Need some help Please...New to all of this.

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by Elizabeth247, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. Elizabeth247

    Elizabeth247 Cuttlefish Registered

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    HI, I'm new to this forum, as well as owning an octopus. I have been gifted 1 (which I have not received yet...but any day now it should be here). At first the thought was interesting and I got a bit excited. However, I am 1 of those people that have to research endlessly before doing anything. Needless to say that after some reading I now have a lot of anxiety over this.

    All I know is that this is the 1 that's on its way to me (Baby Florida Octopus CHANGE COLOR). I finally found out whom it was purchased from and was able to get a little info. I was told that it gets no larger than 12 inches and that I would be getting a female that would stay a bit smaller.

    I do have a 65 gallon reef tank that been going for a few years now. But, I have quickly decided it can't go in there long term. I need to know what size tank would be best so I start quick cycling it with my established tank media.

    Thank you for reading my little book of nerves LOL (if this is in the wrong place please feel free to move it)
     
  2. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    Thanks - do you have a photo to share? Our experts could help identify your octo.
     
  3. Elizabeth247

    Elizabeth247 Cuttlefish Registered

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    s-l1600.jpg
    this is what it looks like now
     
  4. Elizabeth247

    Elizabeth247 Cuttlefish Registered

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    grown.jpg
    and supposedly they raise them so it's not wild caught. This is what 1 of the parents look like
     
  5. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    Before I go further - you should know I'm not an expert. I'm sure you'll get some help here though soon enough.

    That said, cycling a tank with an octopus on the way does not seem to be a practical solution. I don't believe I'm overstating it when I say a tank should cycle for months before adding an octo... based on what I've read.

    Why is the 65 gallon tank not sufficient? Are there other problematic inhabitants?
     
  6. Elizabeth247

    Elizabeth247 Cuttlefish Registered

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    Yes. Not only my corals but, anemone, mated clown fish, leopard wrasse, scooter blennie and maxima clam. As well as a few other fish and flame clams.
     
  7. Elizabeth247

    Elizabeth247 Cuttlefish Registered

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    I do have an established tank that I have set up in case of emergencies. But it's only 30 gallons I wasnt sure if that would be large enough to house the octo. long term. However, she could stay in there until I get another up going and cycled. I know how long cycling takes.......forever lol.
     
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  8. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    Got it... I imagine 30 would work for a while... Let's see what @DWhatley and any other resident keepers have to say. Hang in there! :smile:
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    There is a collection of discussions linked in the Octopus Care sticky titled Posts with Info for New Octopus Keepers that I always recommend when first starting out.

    If the information is accurate, this should be O. mercatoris, a dwarf species (it is possible to raise these at home but I am unaware of anyone doing this commercially). We typically measure an octopus by its mantle and arm lengths. Adult mantle length (from behind the eyes to the tip of the mantle) will typically not exceed 1.5" and each arm about 4" so 9-10" diameter with arms spread.

    The 30 will work fine for long term housing (roughly 10 months from the current size). You will want to octo-proof the top and be sure that there are plenty of hiding places. For a merc, the best den I have found is a set of giant purple barnacles (often available on eBay - most are not varnished and varnish should not be used) wedged into live rock placed in the lower 1/3 of the aquarium (preferably close to the center of the tank to discourage escape).

    You will need to address octo-proofing quickly. The two most important aspects require a top with no escape holes and protection around any water movement hardware impellers. Since this one is very small, I recommend placing a media bag around any water intake even if there is a tube and slotted filter. I find this style to be particularly useful and easiest to clean with holes small enough to keep arms and animals out of harms way but big enough to allow water movement. The zipper allows for easy snugging and removal. Avoid the drawstring type as once the string is wet, they are a royal pain to open and close but you may need to start with one if you have to order a zippered alternative. Mercs are not very strong so weighting down the top is less critical than with other animals BUT they do find any openings (especially if they are in dark places). Block any cuts in the top. Course sponges work fairly well for this. If it is an all in one, placing a light in the back chamber is very effective for making that nice dark area far less desirable.
     
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  10. Elizabeth247

    Elizabeth247 Cuttlefish Registered

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    Oh my goodness!! Thank you so very very much. I have been scared to death that I was going to get something that would end up being gargantuan in size. What a huge relief :sun:. So a 30 will be a good forever home (that's no issue). And I have been searching, reading and brainstorming on how to "lock" her in. At least now I can relax. I will get the barnacles and I already have the mesh bags on hand. YaY now I can just relax and enjoy.:police:
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Uhh, about the relax part :concern:
    Very young octos don't have a high percentage of survival even in the wild. For hobbyists, I (somewhat anecdotally) have observed about a 5 in a brood survival rate (brood size has not mattered but keep in mind the sample size if tiny). For an animal over 3 months old, if it survives 2 weeks after shipping, I start to breath again. For younger animals, not until they are in the tank over 2 months and eating well. Even this is sometimes hard to gauge as they often disappear for days at a time and it is hard to be sure they are eating.

