Hatchling Bimacs looking for homes

Discussion in 'Sources for Cephalopods and Food' started by Sarah McAnulty, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. Sarah McAnulty

    Sarah McAnulty Larval Mass Registered

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    I'm a student at Boston University working on Bimacs for a senior thesis project. Two of my research animals laid eggs and I've been taking care of the hatchlings for about 2 weeks now. Our lab doesn't have the room or resources to take care of them, so I'm looking for homes for all 30 of them.

    I'd prefer the homes be in the Boston area so I could just bring them to you and not deal with shipping them (I'm afraid I'd kill them).

    Otherwise, if someone could refer me to a supplier who'd buy them off me that would be great.

    Thanks!
     
  2. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    I have a 46 gallon tank that I could pretty quicklly turn into an octopus tank but I don't think a 46 would be big enough for very long, and I wouldn't be able to take more than 2 or 3. I am in CT so I could come pick them up but hopefully you'll find a source who can give all of them a good home. I'll be following along to see what other responses you get.
    Sue
     
  3. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    I keep bimacs, and I'd say a 46 (assuming standard rectangular dimensions) will be large enough for at least six months, and might be able to house an adult that is on the small side, so at worst you would have some time to find a larger tank. I don't know if, or how long, you can house more than one in the same tank.

    The hard part for most people is getting the water to be cool enough. Many bimacs have been kept at room temp (72 ?) but I think they eat more, live "faster" and die sooner at these warm temperatures, as compared to the average natural temp for them (63 F (58 in February, 68 in August). If you can keep the room temp down in summer (AC) and avoid adding heat to the tank (hot lights, submersible pumps) then you can pull it off, but keep your eyes open for a deal on a used chiller ($250 - $300 for 1/4 hp chiller is not too hard to find in a large city, a few times per year)

    Also, there are two species of Bimac: O. Bimaculoides and O. Bimaculatus. These are almost certainly Bimaculoides since they were hatched in captivity (large egged) but if they are somehow bimaculatus, they tend to grow larger, so 46 gallons would be less likely to work.
     
  4. Sarah McAnulty

    Sarah McAnulty Larval Mass Registered

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    They're Bimaculoides :)
     
  5. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    Oh wow..... what a wonderful adrenaline surge for my other-wise "blah" Monday! Things always DO happen for a reason, don't they?!?!? I was getting set up and prepared for future cuttlefish eggs (I thought that was the more practical ceph to start with) but my source fell through and I'm not having any luck finding others. It must be because it's really an octopus I wanted in the first place!

    I have a LOT of reading to do in the next few days because my focus has been on the cuttlefish but I'll do and buy whatever it takes to give these little guys the best chance possible. I don't think I'll need a cooler (I keep my house cold) so all I have to do is pull the heaters from the 46 gallon. If for some reason the water goes above 66 in there, there are always fellow reefers in my local club that are selling chillers or know someone who is.

    Joe - I'm guessing I need to pull all fish and corals out of the 46 gallon right away or do I have a few months before they will become octopus food? My BIGGEST challenge is figuring out (quickly) how to escape-proof the 46 gallon bowfront. I was thinking when the time came that I ventured into octopus that I would find a person who's handy with acrylic and pay them to make me a custom-fit top but there's no way I can get that done by this weekend. I would consider buying a huge piece of flat glass for now but I imagine I need to keep the HOB skimmer going (for these messy, wonderful critters). I've also got a canister filter on that tank and a powerhead, so I have to figure out a solution for sealing the tank shut with equipment hanging on the back. Thoughts and suggestions are GREATLY welcomed, and I will be reading, reading, reading....
    Sue
     
  6. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    OK, been reading all day and am really getting excited about "adopting" these magnificent creatures! Right now I have three tanks running: a 46 gallon bowfront with canister filter (passive tank), a 92 gallon with sump (aggressive tank) and a 14 gallon biocube with newly hatched conches. I'm thinking the 14 gallon can be a holding tank for bulk quantities of "food" for the octopus. The "plan" was to convert the 46 into an octopus tank because it would be easier to catch and find homes for the fish in there but I am SO TEMPTED to convert the 92. It is bigger (obviously) and it's got the sump so all I'd have to do is remove the canopy with metal halides and put back the glass top it came with. However, the 92 has lots of nice corals in it that really need the metal halide lighting and the mega flow I have going in there but the metal halides keep the water nice and warm. (NOT nice for bimacs). See my dilemma? It's tempting, but to totally change the 92 gallon that I FINALLY got just the way I want it seems risky because no one knows if these newly hatched octos are going to make it. And what would I do with the fish in there? Those big guys are very fast and I'd have to tear apart the rockwork (that I finally got exactly the way I want it) to try to catch them. And some of these guys are big - would be hard to find them a good home and I truly hate to give them up.

