Hindenburg- O. Mercatoris

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by Omega, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. Omega

    Omega GPO Registered

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    May I introduce you toooo...Hindenburg.

    I hadn't planned on his arrival nearly so early, but when you ask for an octopus..some people really find you one. the water quality rocks and sand were ready..I'm just nervous on whether or not I am lol. He is supposed to be mercatoris but i haven't yet gotten a very good look at him. He does keep all his legs curled slightly at the end which I believe I read is a mercatoris thing. he is very white...kind of a bone color. after acclimation when I added him to my tank he was red for a short while then returned to white. He acclimated a little over an hour and a half then he became very active so I added him into the tank. He took about2 min to swim out of the pitcher he was acclimated in, he found a nice shady spot and disappeared for about 5 hours...then he popped up at the end of the pvc pipe(as you can see in the photo up there). He has been watching me ever since, i put my finger up to the glass in front of him and put a tentacle out of the pipe and touched the opposing side of the glass so I'm hoping this means he will be friendly. He has a small(1 inch roughly in diameter..too big?) crab(im not sure of species was listed as an "other") running around in there for his first meal.



    tank:10g
    3-4inches of sand in most places
    ~20lbs live rock
    fluval canister filter rated for 100g
     

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  2. Omega

    Omega GPO Registered

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    He was the reason why I was worried about my tank setup last night..I found out yesterday at like 5 he was going to arrive today. I bought a few small deco's with holes he could live in...he seems to like the pipe. still trying to find my old barnacles. his only tankmates other than dinner are 10 turbograzer snails, I'm going to give him a day or two to settle before i add the serpent star in.
     
  3. Lmecher

    Lmecher Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    :welcome: little Hindenburg!

    Such a big name for such a little fellow. I am very interested, in the process of readying a tank for a couple mercs. I have never kept one before and am like a sponge at this point trying to soak up as much as I can. I look forward to hearing more of your experiences.
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I am not sure that's a merc :hmm:. The mantle spots are a bit disconcerting but it is never easy to make a good guess from a single picture. More behavior reports and photos when you can will help. Since he/she has taken the pipe, try a 1/4 inchish piece of thawed shrimp on a stick place in front of the den and see what happens.

    When you acclimated, do you recall a ratio of arms to mantle? Did you notice any webbing along the arms? At this size that may not give a clear answer but I am curious.
     
  5. Omega

    Omega GPO Registered

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    i cant see his legs very clearly, there is no apparent webbing..still in the pipe stayed the whole night i got up every two hours to check..didnt hunt the big crab or the hermit i tossed in about midnight. when i woke up at ~7 local time here there were bits of light starting to come through the blinds and hit the tank and i noticed he was feeling around the sand in front of the pipe with two tentacles then i walked up he retreated to the very back and then returned to the front of the pipe with my computer light came on..im thinking he isnt a merc and might be diurnal. his arms are prolly 2x or a little more longer than his mantle...which was at least an inch maybe bigger..he acclimated in a ball it was hard to tell, I have classes this morning but ill stop by a grocery store and find some kind of fresh shrimp and see if he'll take it.
     
  6. Omega

    Omega GPO Registered

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    so i tried touching the glass in front of him to see if he would reach out to it and touch again and he did, there is very slight webbing at the very top of the legsbut not much at all. i think the legs are over 4 inches...still hant tell on the mantle he keeps it hidden well...hes always balled up..kinda like that vampire squid video


    ran to the market early got some never frozen shrimp, in one video hindenburg already has a piece of shrimp and gets very angry at it, throws it out of his den and then starts blowing the sand around(i think the piece was to large to eat maybe or too cold)

    in the second video hindenburg has a smaller piece of the same shrimp givent o him, he takes it..and i believe eats it. he at least hasnt thrown it out yet

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e07ambjDEDM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW19VAE_zMA
     
  7. Omega

    Omega GPO Registered

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    he came fully out of the den once just before i left for school, his head isnt shaped quite the same as the mercs ive seen in the journals but i didnt have time to grab my camera. he returned to the den quickly and retreated further inside the pipe..im guessing hes going to bed for the day.
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I still can't tell much but the feeding video is a very good sign. The inside out look is characteristic of mercs but I have seen other (especially females and young animals) octos do the same thing. The little I could see of the arm characteristic (thin arms with small prominent suckers) could easily be merc. Roy recently posted a photo of a merc pair mating that gives a good visual of mercatoris arm characteristc as well as some of the common patterning.
     