    Depending on the actual size/age. You may want to place it in a large breeder net with a few shells and secure the net to the tank wall. Eventually it may escape to the tank but while it is in the net, you can be sure it is eating. I have grown out two generations of mercs and most stayed in their nets until I released them. Wiley was an exception and did fine in the 40 gallon tank on his own but I never knew from one day to the next if he was alive until I reduced feeding the tank (thinking he had died) and he finally allowed me to catch him and put him in a smaller tank.

    O.mercatoris is a nocturnal species that tends to come out for dinner about 2 hours after lights out so you can experiment with setting a regular time to darken the room. You will need a red light (blue will not do) to observe the tank (I recommend leaving it on all night. If you don't want to add a separate timer, you can leave it on 24/7 but I don't recommend an all dark period. They will adjust well to red light but see just enough of it to know if it is not on and will choose the total dark over the red if it is provided.

    The females I have kept tend to find a comfortable den and stay put. The males I have kept tend to change dens every few weeks. If you have a cluster of barnacles situated where you can look in, you will likely have the best opportunity to see the animal during much of its life and should be able to stick feed nightly.

    What are you planning to feed it? If you can find small fiddlers (or other small - pinky fingernail sized or smaller) crabs, this is ideal. The next best first foods will be freshly killed shore shrimp. I have also had both babies and adults eat frozen Cyclop-eeze. It is no longer available but frozen pin head sized shrimp may work. Once a week or so, try offering a tiny piece of frozen table shrimp (about the size of its eye - very small). For years I swore the would not take regular shrimp but eventually discovered that size DOES matter.
     
  12. Elizabeth247

    Elizabeth247 Cuttlefish Registered

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    I know my LFS owner pretty well. So, I was going to contact him about the fiddlers. I also usually have ghost/grass shrimp (live & different ages/sizes) on hand most of the time. If and when it will start eating frozen....I always have 1 of those bags that has mussels, shrimp, squid, clam, ect on hand in the freezer.

    As far as the red light goes. I have been trying to figure that out. So instead of using a reg. florescent tank light could I buy a red light tube to replace the bright white one? Or do I need to get red led lighting?

    oops....I haven't finished reading all the "stickies" yet & just found the lighting part LOL
     
  13. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    You can use white light in the daytime without a problem but ambient light is just fine. We don't have a definitive type for red light and have yet to find one that does not work for night. So paint, lens cover, velorum, fluorescent (red "party" screw-in bulbs), LED have all worked as long as there is no white light "leaking" out. We have not seen an issue with brightness so I recommend something that will give you enough light for viewing. Be warned, however, red is terrible for photography.

    Glass shrimp seem to be quite fine but remember that they are freshwater and won't survive long in a salt tank. Octos don't catch them well (there is a saltwater that is similar) so it might work to put a live freshwater shrimp in the tank as it will be crippled by the saltwater at some point. I typically have ordered the saltwater variety (no live available near me of any kind) and then damage or kill them to feed.:yuck:
     
  14. Elizabeth247

    Elizabeth247 Cuttlefish Registered

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    I have since moved my 30 gal. tank to my family room (where all my tanks are). I have got up & running again and even added some live rock from from DT to make sure it was well seeded. I think that i will put it in a breeder net in my DT until I'm sure she will do well and is eating. I still have not found any fiddlers online anywhere to order but I can go get some from my LFS.

    I think that I may try the red covers for my florescent hood lighting. If that doesn't work out I will just get red led's.

    I'm still looking for the barnacle tubes on Ebay. However, I do know that my LFS has them also.

    As far as the shrimp, the ghost shrimp seem to live in salt & fresh water. Although not long in my tanks since they are quickly eaten. I'm going to give this my all. No ,matter what it takes. I just had to put 1 on of my 10 year rescue dogs down yesterday and it has been very hard on me. I love my animals rather they are 4 legged or in a tank.

    I am still reading threw all of the stickies. But, I hope faith is on my side and she lives to a ripe old age. Anyone who would like to add to what I need or should consider.....please say so. I need all the help I can get.
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Paul Sachs (Aquaculture Store) is the most reliable supplier I can recommend for fiddlers. You can occasionally find other types of small crabs on eBay. Both (even with shipping) will be less expensive than buying through an LFS.

    For the barnacles, try the keyword barnacles under Fish & Aquariums -> decorations

    I have always preferred that my animals die naturally but have had to put two dogs to sleep after their hips became too painful to support them. I still morn their loss more than animals that died on their own. I try to forget that my wolfhound is approaching large dog problem age.

    You will need to prepare yourself to accept octopus' short lifespan. It is never easy when they die and my husband made it clear that if I was going to keep them, I could not allow myself to go into a depression when their time was up (lifespan is probably why he does not get too involved with them even though he enjoys having them at home). The smaller species that we commonly keep only live somewhere between 8 and 10 months (I have had one merc to live a year but his siblings lived the more normal lifespan). Larger animals tend to live longer but still only between 12 and 18 months (cold water animals tend to live longer, almost double the lifespan, than their equally sized warm water cousins when kept near the bottom of their temp range).
     

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