My god!!! what's wrong?!


I don't know what's going on! hope someone has an explanation.

yesterday afternoon my octo came out during the day (for the very first time) but he was incredibly pale and pumping like crazy. also he hung just right under the waterlevel. I thougt, oxygen shortage. a friend of mine (also marine aquariumfreak) thought the same thing.

so I increased the bubbleflow in his tank and installed an extra pump to create more watermovement. the rest of the time he remained near the surface, but started moving about some more. when the lights went out, he returned to the bottom.

this morning he seemed better. colour was almost normal and he was still at the bottom near his hide out

I got home some 15 minutes ago and saw him just lying there, as white as a piece of paper with a few of his tentacles trapped in an anemone. the anemones are rather small and I didn't have problems with them and any other animal before.

I took him out, but his tentacles do have "burns" from the anemone. he swam away from my hand, but now he's just lying there. still pale and on his side. not moving except for the pumping of his syphon.

I have no clue whatsoever what it could be. I doubt it to still be low oxygen. waterparameters were checked yesterday and all at their best.

for what it's worth, cause I'm afraid he's dying. does anyone have a clue what's going on? and maybe how to fix it? :confused: :sad:


That's horrible! I really hope the little guy pulls through.

Do you know what kind of anemone it was? Was it something special or just the garden-variety that come with live rock?



it was a coldwater anemone (Actinia aquina) that I brought with me from the shore.

never bothered the previous octo. also black mollies or even the yellow surgeon I had before this octo ever encountered a problem with it.

I have taken the biggest ones out (about 2 cm in diameter) now. the octo has moved towards the shelter of the rocks now but is still lying on his side and very pale

I've been thinking. He must have been weakened from the low oxygen level. maybe he didn't have the strength to free himself from the anemone and now he's suffering a sort of poisening?

I've also just changed the active carbon in the filter. probably it doesn't help, but it can't hurt eather.

anyway. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hope he pulls through.


Colossal Squid
Sorry to hear this. But as a rule of thumb NEVER have anemones in with octis. The octis skin is very delicate and and as you noticed bus easily. I'm sorry but it sounds like your octi has been poisoned by the anemone.



I've done some checking and from what I've learned, the anemone can't kill the octo.allthough it can hurt him pretty bad. this is probably why he acts the way he does. at least, that's what I was told.

we are now allmost 7 hours later, and he has moved again. and allthough he's still pale and somewhat on his side, he keeps his tentacles in a somewhat more normal position. not completely stretched and through one another as in the beginning.

do I dare to hope? for now I'm just waiting and watching.
thx for the reactions.

:sad: unfortunately it is as I feared. He passed away this night. :sad:
I kept the body and will take some pics of the burns from the anemone.

we'll probably never know if this is wat killed him, but it's a sign of what can happen.

oh, and dawnchihuahua. I'm not offended by your avatar. allthough they don't look like butterflywings to me, it's stille a nice pic. :smile:
I've had a few close encounters with actinia myself and I know you can't call them a gentle stroke, it does hurt.

but they never seemed to have bothered my previous octo. also in zoos I've seen combination of these anemones with octos. fish, same story. if they accidentally touch the anemone they back up quickly.

but now he did have some rather nasty burns on his tentacles. my bet is the anemone didn't really poison him, but hurt him enough to go into shock and die.

1 bizarre thing I just noticed. I just wanted to take some pics of the burns, but they are hardly noticeable now!


Staff member
So sorry about your octo. :angelpus:

Maybe this will make people think twice before putting (or leaving) an anemone in the tank. Yes, some public aquariums do put an anemone or two in the tank - but in a huge tank. A pet octo's world is much smaller. Nevertheless, your first octo managed to avoid it entirely, as have others, so you had no reason to suspect that it was a danger.

Did the burns from the anemone appear as dark spots?


Andy Lister

The problem with actinea is that they are incredibly sticky. While a lot of the native anemones have a more potent sting (snakelocks anemone (anemonia viridis) they are no where near as sticky and thats probably where your octo came short. They are pretty easy to remove from rocks though, moch more so than aptasia so as long as you dont have many then you'll be fine. Be sure to get the smaller ones though as they will grow pretty quickly and bud off into smaller ones and you will keep having to do it. I've had Plumose anemones (metridium senile) kill quite large octos and they are probably one of the most docile of the anemone world.

Something that you do need to watch with actinea is that they are agressive and i've seen them fighting and competing for space before and if they can beat each other up then they can sure kick around an octo.

This should go again to say that anemones should never be kept with octos, this is somehting that we are seeing time and time again and is a needless waste of an animal.

I've kept most anemones with different fish and it's just a case of learning which ones go with which fish...

Nancy said:
Did the burns from the anemone appear as dark spots?

yes they did.

Andy Lister said:
The problem with actinea is that they are incredibly sticky
That I didn't know. at the moment there are a few tiny ones still left in the tank. and 1 that is a bit larger, but he's fairly inaccessible without having to move almost all the rocks. so I'm gonna wait untill he moves to another spot.

Andy Lister

As far as I can remember actinia only move when they first bud off or if they are in close proximity to another one. You could be waiting a long time!

There is a species of sea slug, the common grey sea slug that will eat them though, well I think it will. Some of them are species specific however i've seen them eat plumose and beadlets so give them a go. Don't think there would be an Octo problem with them but feel free to correct me.


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