new to fourm and need help on were i can find a octopus

Discussion in 'Sources for Cephalopods and Food' started by puffer guy, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. puffer guy

    puffer guy Cuttlefish Registered

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    hi im new to the forum and want to own an octopus but am having trouble finding a place that has them. i have a reef tank and have had it successfully for a year and wanted to know if running a sump for an octo tank would be a good idea. i have a 29 gallon setup for it is that to small.
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Unless you choose a dwarf species (there is only one commonly commercially available) a 29 is too small for a medium sized octopus. A 45 will house some of the smaller species (aculeatus and macropus from Indonesia being the most common and the small version of the hummelinki - but you can't count on this one for size). A 55 will house a larger hummelincki and a bimac (if you can find one) and a 65 is the minimium (sometimes even it is too small) for briareus.

    You can keep two or three of the nocturnal dwarfs, O. mercatoris in a 29 if they have been raised/living together (we are not sure about introducing adults). The mercs are not for everyone though and are generally not very interactive. Additionally, often they will be adults with little time left (which has also been true of the aculeatus).

    Right now, it is very difficult to find any octopuses and we generally won't see them much again until the fall.
     
  3. puffer guy

    puffer guy Cuttlefish Registered

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    ok thank you i do have a fifty five just sitting around so waiting till fall will be ok. but i have questions bout the dwarfs how hard are they to keep and what is the best food choice for them
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I have raised several and usually have one in-house but the dwarf tank is currently vacant. Prior to Sleazy I would have said that they will do best on shore shrimp (freshly killed or frozen and thawed), live fiddlers and Cyclop-eeze, however, we were able to get this one to eat small chunks of raw table shrimp (a main staple for the larger animals) and she lived a normal lifespan.

    Live fiddlers are a universal octopus food. Cyclop-eeze cannot be used alone, however, as it does not provide enough meat by itself. Other keepers have had success with thawed krill, hermit crabs and snails (best with no operculum) but my mercs have never eaten either as regular diet (they may have eaten a couple over time but definitely not as a primary food source). Other small crabs are also a welcomed healthy meal. It is a good idea to feed any octo live a few times a week. The shore shrimp are usually too fast for all but the very young and then only in a breeder net but can be left in the tank for an occassional chase.

    Never buy a large quantity of any food until you know your octo will eat it and then keep a variety available.
     
  5. puffer guy

    puffer guy Cuttlefish Registered

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    ok so were can i get live fiddlers
     
  6. puffer guy

    puffer guy Cuttlefish Registered

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    and how big do dwarfs get
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    From top of mantle to tip of arms, dwarfs are between 5 and 6 inches fully grown.

    The most consistently reliable source for fiddlers has been Paul Sachs at Sach's Systems Aquaculture. He also has shore shrimp (I should receive my current order tomorrow :grin:)

    To see photos of from of the merc, GHolland and I have a series of journals that start with the wild caught mother and link to the journals on the hatchlings and the grandchildren of the original mother. Greg has the better photos :grin:

    Also, here is a link to a tomb I wrote for another person interested in mercs.
     
  8. puffer guy

    puffer guy Cuttlefish Registered

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    i think im going to go with the fifty five gallon and find a octopus for it has anyone ever ordered from toms caribbean before
     
  9. puffer guy

    puffer guy Cuttlefish Registered

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    thanks for the info on the dwarfs though i just want to be able to interact with it
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Your choice on going with the 55 is going to give you a lot more flexibiilty. I keep the dwarfs as a second octo now but they were my primaries for several years. I enjoy them but they are quite different from keeping a medium octo.

    Tom is our primary supplier of Octopus briareus and occassional O. mercatoris (and then there are the odd ones like el Diablo and Pen. HOWEVER, a 55 is really too small for most briareus. As I mentioned above, a 65 with a decent sump should be the minium consideration for this species. Most of our briareus keeper have even larger tanks for them. You won't get flamed for tying it but you will likely regret doing so.

    For interaction, our best species have been the bimac, hummelincki, aculeatus and a small macropus from Indonesia (not sure of species and it is VERY nocturnal) and a few briareus if raised from very young. Bimacs are arguably the most interactive (I have not kept one because of the need for a chiller) and are very hard to come by because of the CA laws (most are legally caught by their keepers but they can't ship them). The aculeatues and macropuses usually come from Drs. Foster and Smith labeled Indonesian Octopus (ordering from them when they have octos in stock may resulte in either one). We occassionally see hummelincki offered as a Caribbean bimac (most any "bimac" that is offered will be hummelincki) or in LFS.
     
  11. puffer guy

    puffer guy Cuttlefish Registered

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    if i try a brieareus in a fifty gallon for alittle while till he out grows it then put him in a seventy five or am i better with just going with a smaller species
     
  12. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Your questions are not easily answered. As you will learn as you read through some of the journals there are a lot of "if's" and "maybe's" and I try to direct people to do some first hand experience reading to get a better understanding of some of the different things that occur. Keeping an octopus is not like keeping any other animal. Scientists debate if they show individualism, hobbiest keepers do not.