    Separate subject: If I get 3 bimacs and they survive, I assume they will start fighting soon, right? So I was thinking of keeping them in the tank inside of breeding nets to keep them apart, but won't they climb right out of those? Maybe I'd have to get the plastic type that have lids on them (if they come with lids, not really sure).

    Just thinking/plotting/planning out loud here so please jump in and think out loud with me. :)
    Sue
     
  7. iAlex

    iAlex Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    If it's any comfort, most octos will do their best to rearrange the rocks to their liking. :roll:
     
  8. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    It sounds like you are thinking about all the right things (temp, escape, compatible tank mates). Fish are all a big no-no for small octopus (fishermen here love to find them to use as bait!). The smallest bimac I've ever kept had a mantle about 1" long, and I suspect that the ones you'd be getting will be much smaller than that (mantle size 1/4" - 3/8" ?) If so, the good news is that you can keep them all in a 10 gallon tank for a few weeks at least, while you set up another tank (tanks?) for them. My new little bimac (1.5" mantle) is in an acrylic wastebasket (about 2.5 gallons?) that I quickly drilled and fitted with two bulkheads (one gets water pumped in from my main tank's sump, and water overflows through the other, back into the sump.) The lid is a small piece of acrylic with a weight on it, and oxygen, temp, and filtration are all handled by my main tank. Housing is the least of your worries.

    The bad news is that such tiny octopus can easily get out any hole, and easily get sucked into almost any pump. I recommend that you set up a small tank to piggy back on an established tank (like I did) and just have a single input and single output in the small tank. Then use some kind of screen to cover both the input and output so no bimacs can get through. Then cover the top completely. For that to work you would need a large tank with established filtration and a temp that new bimacs could stand (< 75 F ?). Even a 5 gallon bucket with two "Uniseals" would get the job done for you.

    Your biggest problem is going to be feeding these little guys. I think little bimacs will only eat live food, at least for the first few weeks, and they need to eat often (every day or two?) because they have few reserves until they get larger. Maybe they'll take baby brine shrimp, but you'll probably need to fortify them with something so they'll provide sufficient nutrition. Read up on what has worked for other people feeding hatchlings.

    As for housing options for when they outgrow their first little tank(s), I think you really want something with a sump, so that you will have only one input, and one output to secure (you can use Koralias or a "closed loop" to get flow inside the tank, and just run 3 or 5 times your tank volume through the sump per hour.) Since your 46 will probably turn out to be too small in the long run anyway, maybe you could look for a cheap used tank (glass 65 gallon?), and modify it as needed (you'll have a few months), and get its bio-filtration up and working.

    An acrylic tank would be ideal if you plan to get a chiller (a great idea) especially if the acrylic is 1/2" or more thick (acrylic insulates better than glass, and so sweats less easily). Acrylic is also much easier to drill and modify, but used acrylic tanks are more expensive, and often scratched.
     
  9. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    Ugh - just wrote a long reply and after hitting "submit" was notified that I have a network connection error..... my old post is lost in cyberspace. Anyway, I think I like the idea of setting up a tank that runs off of one of my established tanks. It would almost be like a "reverse sump" in that I have all the equipment in my 46 gallon and the tank I plumb to it could hold nothing but the hatchlings. :) I'll head over to my local reef club forum to see what anyone has hanging around. I am creative and clever but really don't want to get involved with cutting glass, drilling, bulkheads, etc. I'll either find something used or buy something new.

    How long can I keep hatchlings together in the same enclosure before they start to fight? Days? Weeks? Months?

    I hope to time the the order of live msyis shrimp so that they arrive about the same time as the hatchlings. I should probably also fire up a live brine shrimp hatchery, just in case they don't take to the mysis right away.

    Off to read some more. SO excited! Thanks for being here to share your experiences - I wouldn't even dare venture into this without a forum to rely on.
    Sue
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I can only go by my two species experiences (three sets of hatchlings) and it turned out differently both times. With the mercs (dwarfs, O.mercatoris), I kept them in breeder nets until they were 5 months old. With the O.briareus, they were loose in the the 60+ gallon tanks from the time they hatched (I attempted to keep them in breeder nets but they refused to stay :roll:). If you can keep them IN the breeder nets, it is much easier to be sure they are getting enough food. NO NEW HATCH BRINE. I had good luck with getting both species to eat cyclopees (frozen, not dried) using a pipette to feed (we just over fed the large tank but could target feed in the breeder nets). As they grew frozen PE mysis worked well as does freshly killed shore shrimp placed at the end of a pipette (they are too small for a normal feeding stick but you might be successful with an unpainted toothpick in a net but will need something longer if they are loose in the tank). This time around we found that removing hermits from their shells and feeding (a bit of a challenge) the whole animal was a big hit. The trick is extracting the smaller ones. I froze them to kill them and then used a hammer on the shell. Usually I came up with a feedable carcass but sometimes not and others silently called me names while trying :wink:. If you go through my journal in the raising octos from eggs forum I detailed the feeding and who ate (to ad nausium I am sure but I will go back and reread it myself for reminders when I have another batch).

