Macropuss won't eat


Jan 28, 2014
Hi, i've recently aquired a macropus and cannot get it to eat, i've tried live food, frozen food, i even left frozen food in tank for a couple of hours late at night in complete darkness but still the octo ate nothing, there is evidence that the octo has been active but only to collect shells and rocks for its den, it's worrying me because the last thing i want is for the animal to starve to death but i'm out of ideas, i've never had this problem before, even in senescence my octo's have ate, even though it was a lot less than usual they did eat, it has been 5 days now since i got the octo and i have no idea when he last ate before i aquired it. Please any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, Thank you.


Certified Ceph Head For Life
Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
Gainesville, GA
As you can imagine there are a number of possibilities about what is going on with an animal when it has not eaten for a week or more, none of them good.

IME, these are the typical reasons and some things to try.

Check your saline, ammonia an nitrite levels and do a large water change even if they are fine. The water change is more for what you can't detect than what you can, checking is to ensure something has not gone wrong that is not obvious.

Try stick feeding a piece of thawed shrimp the size of its eye (no larger) and touching the arm as close to the mouth as you can manage. This is often difficult but make several attemps.

Leave a small active fiddler (large claw disabled if male) in the tank. It should survive for a long time if it is healthy.

Remove any fish you have in the tank. In spite of my rants, many people leave their cycle fish in the tank. This may not be your situation but I feel it necessary to mention since you have not posted anything about your environment.

Usually a female about to brood is ravenous and very active just before laying eggs but Beldar slowed her eating just before brooding. Here is a link to her thread as she approached laying eggs. Reviewing the thread, she had stopped taking shrimp but would eat fiddlers.

The collection of shells for a den does make brooding a distinct possibility. We have no journals (that I can remember) of macropus hatchlings (Bel was likely too young to have mated when she was captured and she is the only female I have kept of this species). However, almost all macropuses are small egg species so the opportunity to raise even one is nil.

IME, the macropus identifiable senescence is short. They stop or slow down eating over a week or so and then turn a very detectable gray. Additionally, they tolerate daylight and may be seen in the open in the early morning.

Not good news, I know and the best hope is stress that may be correctable.

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