Need your opinions... I know you have them

Divemaster Dylan

Jun 10, 2015
Los Angeles, Ca
I just want to start by saying that I do not have a tank yet. I've wanted to set one up for years but have never been able to. I just bought a new house, and setting up an octopus tank is finally a serious possibility. I'm just doing some research right now.

I would most likely want a bimac. I live in Los Angeles, and see them all of the time when I'm diving, so one would not be a problem for me to get.

Anyway, I was thinking it would be cool if I could get everything locally myself. What do you guys think about acquiring sand, food, and other things from my local waters? I imagine that it would be okay since it's from the bimac's natural habitat, but wanted to see what you guys thought.


Certified Ceph Head For Life
Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
Gainesville, GA
Tricky question. First, you need to very carefully research to see if you can legally collect sand (live rock is likely out of the question - it is not collectable in most states, even on the East Coast). For what you CAN collect, you need to be sure of the area where it is legal (many places are no take in California and growing in other states). THEN you need to know you are taking chances with pollution and bacteria that can be harmful or fatal (most safe seawater for tanks is collected several miles off shore. Shore sand is probably a too iffy to try). Where it is true that we need bacteria to filter the water, the extras of inshore are considered not worth the risk.

You can collect your own bimac. Here is a full discussion on collection, where to find more info and the state of the laws at the time of the thread.

Fiddler crabs (as well as other inverts) are a known issue and may need a license (I think there are comments in the above thread but I am not familiar with all the rules). Most of the rules I have read (limited since I am not in CA) seem to have a viable way for tank owners to do their own collecting but licenses are required (for an octopus, it is/was only a fishing license). Based on comment by other California aquarists you will likely run into over zealous observers, be sure to carry the rules and your licenses at all times when you collect as sometimes even the officials are sketchy rule details.

In some places, aquariums as well as municipalities pipe in water for use with aquariums. I don't know how safe the water is (and it likely varies from one source to another). I would highly suggest finding your local aquarium club, either on-line or by attending meetings for tank setup and collection guidance. Many of the active members will have answers to local laws (then double check) and safety/quality issues.


Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Mar 17, 2003
Bimacs are not a bad choice becuse they are relatively active during the day and can live a couple of years in captivity. The problem with them is that they need cool water - preferably around 17-19 degrees C. That means running some type of chiller which adds to the expense and in some cases the noise. Also, condensation can also be nuisance.


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