Dwarf Octopus-good for beginners?

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by KD5054, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. KD5054

    KD5054 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Hello all,
    Glad to be here as I have really felt myself being drawn to the aquatic side of things.
    I am going to be really new to the saltwater world and am looking to eventually get into the ceph side of the aquarium world. I have kept and maintained freshwater fish and have greatly enjoyed it for several years.
    I have already done quite a bit of research and reading in regards to what it takes to own an octopus but am looking for advice.
    I have never kept a saltwater tank and so far my plan (after talking to the local saltwater aquarium store closest to me) is to start out with a 29 gal biocube. I plan to start out with half live rock and live water to get it going and then allow another 3 months before I add anything. Then after that I plan to practice with a few hardier fish species until I get a good feel for saltwater. From there I was suggested to then try at the dwarf octopus species.
    I am aware that they are nocturnal and life span is roughly 8 months on the long side.
    That said-I am always looking for any and all advice that may help me on this long goal as well as any suggested reading material or articles. I did find and purchase the 'cephalopod for the home aquarium' book.
     
  2. KD5054

    KD5054 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Also-is there a lists of possibly tank mates to keep along with the dwarf species? I've only seen the lists of those for larger octopus. I'm assuming its similar but figure I'd ask that as well.
    Thank you so much.
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The My List of Successful Occupants is pretty much universal and you should have not problems with any of these inverts.

    Finding a dwarf species will be the biggest challenge. O. mercatoris (Caribbean) has been our most common dwarf but few have been available for a couple of years. In the past, the best sources have been acquired as bycatch from live rock farmers and occasionally indirectly from crabbers.
     
  4. KD5054

    KD5054 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Thank you so much. Thats a great help!
     
  5. KD5054

    KD5054 O. vulgaris Registered

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    What about the octopus joubini species? Are they comparable to the Caribbean?
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    O. joubini is a Caribbean species but we don't see them in the trade. For many years O. mercatoris was labeled O. joubini (partially because of a determination that there was only one dwarf species in the Caribbean, later to be proven definitively incorrect because O. joubini is a small egg species where O. mercatoris is a large egg layer). We MAY have had one O. joubini journaled but the determination was only a guess (albeit likely a good one as location was known, it was a dwarf and it laid small eggs). You may want to look at Pandora's journal. Here is a nice paper discussing the differences between O. mercatoris and O. joubini and here is more specific info on O. mercatoris.
     
  7. catherineLA

    catherineLA Cuttlefish Registered

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    Hi where did you get your octopus?? I'm trying to find one!
     
  8. KD5054

    KD5054 O. vulgaris Registered

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    I have not gotten an octopus yet. I'm doing a lot of preparing first such as looking into what I can plan to keep with one and which species/size (as exact species can be hit and miss) is the best fit for me.
    I have noticed that the sites that were offering them earlier don't have them listed on hand- possibly seasonal
     
  9. catherineLA

    catherineLA Cuttlefish Registered

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    Oh
    Oh i see, same thing.. Thank you! Please, let me know if you find one
     
  10. KD5054

    KD5054 O. vulgaris Registered

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    Another question regarding these dwarf octopus- I have a local saltwater store located that seems capable of working with me to achieve my goal. If they are able to order an octopus in for me down the road is there a recommended best way for transporting it home. I live roughly a 40 minute drive away. Tips?
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    See if your (almost)LFS has oxygen. Not likely unless they ship, however, if they do then 1/2 fill an oversized plastic bag with tank water (not new saltwater) and the rest with oxygen. This is a standard overnight shipping method and will be fine for your ~hour drive. If no oxygen is available then an even larger bag with half tank water and half air. When sitting on a table, the octopus should be covered in at least 4x it height and width with water.

    In either case, put the bag in a completely dark enclosure and stabilize as best you can for the car trip. If you happen to have a large, insulated shopping bag, this will help maintain the temp. Alternately, a styrofoam box will help keep the temp stable and provide darkness. Resist the temptation to peak in to see how it is doing on the ride home. It won't change anything and the light and movement may cause inking where quiet, darkness should not. Keep it in the dark until you acclimate.

    There are pros and cons to providing a den environment for travel. I do not recommend using live rock or shells because either may pollute the water. A clean plastic wide mouth bottle with plenty of holes to allow water to freely flow is often used for shipping. You may want to close the bottle with the animal inside (plastic top ONLY) but for a short trip, this may be overkill (but would protect them somewhat should the air escape enough to make the plastic bag dangerous. Fortunately, unlike nautilus, octos are not known to bite through the plastic but I have mild concerns about them getting entangled in a non-rigid plastic enclosure.

    I recommend using test strips while you acclimate to be sure you have a ph match (I know some argue against using test strips but for matching parameters, they are fast and useful). For a shipped animal, this is usually a 3 hour (or more) procedure but with the short distance and minimal temp changes, it should be shorter as the ph should not fluctuate much during the trip (but may still be different than your tank).
     
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