So far all the information is a little overwhelming :lol: so, before I dig any deeper into what kind of commitment this would take, I need to know if I could even afford it. I'm a student and a single mother, so my monthly budget doesn't have much space for a VERY expensive pet. Start up costs for setting up the tank and getting the octopus isn't a problem, since it's something I can save for. But roughly how much is the monthly upkeep? About how much does an octopus eat, where can I get food (just buy fish at a fish store, or what?), and how much does it cost to feed your octopodes? Are there any medical things that might come put that I'd need to budget for (like how a fish sometimes needs stress coat?)

    And this may be a stupid question, but how exactly do you get saltwater? Do you have to buy special saltwater, or is it just normal water and table salt? Or a special salt? And if so, how much does that cost a month?

    I've only had experience with mammals, lizards, and freshwater aquariums, so I really have no idea what the financial commitment is going to be.

    Thank you,
    Katrina
     
  2. djkaty

    djkaty Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Right, since nobody else replied I'll take a stab at it.

    Saltwater: you need to buy good quality synthetic sea salt, table salt will kill the livestock. The sea salt has calcium, strontium and other trace elements in it and a particular pH. You need a RO filter to make purified freshwater, then mix in the right amount of salt, make sure it's all dissolved and leave it for 24-48 hours before using because it's caustic.

    What an octopus eats depends on its size (and indirectly age by consequence), live shrimp, fiddler crabs etc. You will have to find a source of live food until you can ween your octopus onto thawed items.

    Other regular expenses I can think of would be carbon, test kits for water quality, all those little expendables. Occasional replacement of dimmed fluorescent lights.

    I can't really comment on direct costs because I live in Norway where everything costs an incredible amount of money, but I used to keep geckos, tegus and green iguanas (iguana iguana) and so far I would say keeping the aquarium is significantly more expensive both in setup and maintenance.
     
  3. snowmaker

    snowmaker Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Maybe consider keeping a reef tank for a while first - like 6 - 9 mos. I would advise learning how to keep a sw aquarium first.
    Find a mentor you trust - maybe through a local club. This is where you will get used equipment for $.50 on the dollar or less.
    Someone with a few years experience can set up a new aquarium successfully for way less $ than a newbie.
    Most important is to do your research and ask questions like you are here.

    Where are you located Katrina?
     
  4. ReleaseTheKrake

    ReleaseTheKrake Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Thanks for replying, both of you.

    I'm in Arizona.

    I know that setting up a reef tank is recommend, but before I do that I'd like a general idea of how much it'd cost to maintain, both the reef tank and one with an octopus in it. The cost of setting one up doesn't matter, I just need to know if I could afford the month-to-month costs before I start thinking about this more seriously.
     
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    First of all, welcome to our site!

    You might have a look at a thread at the top of Tank Talk, entitles "How much do you have...." You'll find many examples of the equipment people have and the cost of this equipment.

    As for day to day expenses, you'll have the cost of salt and of water, or premixed salt water from your LFS, and food. Maybe the least expensive way is to buy a bag of frozen shrimp, and thaw it piece by piece. However, you do need to offer life food occasionally, and fiddler crabs often cost more than $1 each. The costs can vary, obviously increasing as the octopus grows, maybe $20/month for food.

    It's good advice to have a saltwater aquarium with inverts first, then keep an octopus. You get some practice with your tank before adding your ceph, and you'll be surprised at what a beautiful aquarium you can have without a "star" attraction like an octo.

    The cost of water and salt will vary by what's available to you. I used to mix my own water and salt, but now I buy saltwater directly from my LFS, topoff RO/DI water from him, too. So you need to check prices locally.

    Good luck!

    Nancy
     
  6. snowmaker

    snowmaker Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    As far as equipment goes the price will vary widely on New vs. used vs. free. Keep an eye on CraigsList.
    Sometimes PetCo (or one of those big stores) will have tanks for $1 / gal.
    Local clubs may be the best source. Found this list you could try search querys of.

    Arizona

    • Desert Marine Society (DMS)

    • East Valley Saltwater Aquarist "FRAG" Club

    • Sierra Vista Area Reef keepers

    • Tucson Reef Aquariums

    Also a local aquarium service business might have used equipment in storage they can (and are usually happy to) sell at a deep discount. Something like:
    http://www.theaquaticspecialists.com/
    ...or one in your town / city.

    For used equipment, you should expect to pay $.50 on the dollar or less vs. new.
     
  7. ieatfalalfel

    ieatfalalfel Wonderpus Registered

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    :welcome: to tonmo. I jsut wanted to tell you it will be pricy and don't skimp on equipment. You may think you are saving by getting a 50 dollar skimmer, but the lives of your cephs are priceless.
     
  8. ReleaseTheKrake

    ReleaseTheKrake Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Thanks for the replies :)

    I don't think I explained myself very well. The setup cost for all the equipment doesn't have me worried, because this is something I expect will be a large chunk of money that will be a one time cost with occasional replacement, and I can save up for that accordingly. What worries me is being able to afford to KEEP it going. The monthly costs of the water, the food, and any other monthly costs that anyone has come against is what I would need to look at my budget and see if it would stretch me too far. Right now I have about $100 left over at the end of the month for savings and fun stuff, so I definitely can't go over that and I'd prefer to stay at about half that. Is it safe to say that the monthly upkeep would be $50 or less? If not then this will be a pet that we'll not be able to keep for awhile.

