Lunch as a pet?

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by hlywkar, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. hlywkar

    hlywkar O. vulgaris Registered

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    Hey guys.

    New here. I've had experience with aquariums for about 15 years now. only fresh water though.

    I now live in Korea. Where octopus and squid are sold on almost every corner. As such, I'm quite interested in setting up a simple tank for this not so tasty treat (an octopus).

    What do you guys recommend in terms of minimum tank size and basic necessities for and within the tank.

    I understand that octopi can be hard to maintain... That being said, these are lunch that I am turning into a pet. And I wont be so disappointed if it doesn't last the first few tries... Besideć„“, my wife can eat it if it dies.

    Thanks.
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    We have had a couple of other people living in Korea consider rescuing a meal:

    http://www.tonmo.com/community/index.php?threads/10805/&highlight=korea

    http://www.tonmo.com/community/index.php?threads/8861/&highlight=korea

    but the id of the most commonly offered octopus has not been determined so the size and longevity have no references on the forum.

    As a general "go by" a 50 gallon tank is the minimum size you should consider, avoid stinging tank mates and fish and add a latching lid. All out "tanked" octos eat small crabs, some will eat frozen shrimp and newly opened mussels.

    Start with the articles section. Then move to the tank talk forums for some ideas on the hardware requirements. Our Journals and Photos section will give you some idea of experiences with different species.

    After reading about the Koreans commonly eating octos as food, we tried the different restaurants and Korean markets to see if a rescue was possible here but could not find any that were kept alive for consumption.

    Please journal your experience if you go forward with your plans :grin:
     
  3. hlywkar

    hlywkar O. vulgaris Registered

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    Thanks.

    I'm going to go looking at tanks today. Not sure how to go for the filtration.

    Sump, Wet Dry, hangover.

    I'd guess that a hangover would probably just be asking for trouble.

    Also a protein skimmer? I'm confused about this one... I have read that they can be used as a filter.... is this true? While others suggest it in addition to a filter.

    I think I can find a source of small live crabs easily as well. We have a big street market here, I think I have seem some there, sold by the gram.

    The good thing about a sump, would be being able to have the food in the bottom. the bad thing is the set up and additional costs... never did a sump before.

    I'll keep you posted.
    Thanks
     
  4. hlywkar

    hlywkar O. vulgaris Registered

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  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    IMO that is too cumbersome and complicated. I like a very simple sump that is easy to access and easy to change the filter (Don't look at the photos of my tube tank because it makes a liar out of me on the access issue). I am attaching a photo of one of my set-ups to demonstrate. The sump is a 10 gallon tank (a 20 would be better). The drain tube from the main tank flows into a sock filter containing a bag of carbon (nothing else). The skimmer hangs on the side (it is in addition to the particulate filtration from the sock and the chemical filtration from the carbon, not in lieu of). The return pump (with check valve) sits in the right corner and an air stone bubbles away for good measure. Simple, easy to maintain and likely no more expensive than the DIY you mention. It is open so there is some mess but it would be hard to enclose the top with the skimmer. If you can work with a 20 tall in your setup, it will give better splash and backflow capacity for the same footprint.

    The other two photos show the complete setup, including the octo lid and hasp locks.

    While you are looking at tanks, be aware that you will need some kind of "hole" and overflow (water and critter control to the hole). Tanks marked as salt water aquariums usually mean they are drilled and have a built-in overflow. This tank is acrylic so we could drill it as we wanted and then used drilled black PVC piping for the overflow. The major down side to this is noise and I recommend a box over something like this. We will be converting the tank to a sump and replacing the tank with a larger one soon. Figuring out how to resupport the counter and move the tank while we are building out the larger one has delayed our progress.
     

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  6. hlywkar

    hlywkar O. vulgaris Registered

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    I'm confused about the hole and over flow thing... Where's the hole? the bottom? the side?... where's the over flow?... I've seen many setups while looking around on the net... but never used one.
     
