Mercatoris care tips

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by coral dweller, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. coral dweller

    coral dweller O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Hi, I'm a long time reader and a brand new member, and I'm wondering about the water perameters for a mercatoris ( caribbean dwarf octopus ). Also, if you could give me a good feeding schedule that whould be great. BTW this is my first octo and it arrives in a week or two; also, I've been reading up A LOT:read:
     
  2. coral dweller

    coral dweller O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Oops! Sorry about the title. It's supposed to say "MECATORIS CARE TIPS". Sorry about that, really sorry.:oops:
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    We have a special :grin: collection of post for beginners (also look at the articles) in the stickies of the Octopus Care section (Posts with Infor for New Octopus Keepers) that should be helpful

    IME Mercs seem to do best in a 15-30 gallon tank with lots of hiding places. I have found that if you will place a collection (various sized openings recommended) giant purple barnacles (link is for reference only, but eBay is not a bad place to find them) about 1/3 of the way up the tank (either by finding a larger collection that can sit on the bottom or by embedding the cluster in the liverock), they will often choose one for a den and can be seen (this seems to be particularly true of the females who will establish one as a den for her life, males tend to move to different dens every couple of weeks - sometimes choosing the barnacles, sometimes hiding in the live rock). They MUST have a dark place for daytime denning as they are nocturnal. Often they can be trained to expect food between 9:00 and 11:00 PM (lights off at 7:00 ish for the earlier attempt) but don't expect them to be active before 11:00 PM. Red lighting (NOT so with blue moonlight) is easily accepted but I recommend leaving it on all night (or 24/7) so that there is never a fully dark time. Ambient light for daytime is fine but most non-halide lighting should not be a problem as long as they have a totally dark place to stay in the daytime. Temperatures between 75 F and 79 F are desired.

    Freshly killed or damaged shore shrimp (only the young seem to be able to catch healthy shore shrimp) or small live fiddler or othe small crabs (pretty much a universal octo food - disable or remove the large male claw on fiddlers and all claws on other crabs) are usually accepted. We have found that once they are eating well, pea sized piece of thawed table shrimp may be accepted when offered on a feeding stick (or bamboo skewer).

    You can search our Journals (use the title check box and the term mercatoris) for others experiences (including some of mine :grin:). Please consider journaling your experience.
     
  4. coral dweller

    coral dweller O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Thanks so much! I hope this thread will soon be long and rich, like a reef. Thanks for the info and keep teaching the Octo- World!:grad:
     
  5. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    Fixed the title for you :smile:
    Thanks for joining TONMO!
    :welcome:
     
  6. coral dweller

    coral dweller O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Thanks!:talker:
     
  7. coral dweller

    coral dweller O. bimaculoides Registered

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    So to recap, blue lighting doesent work like red lighting, remove claws,(Thats gonna be hard), barnacles of any dark place is good for hiding, they might accept shrimp, Don't leave the tank COMPLETLY dark and ambient lighting is fine for the day (the typical white lighting right?) but I have one question, can you USE blue lighting, or would that stress it out?:confused2:
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    You can use blue in the daytime (as in an actinic) but NOT for night lighting. From what we understand of their vision, blue is actually brighter than white where red is a spectrum they don't see (or don't see well) and is similar (though they can detect what I have used) to total darkness but allows you to view them. No light at all at night is fine but you will not be able to see them.

    Removing crab claws is simple. I try to break off the tip of the smaller part of the large claw on fiddlers but more often than not they will shed the claw before I can remove the tip. I don't usually remove the smaller claws or those on the females unless they are large but other crabs and the male fiddler's "fiddle" claw can cause skin damage (to both you and the octo :grin:)
     
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  9. coral dweller

    coral dweller O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Huh, thats really interesting. I didnt know dark blue was brighter. So I guess its better if I use white? Or I could use the inbetween setting. I guess it is easy to declaw fiddlers.But is it okay to leave the claws on Emerald Crabs? better yet, can I feed them Emerald Crabs? And to see them better in the tank I could just turn on the roomlight when Im there in the room to see it.
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    White, white-actinic blue is fine for daytime (it will be sleeping). For viewing at night, when it is active, use red (no lighting will be frustrating and you won't see much, room lights should be off. There are a number of ways to set up a red light. One is rigging a red bulb in a light fixture (sometimes I use a shop lamp). Another is to put high temp red velum over the in front of the light fixture (must be pretty close and should not leak white light - I have used an outdoor light with velum as well as heavily painting the outdoor light lens with red paint.) There are also some aquarium "moon lights" that can change color and can be programmed to be red. There is a sticky in the Tank Talk forum with links to some of the red light finds members have located.
     
  11. coral dweller

    coral dweller O. bimaculoides Registered

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    I know about some of those rred lens things, think I could slip some of those on the blue LEDS? (Important note: the light systems on my tank have a big plastic guard on them, I could probably screw it off and back on to install the lenses) 8-)
     
  12. coral dweller

    coral dweller O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Oh, if it wouldn't work on dark blue I've got Light blue w/ cooling fan (Dont worry it doesent cool the water) and plain white.
     
  13. coral dweller

    coral dweller O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Okay, so I shouldn't khave the room lights on, but what if it's a really dim light? I'm writing this under a dim room light right now.
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Initially, you will need all non-red lights off to be able to see it at an active time. Some will acclimate to a bit of ambient light but not often. My most active and interactive animal (Sisturas, aka Sisty) had habituated so well to an 11:00 PM feeding time that later in life he would come out even if the room lights had been left on. They do start being less light sensitive as they near senescence but it was clear Sisty was on a strict timetable and expected to be fed at 11:00 PM. In any case, dim ambient light really won't help you see the animal in the tank.

    You might email your tank (or lighting if separate) manufacturer to see if you can purchase a replacement light cover. This would let you paint one red (multiple coats of paint required) without out it being a permanent change. However the simpler solution would be to pickup a waterproof moon light that can be set to red and placing under the hood. I do advise putting your white (or white and blue mixed) lights on a timer so that they turn off at regular times. You can use a second timer for the moon light or (as I do to avoid yet another timer) just leave it on all the time.
     
  15. coral dweller

    coral dweller O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Hmm, I'll see if I can get a red light strip that will work with my 29 gallon biocube. I think the thing about leaving the red on 24/7 is a good idea, if I can't get my hands on red moonlight that would fit, do you think lenses would work?:confused2:
     
  16. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, a red lens will work as long as it does not "leak" white light from the sides (black tape can help here, I used pieces of opaque acrylic on one set up.

    Be aware that the grills for water to enter the filtration area are subject to an octopus in the sump. The all-in-ones are very susceptible to this as the back area is an inviting dark spot. It MAY help to keep your live rock centered and off the back wall but placing a VERY coarse (to allow flow) sponge behind much of the overflow area may be required.
     
  17. coral dweller

    coral dweller O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Hmm, it is a possibility that the octopus would go through the grills, I'll see what I can do about it.:hmm:
     
  18. coral dweller

    coral dweller O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Mabye some sort of mesh would work. (no metal of course):wink:
     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    You need to make it easy to clean as well as monitor (to avoid overflowing the aquarium). Mesh will work but suffers from being blocked quickly so if you rig something with it be sure you have at least 2 screens available and swap them out with each water change (in addition to monitoring daily).
     
  20. coral dweller

    coral dweller O. bimaculoides Registered

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    This is a stupid question but, how often SHOULD I clean the tank?:tomato:
     

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