Hitch hiker identification

Discussion in 'ID Requests' started by schmuttis, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. schmuttis

    schmuttis Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    We recently received some Tampa Bay live rock. Just yesterday when we were trying to extract a mantis shrimp an octopus came out. It looks as if there is another one in the same hole that the first one came out. I was wondering if you could help me identify what type of octopus would come from this area. I'm not sure how big it will get and exactly how to feed it. If it isn't reef safe, would it be ok to keep it in our 65 gallon sump if we provide some tubes for it to hide in as well as food?

    Here's a picture but it will be hard to id him from this since he is all wrapped up. When I can get a better picture, I'll post it.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    O. Mercatoris
     
  3. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    About how big is it? If it is an O. Mercatoris it might actually be okay in the sump. No octopus is going to be "reef safe" unfortunately. They'll mangle all your inverts and play with anything else they can wrap their arms around. Also, if it is an O. Mercatoris it will only get about 3 inches long, arms and mantle. Try to seal your sump so that it won't get sucked into the return pump or climb out the top.

    Looks a lot like Einy did. He was an O. Mercatoris.

    I believe this time of year is breeding season for them, so you may have an explosion of tiny octopuses soon pouring out your live rock.
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    That pose and location definitely suggests Mercatoris. Mine is brooding now and has had babies at one or two at a time for the last week with a total of 5 or 6 (not sure if one was counted twice :confused: ). The low count if very unusual. Mine was very happy when I put a cluster of the large barnicle shells in the tank and she choose to brood in one. I was able to turn the cluster to be able to view her which has been a huge benefit because they are nocturnal creatures and often not seen. This also lets me hand feed her in hopes of prolonging her life a few weeks.

    The biggest problem with your sump (more than enough space and water for this size octopus) will be the pump intake if you don't already run a sponge over the input side and the fact that it is likely to be open topped and octo escape prone. A full, tight fitting lid is going to be necessary, at least until it starts brooding (if it is a female). You might consider using a very large critter keeper inside the sump to keep it from crawling out if you cannot fashion a lid. A brooding female usually won't leave her den and I now keep my top open without fear of her escaping.

    If you run 24 hour lighting in your sump, the octopus will be very unhappy and if you run reverse lighting to your main tank, you need to provide ambient darkening during the lights off period.

    Fiddler crabs seem to be the most common food accepted by these little guys. Mine would not eat anything else it was offered, even before she started brooding.

    Welcome to the world of cephs!:octorun: Be careful you may just get hooked!
     
  5. schmuttis

    schmuttis Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Getting pictures of this guy has been really hard - he's really camera shy. He might be crawling all over but as soon as he sees the camera - woosh, he's gone. Here are two pictures of him in the first stage of our sump.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    He likes to move between the first and second stage of our sump. The total size of the sump is 36" wide and 18" high. The first stage is dark and is 12" wide. The second stage is constantly lit and is 14" wide. The third stage, where we haven't seen him yet is 10" wide and has a sponge to filter the water spilling over from the fuge. I'm adding two pictures of the fuge so you can figure his approximate size from the previous pictures.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What do the octopus eggs look like? I think there is another octopus in the hole in which this guy came but my husband thinks they are eggs. I think it look just like our guy when he's wrapped up - you see all the suction cups. It is really hard to see anything in these holes. I thought I read though, that they don't usually stay with another octopus. If that is true then my husband would be right that they are just eggs.

    We have some small Gorilla Crabs that we removed from our rock. Would he eat those. If so would he mind if we kill them first?

    We don't have anything covering the output holes to the pumps right now. What would you suggest that we add. They are threaded holes to pipe that exit the sump.

    Thanks so much for the education. We weren't planning on having an octopus so haven't done any study on this. Out of curiousity, why would they climb out of the water if it is going to kill them?
     
  6. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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    They are curious too....
     
  7. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Curiosity and the desire to find another place to be.

    I didn't have eggs with my Mercatoris (male) so I can't tell you from experience, but by what I've read, seems they look like a small grain of rice. Mercatoris babies are actually tiny octopuses instead of planktonic larvae, so there won't be any guessing when/if they hatch if they are indeed eggs. Also, if they are eggs, this little octopus doesn't have much time left.
     
  8. schmuttis

    schmuttis Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Oh, that's so sad. I was really getting attached to her.

    What we think are eggs are larger then grains of rice. They seem like a blown up piece of rice (maybe 1/4 of a jelly bean) and gelatinous.
     
