Greetings from the UK!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by nismo, May 23, 2012.

  1. nismo

    nismo Larval Mass Registered

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    Hi all,

    Just joined the site, (been sulking around in the background for a little while) and congratulations to everyone, seems to be a very informative place, with loads of really helpful people! Not got a 'pus..... yet, but am doing the research on it all, main thing being, if I do go decide to get one, I want to make sure I do everything right, not go down the "it'll do for now" approach, so will be the inevitable load of questions I'm afraid, although will try not to repeat the ones I can find the answers to myself!!

    Thanks,

    Stu
     
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  2. GPO87

    GPO87 Sepia elegans Staff Member Moderator

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    Welcome to Tonmo, Stu!

    Glad to see you signed up after a time of sulking, and I wish you the best in your octopus adventures. Good on ya for making sure you got all the research done first! Your octo will thank you! :mrgreen:
     
  3. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    :welcome: to TONMO
     
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi Stu,
    Welcome to our site!
    Good luck with your octopus adventure,
    Nancy
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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  6. nismo

    nismo Larval Mass Registered

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    Thanks guys :smile: Ooops, bit of a typo, should have been skulking not sulking.....

    Have had a good rumage around so far, found loads of useful advice (thanks!). Would rather wait longer to make sure I get it as good as possible, or, if there is any doubt that I don't have the time or experience or whatever, I'd rather not get one, than get one, and it suffering for whatever reason. Have never tried my hand at a marine tank before, had loads of tropical tanks, and successfully kept, well, most tropicals, only things I've never had are the likes of stingrays, arrowanas etc, purely as I just don't have the room to house them! Have always promised myself that "one day" I'll get a marine tank, but don't know how much knowledge is transferrable, and a bit concerned that an octopus is maybe not ideal for a first time experience in marine? Particularly as it seems that you don't always/often know exactly what species you are getting!!

    Had a look at recommended tank sizes, and fairly confident on the volumes, but what about actual tank dimensions? Could be wrong, but I'd imagine that an octopus would prefer more in the way of length and breadth of a tank (footprint), rather than a greater depth, and smaller footprint?

    Also, apologies for another very dumb question, but when it comes to feeding, assuming worst case, and it'll only take live food, would that be a case of another tank or using the sump as the octo's larder, or can you put extra live food in the tank, and it'll just eat what it wants, when it wants? Or is it a case of it'll kill everything in sight, even if it's not hungry?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    We have unsuccessfully attempted a number of ways to come up with practical guidelines for both volume and shape. A lot depends upon the octopus (species, sex and individuals). Some species are more active than others and need swimming and multiple den areas. Some (like the female mercatoris) tend to pick a den and and rarely leave. You will see many reports from the academic world of escapes but they are actually quite rare in our journals (quite possibly because we emphasize good fitting tops and latches). Some species have very long arms so height is a consideration in addition to width. So trying to generalize just has not worked. I will say from personal experience that a too small tank almost always leads to multiple escape attempts. Where this is more water quality or size (I believe it is size) is not wholly clear. I wish I could be less vague. I tend to keep more than one octopus at a time and have multiple tanks that are suitable. If one starts outgrowing its tank, I usually have somewhere else to move it to but not everyone has this luxury.

    The belief that an octo will kill ANYTHING in its tank is over stated. HOWEVER, what you put in the tank matters. Be sure to read the It Works Until It Doesn't experience article that CaptFish wrote about his briareus. You will read (mostly in other forums) that some fish do just fine with an octopus. What you don't read, and why Dave wrote the article is what happens after they post their stories about the octo buddies. I simply say, NO FISH. That being said, there are other animals that do survive well with all octopuses and some that will do well with most octopuses (caveate, some of these only do well once the animal is established but may be eaten the first couple of weeks until it finds that it is being given more desireable food regularly).

    Somewhere I have given multiple lists of animals I keep but I will relist the ones I can think of here.

    Serpent stars
    Brittle stars (avoid the greens)
    Thorney stars (Caribbean, day active and often very brightly colored and hardy - in spite of what I have seen on the net and they definitely eat meat - but they need a well established tank)
    Pencil urchins (other have been successful with pin cushion urchins but I have not tried them)
    Gorgonians (best added after your tank is well established, placed in a relatively high flow area and away from normal open hunting ground - octos do not go around things)
    Leather corals (again, placed where they won't get trampled and after the tank is well established)
    Mushrooms (but not ricordia or anemones)
    SOME polyps (secure to a separate rock, if the octo reacts remove them)
    Snails (may be eaten, especially when the animal is first introduced - only my vulgaris ate these after introduction but others have used them for food much longer)
    Hermit crabs (may be eaten, especially when the animal is first introduced - only my vulgaris ate these after introduction but others have used them for food much longer)
    Macro algae (the most decorative don't seem to live long though but they are good for a tank and replacement as they dye has no negative impact. Be careful about your choice though some can take over a tank).

    Marine tanks are quite different from freshwater tanks and my best advice is to build out your tank over a year's time before adding an octopus. An experienced keeper will build the bacteria over a 3 month period or, using existing substrate might shorten that time if moving from a smaller to a larger tank but there is a lot to learn about keeping a saltwater tank and a lot of habits that need to be acquired. Many people will cycle the tank with fish, I don't recommend this method but it does work. Removing the fish will be disruptive to the tank and then you must find somewhere to house them.

