New Octopus owner! :)

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by New OctoDad, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. New OctoDad

    New OctoDad Cuttlefish Registered

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    I am getting a new octopus soon, and I was wondering how to keep it in it's tank? What type of lid do you need? My Octopus is a Carribean Reef octopus.
    I want to be able to have the filter in the tank, and don't know what kind of lid/filter to use. I'm hoping to find one that isn't too expensive. They need a heater, don't they? And how do you avoid having them climb into the filter or pull the heater down?
    What kinds of toys do they need?
     
  2. haggs

    haggs Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    Hi and welcome, It wont be too long and a couple of members with a lot more experience than me will be giving you plenty of help. Meanwhile there is a lot of reading that you can browse through explaining the do's and don'ts under the titles ... Octopus care or Tank Talk. I'm sure you will find some of the answers you are seeking.
     
  3. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    :welcome:! Ditto what haggs said. Thanks for joining!
     
  4. New OctoDad

    New OctoDad Cuttlefish Registered

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    My wife has a marine tank, and I had to do some talking to get her to let me buy this octopus. :) She hates the idea of an escape and having it crawling across our floor. Had to promise I'll keep his tank away from her tank! She saw a picture of baby cuttlefish here though, and thought they were really cute!
    I was reading through some of the threads here last night, and was amazed at the wonderful amount of information. Still haven't found anything about the tank lid yet, though. :( I called a store that I generally take advice from-they said they've kept octopus before, and that it's easiest if you sink a large container covered in fishnet inside a larger aquarium, then there's no chance of it escaping
     
  5. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    :welcome: to TONMO



    For a Lids on all my tanks i just have a piece of clear acrylic that is cut to the size of the lid, and the with little cut outs where cords and plumbing enter the tank.

    Most of the octopus kept in aquariums require a heater to maintain a temp of between 72*F - 78*F

    What size is the tank? What kind of filter does the tank have now?
     
  6. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Can you have a sump with your tank? That way you can put a lot of the "equipment" with moving and breakable parts in the sump.
     
  7. New OctoDad

    New OctoDad Cuttlefish Registered

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    The tank is a 30 gallon one, and it has a BioSystem55 power filter on it. My wife likes the extra strength of a somewhat sronger filter on a tank. I was thinking of asking my wife(maybe begging's a better word) to let me put a large container in her 200 gallon tank for him while I am getting his tank top all ready. Have to find somewhere I can get a piece of acrylic-or do any of you use a glass canopy for them? I am really hoping that she ends up liking him, and later letting me get a bigger octopus. and a bigger tank.
    There is nothing in the tank right now except a few pieces of live rock, live sand and a couple damsels that I used to cycle the tank. The damsels will go into my wife's tank when the octopus is here.

    I don't know if the tank's really big enough for a sump.

    Oh, and thanks for the welcome. I'm excited to be here.
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    New OctoDad,
    We have a problem. If this is a Common Caribbean Octopus (let us know more about the animal if you can, especially where it is coming from and where it originated and photos if available - very often the vendors are incorrect in species ID). A 30 is about half the size of a needed aquarium for this animal. Look at the List of Our Octopuses 2011 and 2010 for the species name O. briareus (the animals name is a link to the thread).

    Members will keep an animal in a smaller container for a week or so to be sure they are eating (sometimes a little longer if the animal is very very young) and often LSF's keep them that way for containment before purchase but you cannot keep one in a tiny space for its entire captive life or the life will be unnaturally shortened and miserable. O. briareus will have a 3-5 foot arm span as an adult and the tank needs to accomodate it. Additionally, you will not be able to maintain water quality in a 30 even for a young animal.

    To help acclimate your spouse to the idea of these wonderful creatures, browse some of the longer journals and photos and send her some links. Many of our keepers (including me) are female :wink:
     
  9. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    If you find a local hardware store, they may be able to cut you a piece of acrylic or plexiglass to fit your tank. You will need to either weigh down the lid, or find a way to latch it.
     
