i think im ready for my first octo

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by tat2spyder, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. tat2spyder

    tat2spyder Blue Ring Registered

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    i'm pretty sure im ready to do this. its been about 3 or 4 months of me researching this and i think i have all my bases covered. but i wanted to run it by you guys and make sure im not forgetting anything. this is my first octo. and i want to make sure i provide the best opportunity for me and my octo to be happy together.
    to start with i have been keeping reef tanks for about 2 years now. i'm no expert. but i would consider myself pretty knowlegable about this hobby. i am an active member of my local reefing club. and i currently have a sweet 150g in-wall at home that is my pride and joy.
    it started with me asking my boss if i could put a nano in my office at work. he liked the idea so much he wanted to put it in the lobby in stead. so rather than going with a little 10g like i had planned we kicked around a few ideas like a lionfish, or puffers, but ultimatley we decided to go with an octopus.
    so i set up an old 55g i had. i knew it had never seen copper. and it wasn't too big. we set it up about 12 or 13 weeks ago. it has a deltec hob skimmer and a hob refugium i rigged up with cheato, corbon, and some floss pads i clean on a regular basis. i do 5g water changes every other week from my own ro/di system at home. i have had some fish in there on and off. ( i've kinda been using it as a holding tank as i do work on my 150 at home) and it currently has a bunch of snails as a CUC.
    i have a buddy in my club who cuts acrylic from a cnc machine and he is making me precission cuts lids for the tank. once i get the lids. im confident my tank will be set up pretty escape proof.
    im planning on ordering it from liveaquaria. i know i wont get a garontee of species but i hoping for A.aculeatus. im pretty sure my settup will acomidate aculeatus pretty well.
    im also going to be orderind either fiddler crabs or shore shrimp from this online site from St Augustine florida. i have rubbermaid buckets i will be using as holding tanks for the food. and i may have to change this setup acording to what my octo wants to eat. im hoping he will like fiddler crabs. then i can just keep an inch of water in the bottom of a bucket with some rocks. if i change the water on a regular basis the crabs should be ok. i will be using the waste water from the bi weekly water changes to freshen the water for the crabs.

    im hoping i have everything covered. if i am missing something PLEASE let me know. i dont want to hurt an octo by my ignorance. and any help will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Cool. sounds to me like your on the right track so far. Sounds like a nice setup. you didn't mention Lights or temperature control device (heater/chiller). aculeatus and anything that come from Live Aquaria are warm water species so you want to target 72*-78*, i'm currently running my tanks at 76*. Depending on what else you have in the tank you dont need very bright lights. I have simple a simple marine florescent on mine.
     
  3. tat2spyder

    tat2spyder Blue Ring Registered

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    i have just some crapy florescents over it. its just eneugh light for me to see in the tank, without generating heat, or possibly stressing the octo. i also have a heater in the tank as well. i can't afford a chiller so i made sure to look for warm water species. the tank has been sitting around 75* but it can climb up to the low 80s on a hot day. from what i read, aculeatus's natural environment can get up to 90* so i should be good to go.
     
  4. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Yeah it should be fine then. if the the tank is naturally warmer I would set the temp around 78* so you don't have too much fluctuation.
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    You mentioned a skimmer and fuge but not a sump so I have a little concern about air exchange. Does the fuge have an above water return to allow the CO2 to escape? Are you using live rock for the primary filtration?
     
  6. tat2spyder

    tat2spyder Blue Ring Registered

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    no i am not using a sump. the tank is all tempered glass so i can't drill in an overflow. so have to keep everything HOB. i made the fuge from an old freshwater filter. it has an open top with water flowing over the lip back in to the tank. gas exchange was something i was a little concerened about too. is there a way to test my o2 and co2 saturation? i was thinking about puting an airstone in the fuge as well. Im not a fan of microbubbles. but if its safer for my little 8 legged friend i can live with em.
    yes i have about 50 lbs of really nice live rock in there. and about 20 lbs of sand. both were already live before i set the tank up.
     