    Be aware that your LSF will tell you your tank is cycled when your ammonia and nitrites spike and then go to zero (often after the first month or so). This is just the beginning. At that point you will need to build the bacteria to levels that support a very messy eater. Putting too many animals in a newly cycled tank and killing most everything has a name. Look up New Tank Syndrome.

    You can use your sump for feeder animals but it will paritially defeat the advantage of extra volume (but not the convenience and safety of having equipment remote from the octopus) since you will have to feed them and will have detritus from both the animals and the uneaten food. I prefer to keep a couple of small, inexpensive tanks around. some people will combine a sump with a refugium to grow macro algae and small food critters. The macro algae helps to reduce the nitrates but requires lighting and additional care and space. My personal preference is to use the sump only for filtration equipment and extra water volume. Keep in mind that your sump will not be filled as you will have to allow for the drain off water from the main tank when the power is off. This will be several gallons but depends upon your tank configuration.
     
  8. nismo

    nismo Larval Mass Registered

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    Ah, thanks for the info! Seems like a bit of a minefield really, need to choose a tank to suit the octopus, but, until you get it, and someone here identifies it, you don't really know what you have!! I normally find that the bigger the tank, the easier it is to maintain, or at least with trops, as it takes far more waste or whatever to change the water parameters. Plus, I tend to find tanks addictive, and always want a bigger one, hence how I ended up with a 650 ltr (just over 170 US Gallon) malawi tank.......

    Was planning on having octopus pretty much by itself, maybe a couple of tank mates as you have mentioned, but certainly no fish in with it. Was actually thinking more about the food - planning for the worst case scenario of it only taking live food, would it be feasible to use the octo's tank to also house it's food? Basically, doing a weekly food shop at the LFS for the octo, so it always has food there if it wants it. Obviously, if it would kill everything off straight away, that wouldn't work. Plus, I do work long hours, and am away normally a couple of days a week, so would nicely bypass that problem if it was possible. When I'm away, my parrot goes to stay with my folks, but don't think I could convince them to drive down to my house to feed the octopus a live crab or two!

    Don't have a problem leaving the tank to cycle for as long as necessary - mentioned it in another thread, but once spent over 3 months just designing the layout for a heavily planted 2 ft trop tank! And yes, that did include, diagrams, drawings, the full works, but looked fantastic when it was done. Patience isn't an issue for me, if it means doing it right first time.

    Am ok with sumps, the malawi tank had a massive sump. Used to end up with loads of baby malawis in there, the ones that managed to slip through the weir.... nightmare trying to catch them again!!
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Keep in mind that the size octopuses we keep only live for between a year and 18 months AND that they are wild caught so the age will vary. The tank you set up will not be for a specific octopus but will be the home of many over time. As you have gleened, this means setting up a generic tank to house the largest one you expect to keep.

    In addition to bigger and perhaps the next common step is more. We have a term for that, look up MTS (last word is syndrome) :wink:

    The general thought is, food should not be left in the tank on a regular basis. Very few captive octopuses will not take thawed food. Handling the tank when you are away for an extended period has been discussed. The least successful is to leave it wholely unattended. A day or two is not a problem and many feed every other or every third day (ours are fed daily with a one day a week fast - and sometimes we give a snack on those days because a younger octo often expects food and clambers around giving you the eye when supper does not show). The most successful vacation plans usually involve having someone to come in and feed, remove the trash and make sure no equipment is malfunctioning and top off with fresh water. An octopus accustomed to getting daily attention can become restless when it gets "lonely" or hungry. I'll direct you to one of my favorite journals of all time. It is good and surprising reading. It continues to get posts and you will have a pretty good feel for when you can stop reading but it never fails to impress the new reader. Be sure you read long enough to go, OMG or you will miss the importance.
     
  10. nismo

    nismo Larval Mass Registered

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    OMG! The poor guy, that must have been awful for him! Lesson learned from that one, though, am starting to think that it might be worth delaying the marine idea for another few years while I'm having to work and travel with work so much, as I don't think that I have the spare time that needs to be dedicated to it, and certainly don't have anyone with the experience or flexibility to tank sit for me as often as I would need
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    If you want to start getting your saltwater thumb, you might look into setting up and maintaining a nano. There are a couple of alternative scenarios on this idea. One would be just to maintain it as a permenant tank. Alternately, you could consider using it for a live food tank when you go larger. The third option would be to buy your sump and set it up as a nano. Finally, you can experiment with a tank that would sit above a larger tank (eventually) and designed to be a refugium.

    Of the ideas, I like that later the best. Since you like the idea of a planted tank, experimenting with a small tank and macro algae (there are very few actual saltwater plants) might be quite rewarding. You can house a few interesting critters (limited) in this kind of tank, there would be no break down when you go larger and you might have fun designing the end set up for it to flow into a larger tank (keeping in mind the escape issue with an octopus - also look at cuttlefish as an alternate ceph). This is something I have not done (as I mentioned, I don't care for sump/fuge combinations) but have always wanted to do.
     
  12. nismo

    nismo Larval Mass Registered

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    Thanks for that, lots of good ideas there that are giving me some good options :smile: The main reason I like the planted tank so much, is as asides from the little tank, it's something that I've never done properly before - the malawi's ate any plant I put in before it even hit the bottom of the tank, same with the silver dollars, and otherwise, the focus has always been on the fish rather than the plants. Definitely a good idea I think to try a more generic marine tank first, and, as you said, it won't be wasted, as that can be incorporated into another design, or kept as a live food tank.
     
  13. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    Welcome to TONMO, nismo! :grin:
     

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