  10. New OctoDad

    New OctoDad Cuttlefish Registered

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    I'll see if I can find out more about it. And get pics if I can. it is pretty much solid red in color.
    I don't know why she thinks they're so nasty looking. I think they're neat.
    I hope he's not going to get too big for the tank I have! All I can do is ask the person who has it if I can get some pics to post here. I was told it's a carribean reef octopus. I guess if worse comes to worse I'll just have to get a bigger tank. That won't make my wife any happier about it!
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    If it is solid red with arms 2-2.5 times the mantle length and comes from the Caribbean, it will likely be the nocturnal dwarf (that ratio is likely to be dwarf, even if not Caribbean), Octopus mercatoris. If the arms are about 5 times the mantle length then it may be O. briareus (the "Common Caribbean Octopus"). There are a couple of other Caribbean options as well (keep in mind it may not even be Caribbean but my quick SWAG is O. mercatoris which will be fine in a 30). A photo would be helpful but just knowing mantle to arm ratio would be a start.

    I have started (barely) a new sticky in the Tank Talk forum entitled HOW TO ... and will try to add thread links as I remember and find them to help with some of the questions.
     
  12. New OctoDad

    New OctoDad Cuttlefish Registered

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    I haven't gotten an e-mail back yet from the guy, I am hoping for pics, but I might have to wait until it is here to really check it out.
     
  13. New OctoDad

    New OctoDad Cuttlefish Registered

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    In the only pic I have seen of him, his head is solid red fading to white arms. The arms do appear to be about twice the length of his head/mantle. He's about 10-12 inches long
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    If he is a foot long, he is not a dwarf (assuming you are using the mantle length (the body but often mistaken for the head) and the length of ONE arm, if you are using a length of TWO arms, arm tip to arm tip then it could be an adult merc with very little time left). O. briareus does have, as one of its color morphs, a redish/peach appearance but without photo, there is no good way to guess (and then sometimes it is difficult).

    I have singled out a few tank builds to give some ideas and put links to them in the Tank Buildouts sticky.

    An alternate that some use for a top is to make a screen top using a non-metal window screen, spline and window screen hardware. With care, this can be configured around filters. Securing it is a difficulty and usually duct tape and velcro are used. You will have difficulty making a cascade filter octo proof. If you can put a fingers into the tank, the octopus can exit.

    One of the arrangements I have found to best deter escape is building a fixed surrounding edge around the aquarium top with feeding access in the middle (here is a larger example to get the idea, many acrylics are built this way). Lowering the water level to 2" below the full point will also help.
     
  15. New OctoDad

    New OctoDad Cuttlefish Registered

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    Yep, it was including the mantle length. Either way it doesn't matter now. The person just told me he sold it even though he was going to sell it to me as soon as I had the lid on the tank.
    Sooo, guess I'll have to look elsewhere now.
     
  16. New OctoDad

    New OctoDad Cuttlefish Registered

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    So I'll just get the tank all set up while I am on the octopus hunt again. :( I was looking forward to having him, too. If anyone has any ideas on where to get one...\


    the measurement was from arm tip to top of the body.
     
  17. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    At 1 foot long, it was likely an O. briareus (assuming a Caribbean animal) and WAY too large (think about it, at 12" it was 2 feet arm tip to arm tip, already longer than your tank and would grow twice that size). A thirty gallon tank is really only large enough for O. mercatoris (or another dwarf species but we don't see many others). There is one other local to the Caribbean (usually from Haiti) that is sometimes small enough to do well in a 30 but the size of O. hmmelincki varies greatly. This is a nice animal if you can locate one but it has not been seen on TONMO in about 2 years. I suspect we will see some of the absent species in the next year or two if the current trend of squid population return (likely the absences of an el nino) continues but I am just speculating.

    It would be best to cycle your tank and build up bacteria while you are looking. We heavily recommend a minimum of 3 months cycle with contining bioload additions. You can add serpent stars, urchins, hemits and crabs and overfeed the tank to establish an environment that will better accomodate the bioload of an octopus (much more intense than fish - consider the needs of a fish that size and then double it).

    From one of your questions on another thread, you should probably spend some time in the journals but I will mention a few facts you need to know while you plan your next attack. Octopuses that we keep in home aquariums only live about a year (some 18 months but keep in mind they are wild caught and will be several months old at best when they arrive). At the end of their lifecycle the female will lay eggs (fertile or not). She will usually live long enough to tend the eggs and then die shortly after the eggs hatch (or would have hatched had they been fertile in the case of one that never mated). The males will die at about the same age (IME the males a couple of months longer). Once a female lays eggs, she usually stops eating and will not come out of her brood den so there are advantage of getting a male as they are more active for more of their lives. When it is there time, they too stop eating and will either sleep most of the time and/or start wandering restlessly around the tank. When we see the lack of appetite and aimless wandering or odd behavior we call that senescence.