  7. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    You are showing uncommon prudence and thoroughness by asking Tonmo people to help you with a pre-launch check. With that kind of attitude, I expect you'll be quite successful with you octopus.

    If you end up with a species that is found in tide pools, you might not need to worry much about the occasional day/night temperature change, but if not, the octopus might be sensitive to that. Gas exchange can be an issue with octopus, given that they need high O2 saturation (their blood can't efficiently carry O2) and we tend to completely cover our tanks, for escape reasons. I've read that protein skimmers don't do a very good job of promoting gas exchange, so keep your eye on it, and watch out for a build up of CO2, which can cause low PH. My tank is completely covered, and I have no sump, but my filtration is handled by the equivalent of a hang-on wet/dry trickle filter, which, when left uncovered itself, easily provides enough gas exchange.

    How are you planning to secure the holes in the top that the HOB devices return water to the tank through? How will you keep your octopus from escaping through there, especially when the pumps are turned off?

    Also, give extra thought to the intakes inside the tank. Your octopus might be rather small when it arrives, and if the holes/slits in the intakes are too large, or two few, causing high suction pressure, they could pose a hazard. Coarse open cell foam (like that used in AquaClear filters) is bulky, but can help solve such problems.

    What kind of office lobby is this going into? when I proposed setting up my bimac tank in the living room, my wife's reaction was hesitant, because while "fish tanks" were beautiful, she thought that an octopus was a little creepy (I know, but I didn't think to ask about octopus in the living room when we were dating, and now it's too late :)) Just about every woman I surveyed had a similar opinion, despite the obvious fact that octopus are totally cool. My wife let me go ahead and do it, and before long she really liked having "Lefty" in the living room, but he had to charm her. So if this is a dentist's or pediatrician's office, you might not get the public reception you are expecting (although the kids would love it).
     
  8. tat2spyder

    tat2spyder Blue Ring Registered

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    I am having lids custom made. they are 1/2 acrylic. cut by a CNC machine to fit within 1/16" to all of my in and out plumbing. i also have floss(sponge like materiel) that i can stuff into any cracks that we missed. all of the intakes have mesh covers over them and all the returns are falling through slits that will have floss blocking them. we plan to put bricks on top to hold it all down. i am waiting to get the lids some time this week, and once i do i can post a picture or two. its kinda hard for me to describe what i have going on, but im pretty confident that its escape proof.

    the tank is in the lobby of the tattoo shop that i manage. (figure the octopus uses ink, and we use ink. so it works). i would say there is close to 100 people in and out of the lobby every day. we keep a close eye on the tank, and unless some A hole gets sneaky about it, nobody has a chance to tap on the glass or anything. that was taken into account with our lid plans. we didn't want any chance for a customer to slip anything into the tank. i also plan to keep an extra 5 or 10g of water on hand to do a quick water change in case it does ink. we do realize that the tank will be boring most of the time. and most of our customers will prob never see the octo. but i don't care. im keeping this tank so all the employees have something to stare at on the slow days. and we will have a set feeding time i should get a chance to bond with it every day. i really spend more time at work than i do at home.

    so gas exchange is my main concern. right? when i get the lids. should i just run the tank as is. and check my ph twice a day. if my ph stays around 8.3 (where its at right now). is that an indicator that my o2 saturation is sufficent. or should i just put the airstone in. i know that can change my ph as well. also testing now won't do me any good untill i get the animal in the tank consuming the o2. right? ergh!

    sooo pretty much. im just going to keep an airstone on hand and monitor my ph. if it drops after installing the lids, ill put in the airstone. if it stays the same until after putting the animal into the tank. than i should be fine without an airstone. right? does that sound like the safest aproach? or should i just put the airstone in anyway?

    thanks a lot for all your help. you guys are the experts and im glad you guys are so nice and willing to share your knowledge.
     