  9. schmuttis

    schmuttis Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Assuming these are eggs that are in our live rock, should we try to get them out? Will they hatch without her around? We do have a mantis shrimp in the same rock that we haven't been able to remove yet. I don't know if he finds them great food now since we removed the mother.
     
  10. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Doesn't sound like any easy solution to that one my friend...

    They would fair better with the mother around, but I don't doubt it possible for them to hatch regardless.
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    It does sound like eggs. Yes, the mantis is likely to eat them. She may still lay more eggs though so provide her with something to make a den ASAP. If you can fit a small cluster of giant barnicles (the purple and white striped kind - see latest pictures of Biddle in this forum) in the sump, she may accept that for a den. Sadly, once she starts brooding (with or without eggs), she is unlikely to come out again until her final day. If she will accept the barnicles or other den where you can feed her, she may accept food placed directly in front of her (mine would only eat dead crabs after she started brooding) but otherwise will stop eating. Getting her to eat may extend her life some but not for a long period. Enjoy her while you have her. You may get addicted :sagrin:
     
  12. schmuttis

    schmuttis Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    We gave her an angled pcv pipe and she's crawled in there. Unfortunately she's refused all food. We did siphon most of the baby eggs (there were loads of them) from the hole in the rock down to the sump where she is but she didn't seem interested in moving them or anything. Do the eggs need any special care?

    Without putting her though a lot of stress is there anyway I'm going to know when she dies? She's curled up inside her pipe and we need to pick it up to check on her which I'm sure stresses her since she hasn't learned to trust us.
     
  13. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    I'd leave her be. She'll be a whole lot less stressed! As for the eggs, if she doesn't look after them, you can. Use a turkey baster and gently blow water over them, this reduces algae formation and keeps them oxygenated. IF they hatch the turkey baster can be used to transfer them to a smaller tank or a net breeder. The squirtlings will need small amphipods to start with (& they may turn cannibal).

    Cheers

    J
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    You might try placing a dead crab inside the pipe. She may blow it out immediately but try putting it in several times (she will use her funnel to blow out the remains so you will not need to worry about those). Trap still wants NOTHING to do with live food but is taking dead if I put it on her arms (they are usually partially outside her den). I believe she would take it if I put it close by but she has learned to take food from my fingers so I don't try another idea. She always accepts my offering but does not always eat it :hmm:

    The last couple of days she started accepting the crab but then throwing it out. I switched to dead shore shrimp and she is eating again and even took a small crab last night so keep trying.

    It has been observed that the females will exit their den, often in the daytime even though they are nocturnal, within 24 hours of expiring. I know this was the case for another pygmy we had for only 1 week but I have seen similar reports by several others.
     
  15. Bob the kracken

    Bob the kracken Wonderpus Registered

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    wow your lucky. free octopus. thats amazing
     
  16. schmuttis

    schmuttis Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    When we find bad crabs on our live rock we drop them in the sump. She must be going out at night and getting some because she's still alive. Won't take food from us still. Even if we give her crab. It looks like a couple of the the eggs have hatched. We have a few of these very tiny blobs moving around on the sump wall. We've tried defrosted uncooked shrimp, defrosted scallop, live crabs, clam which we left in an open shell and clam removed from the shell and cut up. All rejected. We do know that these items that we've left in front of her are not eaten over night. We remove them the next day so the water is not polluted. We have seen her pull macro algae into her tube. Do they eat that?

    I'm starting an aquarium webpage - far from done but I'll be putting pictures of the eggs and babies out there eventually: http://aquariums.rohland.org.
     
  17. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    No, but octopus are known to redesign their tanks!

    J
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Elli may be using the algae as a "door" to block the entrance of her den. Trapper uses a variety of shells for this purpose and will intentionally close her door if she wants me to "go away".

    Lev's female lived 5 weeks (if id calculated correctly) after the eggs hatched and it looks like Trap will follow that pattern (we are at 4 weeks this week). I get her to eat freshly killed shore shrimp (much smaller than you can find frozen) if I annoy her with it until she puts her arms on it. She is accustom to being fed at 9:00 PM and usually takes the shrimp quickly at that time. If I am late to feed her she either grabs it up even more quickly or ignores it for a few minutes and then finally decides to eat. At least I THINK she is eating the shrimp :hmm: . She takes it into her mantle and I don't see her jet it out of her den.
     
  19. schmuttis

    schmuttis Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Elli died Thursday, May 10th.
     
  20. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    :angelpus: RIP little girl...
     

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