not eating her shrimp

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by Danny Gonzalez, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Danny Gonzalez

    Danny Gonzalez Cuttlefish Registered

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    my octopus is an O.brarius and she doesn't want to eat her shrimp! i used to give her silversides but i was told that that wasn't a proper diet for them so yesterday i bout shrimp. i put the whole one and he took it but then i found it out of her den almost untouched. today i cut it in half and still i found it outside of her den but at least this time you can tell that the shell was opened and i think she may have nibbled on it but i don't think she ate enough.
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    A couple of things you can try.

    One thaw the shrimp in tank water for 15 minutes. This will ensure it is temperature acclimated.

    Two, halve the shrimp yet again (1/4 shrimp). I have found that the size of the offering is often important when they are first eating dead in a new aquarium environment. The octopuses I have kept have eaten extremes in quantity and oddly, size does not seem to matter. Octavia and Yeti now eat the same amount each night and Yeti's mantle is 1/3 of Octavias in girth.

    Three, try to touch the shrimp to the inner suckers, close to the mouth. It seems that the closer the suckers are to the mouth, the more they can taste the food (or are less likely to reject it).
     
  3. Danny Gonzalez

    Danny Gonzalez Cuttlefish Registered

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    option 3 seems unlikely because she only sticks 1 tentacle barly outside her den to catch it from the feeding stick. i haven't fully seen her in weeks. i will try options 1 and 2 and hope for the best tonight at 10:00 feeding time :mrgreen:
     
  4. Danny Gonzalez

    Danny Gonzalez Cuttlefish Registered

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    an update from yesterday. i thawed the shrimp for 15 min but she still didn't eat it. she always grabs it in her den then 2 min later pushes it out of her den. tonight im going to try cutting it smaller as a last attempt.
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    There is a possibility that she is about to brood (if female) or entering senescence (if male). In either case, they will stop eating but keep trying and let us know one way or the other.
     
  6. Danny Gonzalez

    Danny Gonzalez Cuttlefish Registered

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    yesterday i cut it to about 1/5 or 1/6 of the medium sized shrimp. it looks like she ate it. today i added some rocks to the tank and fed her but she didn't eat it right away and i don't know if she ate it or not. inside of the cave is to dark to tell but the difference is that she didn't push it out it seems so maybe she ate it (hoping). would her entering brood or if male senescence explain why shes been so to herself in the cave never showing me but a tentacle at feeding time.
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    It is too early to tell. Since there is still an interest in food, it may be difficulty adjusting to the aquarium. If an octopus has been with a keeper for several months and the keeper sees a distinct change in behavior, it is usually a sign of reaching what I would call a growth step. My own observations, strictly as a hobbyist, suggest that from hatchling until about 5 months they are very reclusive but will learn to come to eat, from 5 to 10 months is their most social time and around 10 months they start to be less social, eat less and begin senescence. However, the first 2 week to one month in an aquarium usually shows behavior that will be different (sometimes more interactive than afterwards, sometimes eating everything in the tank, sometimes not eating what is offered but eating small things in the tank) than what you will see after it has fully accepted its new home. None do well if they cannot hide and choose when they want to be seen. Sometimes you will not see them sitting right in front of you in the tank (less so with briareus, frequently with hummelincki). Animals that are well acclimated will actually change color, almost as it to SHOW you where they are when they see you looking in the tank.

    If you would try to compare them to a domestic pet, the best personality example I would suggest would be a cat. They will do things their own way and condescend to give you some of their time. One ceph researcher, Joan Boal has made comments about how much easier it is to try to work with cuttles after working with octopuses for many years because they were less independent and more consistent. IME, most octos that survive their first few months in an aquarium will choose to interact in some way. The ones that interact minimally, will only do so at feeding time. Yeti (overly small briareus) is like this but she insists on playing aggressively with someone's hand for 5 minutes or so before deciding to eat. She takes the food immediately but then insists the feeder has to play tug-of-war with his/her hand. She never drops her food during this time but makes it quite clear she expects the attention. When she has had all the attention she wants she just lets go and dines. Octavia (larger hummelincki), after 5 months has always been a sweetheart and very gentle. She seems to like to be petted (a gentle finger tip rub between the eyes, arms, suckers or mantle - as she ages, she seems to only want her suckers rubbed, possibly to help shed the linings) and will come to the glass at other than feeding time and accept/encourage contact for a few minutes at a time. Both my Macropuses (one male, one female) would not play at feeding time but would come to the glass and squeeze through my fingers (I think my hand may have served as a "scratching post") most every night (at about 3:00 AM). LittleBit (vulgaris) played very aggressively and would come out almost anytime we were in the room. We never quite trusted her not to bite during play (but I could clean her tank without concern) as she was very strong and never learned to be gentle. Others, never interacted much at all but would come out and watch us eat (the octos are in our eating area, something I suggest because you are there on a more or less regular schedule and sit unthreateningly where they can observe you). Thinking back on it, I believe all the briareus we have kept would come out to watch us during supper, even if they would retreat to their dens if we approached the tank.