    Sizes vary drastically between individuals and even the briareus (that has been the most consistent) will have extremes on occassion (or an ordered octopus may not be briareus at all like the two references I gave you). Can you transfer to a larger tank? Yes, many of us have successfully transferred octos without a major problem and they accept their new environment. Will you be able to have an environment ready before it escapes or dies from stress? I can't answer. Part of the problem with trying to guide new keepers is the short life span and rapid growth during different stages of their lives. You may cycle a tank to accept your animal just to have it die of old age before the aquarium is ready. Throwing that together with not knowing the size of the animal (Tom is pretty good about being able to tell you the mantle size with briareus but even then arm length varies) that is arriving makes the decisions difficult. Personally, I waited on my first briareus until I had a permenant tank but I have since put one (an unexpected situation and the animal had had all its arms shortened almost to the webbing) in a hex 45 that I was comfortable using for this one animal.

    So, why don't I just say, go with the smaller species? Availability and longevity. The Indonesian animals are highly desireable, smaller and usually interactive. However, they are almost always caught as full adults and only live two or three months. Additionally you may end up with a very nocturnal (albeit interactive if you are up at 3:00 AM frequently) animal. Hummelincki (Caribbean) has this same age issue and if you should get a female, there is a high chance she will start brooding behavior within two weeks (we don't know why and often the eggs are not viable - the hatchlings won't live in any case but that is another full topic. Brooding females become den bound and die shortly after the eggs hatch/would have hatched in all of the commonly kept species). The bimac and the briareus are longest lived in an aquarium (generally speaking), partially because their age is usually determined by their mantle size. Both, if obtained young, live about 7 months (male hummelincki seem to fit this pattern as well but forget requesting a specific sex, no one selling them will be able to tell you the species let alone sex them). A very young briareus or bimac will live a full year. The longevity issue is not because of aquarium life but dependent upon the age of the animial when captured (normal life span is about a year with 18 months possible for the bimac).
     
  13. puffer guy

    puffer guy Cuttlefish Registered

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    i understand my questions are not very educated and might be annoying but this helped me i get that they are not just the same size and one is diffrent then another even within the same species but as you said i would probably be better going with a smaller species so were can i get a smaller species. thank you for your help i have been reading the journals. thanks again for the info
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Please do not misinterpret the tone of my answers :grin:, no insult is intended. We're ALL new at this game, relatively speaking. So much is in the opinion of the answerer that I try to qualify what and how I "know" something and that much is IMO or IME. If it comes across differently, I apoligize. I am not an expert, just a passionate hobbiest with some time (and a few octos :grin:) under my belt.

    Obtaining one is (can you guess) problematic and usually someone will post in the availability thread when they are spotted for sale either in a pet shop or on-line so subscribing to that thread will set up an automatic email with new postings.

    Local Purchase:
    Check with your Local Fish Stores. Some LFSs will order them for you but it is still a pig in a poke as to what you will (and depending on the year IF and WHEN) receive. A few will get them by chance and you can view them before purchasing. For the ones that are viewable in advance, we suggest taking a good photo and requesting an ID. We can't always guess but we try.

    On-Line:
    As I mentioned from your earlier question, Tom is one of our most reliable suppliers for O. briareus and O.mercatoris and availability is seasonal cooinciding with crab season (he does not collect them directly, they are bicatch from the crabbers and shrimpers). Seasonally TONMO member DanTheMarineMan will get mercs in on their LR and will have a quantity. He has not been active of late but a PM to him usually gets an answer if they have any (but, again, these are the dwarf mercatoris). Lynn at Island Marine Life occassionaly finds and collects them as well as Kara at Sea Life Inc but, since I am the webmaster for both sites, they usually contact me when they have them and I will post in the availability thread in advance of them being posted on the site (and if I do not have an empty tank :sagrin:). Depending on availability, sometimes Lynn or Kara will offer the bicatch mercs but they don't often have the larger bicatch animals because of the difficulty housing them. Drs. Foster and Smith's Live aquaria Division will list them under two headings when they are available. The link is to their regular listing (we don't know what they ship as the Caribbean octo, it is rarely, if ever available and no one here has successfully ordered under that option) but they sometimes have one in their Diver's Den section (WYSIWYG). The Diver's Den option usually has a decent photo of a specific animal but it is not always properly identified (see my journal on Maya if you want a direct example). Their Indonesian options have been either a member of the abdopus (diurnal) or macropus (nocturnal) groups. Most have been adult abdopus (usually assumed aculeatus) but Puddles and several others have been an unknown species of macropus. On a rare occassion, you will see one posted on eBay. Other suppliers come and go. None know much about the species and all know nothing about sexing them.
     
  15. puffer guy

    puffer guy Cuttlefish Registered

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    well it sounds like i will have to look around and wait which is alright because that way i can set up the 55 gallon i appricate you answering all my questions. thank you. i was just trying to find a supplier that i knew i could get one but i havent found one yet but as you said toms is a good supplier so maybe i will try there.
     

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