First octopus


Blue Ring
Well, I'm not only getting my first octopus, I'm getting my first aquarium. Yeah, I know they're a challenge, especially for beginners, but I have a lot of faith in myself as well as a very experienced friend who helps me out. Yet, he is experienced with freshwater fish, not octopuses so I'm here to ask for some advice. First of all I don't know which octopus specie I will get as the stores don't know either. All I know is that they are all tropical and "rarely get big" or they have "never seen a big octopus". Thats what they told me, so I imagine approximately 30cm or so. Actually I have no idea, that was just the impression I got. One of the stores told me they had a mimic octopus at the moment and also told me that they haven't seen anyone bigger than that.

So first question. Does anyone in here happen to know or have any tips on how to get an octopus in Norway? Yup, that tiny country up in the north of Europe. For now I'm thinking to call a lot of pet stores around the country and ask them to note my name and give me a call if they ever get one. The ones I've spoken too till now, both said that they rarely get one, but it happens. Like with the mimic. So any tips on how to increase my chances of finding one? No, I can't drive to Britain or anything. It has to be shipped to Norway or possible to buy within Norway. Oh, and for the info, I live in Bergen.

So here is the equipment I've thought of for now:
  • Jewel Vision 450l/119 galleon aquarium
  • 343l/91 galleon aquarium for the sump (don't know the name of this one)
  • Deltec MCE600 skimmer
  • Recirculation pump Tunze Master 1073, 03, 3000/hour, lifting height 3m (I'm not sure what the first two numbers are as I haven't bought it yet and this is from an ad)
  • Light: one juwel t5 and one t8 (again this is from the ad, so please let me know if I'm unclear)
  • Will build a stand myself
  • An AquaMedic (I think) reverse omosis device for clean water, though I suppose this part doesn't really matter much
  • Am-top 3338 filter
So is this alright?
And how much salt and and live rock do I? I was thinking to use live sand as well. If I'm correct, me and my buddy was thinking 3 bags of live sand + one bag of normal sand (all of which are 25kg each I think).

So what do you guys think? I need all the tips and help I can have. And please don't tell me this is too difficult for a beginner, because it isn't. I'm getting a lot of help as well as reading tons myself, so I can handle this.


I don't think many species would be active in the waters close to Norway, although I don't know much about the different species. It might be much easier to grab a cheap Ryan air flight for the equivalent of 10 euros to Barcelona, Greece or somewhere else on the Mediterranean and ship it back, or possibly having it as baggage on the flight. I haven't been to Norway recently, but the incredibly cheap flights to and from Europe still seem to exist.

I was also like you, an extreme beginner with no aquarium experience but knew I wanted an Octopus, so learned everything from scratch.

Your specs seem pretty good, certainly a good amount of water (generally 50gallons in the minimum and it seems to be the more the better).

Live rock should be at least 1 pound per gallon. For Live sand I think enough that the substrate is an inch is a good amount, although I have closer to two inches. One thing is though to make sure the sand is not too rough for the Octopus. There is some good info in other posts about that.

Salt should be enough to get the salinity to 1.26 or 1.24 at the very lowest. I use Reef Crystals by Instant Ocean, no particular reason I use that over another brand. The directions tend to be to get the salinity to 1.022, so it is a little bit of experimentation to be able to consistently get it to 1.25, which is what I like to have it at.

The first part will be to do the cycle. There are different approaches to this, but I used the fishless cycling method (there is plenty of info online about this), which involves adding pure ammonia to the tank and waiting for the bacteria to grow, which results in nitrites, and then waiting for a second bacteria to grow, which results in nitrates.

It will probably be a good 5 months before an Octopus will be able to be introduced.

Also, the skimmer seems overly expensive if it is only rated for 120 gallons. Most folks on here recommend a skimmer to be rated twice the water volume at a minimum, because Octopuses produce such a high bioload. I just bought one rated for 150 gallons for less than half the price of the Deltec so i would recommend maybe a bit more shopping around.

Finally, octopus proofing the tank is something that is necessary. There are many good posts on this, but primarily smaller pieces of LR should be glued together to prevent the octopus from moving them, the overflow (if you have one) should be protected, I'm going to be filling it with enkamat so the Octopus won't be able to escape through it. Any powerheads should have zipper media mesh bags around them, so the octopus can't get hurt by the impeller. Finally, the lid must be secured in some way, I'm looking at using velcro, although I may need to come up with a different solution if that doesn't work.

Hope that helps and welcome to the community :)


Staff member
:cuttlehi: @Reggie

First, a new member request. Please consider putting something meaningful (it is free form) in the location part of your profile and allow it to be displayed. Your first post was helpful but later posts will lack the info.

@JingoFresh Thanks for providing a common perspective, after awhile long time members forget about starting out.

A couple of items you should add to your preparation list:
  1. Refractometer/Hydrometer to check your salt content (As JingoFresh menitioned, target ocean concentrations: 1.26 specific gravity, 35 salinity - not the lower antiparasitic levels recommended for fish). Refractometers are most accurate but need calibration (I have never been happy with mine but others swear by them). Swing arm hydrometers are simple but need to be carefully rinsed, tapped and set on a flat surface. They can also be off by a few points and are set at specific temperature (this should not be a problem unless you were to set up a system for a cold water species. Floating hydrometers are not recommended. They are very hard to read (your water should not be still) and can break. If used, they should be place in the sump ONLY.
  2. Reagents/test strips to monitor nitrite, nitrate and PH. Many aquarists do not like the test strips but they are invaluable for acclimation and my cross testing has shown them as accurate as reagents. Both can age beyond usability. Reagents will be marked, test strips will not. Reagents require a long time to register, strips register in seconds.
  3. Include a DI (deionizing resin canister) unit as a final stage for your reverse osmosis system (commonly called RO/DI). This removes harmful metal ions inherent in most water.
  4. Learn about the different species and have some clue how to identify the ones that you decide are not a good idea to keep and why.
    The "mimic" octopus at your LFS (Local Fish Store) is most likely a Wunderpus (Wunderpus photogenicus) and not Thaumoctopus mimicus.
    Here is a sticky with a list of links I have assembled to help get started on species and other new keeper questions. Some of the species will not be available outside the US. Most you are likely to find will be imported from Indonesia. Also check out our Cephalopod Care articles. Our Tank Talk Forum has some helpful information on octoproofing your tank.
  5. Locate a food source before you start. Fortunately, octopuses will eat many seafood items that can be purchased as human food options but a newly caught animal (there are no captive raised available) will often need live food in the first month of captivity.
It is excellent that you have a coach and I always recommend finding one for keepers new to saltwater. Unfortunately, marine tanks are barely related to freshwater environments. If you can find a local hobbyist club or an additional friend familiar with keeping saltwater tanks it will help to keep you "out of hot water" so to speak.

Please consider keeping a Buildout journal as you put your system together and journals of your octopuses.
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Blue Ring
Change of plan guys! Due to economical problems I won't be able to have the gear I listed up above. So instead I'm getting a 240l/63 gal aquarium with a 120l/32 gal sump. Other than that I'm using pretty much the same gear. Will this be enough for an octopus? I still don't know which specie it will be


Staff member
The new sizing is adequate for all but a normal sized O. vulgaris. O. briareus is the most commonly available animal from the Caribbean this and last year and the Indonesian animals are smaller so you should be good.

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