  7. hlywkar

    hlywkar O. vulgaris Registered

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  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, that is an overflow box with holes drilled in the bottom. To complete it there would be two bulkheads (round seal that fits on both sides and screws together. A bulkhead accepts pipe/tubing on both the water and dry side) with stand pipes on the water side and tubing or PVC pipe going through the cabinet to the sump. I assume this design intends to have the input tubing inside the overflow box so that one of the holes is for the exit and the other for input (there should be a hole near the top of the box for the input tubing if this is the intent as you would not fill the box with the inflowing water). Where the holes in the tank are drilled is optional and we typically drill ours on the side rather than risk a bottom leak. The black surround is water tight and should prevent a disaster in the case of a bulkhead leak but fixing a bottom drill leak is almost an impossibility without draining and emptying the tank, a side drill is much easier to fix without much disruption (voice of experience speaking :hmm: I still have two tanks that are bottom drilled but would not set up another that way). The tank you see in my photo is drilled in the back and you really can't see the overflow in the pictures.

    A sumped tank usually has a minimum of drilled two holes (in the DIY video the presenter went over the tank for the input line but a second hole and bulkhead are much preferred). Here is the thread on our DIY setup for the last octotank we put together. The white PVC is the return flow and the black (a little hard to see but it is above the white) is the returned water path.

    As you have probably determined, there is no ONE WAY to plumb a tank (all eight of ours are different, including one small tank experiment with no plumbing and no mechanical filtration) and I hope I have stimulated your imagination and not discouraged you :wink:. Half of my tanks have sumps (all but one of the over 30 gallon size have them) and I definitely recommend using one, especially for an octopus.
     
  9. hlywkar

    hlywkar O. vulgaris Registered

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    Well... None of the tanks I saw were pre-drilled. I could get one custom made for about 600... I think that included the stand as well.

    Instead I pick up a undrilled tank with tempered glass... and a pump filter that goes underneath it. The filter/pump is supposed to go up to 500L... not sure gallons, Koreans use litres over gallons. He said my tank is a 150L tank... which would make it a 40 gallon tank.

    The tank should be the first picture I put in here... and the filer the second... It has a bunch of different layers in it. 2 layers of holey bead shaped things... black sponge, white sponge. a packet for ammonia. a packet of charcoal. and some bioballs..

    he said to take the charcoal out after one month.... but I have seen here that you guys suggest having charcoal in the filter for control of ink etc. ?

    Also... how he told me to set it up is a little different than what I am reading online... clean the sand 2 times, toss it in. toss in some water. I ran this for a while to get out the chlorine. Then toss in the salt (did that, the bag came with two packets, one big one small)... I did that last night. and stirred up the sand in case some got into it... Left it over night. Came back added some more this morning... He also gave me two bottles for stimulating bacteria. One is blue and says Aqua Clear vitamin B complex... the other is clear in a red bottle and says Aqua PMO 120 (and it stinks like rotten eggs and feet).

    So that's where I am... he told me to leave it for a month.

    I set up the lights to run 12 hrs on 12 off... that's probably too much light. what do you think?
    Theres one blue light and one pink light... they both say FL 30 on them.


    Now... do I have to wait a month for live rock?
    what about adding a molie or other fish... I have read that adding in a molie or something similar helps start the process.

    also... curring the rock... if it's bought from a store, wont it already be cured?... or does it get shocked from every move?

    Any1 know about yanking rocks out of the sea?... I live about an hour from the ocean. not sure about choral life, there is supposed to be a reef around south korea somewhere, not sure where though. Is it just choral reef rocks?... or can an rock teaming with life do? (I know this is probably a really stupid question).

    I don't have a heater yet... but... when I do get one.. what's the temp for curing? and octo life... I don't know the kind of octo I am getting (today's special), so I just need an average.

    The third pic is what it looks like at the two back corners on the top of the tanks... Big hole... so I guess I need to plug those up?

    there's also a feeding hole in the middle of the top front glass..

    the last picture is what is around the top rim of the aquarium. Glass that goes all around the edges. except at the corners... do you think just plugging though up would do?... or would the octopus just climb around... I know if I have suction cup arms I probably could do it.

    what's the best thing to plug up holes with... Not aiming on something permanent like silicone because I still want to be able to take off the glass lid later if need be.

    one more.... my skimmer is a cheap looking easy to break when dropped kind (I know, I dropped it)... It goes in the tank and sucks to the rim... Right now I put a net over the bottom so that the ocotpus doesn't go inside it... but do you think that is really an issue?

