First octopus

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by Octodad17, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. Octodad17

    Octodad17 Larval Mass Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello, I'm new here. I've been in the SW hobby for over a year now. I'm constantly researching new things. I've got mantis, harlequin shrimp, I'm going to atempt SPS, I'm currently working on a 125 gallon reef, I used to have upside down jellies, and now I'm looking into getting a carribean pygmy octopus. As a child, octopi have always been one of my fav animals, and still are one of my favs, and I think it's time to give it a shot! The supplier says it needs a 30g and several daily feedings but I wanted to second opinion this. They claim the sp. as O. joubini, but I thought that was an atlantic pygmy not carribean? I've done alot of research on the care for them but I could never find anything on pygmies. Either way, I just had a few questions.

    -Will it fit in a 10g? what about a 20g long?
    -Life span?
    -Max size?
    -Tankmates?
    -Will it ink? If it does ink how bad is it? I was hoping to connect a tank to my 10 gallon mini-reef (to improve water quality) and I worry if it inks, it would get in the mini-reef.. what if I put carbon in between the return/overflow? Would it release ink upon death like a cucumber?

    I'm aware about having a tight fitting lid and no openings for escape. I was going to somehow setup a tank right next to my 10 gallon mini reef, and put an octopus in there. I also have a 55 gallon fuge for my 125, but I can't leave it in a sump with nothing to do like that.

    -Thanks
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  2. haggs

    haggs Vampyroteuthis Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Messages:
    384
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Coffs Harbour N.S.W.Australia
    Hello and welcome, you have found a good place to ask. I don't have any pointers for you in regards to your choice of octopus, but I can tell you a little about mine. I normally only feed him once a day and I usually do this in the evening, my reason for that is, he seems to be less destructive that way. If I feed him late, he seems content over night and the next day. When I feed him in the morning, the following night he tends to pull the rocks apart and generally make a mess, as though he was searching for more food. There are occasions where he might get fed another crab in the morning, this is mainly when he "paces" back and forth along the tank and "seems" like hes hungry.

    As for size and life span, the octopus I have I thought was about 3 parts fully grown and so therefore I thought his age would have been around the 9 months to 1 year. That was back in June, since then he has tripled in size, so I really don't know how much longer I will have him for as their life is usually some where up to a 1.5 years maybe a bit more.

    Will it ink? mine has only ever done it once and that was barely noticeable, and as for tank mates... preferably none, if you are talking about fish, but yes to snails etc.

    There will be others who will also respond to your questions, most of whom have a greater knowledge than I. for the moment just keep reading :)
     
  3. Octodad17

    Octodad17 Larval Mass Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks! For tankmates, what about Nudibranch/sea slugs? (Lettuce nudibranch) and hermit crabs? I can skip on those no big deal. From research i've done, the octopus I'm looking at needs a 30gallon and only get 3-3.5 inchs in diameter. Would a 20 long be enough? Only difference would be hieght and water quality, and the tank will be connected to another 10 so the water quality wouldn't even be an issue.
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,077
    Likes Received:
    1,123
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    For a brief summary on the east coast dwarf species that is most common see Octopus mercatoris in this post. Caribbean and Atlantic are often used interchangably because most of our East coast animals are sourced in the Keys and may be technically from either. We don't see animals come from states farther north than FL but we do see some come from the Atlantic Coast side. For a long time, almost all our mercs were by catch from cultured live rock harvests or crab traps.

    We have several new potential keepers this month so be sure to read through the latest threads in both Octopus Care (this forum) and Tank Talk. We have not seen a lot of merc in the last few years so if your supplier has them/one, I am encouraged that they may be recovering from the extreme cold winter in 2010 (they were very common until that winter so I am assuming the cold killed many but this is just an assumption).

