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Kraken1

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#1
Hi
Ive been into aquariums all my life. I decided to have a pet octopus and take this hobby to the next level. Still putting together the aquarium. Its a 55 gallon with an undergravel filter with 6 lift tubes and a 20 gallon refugium. Need to purchase additional equipment. Where can I acquire a octopus and what kind do you suggest. Your input would greatly be appreciated. thanks
Kraken1
 

DWhatley

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#2
Welcome to the world of Kraken Keeping :cuttlehi:.

You may want to rethink the undergravel filter because of the disruptive nature of many octopuses. Some species (or individuals that are not particularly prone to digging) will den in the sand bed instead of the LR. Instead, I would suggest using live rock as your biofiltration and the refugium as a sump for carbon and skimmer filtration (skimmer is especially important for inking).

Here is a collection of links to posts that should help a lot with where we stand as octopus hobbyists (some of the posts are dated but the information remains current) as far as acquisition and what to/not to put in its tank. The entire stickied (blue) section in the Octopus Care forum is well worth reading to get a feel for the hobby in general.
 

Kraken1

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#3
Thank for the information. All of the suggestion you made I'm incorporating into the tank. I'm treating the tank as a reef system, using protein skimmer, charcoal and nitrite reactors, live rock etc. I going for the trident method, not using water changes as frequently and getting the water test for depleted trace elements and supplementing them. In the refugium will have chaeto and a colony of anthropoids in the sump. About the under gravel filter, I'm incorporating it from maximum oxygen saturation manly, so its ok if they dig. there will be approx. 2" of gravel. Just trying to have the best setup for this amazing creature I can
 

DWhatley

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#4
I am not aware of anyone trying this method with an octopus (but have seen success with corals with fish) but I suspect there are reasons why that you have not yet considered (especially around minimizing the water change thinking). The water quality for an octopus is, unlike corals, not related to the balance of trace elements but very much an issue with regard to waste and waste by product removal. Think a very large, messy fish or eel. Their main diet will be crustacean (typically table shrimp, crab claws, small crabs, mussels and occasional fish), all things that pollute quickly (recall that shrimp are often used to create enough ammonia to cycle a tank without fish) and don't filter easily because of the massive amounts of ammonia (hence the need for a very well cycled tank and preference for live rock over or in addition to other biological filters).

Deeper sand beds too can be an issue for harboring pollutants so a thinner (with a few exceptions because of in situ habitat) rather than deeper and keeping it well stirred is better suited for the type of water quality needed for our messy wards (my currently active tank for ET is bare bottom with a small DSB in the overflow and only filtration in the sump. My other two, unoccupied octo tanks still have a small amount of sand as bottom substrate but I am slowly removing it after finding this tank easier to keep balanced without).

Cuttlefish are an alternate ceph you may also want to consider given your experience and tank design. You still have to worry about heavy ammonia with cuttlefish but they are more tolerant of corals, you can keep several in your tank, no octo-proofing is needed and they are a favorite of many. The initial couple of months after hatching (obtaining them as eggs tends to be the best way to find them) is expensive as their only commonly available first food is live mysid shrimp. The shrimp don't live long, have proven impossible to raise in enough quantity and are quite costly to have shipped in every week so take that into consideration but look through some of the cuttlefish journals to see if they interest you.

Octopus and cuttlefish both have very short lifespans. Octos will 99.99% of the time come from the wild and will be 2-10 months old. Cuttles will be eggs collected in the wild (there are programs to produce them in captivity but they are still fledgling operations). If you design the tank for an octopus, you can later house a couple of bandensis cuttlefish (the most commonly found animals in the US, none are native to the Western hemisphere) and switch back and forth over the lifespans of your animals.
 

