Dwarf Octopus Tank

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by Nils Laicher, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. Nils Laicher

    Nils Laicher Larval Mass Registered

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    Hey everyone, new here and very glad there is a forum specifically for cephalopods and octopus. I've been doing some reading the past few weeks about dwarf octopus since I saw one at my lfs recently.

    My setup -
    10 gallon DT tank, 5.5 gallon sump with Refugium.
    Currently a reef with several coral frags, a couple clowns and a watchman goby.

    First off, I realize that a 10 might be a little small for even a dwarf octopus. I am probably going to upgrade to a 16 gallon bowfront in the next couple months. Would a 16 gallon be big enough to house a dwarf comfortably? And to thrive, not just survive.
    Second, I also found out that it can be pretty hard to find actual legitimate dwarves that aren't just small juveniles of octopus that will get bigger. What species would be recommended for a 16?

    And finally, is it a possibility to keep my clownfish that are the current inhabitants of the tank? I read through the article about tankmates with an octopus but would a dwarf still do that kind of damage?

    Just postin here before I get way to far into octopus keeping, I realize that with my setup it might not even be a good idea. Any input is welcome!
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The most common dwarf we keep is O. mercatoris, a Gulf/Caribbean species. There is also a common but not often seen in the trade dwarf that originates in the US/Mexican coastal Pacific, O. digueti (hard to visually tell the two apart. There is also a third (again Caribbean), O. joubini but it is seldom seen for sale and not properly identified when it does appear. If it comes from somewhere outside the US, it is unlikely a dwarf but we do, on a rare occasion see a dwarf from indonesia that looks like a juvenile aculeatus but is nocturnal and has not lived long in captivity (possibly a function of age).

    A 10 gallon, even with sump is a bit small for a dwarf but the 16 (especially with sump and plenty of live rock) would be fine for even a pair. Should you decide to try multiples, be sure that they have already been housed together (preferably found together) as it is unclear if they will be aggressive if not raised together (we have had multiple successes with tank hatched siblings raised together).

    The Posts with Info for New Octo Keepers Thread has a few links to topics well worth reading. Pay particular attention to the Box of Chocolates link as it discusses the our most commonly kept animals and talks about the difficulty in obtaining the species you think order. Finding out the origination of an octopus is often helpful in determining its species.

    I am a strong opponent of ANY fish being kept with an octopus. Fish are not their normal food and often they will only eat the soft belly of fish they kill in the tank. My objection to fish is more for the sake of the octopus than for concern for the fish. Even in the wild, fish pester octos trying to steal bits of food. Often complaints of an overly "shy" animal will lead to the discovery of fish in the tank. That being said, O. mercatoris is a naturally shy animal and often difficult to observe.
     
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  3. Nils Laicher

    Nils Laicher Larval Mass Registered

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    Thanks for the reply @DWhatley, I think finding the right species of octo and making sure it's a dwarf will be the hardest part of all this. I don't think I'd be keeping more than one, just because the fact that I probably won't find 2 that we're raised/caught together. That being said, where would a good place to be online to find o. Mercatoris? On Liveaquaria, there is the Atlantic Pygmy octopus but thats o. Joubini and out of stock anyway.
    I definitely will upgrade to a 16 before getting an octo though, if I'm going to do it I want to do it right.
    Also, are there any problems between corals and octopus? I can't imagine there being any, but asking just in case.
    Thanks for the links, will definitely check those out.
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    O. joubini would be fine but anything sold under that name is more likely to be O. mercatoris.

    Yes, there are issues trying to keep corals with an octopus. It is possible to keep a very few soft corals that have VERY low stinging capabilities but hard corals (and many soft corals) can sting an octopus leading to infection.
     
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  5. Nils Laicher

    Nils Laicher Larval Mass Registered

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    Thanks @DWhatley, I went to my lfs yesterday and asked about how often the get octopus in, they only do it through special order. I asked if they are dwarves and the said yes but couldn't give me an exact name for the species. But at $140 that they're asking for an unidentified octo I'll pass. I'd rather look online somewhere.

    The corals that I keep are not very aggressive, and no hard corals either. I would have to get rid of my torch probably, that's the most aggressive one I have.

    I'll keep looking around and reading what I can, there's still a lot I have to learn about these guys!
     
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