    For an O. mercatoris, a 30 gallon is fine, a 20 would be as well but not for anything other than a dwarf species (for the dwarfs, anything larger will likely not allow you to see the animal). Small sea slugs like the lettuce slug will likely get eaten even by a merc. Most snails WITH shells are fine. Some octos will eat shelled snails initially but typically will ignore them after they are accustomed to being offered easier, tastier foods (the primary exception I have seen is O. vulgaris, they eat everything that moves I believe). I always recommend placing a small collection of medium to small sized giant barnacle shells in a merc tank. If you securely wedge the cluster into your live rock about a third of the way up from the bottom and face the openings where you can view inside, the animal (especially females) will likely make it a den area where you can both find and feed it easily. Female merc are not very active, the males I have kept have been more personable and move from den to den a bit.

    There is a sticky in the Octopus Care forum about tank mates. It starts with a great cautionary article about what NOT to put in your tank but if you keep reading there is also a list of some of the successful critters that can go in the tank for both enjoyment and clean up.

    To find a few journals on the dwarfs, look at the List of our Octopuses 2003-2012 sticky at the top of the Journals forum. Use your browser's Find... (or Find on this page) tool to search for mercatoris. In the later journals there will be a link to the threads that journal the experience. It is possible to raise and breed the mercs and we have had several members keep a couple of generations (hatchling survival rate, when any survive, has been about 5 regardless of the number of hatchlings). In the 30 you can keep a pair (three if you are very good with water changes) but keep in mind that our best success has been with siblings or animals that lived together before capture. If you try multiples, make sure they are about the same size if you can find them already living together.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  5. Octodad17

    Octodad17 Larval Mass Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    For a better ID I'm looking at this little fella right here
    [​IMG]
    Can't really obtain a pair as this is more of a WYSIWYG situation where I'm getting it.

    Thanks for all the additional info! My LFS has decor barnecles there that I will be buying.
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,077
    Likes Received:
    1,123
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    This would be a merc. Nice to see them again but I was hoping there were a couple available to suggest they are coming back. If you read through the Box of Chocolates notes you will have noted that almost no vendor knows the species and, when ordering by the net, what comes in is often a surprise. With your tank size, this may be quite challenging in the future but you are good to go with this one.

    Oddly enough, the barnacle clusters are easy to find in FL but are not native. I wanted to see about collecting the live animal after seeing some on a food show and thinking they would be something quite interesting to keep in an aquarium. When I next went to the keys I picked up some clusters in a small knick knack shop and asked a fish collector friend where I might find and legally collect them live. That's when I found out they are not native. Googling them it seems the Pacific is the normal habitat for the giant purples. I know there is some form in South America since that is where the food show was filmed but apparently none to be found in the Caribbean. Go figure.
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,077
    Likes Received:
    1,123
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    One question you asked that I failed to note was about lifespan. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the animal the shorter the lifespan and cold water octopuses live longer than their warm water cousins. O. mercatoris is a dwarf species and a warm water animal and has one of the shortest lifespans, estimated between 8 and 10 months. Of my tank born, one of my males lived 13 months and a couple others lived close to a year. HOWEVER, you will have no clue about the age of a wild caught animal. This is just something you will have to learn to expect as they vary widely in size and there is no easy way to determine age on a living animal (or on a dead one without a microscope and necropsy).

    You are free to post links relevant to any of the topics. Often members have experience with the different vendors which can be helpful with both ID and what to expect. LA is an excellent shipper and an all around good company. Their cephalopod offerings vary widely though and are often imported, not going through their more meticulous channels so the posted pictures are not WYSISWYG. See their normal Indonesian offerings as an example. The pictured animal is a Caribbean, likely an adult O. mercatoris. They offer them here to when they have a collection in stock but they will be only noted as Caribbean and could be something else entirely. They HAVE made an effort to ID them from time to time but the imports are still a box of chocolates. That being said, this one is in their Diver's Den and will be one of a kind. These animals are a bit different, will be the animal posted, and are typically not imports. They are also pricey (considering the guarantee, often worth it) and usually sell VERY quickly.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013

Share This Page