[Octopus]: Nebula - O. briareus

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by creature55, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. creature55

    creature55 Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Nebula has arrived!
    I refrained from starting this journal until I actually got her across the border into Canada and she made it through her first 24 hours. She (or he?) was shipped out from KP Aquatics in the Florida Keys on Wednesday (Oct. 28) afternoon and I picked her up at the FedEx facility in Buffalo, NY at 9am on Thursday. We made it across the border relatively easily. Had to stop at US customs and fill out a form to declare the export and then again at Canadian customs to declare the import. Took about an hour at the border in total and then we made the rest of the 2 hour drive home.
    Dripped her for a little over 1.5 hours then transferred her into new 100 gallon home. Surprisingly, she actually spent most of the rest of the day out where I could see her even though the tank has over 100 lbs of live rock for her to hide in. I tried feeding her a thawed bay scallop that evening but it was a no go and I took it out.
    Came home from work at 6pm and she was right out at the front of the tank. Just now I gave her one of the two live emerald crabs that were sent with her from KP and she took it immediately. What a relief!!
    Haven't been able to get any good pictures of her yet so I'll just attach a pre-shipment photo.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,084
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    The first 2 weeks seem to be the most critical for survival and I always figuratively I hold my breath until day 14. In general (nothing is absolute with these pets) you will see a personality change (to the more recluse) after roughly a month. Making sure they eat during this time is critical. It is my contention that this is the true acclimation time (for surroundings more than water acclimation). Anecdotal observation suggest that they will hide most of the time until they are between 4 and 5 months old. My guess is this is about the time they become more predator than prey and start to sexually mature.

    Any small live crab is usually easily accepted. Fiddlers are the easiest to get in the US. I remove or disable the pincers of the male fiddlers but leave the female and smaller claws in tact. You can also offer recently killed shore shrimp on a stick (a bit of a maneuver to get the shrimp to stay on the stick). Small (eye sized) pieces of regular table shrimp are sometimes taken when they are young but if refused, try again every week or so as it is the easiest food to acquire at all times during the year and makes an excellent adult food. I have had no luck with scallops. If taken at all, mine have eaten exactly one and then rejected any additional offerings.

    Seafood counter clams can be put in the tank live and will likely be eaten later but Nebula is not strong enough yet. You can offer a clam on the half shell to her now but remove it if it is not eaten overnight. They will offer a small amount of filtering while alive (some of mine have lasted well over a year when not eaten). I leave them in an aerated bucket over night, changing the water a few times to eliminate pollution. Other mollusks are acceptable food but tend to foul the water easily and I have stopped trying them.

    I am delighted this has worked out so far!
     
    creature55 likes this.
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    5,584
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Dallas Texas
    Welcome to Nebula! What a nice little octopus. I was holding my breath about you bringing it across the border - glad it worked out so well.
    What kind of live food is available in Toronto?

    Nancy
     
    creature55 likes this.
  4. creature55

    creature55 Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I've been scoping the asian food markets and I can get live shrimp and a wide assortment of clams. Last night I went to one and picked up some of both. The shrimp were in pretty rough shape so I decided to throw the smallest one into her tank even though I had already fed her earlier. She took it right away and this morning I can see the empty shell. She must have been really hungry! KP did tell me that they planned to not feed her for a few days before shipping in order to minimize waste accumulation in the shipping bag.

    All the crabs at the markets are too big, with the smallest being blue crabs. I've never seen fiddlers at any of the aquarium stores here, but I haven't actually looked for them. Will start keeping an eye out. I'm really hoping it works out with getting her on frozen food though...will be much simpler. The live shrimp were surprisingly cheap though...came to maybe 70 cents each (so 50 cents USD).

    It's been a fantastic couple of days with her already! I'm so glad I decided to persist in getting one and am already dreaming about my future octopus endeavors!
     
  5. creature55

    creature55 Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    How worried should I be that I haven't seen Nebula since the night before last? I event moved some of the rocks around last night to look for her, but no luck. I also looked into the sump in case she escaped but couldn't see her there either. I'm definitely starting to worry, but maybe long absences are pretty normal. She's so small she could easily have been inside of one of the rocks I moved.
     