    Nancy, what is LFS? And I usually as a rule make sure at least half my animals diets are live prey. I know I don't want to live off frozen pizza all month without a home cooked meal thrown in a couple times a week :lol: If that is outrageously expensive I might cut that down a little, but I think it's fun to watch them hunt, especially with animals that I can't take out and play with.

    Where do you buy the food? Is the frozen shrimp just from the grocery store, or the pet store? And the live prey? What else would I be able to offer other than live shrimp and fiddler crabs?

    Oh and I don't know how saltwater tanks work differently from freshwater, but wouldn't they need cleaner fish? I don't really know what the saltwater equivalents of catfish and snails are XD and what do I do with them when I get the octopus? Wouldn't they get eaten if I left them in? Or should I let that happen?
     
  9. ReleaseTheKrake

    ReleaseTheKrake Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    I just googled those, and they actually just all took me to different sections of another forum similar to this one :grin: I'm not sure if Arizona/Phoenix has any reefor aquarium clubs. I'll have to look around.

    Do you think our aquariums would be helpful with setting up a home aquarium? We're actually taking a family day trip to the wildlife world zoo & aquarium at the end of the month, and there's a new aquarium that opened at the mall near my daughter's father's house which we haven't visited yet. Should I try asking someone there?
     
  10. SabrinaR

    SabrinaR Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    As far as monthly costs go it can be as little as 25$ a month and go up from there. I would suggest saving your setup money times 2 so you can stay ahead of the curve and any beginning costs that can come up.

    I have seen some people able to feed their octopuses frozen table shrimp from walmart for 5$ a bag and the bag will last for 2 or 3 months. Other octopuses won’t eat anything other than live food and there is no rhythm or reason as to which ones will or wont.

    I can order 10 fiddler crabs for 15$ and that includes shipping. After that I go to Galveston and catch my own food… or rather I did when my octopus HP was still alive.

    Water will be your other regular monthly expense. If you buy it at the fish store its 1$ to 1.5$ a gallon. If you don’t buy it from the LFS (Live Fish Store) then you will have to make it yourself and either buy RO water from the fish store for .35 cents to .50 cents a gallon or you will need to buy an RO/DI filter so you can clean and filter your water at home.

    For a cheap start up system say from craigslist I would say you need at least 500. That should get you a tank, stand, filters, pumps, lights, live rock, sand, and plumbing for around 300. After that the remaining 200 would be for your RO unit and water containers and salt. Then if you have saved times 2 like I suggested you will have 500 left over for any and all extra expenses which can be difficult to guess or anticipate.

    Saltwater tanks aren’t for everyone as they require a great deal of effort and time from the hobbyist. Just keep reading and researching like you are.

    As far as the difference between salt and fresh, I would suggest reading books by Robert (Bob) Fenner. You can find his books on Amazon or go to Wet Web Media to do some reading for basic set ups. All of the questions you asked are good questions but you are just scratching the surface of what it is you need to know to keep octopuses or other marine animals.

    I do believe if you plan accordingly and pick the right octopus/set up you could manage it for around 50$ a month. Good luck with your quest.
     
  11. ReleaseTheKrake

    ReleaseTheKrake Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    I was planning on having about $1500 set aside before I tried setting anything up, for the cost of the equipment and the stand and inhabitants and decorations and everything. So that sounds like it's a pretty comfortable estimate.

    is filtering your own water something that you could easily mess up, or is it fairly simple? 'Cause if it's not particularly hard i'll probably go with getting a filter and filtering my home water.

    I'm still looking for a good fish store that has some experience with saltwater tanks AND octopodes. I've found one, out of mannnyy that I've called, that has carried octopodes in the past, and they only get one or two in every few months. I haven't been able to go in yet and talk to them but I'm hopeful they'll be able to help me get a good setup and be able to get comfortable taking care of my aquarium, and eventually introducing an octopus.

    Thanks for the help everyone :) I think I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to provide for some aquatic babies, so I guess it's time to get reading.
     
  12. SabrinaR

    SabrinaR Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    The thing about the water is the testing. The testing supplies can get kind of pricey and with somethings you will want to get electronic testers. You will need a firm grasp of the water chemistry, not only the water in the tank but the water in your city/county. Trust me on this... earlier this year I learned (at the expense of my first octopus) that your city water can have toxins in it that a normal RO unit wont get out. Since my ammonia situation I have started getting my water from the ocean. Its filtered from a VERY trust worthy location and I have to add salt to it in order to maintain a level of 1.026 or 35ppm depending on the unit of measurement you use.

    Talking with other fish enthusiasts along with other LFS will help with your understanding. It just really takes time. Before my chlorimine situation (the ammonia problem) many people myself included didnt know of this problem. Luckily this is a localized problem based on location so its easy enough to find out if you will have to deal with this. Look for local reef clubs and get involved that way.

    Welcome to the Obsession.
     
  13. ReleaseTheKrake

    ReleaseTheKrake Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Then perhaps I should go with buying water, since Phoenix isn't known for having the best water quality. i also have a pur filter on all my faucets, and i don't know what they use in their filters or whether it will introduce anything that would slip past the second filter and hurt the octo, or anything I put in a tank.

    This weekend I'll be shopping around at a few more fish stores, and then I'll be posting over in tank talk for some help with what I should be looking for in equipment and what I should be doing :D
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    You might want to check with your fish stores and ask how they create their water.
     

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