  9. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    An octopus in a tattoo shop is about as perfect a match as I can think of. What might be "creepy" in a dentist's office is "edgy" in a tattoo shop, plus the whole ink connection.

    There are lots of things that can drop (or raise?) your ph, and poor gas exchange (specifically too much CO2 in the water) is just one of them. If you find low PH, an easy test is to run an air stone in a cup of tank water for a few minutes, and then test the water in the cup. If after running the airstone the water in the cup shows a higher PH than the tank water, then the low PH was caused (at least in part) by poor gas exchange. If after running the air stone the water in the cup has the same PH as it did before running the air stone, the the low PH is not caused by poor gas exchange. The next question is: can you have low oxygen without low PH? I don't know, but someone does, so keep asking.

    I'm not a big fan of using the weight of a rock to keep a top on. Some day you'll forget to put the rock back, or someone will move it. It also makes it that much easier for some unauthorized person to put something in or take something out, and rocks around glass tanks (and the crazy public) make me nervous. On the other hand, I keep bimacs, which get big and strong, and might be able to move a heavy lid, so I worry about it. A small octopus would probably have trouble just lifting the weight of 1/2" thick acrylic, so maybe I'm being paranoid. My tank has a plastic rim around the top, so it was easy for me to just drill holes in the acrylic top, and in the rim, tap the holes in the rim and bolt the top down with nylon bolts. Part of the lid I attached with an acrylic hinge (to the bolted down part of the lid) and made a latch so that I can get in easily, but even a super strong, smart, and determined octopus can't get out. I used to build snake cages for snakes I caught as a kid, and after a few escapes the design evolved into one where gravity alone was enough to close and latch the lid, so that I wouldn't need to remember to insert a pin, turn a latch, or replace a rock (eventually I know I would forget, and once is all it takes (at least with snakes)) I wrote up the lid design and posted pictures HERE if you are interested.

    The filter floss over the slits where the water returns to the tank probably won't help keep the octopus in (couldn't it just push the floss out of the way from underneath?), so if the slits are large enough for it to get through (wider than it's eye ball ?) then you probably need another plan. Even if the floss is held rigidly in place, won't you need an alternate path designed in for water to flow if the floss becomes clogged? Neglect, or maybe a good inking, can do that, so the alternate water path would need to be secure too. I've thought about using the plastic mesh with square holes, used for doing counted-cross-stitch (decorative embroidery?). It has squares that are 1/8th, or even 1/16th inch, and I can cut it and sew it together by hand with fishing line as needed to make box or trough shapes. I haven't done it yet, but that's my plan if I need to use a hand on back device - for what it's worth.
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    As a slight asside, Diego (bimac caught by Joe-Ceph) is the strongest of the octos we have kept. He has removed a cap on his return pipe (something none of the others have done - not a problem fortunately because the top of the pipe if filled with Gorilla glue and the cap is just an esthetic but I did not remember that we had done that until I found the cap in the aquarium). When he decides to pull on my fingers, it pops my thumb joint and hurts! Diego is only half the size of my briareus but I think he is twice as strong.
     
  11. tat2spyder

    tat2spyder Blue Ring Registered

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    so i'm still waiting on those lids to get here. gas exchange and lid security are my only real concerns and its hard for me to explain without taking some pictures. so once they get here i will post some pics and we can figure it out from there.

    i'm just waiting....and bored......and can't think of anything else i could be doing to prepare for my octo. i've read and re-read all the octo-journals.

    sooooo... is there anything else i could be doing?
     
  12. iAlex

    iAlex Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Is the tank cycled?
     
  13. tat2spyder

    tat2spyder Blue Ring Registered

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    yeah its been running since mid march. 0 ammonia and nitrates.
     