    Because the survival rate is low (but bimacs seem to be higher than O.briareus from the few tries we have recorded), I would bring home at least 3 and as many as 5. You will have to be prepared to offer them for sale should you have success with more than one (you are pushing the limits of the 46 with one).

    There are off and on discussions about flow rates for the hacthlings but my observation is that they needed it (I had a power head pushing water through the breeder nets except at feeding time). Tatanka lived inside the return pipe until he outgrew the holes and Cassy was always (and both still den) close to the Koralias. Even though a tiny octo can get into a Koralia, mine were uncovered (note that I would not do this with any other kind of power head). It does not mean that some may not have been sucked in (I never saw what happened to the 18 or so in Tatanka's tank) but Tatanka and Cassy survived with them this way.
     
  11. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    Thanks for the info. Actually I had already read your threads about the freezing, cracking and feeding of crabs and have a feeling I will be doing something similar one of these days.

    I'm still in the stage of trying to figure out what to set up for the arrival of these hatchlings. I guess two of the questions I'd like to have answered first is: do baby bimacs crawl out of breeding nets at this stage of the game or do I have a few weeks till they start escaping? More importantly, how long do I have before they start fighting? In other words, could they all be in a container together for a few weeks or do they need separate homes right now? ( I believe the original poster said she's been feeding them for two weeks now so a little over two weeks old?)

    Sorry, third question..... would a hatchling this young (small) be able to eat live mysis already? If so, I'm going to go place an online order right now.

    Thanks in advance. I'm off to read some more but keep those cards and letters coming, please. :)
    Sue

     
  12. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Plan on them being fully mobile and curious right away. D's little guys were all over the place, some even ended up in the sump.

    I would separate them right away. Mercatoris is the only species that have been successfully kept in groups. Most octopuses are cannibalistic.

    I'll let someone else answer this one I'm not 100% sure.
     
  13. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I have not raised bimacs so asking what they are eating now is the place to start. I don't think live mysis will be appropriate (likely too little nutrition), more likely shore shrimp (hand fed and freshly killed), frozen PE mysis and small shelled hemits but double check my assumption with the current breeder as starting them with what they are already eating will be the most desired food at this time.

    Zyan (zyan_silver) kept his together a long time and at least one pair through to adults but you may want to find his thread (I tried to consolidate his posts but they were quite scattered). If you get several, you may try keeping two in one net and separating another.

    I agree with Dave in that you can't count on them staying in the net and you really can't prevent escape if they don't want to stay. I had little trouble keeping the mercs contained (with the exception of Wiley - hence his name) but could not contain the briareus at all (they were found in overflow as well as in the sock in the sump. Some likely ended up in the skimmer as my overflow is split with one leg going to a filter sock and the other to the skimmer).

    Another thing I did that may have helped for feeding was to put a pair of peppermint shrimp in a breeder net (you may want to be sure the babies are large enough to defend themselves before doing this) and heavily fed the net. They produced offspring almost weekly. I can't say I saw the new hatch being eaten but they would be appropriate food if they were (this was only used as an extra and not part of the daily feeding routine)
     
  14. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    Thanks...... my head is spinning with all the information I'm trying to absorb but it's a good kind of spin. :bugout:

    The current "Octo Mom" is feeding the hatchlings live mysis and amphipods. She just sent me a photo of one of the hatchllings and it's smalller than a dime. :baby:

    She's got them in a Kreisel tank so I may build something like that before this weekend. Maybe set up a 10 gallon tank with a plastic goldfishbowl/Kreisel tank inside the 10 gallon. I'm thinking I could use an airstone, a sponge filter, and some live rock outside the fishbowl and very fine mesh in the side of the fishbowl that I cut a window in. Has anyone here ever made a Kreisel? I did several years ago when I was raising seahorse fry....... think that may be the way to go .... for now.
    Sue
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Be sure to provide a den area inside the fishbowl. These are benthic hatchlings, not pelagic so you don't want to force them to be water bound like you would for seahorses but I think the flow of a Kreisel might be a good idea.
     
  16. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    K, very good point. I won't incorporate an air stone in the goldfish bowl. My goal (if I can build it before Sunday) would be to set up a 10 or 20 gallon tank which is piggybacked to one of my existing tanks (so it would be a reverse-sump whereas my existing display tank contains the hardware, filtration, skimmer, etc. and the octopus tank would be the "display" tank with no equipment in it.*

    I'm throwing a baby shower for a friend on Saturday so I'm a little maxed out but luckily I do well with very little sleep. :)
    Sue
     

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