    Sorry for the length. Just want to get everything sorted.
    thanks.
     

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  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Your sand is not enough surface to cycle a tank and you will need to add live rock to have surface area to grow the needed bacteria (in addition to having a cave for the octopus to use as a den). The live in the term live rock refers to the bacteria and tiny animals living within the rock and not to corals growing on it. Any porus rock from the ocean will have at least some of the bacteria needed to cycle the tank but taking rock or corals from a reef is NOT something you should consider. Rock and dead shells near the shore are often polluted and may contain chemicals that can poison your tank. Farmed live rock is cultivated out in cleaner waters and is essentially porus rock that is left for two or more years in the ocean.

    I am not quite sure what you have in your canister. When you say a packet for ammonia, is it to add or remove ammonia? If it is to remove ammonia, you do not want it in the canister, it will slow down or stop a proper cycle. If it is to add ammonia, it is something new to me but an interesting way to keep a cycle growing (I have read about using pure ammonia to cycle a tank but never tried it). Carbon is the only chemical filtration desirable. Bacteria inducers usually don't work (initially because the bacteria is not alive when you get it) or when they do the tank will not sustain proper bacteria growth. There is no short cut to cycling a tank with new materials and you would quickly learn the meaning of new tank syndrome if you tried to add animals before the aquarium can handle the bio load. The one exception is transferring everything from an old tank to a new one and even then caution is advisable.

    You will always run carbon (octopus or not) but you do have to change it and monthly would be about right (I rinse mine weekly and change it about once a month).

    Are you sure you need a heater? Get a stick on thermometer (they are only a few cents and work remarkably well) and monitor the tank, it is unlikely you will need one. You need to sustain a constant temperature and attempt minimize variations to no more than 2 degrees F (roughly 1 degree C) during any 24 hour period. Shooting for a constant temp somewhere between 72 and 78 degrees (22 - 25 C) will support most octopuses but finding out the average temperature of the nearby waters will give you a better number.

    Twelve hours on and twelve off are fine for your lighting. An octopus does not need a light at all but any corals you might add (very limited for an octopus tank) would need lighting. However, the lights that you have will not sustain most coral. This is fine for an octopus tank but further limits anything else that can be added.

    Yes, protecting any impeller input is necessary (after you have animals, not while cycling) but your small skimmer is not likely to be adequate for an octopus tank. You will need to protect the input for your canister as well with something that is not as easily removable.

    Yes, you will have to cover all the holes in the lid. Many keepers use duct tape for small holes but you will likely need to cut some plastic to make a better fit around your openings (including the feeding hole) and then secure the plastic with tape or very strong velcro.
     
  11. hlywkar

    hlywkar O. vulgaris Registered

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    Thanks.

    I don't think the guys here know so much about setting up salt water tanks.

    Yes it is an ammonia remover. I'll take that out now.

    will I ever need it?... I figured because I will be getting an octopus, and they make more ammonia, that it would be worse while. no?

    what about minimum number of rocks? use them for seeding, And then maybe other porous things that can be used to pick up the seeds?
     
  12. hlywkar

    hlywkar O. vulgaris Registered

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    Also in my canister I have bio balls, and two types of rings rings I assume bio rings. they are supposed to be for housing bacteria as well.
     
  13. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    No, throw the ammonia remover and all other chemical supplements away (unless you can take it back for a refund, credit or a swap for salt or carbon). You won't need them for anything octopus or not.

    The purpose of the live rock is to create a natural filter that will change the ammonia to nitrite and the nitrite to nitrate. The first two are deadly and should always be kept at zero when testing your water. The third, nitrate, is undesirable but only a problem at high levels. Regular water changes and keeping your sand well stirred and vacuumed (I prefer a very thin sand substrate) will keep the nitrates in check.

    Yes, the octopus produce heavy waste (and can be messy eaters leaving decaying bits around the tank) so starting with a well cycled tank is most important and keeping a routine of regular water changes a must.