  14. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    One thing you'll have to deal with, that most of us don't have, is the public. I had a wise grey haired math professor in college that used to say that at any given time, about 5% of the general public are certifiably insane. The older I get, the more I agree with him, and it occurs to me that a big part of your security plan should probably be to keep crazy people out, not just to keep octopuses in. "I wonder if the octopus would like one of my Doritos?" (beer, soda, loose change (copper) whatever). There's only so much you can do to guard against what some idiot might do, but you might want to give some more thought to what can reasonably be done (a canopy with an alarm (mercury switch?) that you can disable from behind the counter?) Do you think that the percent of crazy people walking into a tattoo shop will be higher or lower than the 5% estimate for the general population?
     
  15. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    You might be fully aware of this already, but at the risk of being a PIA...
    Just because a tank is "cycled" doesn't mean it has built up a large enough population of bacteria to be able to process the additional amount of waste per week that your new octopus will generate. Are you planning to remove a number of animals from your tank that, collectively, are eating about as much as your octopus will eat? If not, then your octopus will dump more waste into your tank than it is currently able to handle, and your tank may go through a mini (or not so mini) cycle as a way of building up enough new bacteria to handle the increased bio-load. Many people (including me, the first time) "cycle" a new tank, and then let it sit close to empty, being fed little or nothing, for weeks until their octopus arrives. It's much better to keep a bunch of cheap fish that eat as much as a good sized octopus would, per week, and then swap them out (back to the LFS) when your octopus comes, so that your bacteria population hardly notices any increase in the total amount of animal waste per week, and just keeps chugging along.

    Are you prepared for whatever size octopus you might get? Is your escape proofing sufficient to keep a really small octopus from slipping out through a small crack, but also secure enough to keep a very strong octopus from disturbing plumbing or busting out? Do you have your feeding, water testing, and water change routine all figured out and ready to go, with sources of each waiting? Have you read about the safest way to acclimate your new arrival to your tank when it arrives?
     
  16. tat2spyder

    tat2spyder Blue Ring Registered

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    joe ceph. you are in no way being a PIA. i am glad that you are helping me to be so thurogh. and i am thankfull that, with your help, im getting more confident about keeping this animal

    i totally agree that about 5% of the genral public is crazy. but in a tattoo shop we get WAY more crazies. closer to like 50%. when we first thought about putting an octo in here, that was my first concern. i was so affraid of some a-hole customer tapping on the glass or opening the lids and hurting our animal. but we have had this tank in here for a few months and i have noticed that most customers ignore it. it has an open top right now, and i haven't found anything in there that i didn't put there. i had a clown fish in there for a few weeks, and peolple kinda noticed him. but for the most part people just walk right past it. i am still concerend about it though. we have a reseptionist who sits right in front of the tank, and she is there all day. she will not be happy at all if someone messes with our tank, and she has the right to kick someone out for doing so. but i still want to make the lids as customer proof as possible. i was planning on making it noisy some how, attach a bell or something. so nobody could sneek in when the receptionist isn't looking. i just need my lids to get here so i can start playing around with them.

    as far as cycling. i understand that ballancing the micro organisms to what the tank gets fed is very important. for the first 3 weeks it sat empty. then after the initial ammonia spike settled down, we put a few fish in. i have had up to 4 fish in there at a time. i have been moving fish around my tanks at home and used this work tank as qt tank for a bit. so it has had at least 1 fish in it since early april. right now, most of the fish have gone back home. i still have a flasher wrasse in there, a choc chip star, 2 peppermint shrimp, and about 20 or so snails. i feed the wrasse way too much twice a day. i have been doing this on purpose for the exact reason you mentioned. i don't want my messy eating octo to change what the tank is used to. if anything the tank might get a break with only 2 dead fiddlers a day. i get a bit of algea growth and i go in and brush it off by hand when i do water changes. other than that my tank is pretty used to accepting a lot of waste food. if my lids take take to much longer to get here i may bring another fish from home so the wrasse doesn't get lonely.

    i am hoping that i don't get the little nocternal cousin of A.aculeatus. but if i do, i am prepared for it. the lids are being machined to within 1/16" tolerance. i also have a tube of sylicone to plug any holes that are too big. and i also found this cool red led strip i can mount on top for nightime viewing.

    as far as my tank mantanence. i do weekly water changes of about 5 gallons. i get the water from my own 5 stage ro/di unit at home and i mix it with instant ocean. i have a 5 gal bucket that sits at the shop with clean SW mix in it. and every week i use that for the water change and replace the bucket. so i always have 5g on hand just in case. i don't test the water that often any more cuz it's always zero. but i have the test kits here at work. i will be testing more once the octo gets here and im keeping a close eye on tank permaeters. mainly testing ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, ph, and phosphates. im not too worried about calcium and magnesium cuz theres no coral in there.
     
