Long Arm Octopus (Octopus marginatus) Care Questions

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by SeeKing, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. SeeKing

    SeeKing Larval Mass Registered

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    Hello,
    I have been keeping/caring for SW aquariums for almost 10 years now. I have had some more of the exotic animals such as cat sharks, seahorses and various rays. I work for a company which allows me to order from a wholesaler personally. I recently saw a Long Arm Octopus (Octopus marginatus) for sale; I had to reserve him/her. Before I send for her, I'd like to know any pointers or tips for a first time octopus keeper. I have several different aquariums it can be placed in (all of which are of adequate size equipped with quality filtration, ect.). I have access to a lot of aquarium supplies as well as foods for the O. marginatus. If anyone has any tips on this specific species (temperature, diet, general care tips), I would appreciate it.
    -Thanks
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Welcome to TONMO and your new addiction :grin:

    Common names are always an issue. I have never heard O.marginatus called a long armed octopus (I have seen the name Atlantic Long Armed Octopus used for another, O. defilippi, but locals often reuse common names). From my understanding (I have not kept one but have often mentioned wanting the opportunity), O. marginatus would not easily fit this common name though since its arms are only about twice the mantle length.

    For water temperature, see if you can find out where it was captured. This might also give a hint (or at least eliminate) on the species. If you can get a photo, all the better.

    Small crabs and table shrimp are the most common foods octopuses will eat. If you can get it to accept mussels or any kind of mollask, many eat these in the wild (snails are usually a last choice and often eaten to begin with when first introduced but ignored when better food is provided). Since you have access, finding out where it came from and what is native to the area will likely be helpful in providing an accepted variety. In general fish are not a major part of their diet (they will eat fish on occassion if offered but use it sparingly if you offer it) but it is NOT recommended to try to keep fish in an octopus tank. The two don't mix well in a small environment and eventually one will pick on or kill the other. Age will also be a factor. If it is a small octo or a young one, table shrimp seem to be too tough. Deshelled hermits, shore shrimp (impaled on a feeding stick or at the end of a pipette, live are hard to catch) and frozen mysis are the normal fare for tank kept animals.

    It will be exciting to see which species this one really is (even though we are seeing more variety this year than any since I have been keeping octopuses, I am going to make a wild guess that it is aculeatus as I have serious - but hopeful that I am wrong - doubts about the current ID) and I hope you will journal your experience with it on TONMO.
     
  3. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    I really hope you are able to get an O. Marginatus. Their common names are veined octopus named for the dark stripes all over it's body, and coconut octopus for it's tendancies to carry coconut shells around like a hermit crab. So if you do get one of these, it would be good to have lots of hollow circular/semi-circular objects for the animal to carry around. As for anything else it would be about the same as any other commonly kept species. Good luck, and post lots of pics/videos.

    PS

    Would you be able to give the name of this whole seller?
     
  4. Neogonodactylus

    Neogonodactylus Haliphron Atlanticus Staff Member Moderator

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    I have never heard O. marginatus called a long armed octopus. That moniker is usually used for the Atlantic species defilippi and the Hawaiian species (undescribed).

    Roy
     
  5. SeeKing

    SeeKing Larval Mass Registered

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    I really appreciate all of the help/information. Sorry, Sky, my whole seller only distributes to vendors; they do not do private sales. I have ghost shrimp, and seeing as I am in Louisiana, we have a lot of shrimp around everywhere including my freezer. I am hoping that this "O. marginatus" is of young age and hardy. Another issue I seem to have constant varying answers is that of the octopus' ink. If it is to ink during transit, what is my best option? Also, what to do if it inks in the aquarium? Lastly for now, is it true to only expect 2-3 years out of an octopus if kept correctly? If so, that is a major and unfortunate truth in my opinion.
    Thanks again
     
  6. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    This is exciting I cant wait to see what you get.

    I wish this were true, life expectancy is much lower especially from an animal purchased from a vendor, in this case life expectancy is only about 2-12 months. The average being closer to 2-4 months. This is because many octopuses are not caught until they are full grown so once they are full grown they dont have much time left to live. Most octopuses only live a year to 18 months, so when one is caught at 8-10 months old they only have a short period of time left in the tank. In many cases the octopus has started brooding as soon as they are released into a tank. In general it seems that the smaller the octopus species the shorter they live, dwarfs have the shortest lives and the giant pacific octos live the longest.


    For go the two hour acclimation and get him out of the inky water as soon as possible. The ink can coat their gills and cause problems.


    '
    Sometimes the unk is thick enough that members have been able to use a turkey baster and suck out some of the ink. Most inkings are small enough that you dont really have to worry much about them, your protein skimmer will take care of it. If the inking is large enough some people feel more comfortable doing a water change. I have never had one ink enough that I felt I need to do a water change.
     
  7. SabrinaR

    SabrinaR Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    What I did with Baby (she inked in the bag just a little bit-and the bag was not black just cloudy, I almost couldnt tell she had inked it was only slitly tinted) was flooded the bag with tank water to clear up as much as I could for her to be safe. For the remainder of the acclimation I went slow and dripped the rest. I didnt start taking water out of the bucket until she had been acclimating for about an hour. If the bag is black ish then like Capt said get it out asap.
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    One of the best things you can do to prepare for inking on shipment is to have a bucket of no salt and a bucket of high saltwater both a low PH (between 6 and 7) and room temperature. If the octo comes in with ink in the bag mix your tank water with the low (most likely) or high salt water to match salinity and PH and then move it to the closely matched water ASAP. In a case of bad inking, skipping acclimation is better than trying to dilute the shipping water but if you can come closer than your tank water QUICKLY then chances improve. The octos chances are already bad and the lack of acclimation does not help matters but oxygen starvation is the worst possible scenerio. Fortunately, this does not happen often and when it does, the animal is often DOA.

    For in-tank occurances, as CaptFish points out, your skimmer will handle most of the thin quick scare squirts but tank size and filtration matter. Thick pseudomorphs are kind of interesting and either a turkey baster or fine net (like a brine net) remove most of it quickly. Oddly, they don't continue to ink while you are cleaning up the first round. Most inking occurs from a sudden scare. However, LMecher's O. vulgaris inked until the entire tank was black (a 130 gallon tank) when it was dieing. This is the first recorded occurance of this kind of inking and the reasons (for both the death and the inking) are unknown.

    To understand more about their lack of longevity, read through some of the keepers' journals. At the top of Octopus Care you will see several posts entitled List of our Octopuses 20xx. The list shows the species, the octopus name, the keeper and the date of the first journal entry (as well as a reference to the place of purchase if given). The species and name are links to the journal.
     
  9. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    I have never seen a marginatus for sale and have been trying to get them imported for several years, so I would be interested if one finally made it in. They don't really hang out where collectors generally collect. Please let us know. Also, the confusion with the common name and the scientific name is interesting. I am headed to PI on an expedition with work in May, and one of the animals that is top of our list is marginatus.
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I just mentioned this thread to Neal and said I expected this was the case so I am glad you have confirmed it :grin:
     
  11. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    I am honored to be going on this trip! Its huge. Mostly researchers. Our goal - cephs and corals. Good times.
     
  12. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Man, you have the sweetest job!
     
  13. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Its not without its negatives, but I agree with you. Sometimes I can hardly believe it.
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Just keep believing so I can continue to enjoy your hard work and exploits!
     

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