Found an octopus in my tank!!!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by rodclement, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. rodclement

    rodclement Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    :hmm: hello everyone!

    My name is Rod and I am here not by choice but by luck...or lack there off...nothing against an octopus but this one is in my tank as a hitchhicker (?), must have come in some coral or who knows...as an egg????

    just saw it a couple of days ago chasing a emerald crab and haven't seen it since...small and has a mantle that looks like a clam! i have noticed som piles of empty shells that once had crabs in them...and both my urchins died....:banghead:

    how can this octopus be in my tank??? I haven't added anything to my tank in about 4 weeks?? What was it eating untill now? how do I get it out!?

    my tank is a mixed reef 75gal open top tank...not good mix for an octopus...should i screen the top for safety? I don't want it to die, I would rather capture it alive and give it to someone that wants it!

    someone told me to use the coke bottle method so i'll give that a shot...any ideas? if i ever can see this guy again, i will post pictures!

    rod
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Unfortunately, we don't have a thread with experiences on how to capture an in-tank octo :hmm:. I have transferred several but they were either still in a breeder net, already tame and just climbed into my transfer cup or captured with a net while out looking for food.

    To help protect your tank inhabitants, I would suggest buying a supply of live fiddler crabs and putting in a new one when the current one disappears (likely a daily occurance). Fiddlers seem to be a universal octo food and keeping it fed will help minimize the damage until you can catch him. Fiddlers can be kept in a bucket with a place to climb above the water line. A deep bucket is usually preferable to prevent escape but I have no trouble keeping them in a 2 gallon nano as long as the climbing rocks are in the center.

    In the mean time you need to figure out what you will do with him once caught :grin:. For immediate needs, a critter keeper usually works if he is large enough not to escape (as a general go-by, there should be no openings larger than an eye. The eye is not the determining factor but is generally thought to be about the same size as the actual restricting beak size). Second best is a plastic jar with holes drilled in the sides but the critter keeper is better for the octo and would allow for a shell den. If you have a sump, keeping the captured octo there in a container should keep it healthy, easier to find if it does escape and out of harms way for your other critters. Your local pet store may take it in trade but only one of mine had an interest in housing an octo.

    Did you see the hunting octopus at night or during the day?

    Your comparison of the mantle to a clam is curious, could you elaborate?
     
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi and welcome to the site.

    Over the years, many people have reported hitchhiker octopuses. Do you know where your live rock came from? That might help determine the species.

    The octopus could be eating amphipods, snails, small fish, and of course, crabs. They ususally have no trouble finding a meal in a large tank with many inhabitants.

    Could you post where you live in case a local TONMO.com member is interested in having your octopus?

    Nancy
     
  4. rodclement

    rodclement Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Hello everyone!

    Thanks for the replies! I saw the octopus in the afternoon, I was actually watching another hitchhicker in my tank, a miniscule crab that lives inside one of my acros...then I saw an emerald crab fighting what seemed to me like a big slug, it looked like the color of one of my clams, squamosa to be precise, dark brown with spots...then I realized it had arms!!! A small ocotpus!!! I stood up from my chair and the thing dropped the crab and retreated into the live rock, never to be seen again...at least for now!

    It is eating my shrimp, crabs, and something ate both my urchins...do octopus eat urchins!!???

    I have two local reefers that want it if I catch it, I am also contemplating keeping it..I have been reading here a lot and may be considering the option...

    The last thing I introduced to my tank was a Bali acro attached to a large piece of rock...does that help?

    Rod
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    For your entertainment and because this thread should never get lost, you might like to adventure over to another forum and read one of the best journals ever recorded about a hitchhiking octopus.

    If you stay too long on TONMO you will likely decide to keep the little guy but you will need to get an environment set up for him quickly.

    As for ID, search the Images section for aculeatus and see if the pictures look right for your new friend. The location, availability and diurnal activity would work for at least one kind of adopus, the aculeatus being the most common or at least the best guess for most that come in from the importers.

    Additionally, our Journals and Photos forum offers a lot of first hand keepers journals and the Tank Talk forum is helpful for setting up an octopus aquarium.

    Whatever you decide, please start a journal on your adventure with this little hitchhiker and encourage his/her new keeper to maintain it should you decide to give him/her away.
     
  6. rodclement

    rodclement Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    I caught it! In a kritter keeper in my tank, baited it and waited! It went inside and I closed the door trapping it in!!!

    Here it is! Any ideas what kind it is? I am so excited!!!!

    Rod
     

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  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    So many of us would love to find this little guy but I am surprised he just showed up. He has had his front arms removed sometime in the past and they have grown quite a bit since the amputation (I am guessing they grow about an inch a month from rough estimates watching my briareus - may not apply to every octo and may not apply to different species). If he keeps that third arm rolled up most of the time like in the first photo, he is a male and may be sexually mature (but that does not say a lot for age).

    It is always fun to play ID the octo but I am only comfortably familiar with a couple of common species. If you took a look at my favorite hitchhicker story, that octo was a Caribbean briareus, your little guy is not. The colors and texture are very hummelincki (Caribbean) but not the webbing and arm length. Octos in the adopus complex (renamed since the text below) have very similar coloration and texture ability with a longer arm to body ratio (I have not kept one for more than a couple of weeks).

    When he is on the glass, do you see dark blue/purple rings around the edges of suckers?