Kraken1

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#5
Thanks again for your input, this is the reason why I joined the forum. I always believed through education and technology parameters can be made better. My Logic behind the undergavel filter was to increase oxygen and develop an additional bacteria colony for a high waste creature. Based on your suggestion, I will not use the undergravel filter. Considering using pool sand with arag-alive reef sand approx. 1.5" deep. I just purchased additional ceramic rings for extra biological filtration and will put them into the refugium. The cheto will help remove phosphates and nitrates, along with a carbon and nitrate reactor. Dry live rock will also be in the refugium, with live rock in the tank. I still need to get more oxygen into the water. I also purchased a mini wet dry filter from japan, I was really impressed with this piece of equipment for 14 bucks. Its powered by a powerhead and the output can go directly into the tank as I plumb an air line into it. I also need the correct circulation in the tank. A wave pump will help mimic the ocean current and take care of the dead spots. Besides have test equipment monitoring salinity,ph and temp. There are large capacity box filters that go in the tank, that would be another way to induce more oxygen, whats your opinion on that? thanks for your time and expertise!! Vince
 

DWhatley

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#7
I have never tried a wet/dry but have seen that many people like them. As you are designing, consider putting as much of the equipment as possible into the sump rather than the display. Octos are disruptive and will move LR around if they don't like the arrangement or just because they are pushing against it when moving around at the back of the tank or hunting in the crevices. Oxygenating the water in your sump and having a good return to the display would be preferred to trying to oxygenate the display directly. It helps to expose your display to sump water as much as possible as well as the water pumped back to the sump from the skimmer (splash is always a concern though).

Impellers are an arms worst enemy but you will need some kind of water movement directed into you LR. I recommend the Koralia style wave maker/power heads enclosed in a media net. Older styles can be used but you will need to block curious arm access. I also use a SCWD on my return to alternate directions from the sump.

Oh, an keep a tripod mounted camera nearby all the time :cephdevil:
 

Kraken1

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#8
Thank again for your advice!!!The only piece of equipment that will hang on the back of the aquarium is a reef octopus 2000 protein shimmer. I painted the bottom and back of the aquarium with black acrylic paint and considering painting the sides. Whats your take on that? I will be running a pump rated at 3200 gph at a 18 foot head. This system will incorporate a manifold to run my charcoal and nitrite reactors. Its a DC controllable pump. The outlet will have a screen plumbed to a 1.5" bulkhead and the return will have a pvc spray bar I will design for a 1.5"bulkhead too. What is your opinion on how many gallon per hour I should turn over a 55 gal aquarium? This will be completely adjustable with in line gate valves on the return and input. I looked at quite a few wave maker pumps and they all have large openings as you said, for little arms to get hurt. I found a 12"long DC controllable wave maker with tiny screen openings and will take a look at the one you suggested too.
As far as a heater goes I will use a Finnex 500 watt element connected to a Inkbird controller, which will be adjustable to +/ 1 degree. What temperature do you suggest? Would you put the heater in the aquarium or in the refugium? I understand the concept of a higher temp, the less dissolved oxygen and a higher metabolic rate for the octopus.
Which aquarium distributor do you suggest to purchase an octopus from and what kind?
Thanks again for your time!! Vince
 

DWhatley

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#9
I am not good at guessing GPM for water transfer and have always just sized up one from my actual tank and elevation and then used some form of internal water movement and water changes to keep debris from getting too comfortable in one spot.

Keep in mind that octopus arms are not fixed in thickness and can get very, very skinny so a ridged cage is less likely to keep them from exploring than placing the intake (or in the case of Koralia type powerhead/wave makers, the whole unit) inside a mesh bag. I recommend the zippered kind like these (no vendor recommendation but I do get mine on eBay) .

I black back all my tanks strictly for esthetics. Some are acrylic with acrylic black, some are externally painted and some have a semi-opaque film. I am not sure if blacking out the sides would be beneficial or disorienting. My current animal inks more than others (though this species does tend to ink more frequently). He is fairly used to the dogs comings and goings now and only shows his concern with color changes. I am not sure if I blacked out the sides if this would make movement more shocking and encourage more inking/discomfort because he would not see things approaching or if it would help settle him to only see movement from the front. It just occurred to me though that one end of that tank IS blacked out (originally was designed for all the filtration ) and he chooses to hang out on the clear glass side.

My most often used supplier is KPAquatics. Disclosure, I have known the family through the senior family member for years and have helped with getting them started on-line years ago. They don't search for octopuses when they catch their livestock but do find them in both their live rock and when out collecting. You will note from the link that they have a sign-up sheet as they won't intentionally collect them if there is no waiting list. Animals found in their live rock are an exception and will be listed when they make themselves known.
 
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