    The rule of thumb on live rock is 1 - 2 pounds per gallon (some say 1.5 - 2 pounds). The weight is an arbitrary call though since the density of the rock makes it impossible to set a rule. I would start with 45 pounds of live rock with as many holes and as much sealife as you can find. If the tank looks empty, and add more during your cycle but do not add live rock after you have an octopus unless it is fully cured. You can cycle new live rock in a small tank with a cascading overflow filter if you decide you need more at some point after the tank is established. You can add clean dry rock (pre-soaked in saltwater) or artificial (marine safe) rock while an octopus is in residence but uncycled new LR will cause a mini cycle and create a deadly environment.
     
  14. hlywkar

    hlywkar O. vulgaris Registered

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    what about a pumice stone?

    I can get 6"x2" stones from the dollar store for 1.10 each.

    if I buy stones from a store that have them in a tank... are they cycled already? or is it every move they will be stressed out and need a new cycle?
     

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  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't know about pumice. There is a current discussion here that suggest it can harbor sulphuric/other harmful gases. Additionaly, I believe it has been treated to be white so I would worry about anything that would be used to treat it still being in the such a porus stone. Here we use a rock called oolite and I know in Texas there is one called Texas holey rock that is successful in a marine environment.

    Rocks that has been in an aquarium (store or from a friends tank) are fine to put in your new tank. It is best if they originally spent time in the ocean but dead rock exposed to a marine environment for a long period of time (several years) will become live rock. You actually want some die off to occur to create the nitrogen cycle (and is why you need to remove the ammonia filter). Be sure to transport the rock wet (wet news paper is commonly used to minimize the mess and weight).
     
  16. hlywkar

    hlywkar O. vulgaris Registered

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    went out and paid for about 14 kg. I got about 18 kg though. A couple times he forgot how much I had... and some other times he gave me"service", which means free, rocks. total ended up being 135,000

    so. 18 x 2.2 = 39.6 lbs. and 135,000 won is about 108 US$.

    which would be about $2.73 per pound... how does that sound?

    He said it was cycled already.. and I could just put it in my tank... which I did.

    I assume I will end up having my own little cycle in my tank anyways... correct?

    what about lighting?... I have read that lighting is bad when cycling. what do you think?

    anything I could add at this point that can survive a cycle? like a hermit crab or something. or do I need to let the sucker wait a month?

    here's some pics of what it looks like now... there's also a pic that has the net over my skimmer. I'll probably buy a new skimmer later on, as u think this will be to small for my tank.

    maybe two of my pieces have what looks like puddy or something on them used to hold them in place from a previous tank... you think this is okay?

    Thanks again.
     

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  17. robind

    robind O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Looks beautiful! I'm not sure that 18kg is enough, though. I suppose it ought to be if you have a good filter and skimmer running. You got a pretty good deal, I think. My lfs sells live rock for $7 a lb...and they use copper.

    Yes, your tank will continue to cycle. You'll need to put a hardy fish in the tank to produce ammonia to keep the biological filter going. I think several hermit crabs would do. If you had a good population of hermit crabs going by the time your ceph arrived that would be convenient.

    The skimmer and other equipment will be best moved out of the tank. Most people here would probably suggest setting up a sump.

    I don't know about the lighting concern or the putty...probably the putty is reef glue or something similar.
     
  18. hlywkar

    hlywkar O. vulgaris Registered

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    don't I need a skimmer for the curing?


    Ya. my wife won't let me fork out for a sump right now. my tanks not drilled, so I don't know how I would set one up without that.

    My wife's not too thrilled on how much the total cost has come up to... so I'll have to wait to grab an outside skimmer.

    what kind of skimmer would you recommed?
     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Your tank is coming along nicely. That is an excellent price for good looking live rock. I have to order mine as what the LFS here is rock and not live rock no matter what they call it. I have only purchased two pieces from an LFS and after 3 years the two were finally supporting small critters.

    Your light cycle is fine. If you start seeing too much algae, you can cut back to reduce growth but you have very low wattage bulbs and some light is helpful to grow the bacteria.

    Below is my recommended schedule for cycling the tank. You will read many different successful cycle schemes but this one works for me.

