New to Octopuses

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by Uber Alezz, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Uber Alezz

    Uber Alezz Blue Ring Registered

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    Hey guys, I'm new to this whole ceph care thing, but thought getting an octopus would be a fantastic idea seeing as how they are interesting, interactive, and just gorgeous creatures.

    After looking around for a bit I thought I had my heart set on a Briareus, because living here in Miami, Fl, if anything should happen I could always take a drive a bit south and release it back into the ocean. But because of my tank restrictions (just a 30gal), I figured the Octopus would outgrow its tank rather quickly.

    So now I'm thinking of getting a Bimac, and I know the tank is smaller than ideal, but I've noticed a couple people on this site that have made it work.

    So my questions are: What problems will arise from keeping the Bimac in a 30gal?
    Is there another species of octo I haven't noticed that would live over a year but is still able to fit in a 30 gal?
    And can I start feeding my octo live fiddlers from the start (After ripping a claw or two off) or should I supplement fiddlers with another food while the octo is still young.

    Also any other beginner tips and pointers would be great appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    :welcome:

    A 30 gallon tank is going to be too small for a bimac (and bimacs are very hard to come by these days, anyway) both from a pure cramped size and because the water volume isn't enough to safely handle the waste from a large octo. Hummelincki seems to do a bit better in smaller tanks, but even with them, 30 seems small... so if you can't update to a larger tank, you may only have the option of a dwarf species like a mercatoris... but I'm sure the ceph care folks will chime in with more detail shortly...
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    It it important to understand that release of any wc animals back to the wild after it has been kept in a home aquarium is a major NO. Without a proper flow through system and a host of other precautions, you could seriously damage the environment with you good intentions. The state of FL does not even put back conficated critters because of previous epidemics that have killed off the queen conch and the long spined urchins (in addition to the current weakened and dieing coral problems).

    A thirty is a rough call for size but is definitely NOT for briareus. Can you add or do you have a sump to add water volume? Is it a nano style where the sump is built in and takes part of the actual living space? We have a 30 nano that I would judge far too small for anything but a dwarf and then one that does not move around much like a mercatoris. Even a 15 with good LR is OK for a couple of mercs but Puddle, my little macropus (who may or may not be a dwarf) uses the full size of our 65 gallon to swim and hunt. IMO a 45, exclusive of any sump area with creative LR for swimming and hunting (not just against the back wall) is the absolute minimum for anything larger than a merc and smaller than a briareus (65 being the smallest for briareus).

    If the tank is NOT a sump inclusive set up and you can add a sump there is good evidence that an aculeatus might fair well but I have not kept one to give a useful opinion.
     
  4. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    I agree. An animal can get a non-native disease or parisite from a tankmate or from live food. If you release it into the wild, you could infect many more animals. Please never release anything (even if it means you have to kill your pet).
     
  5. Uber Alezz

    Uber Alezz Blue Ring Registered

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    Wow, I had no idea releasing an octo could do so much harm.

    And the 30 gal will be a gift, I don't exactly have it yet, but I'm gonna go ahead and pick it up this weekend.

    I'm pretty sure it has a sump, I'll see if I can get a pic up of the actual setup.

    I called my LFS yesterday and they claim to get brown octopuses locally, which might end up meaning Briareus or something. But I doubt they get any dwarves or anything like that, so is there another way to get an octopus to my house safely? I know about ordering them online but how efficient is that? And what are some reliable sites for doing that?

    Edit: Here's the pic
    http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o56/antiblood/30GalTank.jpg
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    A couple of suggestions. When you set it up at home don't keep the surge protector on the floor as in the photo. Elevate it so that the wires loop below the plugs. This is called a drip loop and is a major safety measure. It is also much safer to buy a GFCI plug (you can find one that plugs into a standard outlet at your local home improvement store). A surge helps protect your equipment from outside spikes, a GFCI protects you (and your fish) should your equipment short. If you can afford to double the size of the 10 gallon sump (they make a 20 with the same footprint - just taller) you can use the same arrangement but have more water volume. The greater height will allow you to have more water (you cannot not fill the sump as it has to accomodate the back flow of water from the main tank when the power shuts off. Be sure and test this by turning off the power for 5 min regardless of what size sump you use and be sure you are automatically breaking the siphon action that will occur.

    I hesitate on a hummelincki (Caribbean) for a 30. Maya would have been fine but Octane and OhToo would have become stressed (Octane started trying to escape and I now think the tank size was the primary reason). Hummelincki (filosis) seem to vary in size (not related to their sex) and either come in medium or dwarf. Twice I have been excited about keeping a young animal just to have it brood in a couple of weeks. Aculeatus is likely the best choice if you don't go with a mercatoris (maybe someday we will have other dwarf choices, there are others but only the mercatoris and poisonous blue ring are commonly available).