  17. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    It sounds like you've got this well thought out, and are preparing well.
    That's great for holes in the top made for plumbing, but if the whole lid needs to slip down into a groove, you will want a little bit of extra room for the top. If the cuts are 1/16" under, you're okay (1/8" would be better), but if they're dead on, or 1/16th over, you could have a problem. When I build my acrylic lid I made it to fit exactly into the channel in the factory plastic rim on the tank. I wish I'd made my lid 1/8"-3/16" smaller, for two reasons:
    1) My lid had nice sharp 90 degree edges, but the edges at the bottom of the channel were a little rounded, so my lid didn't fit all the way down.
    2) Acrylic absorbs a very tiny amount of water, and expands a very tiny bit, so if your new lid starts out "almost too tight", it might become "a little too tight" after a few days on your tank. I'm only talking about a few thousandths of an inch, but that's not zero, so it's a good idea to design in a little wiggle room.

    I had to get some sand paper and take a little off the edges of my top, so the next one will be designed to be maybe 1/8" too small. My top has multiple pieces that are connected by hinges, and I wish I'd left about 1/32" between the hinged pieces. Between the small amount of swelling, and/or a little salt creep into the space between the two hinged pieces, the lid sometimes only closes 99%, and the latch doesn't always engage by itself. That also puts a lot of stress on the hinges, which might crack some day.

    It's great that your acrylic top will be 1/2" thick. Acrylic tops seem to often bow, wither because the bottom absorbs more water than the top (theory) or because of hot lights on top (guess). 1/2" thick acrylic is likely to stay flat.

    Also, keep in mind that it is easy to drill holes and even tap threads into acrylic. Nylon bolts can be used to modify the top, hold it down, hold things to it, make a latch, or whatever.
     
  18. tat2spyder

    tat2spyder Blue Ring Registered

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    yeah once these lids get here im prob gonna have to modify them a bit. i got my dremel tool all warmed up and ready. i did go with the 1/2" cuz i was planning on stacking bricks on top, and i had the same theory about the lights heating up the acrylic and causing it to warp. im thinking maybe i should drill a bunch of little 1/16" holes all over the top. that way i won't be so stressed over gas exchange.
     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Even 1/2 inch will warp a little. I have found that securing the edges minimizes most of the warping even in thinner acrylic if the edges are secured at all times (regardless of the need for keeping an animal inside). Where I have only had LED lights that sit about 8" off the top of the tank, I have not had the warping (Diego's tank) so I am staying with the temperature difference theory :grin:
     
  20. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    I've found that it I put a piece of wood under the acrylic when I drill holes in it, and drill a bit into the wood, I don't chip the exit end of the hole in the acrylic. You need to worry about the drill bit getting hot and melting the acrylic, so use a sharp drill bit, slow speed, and maybe run a little water on the acrylic, or drill through a little puddle, to wet/cool the bit. The acrylic will dull the bit fast, so maybe buy extra hard bits, and/or sharpen or swap them out when they get dull. I'd go with 1/8" holes unless the octopus is likely to be really small.
    Since drilling holes is such a pain, and may not be enough to solve the gas exchange problem anyway, I'd plan to use a sump, or have a large enough open Hang On Back type device to allow for gas exchange. Circulating the water through an open bucket of bio-balls would do the trick (my tank is totally sealed on top, but I have a wet/dry trickle filter which easily handles the gas exchange
     

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