First octopus! Help!

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by truth64, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. truth64

    truth64 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    So this Christmas my sister gave me a saltwater tank set and told me that a pygmy octopus with my name on it would be ready for pick up in a week or so. After the general freaking out with extreme excitement and happiness had passed, I began to ponder if this was such a good idea. While I have been wanting an octopus for quite some time and know a little more about them than your average person on the street, keeping one that is already on its way and will be here shortly is kind of a different story. I know what to feed it, but not how much and how often, etc. So I am now in possession of a 16 gallon tank with salt water and a power filter designed for a 20 gallon, a heater, water conditioning, all that basic stuff. But I'm not sure if that is a big enough tank? Also I know that I will have to get live rock and live sand and an air pump, but what else? As excited as I am, I'm a little worried I'm just not properly equipped to keep my awesome new pet happy, so any tips, advice and instruction is greatly appreciated! I especially want to know simple basic stuff like how often and how much to feed a pygmy, a list of essential equipment, how to introduce the pus to the new domain, etc. Thank you! Also one thing I am worried about is the filter... I am afraid it might now be strong enough, but more than that I am afraid an octopus that size might be able to slip through the tiny slits that suck in water. There is no fan thing in the filter that could hurt it but I certainly don't want it stuck in the dark place where all the general gross stuff collects (though of course I would clean and change it often) is there a way to octopus proof it?
     
  2. truth64

    truth64 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    One other silly newbie question... is the mantle the front or back? Because I heard it was the back but they always seem to move mantle-forward
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Ouch, is there anyway to cancel the shipment? Your tank needs a minimum of 3 months to mature so that the biological filtration (which you will need to add in the form of live rock) to be able to handle the waste output for any larger saltwater animal (i.e. larger than a tiny fish and even small fish need more than a month of cycling).

    If you can't cancel the shipment my best recommendation is to find someone that is up-sizing or getting rid of their already cycled saltwater tank and move the substrate (sand and live rock) to your new facility. You can buy pre-cycled live rock but it won't contain the bacteria needed to convert the toxic waste (ammonia) to the harmless nitrate.

    There is a collection of links in the Octopus Care section in the sticky Posts with Info for new Octo Keepers that should help with getting started but canceling or delaying the current order and preparing for your future pet will provide the best chance of a successful experience.

    I would be interested to know where she found a pygmy octopus for sale. You will note in the new keeper links that the common dwarf species we find has not been available for a long time and that most suppliers have no clue as to what species they sell. Anything larger than an O. mercatoris will not survive in a 16 gallon tank, even when properly cycled (it is ideal for this species though).
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Most benthic octopuses crawl more than swim with their eyes level with the horizon. In the simplest of terms, the mantle is the equivalent of your torso and contains the circulation, digestive, respiratory and reproductive organs. The head is roughly behind the eyes extending away from the mantle and includes the eyes, brain and mouth and their arms encircle the mouth and extend below the head. The muscles around the mantle allow it to be moved so that it can be held perpendicular to or inline with the head. Swimming with the arms and mantle on the same plane is usually considered moving backwards and they have very limited view of where they are going.
     
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    DWhatley has given you some good advice. If you can't cancel or greatly postpone the arrival of the octopus, another alternative might be to have your local fish store keep it for awhile while you get set up and resolve some of the issues. If possible, find out more about the octopus - what area it comes from, for instance.

    Maybe you could buy an existing, larger mature tank from someone, and just move the whole thing (not easy, but possible). Look for the website of your nearest Marine Aquarium Siciety - they sometimes list things for sale.

    You don't need water conditioner for a saltwater tank, but you will need to buy filtered water (RO/DI water) from your local fish store or elsewhere for top off water and for mixing saltwater. You could probably also buy saltwater from your local fish store.

    It was nice of your sister to think of this gift for you, but, as you suspect, it's a little more complicated than she thought.

    Good luck with all this!

    Nancy
     

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