Cephalopod Farming

DWhatley

Kraken
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
20,612
Reaction score
1,799
Location
Gainesville, GA
Last edited:

DWhatley

Kraken
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
20,612
Reaction score
1,799
Location
Gainesville, GA
Australia

Octopus Farming is Catching on, AquacultureHub Nov 2011, three year project to grow octopuses for the food industry. The species is not named but looks like vulgaris and is a small egg species. The current technology is to catch them small and grow them to eating size. They are attempting to hatch the eggs without the mother and are getting hatchlings but not settlement.

2017 fishery established but still no solution to farming from eggs. Octopus was identified as O. tetricus (gloomy octopus)

 
Last edited:

DWhatley

Kraken
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
20,612
Reaction score
1,799
Location
Gainesville, GA
@Tintenfisch, Somewhere I have seen another farm that was an in situ experiement that I want to add but have misplaced :roll: the link and found this in looking for that thread. I almost did not post it because of the "what a wonderful animal, yummm" presentation but I want to start keeping information on octo aquaculturing and the information was worth keeping.

While in Colorodo, years ago, we visited a steak restaurant and both Neal and I still remark on the comment by one of the 4H kids thanking the restaurant for buying the cow that he raised. Farmers have to have a different outlook, I know, but it is hard for us that consume the end product to separate the "pet" concept of raising an animal to something that goes on our plate. Some members have mentioned the need for, "if you would not kill it yourself don't eat it" attitude and I can emphasize with the idea but not the reality. I have to go with, "if you eat it, don't object to the killing that brings it to your table". It gives a little more latitude for survival but still provides a way to object (by not consuming as well as allowing open objection) when collection methods or care are in opposition to desired standards/sustainability. Unfortunately, it also gives the consumer an out to not think about what they consume.
 

SandV

Wonderpus
Registered
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
220
Reaction score
1
In the video it mentions that it is possibly the first time the eggs have hatched without the mother? I know mothers brood with their eggs but has anyone lost a mother and the eggs still hatch?

I ask because I have been helping out at our new aquarium and we got a "common brown octopus" who promptly layed eggs and passed. The first egg hatched yesterday. Small egg little baby :( giving it a try tho
 

DWhatley

Kraken
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
20,612
Reaction score
1,799
Location
Gainesville, GA
SandV, welcome back (again :biggrin2:)
I think that is more of a brag than a reality. I know Ceph was able to hatch O. briareus (large) eggs 20+ years ago without the mother but we recommend keeping them with the female as the hatch rate is better and there is no need for trying to adjust equipment. Keeping the hatchlings alive through to adulthood is another story, even with many of the large egg species.

All initially pelagic species suffer from our lack of understanding as to what to do to keep them alive until they become benthic. Seahorses have the most luck of the ones I am aware of but the numbers are still abysmal and few people succeed. Martin Moe still works with trying to find the secret with Diadema (long spined sea urchins) and our members always give it a try when faced with the "opportunity". The focus continues to be first foods and lack of harmful bacteria. There has been some success (at least to a point) with the GPO using newly hatched crabs as food but I have not been able to find anything close to frozen (let alone live) crab zoea.

One thing I found interesting with the laying of the last eggs was the simultaneous spawning of a pencil urchin. Assuming this is not cooincidence (and the spawning of peppermint shrimp with my last eggs suggests something is being triggered), I am beginning to think we need other animals in the water column when egg laying takes place.
 

SandV

Wonderpus
Registered
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
220
Reaction score
1
I have been lurking around....but thanks

I didn't plan on having them without their mother but they seem to be developing and hatching out fine, but of course I have little hope for them surviving.
 

DWhatley

Kraken
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
20,612
Reaction score
1,799
Location
Gainesville, GA
If you have the time and some thoughts using whatever is at hand, use the opportunity to experiement a little. Changing salinity, different foods, anything you can think of. You will have anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to try something so go for it if you can. Currently, the primary thought is food but we see them eat and they still die. Even where I had survivors with the large egg animals, I lost 5 or so that made it past the initial die offs and were eating well (hand feeding) but still did not make it.

One thing I wanted to try last time but lost them too soon was to put a couple in a filter sock that went unchanged. It would be continually bombarded with new tank water but contain left over food, pods and detritus. Both my surviving O.briareus spent time (unintentionally) in this environment which suggests there is a possible advantage.

If you are going to experiment at all, start immediately after hatching, leaving some in the tank as more or less a control group.
 

ceph

Wonderpus
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 20, 2002
Messages
214
Reaction score
35
Location
West Palm Beach, Florida
Cephalopods have an incredibly high food to biomass conversion rates - especially for protein. In other words, they are very good at turning what they eat into growth. They have fast life spans and high growth rates - these two traits make them an excellent candidate for commercial aquaculture. . . so far so good. . .

But they have other traits that make commercial rearing of them difficult.

The challenge for commercial rearing of cephalopods isn't getting the eggs to hatch. This is easily done by leaving them with the mother - the best option. However, they can also be raised artificially much like one would do for cichlid eggs. TONMO members that are interested in raising their ceph eggs may want to remove some of them and raise them at a colder temperature. One of the challenges with raising octopuses is that most people only get one shot at it. By separating some of the eggs and slowing down their development, you can give yourself a chance to learn from the first hatch and give yourself a second chance if things go wrong.

So what are the challenges?

One challenge is what to feed the hatchlings. Live food is required. Live mysid shrimp and amphipods work well, but they often cost more than the octopuses they are being fed to. Curstacean meat is worth more than octopus meat. Mysids often sell for 8 cents each which doesn't sound like much but really is. At the Aquarium of the Pacific our Mysid bill for our seadragosn was 6 figures. There is currently no simple frozen or prepared diet that can be fed to hatchling cephalopods.

Another challenge is that the small egged species have planktonic larvae. While these species are more prolific, their offspring are much smaller and a lot harder to raise in captivity. While I have raised a number of large egged species, including a deep-sea species, I have not raised any planktonic species. I can and has been done, but it ain't easy.

For experiments, I second the suggestion an unfed control. Hatchlings will live for some time, perhaps a week, on their reserves. A control gives experiments something meaningful to compare to.

James
 

DWhatley

Kraken
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
20,612
Reaction score
1,799
Location
Gainesville, GA
Summary of current farming activities

From the Aquaculture hub blog, Octopus Farming is Catching On - November 11, 2011

Nice short summary of the three countries now working with the challenges of farming octopuses for food. The Spain (O. vulgaris) and Australia (O. tetricus) teams are all working with small egg species where Mexico does not have to fight this battle with O. maya.
 

Top