    After looking through Norton, the size, stripe on the webbing and overall look leads me to give my final guess as abaculus. Unfortunately, if I am right, this one is likely an adult.

    The photo below is one Dr. Roy Caldwell (TONMO Neogonodactylus) contributed to Mark Norton's Cephalopods A World Guide.
     

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  8. rodclement

    rodclement Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    does this shot help?
    there seems to be a line on its head, also all the legs are intact, he/she is just curling them up into the top of the trap, I guess it is trying to find a way out!

    Still trying to find out what it is and sex...should I post in the ID forum? Thanks!

    Rod
     

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  9. rodclement

    rodclement Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    it is about 3 inches in the body and about 1o inches full arm to arm length. It seems very mad at me for trapping it!

    Rod
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Unless I am looking at the pictures wrong, the two front arms are thick at the body then much skinnier than the others immediatly after the webbing. If that is what I am seeing and not a camera angle misperception, this would be new regrowth (the arms get longer then fatter as they grow).

    The only big hesitation I have with my guess is the width of that lovely webbing. Do post a request with that last photo (and a link back here) on the ID thread as new posts there usually get Muctopus' attention and sometimes a peak from Roy. Between them there it is unlikely anyone on the planet would have a better guess from the photos if it is an Indonesian animal.

    Try putting a ruler (plastic) in the tank next to the critter keeper if you have one handy and snap a photo. I am guessing you are over estimating the body size (most of us do) or under guessing the arm tip to arm tip length. Just looking at the photos, I would guess that a single arm is more than twice the body (mantle) length (arm length is even more arbitrary than mantle length).

    Even at a 2" mantle (measured behind the eyes to the end of the mantle), it would be larger than abaculus but not aculeatus.

    The center stripe (brown with white stripe or white with brown stripe) is a common coloration for most all octos.
     
  11. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Wow, that is a beautiful octopus, I am really bad at ID-ing octopus, so I will leave that to someone else...
     
  12. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    That's a beautiful octopus and quite large for a hitchhiker. Perhpas it's been living in your tank and growing for some time.

    Yes, post on the ID forum and include pics.

    Nancy
     
  13. rodclement

    rodclement Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    thanks for the replies! I have posted on the ID thread, hope someone knows what it is! And the sex!

    I am shocked that something that large can be living in my tank without me noticing for maybe a long time! HIs presence does explain fish loss, crustacen, death, and spike in water parameters, all in one!

    I wonder how long it has to live and the gender so I can name it!!!

    Rod
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    For gender observe that third arm to the right (clockwise). If he keeps it rolled up as in the photo (this should be obvious) then you have a male. If the photo is not his normal posture with this arm then he could be an immature male or female. Take a look at SueNami's catching shrimp video to see an exagerated example. SueNami came to me missing two arms up to the webbing and a portion of a third arm. The hectocotylized arm is exaggerated because it has not fully regnerated but you can see how he minimizes the use of that arm and how he returns it to the protected position when he does use it. This specialized arm has a groove (that I can never find) the length of the arm and a specialized tip (that I can never see). But the curled protective positioning of the arm is the best way I know of to determine sex and is reliable at the point of sexual maturity.

    On some octopuses, you can also see enlarged suckers on two or more of the front arms. The best photo I have clearly showing the enlarged suckers is this one of Sisturus, my favorite male mercatoris.
     
  15. lance

    lance Wonderpus Registered

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    nice octopus great live rock hitchhiker.

    lance
     
  16. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    :smile:

    In the mean time (while you are waiting on an ID), have you decided what to do with your hitchhiker? Have you watched to see if the arm stays mostly curled to validate/negate my call on male? You can always go with a non-gendered name (or you can just uhhh have a boy named Sue :tongue:).
     
  17. rodclement

    rodclement Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    passed away tonight as I came home...found him dead...

    RIP my friend...

    thinking now of actually starting a proper tank for an octopus...any good, reliable source with species that can be trusted? I've done so much reading on this that I am now pissed that it didn't make it...

    rod
     
  18. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    R.I.P :angel::goodbye:

    My first octo was a bimac they are excellent but are a cold water octo. So the tank needs to be at least 65F. Also if you want to keep it tropical go with a aculeatus. I am going to get one of those in a couple of days! good luck with your tank.
     
  19. rodclement

    rodclement Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    thanks...where is your aculeatus coming from?

    rod
     
  20. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    If the photo of the curled arm happened to be incidental and not typical there is a plausible explanation for why you did not see your octo for so long and why it died. This is antecdotal at best but one senario that works with some of the mysteries would have been that you acquired a brooding female whos eggs were not viable. When a female lays eggs, she will go into a den and stop eating (the dead animals could have been killed to protect but sometimes brooding females can be coaxed to eat). She will not come out until it is time for the eggs to hatch (10-14 days seems common for the small egg species we see and 8-10 weeks for the large egg animals). At hatching time (successful eggs or not) the female will leave the den and die shortly there after. We have seen post brood females die as the last eggs hatch (up to 10 days typically) and other live as long as 11 more weeks (highly unusual but Trapper made it that long). Beldar brooded for about two weeks and is still with me but is definitely senesent and very grey.

    However, often we see loss of color and inability to create skin patterns as an octopus reaches its natural end (for both male and female) and your hitchhicker seemed to have full camoflage control. Males also stop eating at the end of their natural lives and evidence suggest yours was still eating so my suggestion on cause of death may be wishful thinking. Sometimes we loose them without a clue as to why they died.
     

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