  9. Omega

    Omega GPO Registered

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    when i came home from class i could see him deep in the pvc, shortly after i got online though he came out. snapped two quick photos of him..hes now inside the plastic tank =p(i added in 3 plastic places to hide yesterday morning...just in case) every once in a while a tentacle pops out. I think the crab i put in there last night was under there so theres a chance hes simply feasting. hope these photos will allow a more adequate ID but im thinking he is a merc..other than the daylight activeness

    hes pulling sea shells and marbles under the tank, im assuming he has found a new home.
     

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  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I hope I am wrong but ...

    What do you know about where she came from? The arm shape is like a mercatoris but look overly long (often hard to tell for sure from a photo though). The body is either distended (like an egg carrying female or post brood female) or not mercatoris. Her color is better than, Trapper but the way the mantle has a front bulge and then stretched skin after looks a lot like what I have seen in post brood females (there is also a possibity that she is heavy with eggs and the collecting behavior would suggest that, however the daytime activity is one I have noted in end of life mercs).

    Here is a link to my last photos of Trapper (mercatoris)
    and here a link to KaySoh (briareus) showing the stretched out mantle (still with me but not for much longer).
     
  11. Omega

    Omega GPO Registered

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    your right about the head looking similiar to the other post broods. however in comparison to trapper Hindenburg's arms are very long. He/she stopped the daylight activity after it finished turning the plastic tank into..a den tank. it was really interesting watching the fight to get the shells over the holes just the right way. and incredibly amusing to see it gathering the marbles because it was trying so hard not to be seen moving them. I'm not convinced Hindenburg is a female though, if it will ever sit still for 5 min and i can see if the leg is curled. both of the new photos Hindenburg was falling from the top of the tank, so im not sure the curl would have been present or important even in a male, since a female might have curled them out of fear. its interesting to note the color, because 90% of the time I've seen Hindenburg hes been white/bone colored but I've seen that darker color earlier today when it was moving dens and yesterday when it was being released into the tank. As for where it was acquired I got him from Tom, I had emailed about finding a larger octo and tom found a merc which I went ahead and took since my feeder tanks were empty waiting anyway.

    on the chance that she is pregnant and hasn't laid her eggs or what not..what are the odds im about to have a bunch of lil octos? and is there anything I should do just in case? Also D, you fed trapper plankton? I have some phytoplex...just drop some in the water?


    edit: i believe the crab i put in there last night is indeed missing...but i dont see a shell tossed anywhere. she wouldnt keep the shell in her den would she?
     
  12. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Knowing you got it from Tom, his source collection source is the same group of crab/lobster trappers that collected Trapper (hence the name) and he rarely gets anything but mercs and briareus Trapper actually came through Ken at Sealifeinc (I am his webmaster) and was not supposed to be a merc :razz: but you learn to enjoy and learn from what you get in the ceph keeping world and I probably learned more doing it this way). HOWEVER, Sedna expected a young briareus from Tom ended up with a likely joubini (another Caribbean dwarf that typically lives in deeper water than the mercs) that almost immediately started brooding. Joubini has longer arms and mantle than the mercatoris but is also a dwarf. The eyes in Sedna's photos look a lot larger proportionately so lets hope for mercatoris and see what transpires. Hatchling time for the Caribbean small egg species seems to be about 2 weeks and up to 10 for mercatoris. I was able to keep Trapper eating though most of her brooding and then on Cyclop-eeze (frozen only, not the dried) for another 11 weeks after the eggs hatched. Her daughter, Miss Broody, could not be coaxed to eat much but may still have lived a similar extended time (hard to tell as she mated a second time and locked herself in a den where she could not be seen. I only knew for sure she was gone when the shell doorway no longer blocked the cave but I never actually saw her after the day of her second mating).

    Unfortunately, I do think you are seeing brooding behavior and a very close to brooding animal (or one that was disrupted from her brood). Observe how she handles her mantle. I have noticed that my post brood females have a hard time controlling the movement like they are top heavy but I did not notice this as much when it was initially expanding. My males (of any of the species I have kept) never went through a lot of trouble moving things around in the tank to make their dens. Lets hope she is a large merc and not joubini. You will have a chance to raise some of the young if merc but no chance if joubini.