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    5,584
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Dallas Texas
    It's normal for octopuses to "disappear", especially when they're young. Your octopus may be in a den, or maybe it's right in front of you, well camouflaged.
    (Yes, I have experienced this). Don't start moving rocks - let Nebula have a stable environment. They don't have to eat every day, but food is a good way to lure them out.

    Nancy
     
    DWhatley likes this.
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,084
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    This is the nail biting period and that is about all you can do other than making sure there is food in the tank and watching for it to disappear. You can add snails and hermits for something live but do try to experiment with dead food even with these in the tank.

    I will recommend this thread (read at least to #49 but you may enjoy the entire thread as it is an experience with an animal VERY similar to yours - even Canadian). Disappearance of a baby octopus is very common. Unfortunately, it requires a lot of patience to determine if it is only hiding or did not survive (as with my last O. briareus). As with the recommended reading, I still highly suggest that you do NOT move the rocks around to look. It the anxiety is too great either keep all the rocks in the water or place them in a bucket of tank water as you search.

    When it is older (but you can start collecting now), a favorite food is blue crab claws (you can crack and offer the meat even now). I go to the Asian market and pick through the live crabs for claws that have been separated (but don't remove any still attached, you will not be welcomed back). When I get home, I smell them and if I don't detect a spoiled odor - rare - I freeze them, then thaw and feed as needed. You should not freeze a whole crab as the internal organs poison the meat. The frozen crabs you can purchase have been steamed. It has been said over and over that the cooked meat is not appropriate and I only offer raw but I am unaware of the science behind the mandate.
     
  8. creature55

    creature55 Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    She's alive! I Spotted her under some rocks last night before heading to bed. I'm so happy I didn't lose her.
    And yeahhh, I definitely had an inkling that moving the rocks around was probably a no-no, but fear/curiosity got the better of me. Won't be doing that anymore!
    I also placed a small piece of thawed table shrimp in the tank last night and it is gone this morning. So either she took it or some of the large bristle worms in the tank got to it and dragged it away.
    So I have a few live shrimp left, but I'm wary of feeding them to her as they are so big. Is there a danger in putting one in the tank with her? You'd think if something was too big for her she'd just leave it alone, but I don't know for sure.
     
    DWhatley likes this.
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,084
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    The danger would be the shrimp picking on HER. I would not put anything live in the tank bigger than her mantel. At this age they are more prey than predator. I have probably already ranted about NO fish but I'll link an extreme example in the wild to push my point. These are aggressive fish but do live in the neighborhood and can be seen swimming around the octopuses in various encounters. HOWEVER, you can see what happens when they decide to go after even an adult. This whole thread is well worth the read. @jugglematt , @pgs and others are still studying and writing papers on the site.
     
  10. creature55

    creature55 Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Wow, that was a crazy video of the fish attacking the octopus! Sad to watch. I also read some of the previous thread you recommend and I see what you mean about patience being required.
    Last night I put in a crayfish that was about 3/4 the mantle length and this morning I found the carapace. Glad to know she's eating, even if I never get to see her.
    I don't have any fish in the tank with her. Her only tank mates are some tiny hermit crabs and astrea snails.
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,084
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    You might like to add a serpent or brittle star (avoid green but any others seem to be fine) to help scavenge small crevices. I am particularly fond of the red/orange brittles (I wish I had thought to make the recommendation while you were ordering from KP Aquatics as they usually have them but you may find them locally). Most of the brittles are quite robust and will survive many octopuses (not an octo food). An additional suggestion would be a pencil urchin but care must be taken with these if you wish to a gorgonian or any soft polyp (not recommended) as they are not delicate in their hunt for food but do a good job keeping the coraline algae from overrunning the rock.
     
  12. creature55

    creature55 Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    She took her first thawed piece of shrimp tonight!!! I speared it on a bamboo stick and wiggled it out in the area where I knew she was hiding...only took maybe a minute before an arm reached out and snatched it away! Amazing how something so simple can make a person so excited haha.
    Also will keep an eye out for brittle stars :) Would be nice to have something else in there with her.
    I was a bit confused on what you said about the corals though...are there certain really hardy corals that would survive in an octo tank?
     
  13. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,084
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    You can keep lower light gorgonians BUT it is hard to place them in a high flow area that the octo will not normal find convenient to travel across (they do not go around things). Not a problem for the octopus but gorgonians don't like being manhandled (octo molested?). I have kept some for several years. They survive (and often have to be replanted) but never grow new branches.

