New Octopus! May I have advice on how to make her comfortable?

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by Smeapancol, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. Smeapancol

    Smeapancol Blue Ring Registered

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    Hello, I am just looking for advice on how to make sure my new pet octopus is happy. I just got her on Friday. I am satisfied that she is healthy because she's viciously eaten two crayfish already.

    She is named Ineffabella after the Stanislaw Lem character. She is about 7-8 inches in diameter, and she lives in a 50-gallon tank. Her environment is very enriched, with lots of rocks, tubes, and other places to hide. There are snails around but so far she has not bothered to eat any.

    She has stayed hidden to me since I introduced her to the tank on Friday, except for sticking arms out now and then, except this morning she came out and wandered back and forth, and then inked at me and went back into hiding. There was not much ink and lots of circulation in the tank, so I'm not too worried about her. However, it's clear she doesn't like me very much yet.

    My goal for the next week or two is for her to understand that her food comes from me. I can see her eye peeping out from one of the rocks now, so next feeding time it shouldn't be too hard to get her to see who gave it to her. The crayfish I've been giving her are about the same length as her mantle. She is still growing now, so how often should she be fed? I've been planning on one every other day.

    I think one of the things I need to do is to try and show less interest in her. It is hard to resist watching the tank and peeking in all the crannies for her. But she doesn't seem to like that, so hopefully if I let her be she'll become more relaxed.

    I also need advice on sealing the tank a little better. I've been using duck tape, but that way is far from perfect! What would be ideal is something to put around the edges of the tank that would cover all the little holes between the edge and the lid, so that I could then just put something heavy on the lid to keep it shut.

    Thanks for any advice offered!
     
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Congratulations and welcome to Ineffabella!

    Rather than coming by the tank and peering in, why don't you put a chair beside the tank and sit quietly there for half an hour or more every day so that she is used to her. Don't approach the tank quickly, either.

    Please try to find some crabs (fiddlers will do) or some shrimp for your octopus. They like crawfish, but those are fresh water and need to be feeding mostly food from saltwater environments. YOu can try thawed frozen shrimp, too. Using a feeding stick might help get her used to you.

    You should experiment with feeding. See whether she wants more or not.

    Nancy
     
  3. Smeapancol

    Smeapancol Blue Ring Registered

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    Why does it matter that the crayfish are freshwater? When I have put them in they have been gobbled up instantly, without nearly enough time to feel sick from the saltwater.

    I was really pleased with the crayfish because they are much larger than the fiddler crabs from aquaculturestore.com but only cost $1.50.

    And I'll try not to approach the tank quickly from now on. :)
     
  4. joefish84

    joefish84 Sepia elegans Registered

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    crayfish dont have the same nutrients that a saltwater preditor requires in their diet unlike natural saltwater prey.
     
  5. Smeapancol

    Smeapancol Blue Ring Registered

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    Well luckily I actually ordered some fiddler crabs this weekend, but they haven't arrived yet. She'll probably want one or two a day of those!
     
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    It's been suggested by one of our posters (Jean) who has kept octopuses in a public aquarium that you consider crawfish (or crayfish) as "octopus candy" - yes, octopuses like to eat them, must find them quite tasty! But it's not good as a mainstay of their diet. You can reduce costs by using the thawed frozen shrimp alternating with crabs.

    Nancy
     
  7. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    We've always found that a diet too high in freshwater prey leads to a lethargic octopus that loses weight, which I'm sure if left, would lead to death, just as if we lived on a diet of candy. The freshwater prey is high in lipids and low in the various fatty acids (eg omega 3 and 6) and proteins needed by a ceph (they have a protein based metabolism not a fat based one like us).

    By all means feed as a treat but I'd really recommend a staple diet of salt water critters. Some can be trained to eat frozen marine shrimp (thawed of course :grin:) and sometimes clams, scallops, snails etc.

    j
     
  8. Smeapancol

    Smeapancol Blue Ring Registered

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    Well I think she knows that snails are food, but she hasn't actually killed any yet. She's tried very hard to open up the snail using only one arm, but is just not strong enough for that. She wanted the snail, but didn't want to actually come out to get it.

    Snails certainly seem to be a good option for food because they are $3, but they can be really large.

    I'll see about clams too. My last octopus would not eat clams, but who knows?
     
  9. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Unfortunately snail and clam eating are a learned behaviour so you will need to provide crabs etc until she figures it out. It's a good idea to feed crabs from time to time anyway (even if she does get the hang of the other foods) as it's good enrichment for them to hunt. Marine shore shrimps and marine ghost shrimps are good too. you could also try hermit crabs. I'm not up on the prices of such as we're lucky enough to be able to collect from the wild.

    As you near a shore? Could you collect your own food? If so, check the permit requirements in your area, this may be an alternative for you.

    J
     
  10. Smeapancol

    Smeapancol Blue Ring Registered

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    Unfortunately I'm not near a shore. If I could get her to eat bivalves that would be the best, as they are extremely cheap at the grocery store. Thanks for your help everyone!

    The other thing I'm worried about is how to seal up my overflow box properly. Any suggestions on that? I'm searching the forum but so far I haven't found the right thread for that topic.
     
  11. Smeapancol

    Smeapancol Blue Ring Registered

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    I have some updates on Ineffabella! I saw her wandering around tonight. Absolutely spectacular! However, I really am desperate for more advice now. :smile:

    She seems to be nocternal. It was in the middle of the night that I found her outside her den and moving around. It was after midnight already. But if she's nocternal, that would mean she's not a bimac as I had originally expected! I hope she won't grow too large for the tank because it's just not big enough to fit anything larger than a bimac.

    Now, I don't have any good pictures yet, but perhaps I could describe everything I know about her. Her mantle is about 2 or 2.5 inches long, and her arms are at least 7 inches. She has a little webbing, but not much. I have seen her a dark brown, many mottled patters of white, black, and gray, and I have also seen her a minty grean. I have noticed that she sometimes has little horns over her eyes.

    Now, as to sealing the tank. I had been a little lax on sealing the tank before because I had read that bimacs are less interested in escaping then other species. So tonight I finished sealing up all the holes with duck tape. As for the overflow tube, I stuffed some filter foam into it. Now there are no holes, but couldn't a determined octo force an opening somewhere?

    Any suggestions on how to improve the anti-escape measures would be greatly appreciated!
     
  12. Colin

    Colin Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Hi, most octopuses can go through a bit of a nocturnal stage when they are settling in so just give it some time to settle in. No sign of a blue ring on each side of the body? Even a bimac could go through a shy stage.

    Just use your best judgement to ensure that you don't see any holes where the octo could slide through and if there are sliding parts like cover glasses that they cant be slid :)
     
  13. Smeapancol

    Smeapancol Blue Ring Registered

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    I have not seen any eyespots yet, but still, I've only seen her much at night so far. So you never know!
     
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    What you've described doesn't sound too much like a bimac, but there's also the fact to consider that bimacs have not been much on sale recently.

    We'll have to wait and see.

    Nancy
     
  15. daddysquoc

    daddysquoc Wonderpus Registered

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    u might want to try red ligting; octos cant see it so they think its dark
     
  16. Smeapancol

    Smeapancol Blue Ring Registered

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    I already invested in red lights before she came, just in case. I think they worked very well! :)
     

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