Escaped but alive??

Chia

Larval Mass
Registered
#1
Hi all....I'm new here, but need a little help. We have a bimac in a 125 gallon tank. He's been in there for 6 weeks, perfectly happy, playful, hunting well, and in general a wonderful pet. A few days ago he started getting restless, so I double checked our "octo-proofing" but today, while I was out for about an hour, he escaped (I think he found a tiny hole beside the overflow). Anyway, I found him as soon as we got home (he usually comes out and says hi when we come in the door), and put him back into the tank. He wasn't dry and had himself suctioned to the floor - I really had to work him to get him off. He stayed out for a couple of hours, climbing on the side and sitting on a rock, and then went back into his den. When I tried to feed him, he wouldn't come out to eat and I was worried, so I lifted his rock. When he came out, I noticed that his tentacles were about 1 inch shorter and it looked like he could only use about 5 rows of suction on each one. I'm pretty sure he is chewing off his tentacles, and the two shrimp in the tank with him are already starting to try to "clean up" the dead flesh. Is there anything I can do for him?? Is he definitely going to die? Has this happened to anyone else?

I also have a second question. I have 2 quarter sized bimacs in a smaller refugium (sp?). How long before they need to be separated?

Any and all opinions and help please, I feel sooo horrible!
 

monty

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Supporter
#2
check you water params immediately!

It is fairly common for octos to both try to escape the tank and to bite their arms when the filtration isn't making it. (I forget if it's ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite that causes this the most, but you get the idea)

I think it might be a good idea to do a water change immediately, but waiting for the real octo-keepers to chime in might be worthwhile, since I'm mostly just going on what I read here... but testing can't possibly hurt, and I think the general belief is that water changes can't really hurt either.
 

corw314

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#3
First, let me say :welcome:

I think there is definitely a water problem as I have experienced over the years, different octopuses I have had trying to get their bodies as close to being out of the water as possible which has always indicated an ammonia spike as this burns their delicate skin. As Monty said, a drastic water change is indicated. When I have noticed an issue with an ammonia spike I have taken my tank almost 1/2 way down.

Please keep us posted.

Carol
 

monty

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Supporter
#4
corw314;103668 said:
First, let me say :welcome:

I think there is definitely a water problem as I have experienced over the years, different octopuses I have had trying to get their bodies as close to being out of the water as possible which has always indicated an ammonia spike as this burns their delicate skin. As Monty said, a drastic water change is indicated. When I have noticed an issue with an ammonia spike I have taken my tank almost 1/2 way down.

Please keep us posted.

Carol
For future reference, is it ever a bad idea to recommend a major water change? I didn't want to say "do an emergency water change now" since I wasn't sure if the octo could be stressed further by a water change... and that seemed a bit outside of my "I actually know what I'm talking about" safe zone, so I just said as much as I was certain of until I heard from someone like you, Nancy, Colin, Thales, Dan, AM, D, or the other "we do this stuff all the time" folks...

oh, and of course :welcome: Chia -- I wanted to get that first post out in time for you to see it before you logged out, so I skipped the niceties.
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#5
monty;103681 said:
For future reference, is it ever a bad idea to recommend a major water change? I didn't want to say "do an emergency water change now" since I wasn't sure if the octo could be stressed further by a water change... and that seemed a bit outside of my "I actually know what I'm talking about" safe zone, so I just said as much as I was certain of until I heard from someone like you, Nancy, Colin, Thales, Dan, AM, D, or the other "we do this stuff all the time" folks...

oh, and of course :welcome: Chia -- I wanted to get that first post out in time for you to see it before you logged out, so I skipped the niceties.
If the new water is of the proper salinity and its aged, heated and aerated, there is almost never a problem recommending a large water change. There are times when a large water change may be problematic like if the salinity of the tank water has dropped and the new water has a higher salinity, but thats a different problem. The animal may be stressed by the water change, but most often that stress is better than sitting in 'bad' water.
I actually keep 150 gallons of mixed water on hand all the time, because if something goes wrong, the first thing I want to do is a massive water change. :grin:
 

monty

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Supporter
#6
Thanks! :fingerscrossed: that this info is in time to help Chia's octo
 

simple

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#7
i know ammonia and nitrites are both very stressful for an octopus, which causes restlessness and attempts to escape, but what would high nitrates cause? I know they do fine up to around 80ppm (according to the article on here) but what if its like extremely high, say around 100-130 ppm. I'm just wondering since i dont hear people talk about nitrates too much on here.
 

monty

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Supporter
#8
simple;103688 said:
i know ammonia and nitrites are both very stressful for an octopus, which causes restlessness and attempts to escape, but what would high nitrates cause? I know they do fine up to around 80ppm (according to the article on here) but what if its like extremely high, say around 100-130 ppm. I'm just wondering since i dont hear people talk about nitrates too much on here.
which article?

The bimac care sheet recommends

Water parameters Salinity - 1.026, pH- 8 – 8.4, NO3 – 0, NO2- 0, NH3 -
 

Animal Mother

Architeuthis
Supporter
#10
simple;103693 said:
In the ceph care article http://www.tonmo.com/cephcare/keepingcephs/keepingcephs.php it says that nitrates are tolerated without any effects from 50-100 ppm..so i was curious what the side effect of a high nitrate level was, since it hasnt been mentioned much.
Death eventually. Nitrates kill inverts quicker than fish. I would freak out if mine ever tested higher than 30ppm. Nitrates might not be AS lethal as ammonia or nitrites but I would not allow a tank to go without a water change if they test anywhere in that 50-100ppm range.

