HELP!!!! octo acclimation!!

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by kpage, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. kpage

    kpage Wonderpus Supporter

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    Ok so I have an octo arriving tomorrow BY 3:00pm. The problem is that I will be in school and wont be home until around 4:30. My mom will be home, but she isn't an aquarist and I would prefer if she didn't acclimate it for me.

    I was thinking of just getting her to leave the octo in the closed bag floating in the tank until I get back. It might be a few hours, fedex tracking said only that it would be here BY 3:00pm. Is it ok if I do leave it in the bag for a several hours? Would it suffocate? Im sure liveaquaria puts oxygen in the bags but still...?

    Or maybe my mom could just leave it in the box until I get home?
    Any other ideas?



    thanks for the help!
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I would leave it in a quiet corner, unopened assuming you house is not warmer than 75 degrees. If the house is warmer and it is no cooler than 72 degrees outside, then I would entertain leaving it somewhere safe outside. The only problem would be if the octo had inked but this is rare in a dark shipping container (thankfully) and when it does happen it is likely to be DOA anyway.

    When you acclimate, I would suggest putting the shipping bag in a container of tank water (empty salt buckets work well for this) rather than trying to acclimate in a tank. Too much water needs to exchange and the likelyhood of the octopus climbing is too great to perform the operation safely in an aquarium. I usually count this as a free water change and draw off 2-3 gallons for the bucket and then at least one more for acclimation. You will want to acclimate very slowly and three hours is the average (depending upon water difference). If you don't have extra saltwater made yet, make some up now to accomodate the process.
     
  3. kpage

    kpage Wonderpus Supporter

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    ok thanks for the info! Can you tell me a bit more about acclimating? I was going to use the drip method, but the tube I was going to use is filthy and old. So I let it float in the bucket for 45min or so closed, then over the course of 2 hours slowly add the tank water?
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I will tell you how I acclimate mine rather than "give advice" and hopefully others will do the same. It is late so I hope this will still be helpful before you get started.

    Before I open the box (to keep the octo comfortably in the dark), I partially fill a large bucket (I use an empty 5 gallon salt bucket because it is deep and helpful if the octo decides to get active) with water from the intended tank and draw off about a gallon more in a separate, clean container and replace the water with new saltwater.

    I put my:

    test strips,
    hydrometer,
    turkey baster,
    transfer container (critter keeper)
    air pump with connected air line and air stone

    all on the counter next to the the partially filled bucket in the sink. Be sure you plug in the air pump and that the line will reach the bucket before you begin. I keep a set up in a bucket just for this so I don't have to go looking for enough tubing each time :razz:

    I put

    a pencil,
    paper,
    my camera,
    a cup of coffee
    my new electric cigarette :smoke:
    First meal if you are going to feed before putting it in the tank

    on the opposite counter (away from the water).

    I strip test my tank for PH and do a quick salinity check and write down the numbers on the sheet of paper.

    When everything is where I can easily find it without leaving the room I turn off the lights (if it is daytime, working in the dark is a recipe for disaster but ambient light is better than bright light) open the box and place the bag (still unopened) into the buck of water and THEN open the bag/bags gently with a pair of scissors.

    I look at the animal and see if it is breathing heavily. If I don't see it breathing but it is against the bag, I am reasonably comfortable that it is not badly stressed and is trying to hide from me. I put the air stone in the bucket and proceed to check the water. I strip test for nitrites and PH and use a hydrometer for salinity and record the numbers. Temperature is not normally a special concern when you acclimate this way as the outer water will be from your tank and should be close to ambient and the acclimation process should take about 3 hours.

    Usually (assuming no problems with shipping) an overnight shipment will be OK with nitrites if there is enough water but the PH is often a problem, especially if there has been a temperature change or if the supplier does not buffer the water (this is often the case, especially in FL where it is not needed). Often the salinity will be lower than desireable (1.026). If your tank salinty is low, you will want to slowly bring it up over the next few days but the object of acclimation is to match the octos current environment to your tank so tank adjustments should not be in the mix at this point.

    I prefer a turkey baster to a drip line and have use it successfully for all my Caribbean critters. I fill a turkey baster with water from the tank and add it about every 3 to 5 minutes until I have doubled the volume of water (this is somewhat dependent on how much water is in the initial bag). Once the water is doubled, I draw off half of it and repeat the process. The air stone will mix the water nicely as well as provide a release of CO2 to help keep the octo breathing well. The process is repeated until the PH and salinity match.

    If you have an animal in serious breathing distress and or high nitrites add several cups of water immediately. If the octopus has inked and is still alive, quickly test the PH. If you are close, put the animal into the tank immediately unless you can rapidly create the same PH and salinity of the shipping water with clean water (usually not viable at home as usually the PH is very low and you will not likely have access to neutral PH RO water).