    The primary on-line retailer that often has aculeatus is LiveAquaria (Drs Foster and Smith) but your purchase choices are either an octopus from Indonesia or the Caribbean. Usually the Indonesian octos are aculeatus but Puddles and a few others ended up being nocturnals likely belonging to the Macropus family (possibly O. aspilosomatis). IME macropus' are great pets if you don't mind being up at 3:00 in the morning (others have had better luck convincing them to come out earlier but both of mine have insisted on living in California time while living on the East Coast). Mercs are a little easier to train to come out around 11:00 PM but are rarely very interactive.

    SaltwaterFish has been a source for hummelincki but we have had some mysterious deaths that occur in less than 2 weeks after arrival. The ones that have survived the two week mark do well but I have some underlying concern about collection methods used. They buy them (from Haiti I believe) and are not the direct collectors. They do seem to care very much about the animals and collection methods used and this issue may be resolved or have been coincidental with having a group of aging animals).

    If your LFS has an octo when you are ready, you may want to take a photo and post it in the ID section. Usually members can make an ID call for most of the Caribbean species from an in focus photo. Also, watch the octopus availability thread as members will post octos seen for sale.
     
  7. Uber Alezz

    Uber Alezz Blue Ring Registered

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    Thanks again.

    What would the main difference be between a dwarf Mercatoris and an Aculeatus? I couldn't find sizes on either of the two. Also, you mentioned that Mercatoris are nocturnal but can be trained to come out earlier? Is that done by a red moonlight, or how would I go about 'training' my octopus? Also, how active are Aculeatus in comparison to mercs?

    I'm thinking about taking a 2 hour drive to a store that says they have a Pygmy Octopus Joubini, but I read on TheCephalopodPage that the alleged Joubini's are more often than not a Mercatoris.

    Anyways, bottom line, what are the activity and size differences between Aculeatus and Mercatoris? Information would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I just lost my post so let me try again :hmm:

    Mercatoris and aculeatus are very different:

    Mercs are nocturnal(night time)/aculeautus diurnal (daytime)

    Mercs arm to mantle ration is ~1.5:1/aculeatus ~4:1

    Mercs are not very active, even at night and don't range far from their den/Aculeatus likes to swim and explore and need more space

    Mercs are shy all their lives (except in their last week)/aculeatus will often interact with humans

    Mercs are a large egged species and it is viable to raise the young andbreed them/aculeatus is small egged and there has been no success raising any young

    Mercs have been successfully kept in twos and threes in small tanks/we have no reports on multiple aculeatus and because the young are not feasible to raise I don't know that it would be worth the risk of trying.

    Mercs color white and red with only a little skin manipulation/aculeatus have a range of browns/yellowish colorations and can form a wide range of skin patterns and textures.

    Mercs are relatively easy to obtain and know what you are getting(even if you are told it is a joubini)/aculeatus are usually not labeled or are mislabled and may come in as a variety of animals, some being nocturnal like Puddle.

    At one time it was believed that there was only one Caribbean dwarf so all dwarf's were labeled joubini and that name is still often misused by many pet shops (I have successfully change this with two Caribbean suppliers :sagrin: and hopefully influenced a third - he just uses dwarf now :roll: ). I have often read that it is hard to tell the two species apart (like the two bimacs) but from what I think I have seen, they are quite different in appearance.

    Mercs can't be trained to be daylight active. The earliest we have been able to feed them is 9:00 (recent success with Sleazy) but my most interactive merc, Sisturus, would come looking for me at 11:00 PM sharp every night. Sleazy eats at 9:00 but all other activity is much, much later where Sisturus would be active for anywhere from 30 min to an hour each night.

    On the 15 gallon tank I use an outdoor light fixture and cover the lens with multiple layers of red velum. The 45 nocturnal tank has red LED's (not made specially for aquariums). We did have one aquarium moonlight that could be set to red but it would revert to white light when the power went off and we stopped using it.

    There are several good journals on keeping mercatoris but GHolland and I kept journals for three generations so I will point you to their threads. The beginning journsals for Varys and for Trapper are linked to the journals of their children and grandchildren if you would like to spend the evening acquiring the experience.:smile:
     
  9. Uber Alezz

    Uber Alezz Blue Ring Registered

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    Thanks, but what I meant by size is how large would a fully grown mercatoris be as well as how large would a fully grown aculeatus be?
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    mercs and aculeatus have roughly the same mantle sizes 2" - 2.5" for a large animal at end of life. So for a merc you are looking at a 6" to 8" tip to tip arm span and maybe a 16" span for the aculeatus.
     

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