    There are two classifications of hatchlings. One is born as a duplicate of the parent and will start living in the live rock within a week of hatching, going to the LR within a day but often out at night on the tank walls the first week. As a group, these benthic hatchlings are considered a large egg species. The second group that we refer to as small egg, hatches out with very short arms and few chromataphores (the color controls of the skin). They are barely recognizable as octopuses and live in the water column for roughly a month while they continue to evolve. Not really a metamorphisis, but more like a premature birth. It is possible to raise (though VERY difficult) a few of the large egg species but so far it is not viable for home aquarists (and VERY limited success with large flow through lab/public aquariums) to raise the pelagic small egg species.

    Within TONMO, the highest success rate for raising tank born hatchlings has been with O. mercatoris (nocturnal, Caribbean dwarf) where 5 of roughly 100-150 hatchlings have survived (there has been limited success with inbreeding the survivors for an additional generation). The second most successful tank hatchlings have been O. bimaculoides, a Pacific, cold water species.

    O. briareus is a large egged species so there is viability of raising hatchlings but success of raising them through a normal life span has only been journaled once and a mating of the two surviving did not produce young that survived more than a week.
     
  18. New OctoDad

    New OctoDad Cuttlefish Registered

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    The tank's been set up a while. I just never had anything in it but the damsels to make sure it was running well. Think it's been up about a year. But it probably was for the best!
    I do know that they don't live long, and that they die shortly after laying eggs. I didn't know though, that some people actually try to breed octopi. I knew that it was very hard to hatch and care for hatchlings. I was just curious if her octopus had given her fertile eggs, cause I never heard of that.
    When I said "get the tank all set up" I meant, make a proper lid for it. :) Right now it just has a regular saltwater tank hood that doesn't have the filter and heater holes covered yet. There are snails and crabs in it right now. I'll go out and get some more inverts to put in. If I get any urchins or starfish, how safe would they be to move into my wife's tank once I get an octopus? I might just buy a bigger aquarium. and set that up so I have a bigger one. I can always tell my wife she can use it as a quarantine tank for fish she gets for her tank!

    I love all the information I am finding here, and how helpful you all are!
     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    You can leave serpent stars and pencil urchins (other have also used pin cushion urchins but the general recommendation is not to include these because of the spines, likewise long spined and rock urchins should be avoided. Pencils are NOT reef safe) in a tank with an octopus. I keep both in mine (usually 1 serpent/brittle per 30 gallons but I will put two smaller ones in a 40). You can also leave snails and hermits. The snails and hermits may become octo food but IME octos will only eat these if other food is not available when they are hungry. The only octopus I have had that would clean a tank of snails and hermits was LittleBit (likely a small vulgaris).

    There is a red brittle star that I particularly like to put in with octopuses. It has nice coloring but the odditiy is their seeming relationship with octopuses. When there is no octopus in residence, we rarely see them but they are very often visible when the tank has a primary occupant. Most serpents will learn feeding time and can be hand fed if that is something you would like to explore.

    Female octopuses store the sperm after mating so they may have mated as much as 4 months prior to egg laying. If a keeper ends up with an older female, it will likely have mated, brood and hatch young. Raising the young, however, has limited success even with the large egg species. We only have a few attempts at actually breeding them journaled and all are second generation sibbling attempts. Have a look at our Raising Octopus from Eggs forum to read about some of the attempts.
     
  20. New OctoDad

    New OctoDad Cuttlefish Registered

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    It's good to know I could leave starfish and all that in with an octo.
    That would be rather neat to hand feed a starfish. My kids would think it was cool too, but I have to keep the tank in a room they don't go in cause they are always running around. It'd scare the octo to death! Don't think they are quite able to sit still very long. my daughter could, but not my boys!

    I'm not really interested in trying to breed octos. But I find learning about all aspects of them very fascinating. :)
     

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