Genghis - O. briareus

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by blake1444, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. blake1444

    blake1444 Cuttlefish Registered

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  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I would put (a small amount of) money on O. briareus. Its health is a concern but that may be more artifact from the photography than reality but it will be a nerve racking next two weeks. It has had its share of predation (not unusual) and has survived and seems to be ecovering normally from the loss of arms. What you will hope to see is a strong white most of the time but they can color in various shades of peachy brown and show small, almost fur like bumps on the mantle.

    Typically, this species is difficult to get to leave the acclimation container (bag) and often "freezed" when first put into the tank. Once the tank is dark, they find a dark den and use it. Some will appear quite friendly the first week and I always recommend not expecting the same personality after 2 weeks. They can become friendly and interactive (huge variation in this species) but not when first introduced.

    No sex clues are obvious. What you want to watch for is the third right arm (clockwise as you orient your eyes with those of the octopus) being carried curled when all the others are not. The curled arm tips here are from loss of the ends of the arm. I recently reread a paper on arm regeneration and would recommend it for reading. Of note is the orientation of the suckers when the arm first starts to grow and when it is well on its way to regenerating.
     
  3. blake1444

    blake1444 Cuttlefish Registered

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    He/She is literally clinging to the bag as we speak.
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The refusal to enter the tank is pretty universal but only with this species :grin: Be sure the bag is not suffocating him/her as their breathing can draw it in. I use a critter keeper with a lot of holes rather than a bag because of the way it clings and the way O. briareus just waits until no one is watching in the dark to find its way around.

    You may even want to slowly and carefully split open the bag with a pair of scissors to be sure it does not collapse on the octo.
     
  5. blake1444

    blake1444 Cuttlefish Registered

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    Also, is it just the color that concerns you about it's health? Anything I should be doing?
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I wish we had a list of suggestions but the first two weeks is pretty much a wait and see. USUALLY, if they make it the fist two weeks, they will live to senescence (which can be another week or months down the road). This is a pretty robust species but each animal is individual and I have lost a couple in the first week that I thought looked healthy.

    The color pattern is not unusual but something about the overall look bothers me. I may well be the photograph more than the animal :fingerscrossed: but there is a crispness/firmness that is missing to say it looks healthy.

    Getting it to eat will be a next priority but not today. Today should be quiet and dark. If you have a live fiddler, put it in the tank (if male, break one part of the large claw so that it cannot puncture. It may drop the claw. Don't put the loose claw in the tank if it does as it is more a pollutant than food if not on the crab). If you don't have any small live crabs then don't worry with trying to feed today as it will more likely add more stress than any nourishment. I try offering food before release but more often than not they won't take it. Once I release them, I give them ~24 hours before trying to feed any form of dead food (usualy a piece of shrimp on a stick).
     
  7. blake1444

    blake1444 Cuttlefish Registered

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    The only crabs I have are emerald. Where is a good place to get fiddlers? Thanks again for the info.
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Any small crab is fine but I hate to use emeralds and some of the others as food both because of expense and because they are nice gentle clean up crews (I can just see Thales rolling is eyes :wink:). I get my fiddlers from Paul Sachs because he always has them, is a reliable supplier and is relatively inexpensive. When I get near the coast, I buy them from bait stores and if my son and his wife happen to be visiting her mother and dad in Savannah and will be coming up our way soon after, I beg them to collect or buy (again at a bait store) for me :roll: If you want to make the trek up here, I have a few I can give you but with the price of gas, free makes them still expensive and I lost Octavia last night so I have no octopuses for you to see as a bonus.
     
  9. blake1444

    blake1444 Cuttlefish Registered

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    Sorry to hear that. I bought four emeralds just to get me through the next couple of days. I'll go ahead and order Fiddlers. Octo is off the bag and pretty active. I will post a video as soon as I figure out how to.
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Video will have to be hosted on something like YouTube (my personal choice), Vimeo, Flicker, etc. Once you have uploaded it, go to the video and copy the URL (DO NOT use the share or embed code provided). In a thread, click the film icon and paste the URL address in the pop-up (you may need to enable pop-ups and may have to click the film icon a second time if it was blocked originally). This will embed most videos but not all host streaming is compatible.
     
  11. blake1444

    blake1444 Cuttlefish Registered

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  12. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Blake,

    If you can go red instead of blue for your night light, you are more likely to see the animal more often.

    Fish in general are a bad idea and you are likely to see a lot less of your animal with them in the tank but damsels and wrasse are always looking for free food and pester an octo more than others (I have observed this first hand with a wrasse in St. Maartin as well as on several underwater videos). Damsels are often territorial and may even attack the octopus. The eyes are vulnerable and any skin abrasions are a concern for potential infection. Yes, they live together in the ocean but octos are more or less the "chicken of the sea" and are a food item for much of the food chain.
     
  13. blake1444

    blake1444 Cuttlefish Registered

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    One of the damsels is pestering the octo so I'm going to pull him out of there. The only reason I had them in the tank in the first place was to take up space while the tank cycled. I was thinking they would probably become food. Day 2 is going well. The octo is exploring the tank and seems to be comfortable. He has tried to eat a couple of turbo snails, but gives up and drops them so I will try to spoon feed him a crab tonight. Fingers are crossed for survival.
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    It you are seeing him/her trying to eat the snails, you might be successful with a small (start with about half a medium shrimp with the shell ON) piece of 15 minute (for temperature) thawed shrimp on a stick (acrylic feeding sticks are good but I usually use a bamboo skewer just because I miss-locate my feeding stick often and a 100 pack of the ever useful bamboo skewers is less than $2.00 :roll:). Once the octo accepts it, you can start removing the shell but we have found shell on is more quickly accepted at first. If the half size piece is fully eaten, experiment with a whole.