    I like to feed before transfering but this is not common practice. Often an octopus will go into the LR and not be seen for a couple of days. I am much more comfortable knowing that it has eaten. When the water is matched, I offer a piece of thawed shrimp on a stick or a live crab and then wait 20 - 30 minutes after the octo accepts is before proceeding with the transfer.

    I also recommend taking pictures at the point where you are about to transfer. It is best to NOT use a flash but I have failed to turn mine off and the octos have not inked (the pictures are better without flash so intentionally using one serves no purpose).

    Move your camera to the tank room before moving the octopus so that you can get a few pictures as it comes out of the container.

    When I am ready to move the octo to the tank, I put a critter keeper into the bag and "encourage" the octopus to enter. This is surprisingly easy if you can get the octo above the container and work slowly at pushing on the sides of the bag from the outside. I strongly recommend against trying to release the octo while it is in a bag. If you don't have a critter keeper I recommend finding something that will drain and has an easy on/off top. A piece of tupperware will work but you will be adding undesired but not likely damaging shipping water to your tank. Do not fasten the lid so that it is hard to remove.

    Open your tank and then lift the containerized octopus out of the water and into the tank in a gentle, controlled movement. The couple of seconds out of the water will not hurt it and I have never had one to ink doing this. Place the container at the bottom of the tank and remove the top. Some animals will leave immediately but most just freeze in place for awhile. Allow it to leave at it own pace and take a few pictures at a distance.

    Once it disappears into your live rock, down load your pictures, start a TONMO journal with the experience, the acclimation parameters and the first pictures and leave it alone to adjust to its new environment.
     

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  5. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    D has it down perfectly! :grad:

    I like this part!

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately I have no advice as I didn't buy mine from a store. I just took my six clear blobs with blue eyes and pours them into my tank. mine went from a crab trap to a bait cup to a Evian bottle to my tank. :lol:
     
  6. kpage

    kpage Wonderpus Supporter

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    Thanks a million D for your help!!!!! I just got home and he is alive and in the process of acclimation!!! Hes a cute little guy!!
     
  7. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    What kind of octo is he
     
  8. kpage

    kpage Wonderpus Supporter

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    I haven't gotten a good look at him since he is still acclimating, but I'm guessing aculeatus!

    He seems a little distressed, is this normal when being acclimated?
     
  9. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    Ya and when you let it go in the rock work you wont likely see it for a day or two. Did you get the indo-pacific from live aquiria?
     
  10. kpage

    kpage Wonderpus Supporter

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    Ok good, I was kind of worried! Well Thats fine, let it get settled! Yes I did, I was supposed to get on tueday, but they said they didnt have any in stock. Yesterday they called me and said that they shipped me an octo!
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Hopefully you found an air pump and air line to keep in the acclimation bucket. This should help enough gas exchange to accomodate the stressed breathing. Try to make all your movements at an exaggerated slow speed. What you don't want is inking. If he does, carefully transfer him to the tank but don't do it in panic mode or he will ink again. Very few ink during shipping or acclimation (I have no clue as to why except that during shipping it is very dark and ink would have no visual effect on a preditor). It is, however, common for them to in one or two days after the enter the tank (again, I don't know why but have noticed this with mine).
     
  12. kpage

    kpage Wonderpus Supporter

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    so how exact should the pH's be before putting it in the aquarium?
     
  13. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    If you are using a test strip you really can't be exact but you want the colors to match. I do not like to go more than three hours though so if you are approaching that time frame and still don't match remove more water from the bucket and add two turkey basters full in stead of one - only if you have been change out water for over 2 hours and are still not close though. Running an air stone should be helping raise the PH too but some times it is hard to get it up if you use RO water and do not have to use a buffer since your water will try to take on the properties of the water in the acclimation bucket.
     
  14. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    You want it as close as possible, but a very slight difference is ok.
     
  15. kpage

    kpage Wonderpus Supporter

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    well Im using the drops instead the test strips. My tank water is around 8.0-8.2 and the water in the bag is around 7.8-8.0 So they are like 1 shade apart. Is that close enough? Its been about 2 and a half hours.
     
  16. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    Ya i would put him in. Got any good pics yet?
     
  17. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    PH is likely to be the most important match on parameters so I would remove a significant quantity of water and try to get a match first. You might want to try to bring you PH up over the next week as the recommended average should be about 8.4 (I use a buffer but others don't need to). What is the difference in your salt levels? Salt is less important but if you are mismatched on both then a large removal of water is in order.
     
  18. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    well....:shock:
     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I need to make a waiting for an answer smiley
     
  20. kpage

    kpage Wonderpus Supporter

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    Sorry, ok well I have him in the tank. After 52min he got out and swam up and now he is near the top. He seems rather stressed and I noticed that a few of his arms are chewed at the ends, but I don't know if that was from acclimating or if he was already like that...
     

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