Did I mention I love my refugium? That would be why.
 

monty

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Supporter
#13
simple;103693 said:
In the ceph care article http://www.tonmo.com/cephcare/keepingcephs/keepingcephs.php it says that nitrates are tolerated without any effects from 50-100 ppm..so i was curious what the side effect of a high nitrate level was, since it hasnt been mentioned much.
Sorry, I mis-read and thought you said nitrites at 80ppm... my bad :oops:

I'm still curious what keeps nitrates from building up forever, though, if anyone happens to know a quick answer...
 

Animal Mother

Architeuthis
Supporter
#14
monty;103702 said:
Sorry, I mis-read and thought you said nitrites at 80ppm... my bad :oops:

I'm still curious what keeps nitrates from building up forever, though, if anyone happens to know a quick answer...
Regular water changes! Clams and macroalgae... would be my thoughts.

I don't think it can ever be stopped completely so long as there's life in the tank.
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#15
monty;103702 said:
Sorry, I mis-read and thought you said nitrites at 80ppm... my bad :oops:

I'm still curious what keeps nitrates from building up forever, though, if anyone happens to know a quick answer...
Biological filtration can 'process' nitrates into nitrogen gas, but the biological load has to be such that the biological filtration can keep up with the nitrate levels. In this case, bacteria convert the nitrate to nitrogen gas, and it floats to Cthulhu. Algae's will also use it as building blocks. Nitrate build up is/can be a very real problem, which is why many people utilize several different methods to deal with it - water changes being very useful.
One of the potential problems with wet dry filters and filter socks is that they can give detritus a place to stay in the system and rot, becoming what some call 'nitrate factories', which is why most reefers don't use either of them.

Like most things...depends. :grin:
If you are using biological filtration, bacteria convert the nitrate to nitrogen gas, and it escapes into the athmosphere. Algae's use it.
Nitrate build up in a tank can be a very real problem, which is why people often use several methods to deal with it. Export via water changes is quite effective.
 

simple

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#16
i read that a chemical called Prime helps keep it under control, but i never trusted chemicals too much, has anyone used this or other chemicals to keep nitrates down? I personally think the best way is just water changes and macro algae..
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#17
simple;103713 said:
i read that a chemical called Prime helps keep it under control, but i never trusted chemicals too much, has anyone used this or other chemicals to keep nitrates down? I personally think the best way is just water changes and macro algae..
Almost all of those chemical don't really do what they say they will do. Pretty much every experienced aquarist avoids them. The biggest problem with the additives is that people use them in place of good husbandry practices - its like spraying Lysol on the kitty littler box, but not actually changing the litter.
 

shipposhack

Haliphron Atlanticus
Registered
#18
Thales pretty much hit it right on about the nitrogen cycle, so I'll try not to go into too many details about that.

Nitrates are generally considered "safe" under 30 parts per million. Shooting for 0 is always the best goal of course, but that depends on your boiload, filteration, age of tank, and some other things. The best export for NO3 is water changes. After the Ammonia turns to Nitrite and the Nitrite turns to Nitrate, the Nitrate has nothing to turn into but Nitrogen gas. How much is turned in to Nitrogen gas depends on the amount of both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria you have in your tank, generally found in the sand bed. At least 90% of all tanks are not likely to have enough bacteria to sustain the Nitrate levels under 10ppm, what I would not want my water above. That's where water changes come in. As you (hopefully) know, water changes are a wonderful way to get rid of dissolved organic matter (PO4 and NO3) as well as other unwanted whosawhats that are in your tank. A standard water change of 20-30% should suffice for any excess you have of any compound you don't want. I don't typically recommend water changes ^40%. Once you get there you can run into larger problems than you already have. If the water is not where you would like after the change, wait at least 24 hours for the water to mix in and get to be not-so-foreign. I will usually tell people to wait 48-72 hours to make sure parameters stay stable (the ones you want to, this is).

Never, ever let your Nitrates reach 50. This generally means you already went through a large Ammonia spike, as well as Nitrite. Some gunuses of Macroalgae are excellent at removing PO4 and NO3 from the water, which they use to grow, the most widespread being Caulerpa, with several species. A close second is Chaetomorpha. When constructing a refugium for this purpose you want it to be as big as feasible. A 5 gallon refugium will do next to nothing for a 50 gallon tank, for example. In my opinion, refugiums are fairly pointless unless they are at least 1/3 the size of your display.

Hope I helped someone :)
 

Chia

Larval Mass
Registered
#19
Hey all - thanks to those who tried to help out my little self-mutilating friend. I checked the water levels, they were all on target. We get our water straight from a filtered ocean tap, so I did a 1/3 change, but he is just getting worse. He is no longer moving, even when food is right by him...though he did try to reach out for my hand when I put it in there. Big bummer, he'll be dead my morning. I think I'll go cry now.
 

OB

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#20
This is thoroughly disheartening :sad:
 

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