    Good luck on removing the damsel, I try to warn people against putting any fish but especially damsels in the empty tank as they are disruptive to remove.
     
  15. blake1444

    blake1444 Cuttlefish Registered

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    Octo grabbed the shrimp and ate it immediately. I'm guessing that's a good sign? Should I keep feeding him/her till he/ she refuses?
     
  16. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Feeding is a topic we don't all agree on and I suspect the differences have something to do with the different species. People that keep cold water animals all seem to agree that feeding every other or every third day is best. Very young animals (hatchlings) should likely be fed at least once a day possibly twice. My animals (warm water) are hungry daily up until they are well into senescence. Life span may be increased by reducing both temperatures and food but I am not sold on this thinking for warm water species and have not seen anecdotal postings that would merit doing so (there are postings for the cold water animals that are quite convincing).

    So, rather than giving a recommendation, I will tell you how we feed and hope you will report your process as well. All my animals will eat daily and we experiment with how much but starting with half a shrimp. If there are leftovers, we cut that in half again. If it is fully consumed, we offer a full shrimp the next day. Oddly, they rarely take "seconds" and we no longer offer them. Feeding live is a bit different and in their prime they tend to eat at least 2 fiddlers. We DO fast them once a week but they will still come for feeding on those days (once they have adjusted to a normal feeding schedule). Sometimes I throw in a small live crab if the animal dances a lot when I go by the tank but they don't get a full meal. We have had extreme difference on how much to feed within the same species so you need to adjust accordingly. If an animal does not eat for a day, don't worry but you may need to start feeding that way (again, this is more typical of older animals). If it does not eat for 3 days, then worry and try changing food. This often occurs at the beginning of senescence and we have had animals only accept live crabs at this stage. Over eating is sometimes a sign of prebrood preparation so what you WANT to see is a steady eating pattern.

    Diet variance is highly recommended. You can offer most seafood counter foods (avoid live/aquarium fish as they are almost always treated with copper). Clams (other mollusks are fine but very messy and heavy polluters, clams are fairly clean and can live in the tank until "discovered". I do let them sit in a bucket of tank water overnight to rid them of pollutants and be sure they are going to survive), blue crab claws (we go to the Asian markets and hunt through the live crab bins for the claws. The claws can be frozen but not the bodies. Frozen meat will have been cooked and you want raw), any kind of small crab (I recommend disabling the claws by breaking off on of the tips). Additionally, they will hunt pods and snails when first introduced but not so much when they are used to an easy meal.

    HOWEVER, IME nothing in the first 2 weeks can be considered "normal". It takes about a month for them to really adjust to aquarium life and you will see numerous changes during that time. After the first two weeks (or sooner) you may not see the animal much at all. Don't give up or get frustrated, this is really just the beginning of the experience. It does require patience and regular (as in time of day) tank interface but MOST will acclimate to a feeding schedule and be waiting for food, many will eventually interact.
     
  17. blake1444

    blake1444 Cuttlefish Registered

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    Ok. I'll just do some experimenting. Thanks again, DWhatley, for taking the time to respond to my posts. It's a huge help. So as you predicted the damsel did not cooperate. He spent the better part of the day annoying Genghis (I named the octo, guy or girl we're going with Genghis). Anyway I woke up this morning to a dead damsel at the bottom of the tank so problem solved. Another thing he's been doing is he carries shells and small rocks to the top of the tank and then drops them. I'm guessing he is just playing? It's pretty entertaining to watch.
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    With your permission, I would like to move Genghis thread to the journals section and retitle it with the species and name.

    Octos will rearrange a tank to their liking and it is not always SMALL rocks that they move around. Unfortunately, sometimes this is a pre-brood signal. Since Genghis is new to the environment, there is no clear indication. If she had been in the tank for a period of time I would be prepared to expect brooding, but, as I mentioned, the I have found that first couple of weeks cannot be reliably used for any kind of future behavior.

    One big advantage to O. briareus is that it is a large egg species and it is possible (but far from easy) to raise a hatchling or two. The down side, as with all but two known species, is that the female dies shortly after the eggs hatch (or would have hatched if the eggs are infertile).
     
  19. blake1444

    blake1444 Cuttlefish Registered

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    Hopefully that's not the case, but if it is it would be cool to try and raise them. I forgot to mention earlier that Genghis still hasn't found a den. There are plenty of available places, but he just stays on the glass when the lights are on. When the lights are off he is all over the tank and navigates under and on the live rock. Have you ever seen one take this long to find a den? Oh, and feel free to move the thread.
     

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  20. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Not denning and staying in the open are not good signs but not overly unusual. The tank does look like it offers nice housing. What you DON'T want to see is limp arms hanging down in a cork screw configuration. At this point, eating is a your most positive sign so keep offering food at the same time each day. The first two weeks are always nail biters and I am never comfortable until they are over.

    I expect to start my own trials next Wednesday :gigas:
     

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