    Mushrooms (NOT ricordias) are usually a good choice for something that has little to no sting but, again may be uprooted. I have some that I have had for several years but they disappeared from the Keys after a very cold winter a few years back and have not made a comeback. Fortunately, the few I have have slowly started to multiply.

    There are some polyps that don't have much sting but finding them is difficult. I have some that I have propagated to all the octo tanks but these are the only species (and I don't know what they are) that I have seen the octos cross over and not flinch.

    I DO NOT recommend any kind of zoanthid as they all sting.

    Sponges are very hard to keep alive but pose no problem to the octopus. Also any form of macro algae can be "planted" to enhance the look of the environment but few survive for long so consider the cost as you shop. Macros (like shaving brushes, halimidea, pansies - see KP for examples but you will probably want to buy them locally) add a little color, can help (slightly) with nitrates and are not animals so replacing them from time to time only hurts the pocket book.

    If you take time to feed them by hand daily, most serpent and brittle stars will learn to be hand fed (quite a feat for a creature with no eyes). Part of the reason I am so fond of the red/orange (apart from their nice color) is that they do occasionally come out in the light where most others will only be seen at feeding time, if at all.

    Here is a more comprehensive list of tankmates we have found to work relatively well with octopuses. What you DON'T want is something that will sting the octo and invite infection.
     
  14. creature55

    creature55 Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    False alarm...she only grabbed the shrimp then didn't eat it. Womp womp. I'll keep trying.
    Thank you for all the recommendations!
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,084
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    Don't give up but wait a few days to try the frozen again. You might also make the piece a bit smaller as size does seem to make a difference, especially when they are young.
     
  16. creature55

    creature55 Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Just a quick update: Nebula is doing great and is now definitely eating small pieces of thawed shrimp off the end of a skewer. Most days she tries to take the skewer too lol.
    DWhatley - great suggestion about small pieces! She hasn't rejected the shrimp ever since I started making the about the size of a pea.
     
    DWhatley and tonmo like this.
  17. Jocco

    Jocco Vampyroteuthis Supporter Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2014
    Messages:
    380
    Likes Received:
    115
    Location:
    Staten Island, NY
    Very exciting! Congrats on your newest edition! Our octopus isn't too much older than yours.
    You are ahead of the game by knowing where she is :)
     
  18. creature55

    creature55 Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I haven't been very good at posting in my thread, but today I have sad news...I think Nebula's time is up. Not entirely sure what happened as I think she is too young to be dying of old age (I still call her she even though I've realized it's a male). Today I woke up and noticed she was out in the open during the daylight (which never ever happens) and was breathing heavily and the colour of her arms was washed out. I kept an eye on her for another few hours and the colour got worse and her arms were just kind of flopped around her as opposed to the suckers being attached to something. She lives with a few fish (that she surprisingly never tried to eat), so I've moved her into a little net box hanging in the tank just in case anyone decided to pick on her. I guess now is just the countdown to the end...:(
     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,084
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    Definitely something wrong. For O.briareus, coming out in the daylight as they get older is not unusual but the other symptoms are not good. I assumed you checked your water temp, salinity, nitrite/ammonia and PH but it never hurts to do a water change when you observe problems.
     
  20. creature55

    creature55 Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Yep, checked params and all are the usual (her tank does run high on the nitrate front, but that was never a problem). Did a water change as soon as I noticed the abnormality and also changed the carbon in the sump.
    D, have you ever seen an octopus come back from such condition? If I had to guess, I'd say he/she's about 7 months old. I checked your old briareus threads and Nebula is just slightly smaller than Cass when she died.
    Nebula just has no fight left in her at all...she hardly resisted when I gently lifted her into the net.
    I feel like my fatal mistake may have been feeding the fish with food soaked in fenbendazole (dewormer) once last week. I have used this dewormer in tanks with inverts before and had no problem, but it caused a big die off of bristle worms. If there was an ammonia/nitrite spike from this, that might have been all it took. I did take precautions by doing two 30g water changes in the last week (this is a 100g + 20g sump), but maybe wasn't enough. Anyway, I feel like this is my fault and I feel HORRIBLE. I'm absolutely devastated...the same way I would be if my dog or cat were dying. Crazy how attached I got in just those 4 months with her.
     

Share This Page