    Let the tank cycle as is (skimmer off, no water changes) for a month (stir your sand weekly). With precycled rock you can test for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates in about 2 weeks (if you can find them, the strips are very good to have for both water quality and acclimation but otherwise take a small amount to your pet store and have them test it - this is usually a free service here). If you show no ammonia or nitrites and some nitrate, you can start adding and feeding a clean up crew with small frozen shrimp or tiny pieces of larger shrimp. Feeding is necessary, not so much for the clean up crew but to create small amounts of ammonia to grow the bacteria. At two weeks hermits and snails should be fine. In a month (again test your water and only add critters if you show zeros on the ammonia and nitrites) you might consider adding a serpent or brittle star (two will work nicely in that sized tank and avoid the green serpents and common starfish, the greens eventually become too agressive and the commons will starve) and a couple of mithrax crabs (they help with hair algae and may or may not be eaten by an octo).

    After a month (again only if you have good water readings), do your first water change (I recommend 10 gallons for this one and 5 gallons a week after you have an octopus), change your carbon and turn on your skimmer consider adding a pair (but no more) of peppermint shrimp. These will eat small aptasia (not larger ones) if you happen to have them and may survive an octo if well established in the tank in advance (adding afterwards is guaranteed expensive food). Increase your feeding of meaty foods (frozen shrimp are high ammonia generators so they are my choice but you can also add marine flake or pellets that contain fish or shrimp). If your nitrates exceed 20 ppm, start weekly water changes.

    After two months, you can try mushrooms, replace any clean-up crew that died and consider some octo safe polyps. Generally speaking, polyps with very short feeding tenticles will have low stinging potential but read about any that you consider. Attach any polyps to loose rock so that if you see an octo react, you can remove them and trade the polyps for an alternate (not necessary for mushrooms but don't plant them where they will cover opening between the rocks or the octo will dislodge them). Tree sponges (avoid ball sponge) and gorgonians can be placed in an octo tank but should not be tried until the tank is established for about a year and then need more water flow than your current setup provides (photosynthetic gorgonians will need a brighter light source but there are some that can survive your lighting with more waterflow). Check your nitrates, if they exceed 20 ppm, increase your water changes.

    If everything checks out at the end of three months (I like to wait 4 for a new tank) you should be ready to try your first octopus. I would suggest you wait until the three month mark and then go shopping without buying a couple of times and just look at the octopuses in the tanks. Try to get a feel for health. Unfortunately, size is not a good indicator of age. Do you see it changing color when you move toward it? Does the entire body react or is the change splotchy (one side reacting and not the other is OK but not patchy color). Does it look "grey" rather than a clear white? IMO Males are preferable to females because of the time lost when they brood (and then die). Try to be able to identify a male by looking at the third arm to the right (clockwise from the eyes). This arm will be kept curled and not used when climbing around. It will take some study to get a feel for finding your best chance in a poor environment but will be worth the time and you will learn something of their nature. I recommend doing this ONLY after your tank is ready as the temtation is likely to be too strong to buy one before the tank is ready. :hmm:.

    A few newbie notes, as your tank water evaporates, you need to replace it with fresh, preferably RO/DI water, DEFINITELY water with no chlorine (letting water stand in an open container for 48 hours will eliminate chlorine). Only use saltwater to replace water that you have removed.

    Keep your glass clean through out the cycle, algae build up is much harder to remove and cleaning the glass will have no negative effect.

    Do not add fish for any reason. Your live rock and feeding your clean up crew will produce a proper cycle. Fish are not good food for an octopus (not harmful in small quantity though) and some will attack or at least pester an octo. You will read about successes with fish and octos but not in this sized tank and not in a newly established tank.

    Keep your sand stirred and use a turkey baster to clean your rocks weekly. After cycling be consistent with your water changes (I recommend 5 gallons a week, 5 gallons every two weeks if there is no octo present).

    The "putty" is likely to be epoxy and harmless. It does mean it was in someone elses tank though. With a little effort, it will peel off.

    If the bar on the left back is an air stone, I would move it to the bottom of the tank. If it is your return from the canister, I would do the same. EIther way it will provide more benefit to the water quality.
     
  20. hlywkar

    hlywkar O. vulgaris Registered

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    bar?... There's a wooden air piece that air flows through for the skimmer. Do you mean that? just take that out and put it on the bottom of my tank?

    the other equipment is my intake on the right... and a rain output on the top left.
     

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