    Octos and most cephs are not known for eating any form of plant, phytoplankton (at least on purpose, recent discussions have broached the topic because of gut findings in squid). The closest thing I feed the tanks to zooplankton is Cyclop-eeze (small shrimp larger than what you would typically call plankton). For large the egg young, this was their primary diet until they could eat small shore shrimp.
     
  13. Omega

    Omega GPO Registered

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    how long will it be from when she lays eggs till they start hatching? should I go ahead and get breeder netting and cover the intake for the canister filter? I've been reading up the articles that are in the sub category for raising them from eggs...this might be an interesting trip =\
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I hate it when I lose a post :mad:. Let me start again:

    It will be interesting if what I think I understand to look for in a female about to lay eggs proves to be correct.

    From the time she stops coming out of the den (or you can see eggs - not likely with the white pipe), if she is merc (and I am afraid she is joubini) you can expect hatchlings anywhere from 8 to 10 weeks at 72 - 75 ish degrees and sooner if your tank is warmer. If she is joubini somewhere around 7-10 days seems to be common for small egg species but Maya (hummelincki) brooded longer and we don't have a timing from Sedna (she did not know Pandora was brooding so it was pretty quick).

    I found some extra large breeder nets that could be divided 1/3, 2/3 top to bottom. They have suction cups to attach to the tank wall and I got them because I found that the top of the net needed to stay at water level (I lost one of the first brood because it crawled up the net and did not crawl back down in time). The suction cups were badly effected by the saltwater for use with the second generation and I have since discovered that an algae cleaner magnet works better, is easier to use and does not put holes in the netting as well as can be used with any framed net. The 1/3, 2/3 division allowed me to put the den shells near the surface for Cyclop-eeze pipette feeding but still allowed the hatchlings to hunt in the 2/3 bottom chamber for the shore shrimp once they were big enough (pods should work too but I did not see them eat any).

    Using the advance search you can look up TITLE (use the drop down arrow to the left of the keyword to choose a title search) Keyword Varys - member GHolland and Keyword Trapper - member dwhatley for a forward linked list of threads starting from our WC females and ending with the grandchildren. To see timing with Sedna's suspected joubini, use the title search Pandoar and member Sedna.

    Another reason I think she may be joubini is that Pandora was supposed to be a briareus and my first reaction to the first picture was to want more photos to be sure Hindenburg was not (she isn't) because of some of the spots on the mantle.

    The really bad thing here is that I got Tom to change his discription from joubini to mercatoris last year :hmm:
     
  15. Omega

    Omega GPO Registered

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    read through the journals..and the babies journals. My concern is that if she is laying eggs that water quality might become an issue like it was with Varys' first hatchlings. It probably wouldn't take many to overload a ten gallon I did like the containers he built where they all died..would have been what i tired as well, maybe with a few tweaks they'd go well. I'm going to head to a fishstore later and by some netting to place over the pump intake and try my hand at building a place for the little guys to live....but if I can find a way to make sure they wont get out of whatever container i put them in..they can mature for a while in my 110g. But once they outgrown nets I'd have no place for them..i'm pretty sure my tang and foxface wouldn't take well to octo young swimming about their tank; then again hopefully by then they have been successfully transplanted to a new tank

    would hatching the young in their own ten gallon be viable? stuff it with macro algea shells, small live foods, and perhaps a single chunk of live rock...I could tweak out my feeder tank..it does have sand, liverock, a powerhead, and filtration[my crabs get to go out in style =p] or maybe half with Hindenburg and half in a seperate

    and a note as to Hindenburgs behavior, she abandoned the plastic tank and returned to the pvc pipe. I tried dropping a crab in front of it this morning before there was light..she poked at it then let it go(much to the crabs relief). Then i tried another piece of shrimp..she blew it away like she did yesterday. She gets very offended when anything comes close to the entrance of the pvc, ive seen her knock 4 snails off the glass and throw them and she moved a shell because it was "too close" to the entrance. she also pulled a pink marble from behind her in the pvc and stuck it firmly into the sand in front of it..marking her territory maybe?
     
  16. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The mercs usually keep a "door" for their dens (I don't recall the males doing this as I think about it) even when not brooding. Give her some small pieces of LR and light weight shells to choose from. They often swap the doors for some reason. If she is comfortable the door will not stay in place much of the time. I suspect closing the doors allows them to sleep some but Sleazy rarely uses hers now.

