[Octopus]: Iris - O. Briareus

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by TMoct, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. TMoct

    TMoct O. vulgaris Supporter

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    There is a new tenant in the aquarium, so far without a name. He arrived on Friday, Jan. 10.

    I ordered this guy on ebay (seller "wmsfm" from Florida). I asked about the species, size, and original home and was told Octopus Vulgaris with 6-8" arms, coming from the Upper Key, FL. Based on this I expected a Briareus with 6-8" arms, and received a Briarius with >12" arms. Compared to my last little guy, this octopus is *huge*!

    Interaction and communication with this seller was very good, and the octopus arrived well packed with a bag of hermit crabs and snails included as a free extra.

    I drip-acclimated him for a few hours in a covered bucket, empty except for a cobalt-blue pint glass on its side (available as a 'cave'). He never climbed into the glass during acclimation, but it was pretty easy to gather him into it and then transfer him into the tank (by just resting the glass, with him in it, on its side on the floor of the tank).

    He climbed out slowly after an hour or so and started exploring the tank, and seemed very comfortable and relaxed -- not overly shy, but also not overly frantic like "I've got to get out of here!"

    He's much less afraid of low light than my previous octopus, and is comfortable wandering around and exploring in the early evening.

    I put a few hermit crabs into the tank, but they are very small -- not sure if he'll even bother with them. I also have a shipment of fiddlers on the way from Sachs systems, which should be more to his taste. Yesterday evening he was out exploring so I tried to feed him a silverside fish on a bamboo skewer, not being sure if he would be interested in it or even comfortable with me sticking things into the tank. To my pleasant surprise he took it like an old pro (as well as the feeding stick). Again, he seemed interested, curious, hungry without seeming desperate or frantic. He settled into the back corner and ate for about 30 or 60 minutes, then alternated exploring and resting for the rest of the night.

    All in all, so far so good. This appears to be a pretty mature specimen, so I'm not sure how long he will last with me, but overall he appears very healthy and happy. I'll try to shoot some video tonight.

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  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I am never sure which is best. If you receive a very young octopus, they are with you for a long time but are not visible until around 5 months old and then are still very shy. Older animals are more visible, are willing to be somewhat active in daylight and some interact easily but your time with them is short. You can probably (maybe, sort of) get an idea of age by watching how fast the missing arm grows. If the arm regenerates quickly, it may be younger than it look but if you see little to no regrowth in the next couple of weeks, then it is likely nearing/into senescence. This one is definitely an adult but age is a guessing game and size is not much help.

    I can't quite tell which arm is missing. If it is the third arm to the right (clockwise as you orient your eyes with the octopus') then it is likely to be a male that has recently mated (or attempted mating). This would not tell you anything about age though as males appear to mature around 5 months.

    If it is a female, the mantle is not full enough to be carrying eggs yet and not stretched out as in a post brood condition.
     
  3. TMoct

    TMoct O. vulgaris Supporter

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    The octo with no name is doing great. I put a couple of small (slightly smaller than golf-ball) clams in there, and they promptly buried themselves. I moved them onto a rock, but octo isn't interested. I also tried some frozen clams on the half-shell (thawed of course), but also no interest. He loves the silversides, though, and has taken one each night.

    A couple more photos. I'm not a huge fan of using a flash, but whaddya gonna do...
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  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Unless I am mistaken, that missing arm IS the third arm to the right (clockwise as you orient your eyes with the octos) and that makes me guess he is a male (solely based on my experience with SueNami, my first O. briareus).

    You can't use Octopus with No Name for him though, that was taken by Onn :twisted:
     
  5. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Beautiful animal, whatever you decide to name it!
     
  6. TMoct

    TMoct O. vulgaris Supporter

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    Still no name, but some news.
    Octo pretty much went into senescence a couple of weeks ago. She dug out the sand below a large flat rock in the tank and started hiding out all the time. Occasionally she would come out and swim around, but stayed mostly out of sight. I tried to keep feeding her, and she would take a silverside every few days.

    By Tuesday (Feb. 25) I hadn't seen *any* sign of her for several days, and I wasn't sure if she was dead or alive, so I decided I needed to take a look under that rock. I couldn't lift the rock (from above) and look under it at the same time, so I lifted it a few inches and propped another large piece of live rock underneath, so that there was a 1 inch gap opened up along the bottom front edge allowing me to see in.

