Collegiate Octopus

lifetrance

O. bimaculoides
Supporter
#1
I plan to set up an aquarium in my dorm room next year, with the hope of educating an octopus in the intricacies of science and engineering. :madsci: However, I live on the other side of the continent, so the octopus can't come home with me.

My plan: Release the octopus every break, and get a new one thereafter.

I imagine my tank will get stagnant after a month of winter break, and especially so after three months of summer break. However, I would prefer to not re-cycle the tank after every break.

Will re-cycling be necessary, or will the tank maintain itself for a month or two?

Could anyone with similar experiences, perhaps in a college setting, lend some additional advice?

Thanks in advance,
Brandon
 

Nancy

Titanites
Staff member
Moderator
#2
You need to release the octopus in a place where that species is found.

Do you live on the east coast and plan to go to school on the west coast, get a west coast octopus like a bimac and release it somewhere between LA and San Diego? That would work, but the opposite would not.

Nancy
 

cthulhu77

Titanites
Supporter
#3
Hey Brandon ! I maintained a salt reef tank in my dorm room for two years without any major incidence, but I was never gone for a month or two, either...I would say two weeks is about as long as you could go...you might want to see if you could find a friendly RA to keep tabs on it, or look into whether or not your university would allow an aquarium keeper to pop in from time to time...at best, it sounds like a problem....hmmm.
How about setting up the tank in the bio lab at your school? There are always people there during breaks working (know that for a fact ! :D ) and, being scientists, might like the challenge and learning potential...
good luck!
greg
 

lifetrance

O. bimaculoides
Supporter
#4
Indeed, Nancy, I'm in college near LA, so the octopuses should be happy.

Greg- the maintenance staff is pretty anal here, and I'm not sure they would allow electronics to be plugged in over breaks, but I will give it a shot. Maybe I'll just leave the equipment plugged in and hope it will be a few weeks until they discover my indiscretion :twisted:

I did consider giving the octopus to a prof/local student with a marine aquarium, but I kind of like the idea of letting them go every few months. Won't have to deal with them passing away on me, and they get a chance to go out and spawn more little octopuses. Isn't there an Alaskan tradition where they send their dying grandparents out on an iceberg, to die in dignified solitude? Or maybe that was just a bad joke, haha...

-Brandon
 

cthulhu77

Titanites
Supporter
#6
I think the release part was fine...more worried about the tank...it will crash without maintenance over the course of months...could you set the tank up in one of the zoology labs? that way everyone benefits, and every semester you come back to a nice tank.
 

lifetrance

O. bimaculoides
Supporter
#7
cthulhu77 said:
I think the release part was fine...more worried about the tank...it will crash without maintenance over the course of months...could you set the tank up in one of the zoology labs? that way everyone benefits, and every semester you come back to a nice tank.
I want to be able to interact with the octopus as much as possible, and I fear I wouldn't see him much in a bio lab. Without the filter on, I can understand the water getting filthy within a month or two if it were full of inhabitants, but wouldn't the water be recoverable given minimal sunlight and no fish? I can't imagine the nitrate level varying much, and the bacteria would have no reason to die. I suppose few aquarists have neglected their aquariums for that long, so perhaps I'll be the first to have some experience with it.
 

Watcher

Larval Mass
Registered
#8
If there is nothing in the tank producing Ammonia then the bacteria will die within 1-2 weeks. You can't just leave an empty cycled tank for three months and then expect it to still be cycled and have the nitrifying bacteria you need to handle the bio-load of anything, much less a octo.
 

lifetrance

O. bimaculoides
Supporter
#9
Watcher said:
If there is nothing in the tank producing Ammonia then the bacteria will die within 1-2 weeks. You can't just leave an empty cycled tank for three months and then expect it to still be cycled and have the nitrifying bacteria you need to handle the bio-load of anything, much less a octo.
Hmm, you don't think the bacteria would be happy munching on live rock? I realize the water isn't going to be ideal when I come back; my goal is to minimize damage so I don't have to start from ground zero every semester.
 

Watcher

Larval Mass
Registered
#11
Maybe if you put some really hardy fish in there, made sure the water quality was perfect before you left, and added an automatic feeder, then the bacteria may live that long.

Of course the water would be horrid, when you got back, and the filter a nightmare, but with that much decaying filth, you might have a rather large colony of nitrifying bacteria still alive.

You'd have to clean up everything really well(except the biological filter) and test everything very closely. Worth a shot I suppose.
 

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