    Unfortunatey, you will not have to house Hindenberg for very long after the babies hatch. Even though Trapper lived an additional 11 weeks, the chances are significantly higher that she will die within a week of the hatching (for mercs hatching appear to last from 3 to 10 days). I raised the young in breeder nets for 5 months in a 45 with decent filtration. You will need to do a lot of water changes in a 10 (probably a 30% daily exchange - just guessing) so my suggestion is nets in the large tank at least until you get them eating larger foods. Fortunately your fish and any meat eating corals you have should enjoy the Cyclop-eeze if you choose to use it.

    The large egged animals usualy have a smaller egg count than the small egg sepecies. Trapper only had 6 hatchlings (very low and not normal) where Miss Broody may have had 100 (not sure many escaped the net and I could not determine who was returned and who was new). Oddly, you can only expect 4 - 6 survivors (canabalism does not seem to be an issue). If Hindenberg is joubini, you will likely have one or two days, a week at most, with several hundred young before they all perish. The merc young can be caught on the glass and removed with a turkey baster. Joubini young will not go to the glass or other substrate.
     
  17. Omega

    Omega GPO Registered

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    what are the odds it isnt a merc? shes not in her den now..in full ambient light. and she has alot of shells, she just hasnt seen fit to seal herself off when in the pvc...she looks like she might be breathing heavy...end in sight?

    i bought a dozen ghost shrimp for her..way too fast. i should have rethough that theory. one actually walked up to her while she was out of her den..it looked like she tried to catch it..but it was gone way too fast. any other ideas on what to try feeding her? wish i knew someplace to get a live shore shrimp nearby

    so far no to live crabs, fresh dead shrimp, and ghost shrimp.
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Ghost shrimp and their brackish water cousins are hard to tell apart (execpt you may lose all the glass shrimp from the salt content). Try netting one of the shrimp, killing it and offering it on some kind of stick (pipettes work well, they are difficult to skewer). You can also damage one so that it will not swim well and try dropping it into her den but I get squimish doing this. Other than that, I have had good luck with Cyclop-eeze for getting at least some nutrition to fasting octos (evidenced by their elimination that does not digest the red color).

    Heavy breathing is never good but it may be that she is laying eggs. Watch her eyes to note if they get very wide for a few seconds. This seems to be something that may be common at egg laying time (based on a couple of similar observations when I mentioned seeing it with Maya).
     
  19. Omega

    Omega GPO Registered

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    i think she might be laying eggs in the back of the pvc..because everyone in a while she retreats to the back of it stays there for a short while then comes back to the front to sleep. a shot shrimp walked inside the pipe a little while ago and she blew it away. so i don't think its going to entice her to eat either. how long can they live without food? I'm guna go buy some Cyclop-eeze either tomorrow or Monday..not sure if my lfs is open Sundays. I did find out one fish store in my area knows something about mercs and babies..so im guna go talk to them on Monday to some depth and see what advice they can give me. the owner there told me to try a crayfish and said hes gotten brooding octos to take them before. and being texas you would think id know where to buy a live one...but i have no ideaXD
     
  20. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Crayfish was reported as being eaten by a brooding female just recently but I forgot which post :old: and I want to include them in my offerings to Puddles if I can find some.

    Not eating can typically be three things. Normal brooding behavior, scenecence or just not hungry. The female GPO broods for about 10 months and eats little or none. If she is brooding she should live until the babies hatch, we have only had a very few that did not and I don't recall any hatchings after a death so those eggs may have not been fertile if they still existed. Recently I asked Roy how long he was seeing infertile eggs remain with the female and we both noted about 2 weeks as the time span before they disintegrated. I think Trapper lived longer after brooding because she did eat most of the brood time and would take Cyclop-eeze (but nothing else) afterwards. This may not be at all the reason for her extended survival though as we are pretty sure at this point that they don't actually starve to death as is so often written. There death is pretty much preprogrammed and not eating is a sign of entering the end of their life, not the cause of it. I do wonder about dehydration though and can't find anything that addresses it.

    All you can do is encourage her without driving her crazy (and wasting precious enegy) and see what happens. With Maya, I would make a point to "pet" the glass in front of her den any time I went by. It did not upset her and always made ME feel better that I could at least give he a little attention in her miserable state.

    Edit: Sulley posted that his brooding briareus found crayfish acceptable after rejecting everything else.
     

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