    Good news -- Octo is still alive.
    Bad news -- Octo was pretty pissed that I had moved that rock... She didn't lash out at me or anything, but was clearly agitated and writhing around.
    Exciting news -- the underside of that rock is covered with eggs!

    I've been trying to get a photo, but it's pretty hard. I don't want to spend too much time peering in, because Octo is quite irritated when I do. She has moved lots of other smaller rocks in the way of the gap that I had opened up, but I still have a few views into her den.

    So far I don't see any little babies (or octo eyes) in the eggs -- they look pure white. So they may not be fertilized. We'll see how they progress. Hopefully I'll have some photos soon.
     
  7. TMoct

    TMoct O. vulgaris Supporter

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    Some photos... Do we see little eyes in the eggs???
    And my daughter finally came up with a name: Iris
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    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  8. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    wow! I can see little eyes... feels like I can!

    ...and Iris is a lovely name.
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Definitely eyes! Here is a link to Kooah's thread with a composite picture of her egg development. I am not sure it will help determine when they will hatch but it gives you something to study :wink:. There are additional links close to that post for the only journalled success we have for raising a pair of O. briareus hatchlings (only two survived to adults but they did live a full lifespan, mated and produced fertile eggs but no surviving third generation). :fingerscrossed: this will be another!
     
  10. TMoct

    TMoct O. vulgaris Supporter

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    A couple more photos from this morning:
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  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    As you watch these develop, observer the way Iris tends the eggs. With Kooah, I saw several distinct methods that I had not seen recorded. The most interesting was seeing her place her mantle under the eggs and use her breathing to move the eggs.

    You will also want to watch for the two flips of the embryos in the eggs. Most of the eggs will flip on the same day but you may see some one way and some another for a very short time (24-48 hours). If you take a daily photo you should catch the flips even if you miss them with visual observation.
     
  12. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Good luck! I do hope you are successful in raising at least one little one. You have the whole community pulling for you (and her)!
     
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  13. TMoct

    TMoct O. vulgaris Supporter

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    I've read through Kooah's hatchling journal, but I'm wondering if any of you have any "bottom line" or "lessons learned" advice for me. While D had a variety of tanks for Kooah's hatchlings to do a real experiment on what works best, I would rather take a single approach with the highest estimate of success and try that with all the little ones.

    My intuition is that somehow keeping them in the primary tank's water will be the best. I think that will be the most stable, parameter-wise, and my setup seems to have very high quality water, resilient to waste, etc.

    Perhaps obviously, my primary worry is how to feed the little guys. Is there a consensus on what works best for initial feeding? (Both what to feed them, and how to feed them).

    Apologies if this info is already captured somewhere -- just point me there if so!
    Thanks in advance!
     
  14. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    I can't remember if you have access to the ocean (I'm guessing not, since you ordered from Sachs). If you do have ocean access, then I would suggest doing plankton tows to collect live plankton. Will look up some other alternatives.
     
  15. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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  16. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I wish I had some concrete answers for you we just don't have other successes to draw from.

    The two animals that survived were in separate primary tanks (60+ gallons). ONLY one animal per tank survived and I believe that will be the case in all instances trying to raise this species. Several grew to be 5 weeks or older (five I think). Both that survived spent time in the filter sock (concentraed runnoff of pods and Cyclop-eeze with fast running water).

    Here is my note on what I initially fed all hatchlings (brine shrimp are not satisfactory food and were used to encourage eating -- stopped using early on. If used at all, use very little and only new hatched). Paul (Sachs) also has a small critters (amphipods, copepods, rotifers and mysid -- mysid will not survive purchased in advance but you might throw one batch in ASAP after hatching) you can order to help with something close to a plankton tow for the first couple of weeks. My mercs were raised on hand fed frozen Cyclop-eeze (not currently available) and shore shrimp. The mercs (one tank raised, the other tank bred and raised) lived together but I am quite sure the briareus cannot. A couple of times we have discussed that cannibalism may have allowed one to survive by providing nutrition and right sized food but I never actually saw them feeding on each other. I hand fed each animal I could find nightly, initially squirting Cyclop-eeze with a pipette and later with small shore shrimp impaled.

    None of the hatchlings in the smaller environments survived but they did provide observation not available with the larger tanks. They seemed to be negatively impacted most during water changes. I would try a environments (two to 5 gallons, not the tiny v-shaped tanks) again but only use the water from the larger tanks for water changes. I also want to try placing a few in filter socks that receive drainage from the main tank and leaving them there for a month.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  17. TMoct

    TMoct O. vulgaris Supporter

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    Cuttlegirl: I'm in Colorado, so the only marine life close by is rainbow trout.

    D: I'll try my best. What I had in mind was similar to what you suggest -- basically try to hand-feed something like coral food (cyclopeze or small shrimp or oyster eggs) to the little guys with a pipette, similar to what I do with a frogspawn or an anemone. If I do get a large hatch, though, I can't imagine being able to find all those little guys to feed them.

    If I do have a large hatch with lots of little octos all over the place, I'm happy to distribute them throughout the system -- in the sock filter, in the sump (which has slow water flow), and in the main tank. I may also try to set up a critter-keeper inside the main tank with a power head blowing some water through to help circulation. Maybe I could then pull it out for feeding time.

    About the sock filter -- how fast is the water flow through yours? Mine is very high. I don't recall the GPH rating at the moment, but I know that it's pretty fast (similar to a fast garden hose), and inside the sock it's very turbulent and bubbly. Do they stand a chance in there?
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    My socks are not overly turbulent but have a flow I would not have expected to be healthy, are the 7" size and contain a bag of charcoal so that there would have been a way to avoid some of the flow and food may have been easily accessible on the charcoal net itself. If you try a sock (and I really would be interested in you making the attempt), do provide some kind of a flow break (shells above and below the carbon might work). When I had a batch of small eggs (never hatched, unfortunately) we built out a pipe network to distribute the flow and have multiple socks to experiment with the idea. Sadly, I never got to try it out. We lost Mama Cass and Tanks hatchlings in less than a week and I have not yet had another opportunity. You will have enough to experiement. Many, many will not live a week (review how many I could count each week in the hatchling thread). With Cass' eggs, I expect something was very wrong with either her water, the intank mating or the sibling relationship -- this the least likely -- as the two hatchlings I moved to a small tank to observe moved only in circles. The major problem with this experiment is that you will not know for a long time if there is a survivor.

    Do try a net but this species did not stay in one where I was far more successful -- using the same oversized nets -- isolating the mercs (with the exception of Wiley). My nets have an optional shelf grid and the mercs soon used empty shells placed on the shelf for dens and would hunt the shore shrimp that swam below.

    As far as hand feeding, it did take over an hour each night to try to locate as many as would show themselves and good eyes but I managed to find and feed a small group on a fairly regular basis and those (I believe :roll:) were the 5 that survived the longest. Had I had 5 large, safe tanks, I suspect that would have been the surviving number. I think the one in the sump (35 gallon 2/3 full) should have survived but likely fell victim of the skimmer pump. It was feeding nightly but would not stay in a net and then just disappeared.

    :fingerscrossed: We have not had a batch of hatchlings for awhile and it is exciting to see these. Please, please share the experience.
     
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  19. TMoct

    TMoct O. vulgaris Supporter

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    I could probably put together some PVC "blast shields" to put into the sock filter...
     
  20. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    I, too, have had an experience raising briareus hatchlings. When a local octopus keepers briareus had eggs, a call went out to those who lived in Dalas and had mature tanks to each take a few. I had a 30- gallon (not a biocube) which was well stocked with amphipods, small snails and lots of live rock. Before the eggs hatched, I visited the NRCC in Galveston and received information on how to feed hatchlings. They used mostly locally caught mysids, which I brought back and put in my tank.

    When the eggs hatched,we were all ready. The octo's owner had a person help her separate the mother from the eggs (too much for one person ) and set up plastic cups full of saltwater from the tank and each with a bit of macro algae and a mysid shrimp. One hatchling was put into each cup. This was done quickly, the morning after they began to hatch. I took six, and was given some extra mysid shrimp (also from the NRCC). We rushed them home and put them in the tank.

    For a couple of weeks I would occasionally see one. The tank was in the kitchen, at eye level, so it was possible to get very close. I thought all was lost until three months later, my husband was using the cleaning magnet, and out came an angry little octopus. It was so exciting. However, Little Pod was very afraid of us, even though she had grown up with us being around the whole time. I wanted to move her to the larger tank, but with her fear and hiding, it was impossible. Unfortunately she died a few weeks later.

    I was the only one of the six people who tried to raise hatchlings who had any success. So it is possible to have success, but it's difficult.

    Wishing you good luck with your hatchlings

    Nancy
     
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