    So, I can only try to give suggestions on helping to encourage a reluctant eater to start eating with some of the tricks we have learned along the way. If this one is male, it should start coming out of its den, initially very early in the AM (just before sun up) or about an hour after the room is dark. If male and entering senescence you should see it pacing somewhat aimlessly at various times. If it is female and not about to lay eggs, anything goes. If she is about to brood she will rarely leave the den but should be showing an appetite until she lays eggs. Right now, excellent water quality, patience and consistency of food and timing on your part is likely to produce the best result whatever that behavior may be.
     
  8. Danny Gonzalez

    Danny Gonzalez Cuttlefish Registered

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    And in your opinion what is the best water quality and temp?
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Ammonia and nitrite should never be detectable if the tank is well cycled. Part of the problem of not testing at home (ie using your LFS) is that you can have spikes and not know it. I am a proponent of keeping the controversial test strips handy and using them when introducing new animals or whenever you notice something unexpected. Others don't feel they are reliable (I also think they are excellent for acclimation timing and the alternate, reagents are far to slow for this purpose). This is a bit of a concern since you added rock to your tank and there is usually die off with newly added rock.

    Salt should be between 1.024 and 1.026 SG (specific gravity = 32-35 parts per thousand). This represents full ocean salt and is higher than the recommended lower salinity recommended for fish (1.021 only tanks for parasite control).

    For warm water species, my target temp of 78 F gives a little safe fluctuation in either direction. In the summer my tanks will get as high as 80 F in the summer and as low as 75 F in the winter.

    Frequent water changes are recommended (I change 10 gallons weekly) and close attention to evaporation will help keep the salinity consistent.

    If your ammonia or nitrate reading is not 0, heavy water changes over a week (or until you see stability) is the only thing I know you can do to attempt a survival environment. This is a sign that the tank had not created enough bacteria (ie not cycled well). If the tank does not contain an octopus or other sensitive creature then allowing the bacteria to grow (ie NOT changing the water and feeding the tank heavily) will create the desired future environment.

    Nitrate (waste accumulation after the ammonia -> nitrite ->nitrate cycle) levels are often a problem with older, established tanks especially if they are overfed (this is my situation). There are many articles that have contradictory results of the impact of high nitrates. Anything over 40 ppm (roughly where my tanks sit) is generally considered a stressor for inverts but there is antecdotal evidence that even at this level octopuses my be more prone to infection. Keeping the food shells/remains removed, blowing off the rock and disrupting the substrate during water changes to remove as much build up as possible - along with frequent water changes - is the most recommended method of control. Remote deep sand beds are showing a promising effect (something I am experimenting with in one tank) and I find that replacing the bottom substrate every couple of years (while the tank is unoctopied :grin:) is also helpful. Good water flow to your filtration and skimming are also part of the long term equation.

    Keep in mind that altering salt levels and temperature should be done SLOWLY (ammonia/nitrate need immediate fixes through water change but keep the salt and temp constant). If you need to change either, I would suggest only increasing your salt through regular water changes over a week's time or by topping off with saltwater rather than fresh until the desired salinity is reached. With temp, a couple of degrees over 24 hours is all you want to change but you need to be sure you can maintain the new temp. If the tank is too cold, the addition of a heater in the sump (not in the tank) is usually all that is needed and the heater will slowly bring up the temp. Cooling becomes a bit more difficulty but blowing a fan over the sump has shown effective for a couple of degrees below ambient (it will increase your evaporation and daily top offs will be necessary).
     
  10. Danny Gonzalez

    Danny Gonzalez Cuttlefish Registered

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    im usually pretty good with water tests though salinity seems to be low according to my latest visit to my LFS. i would keep a hydrometer but i had 2 already and both seem to be totally off (maybe i just have bad luck or maybe im bad with hydrometers idk) i have 2 overhang biofliters so no sump which means my heater in in the tank though it doesn't seem to bother my octopus. i would have a sump but it a bit expensive and i would need a stand which i dont have. right now its on a low tv stand from ikea >.< (don't worry it can handle the weight) and it actually looks really nice but i do plan on eventually getting a stand and sump but seeing as how im a junior in high school i dont have a cash flow just yet. i am looking for a job and i know that about 90% of my income will go to my octo but for now i gotta wing it lol
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    For about somewhere between $8 and $15 you can get this kind of hydrometer (arbitrary URL). They need to be rinsed after EVERY use and left upside down to minimize contamination (minerals from the rinse water) but they do a fair job of allowing you to monitor the tank if you maintain them well and are calibrated for warm water tanks (slight adjustments need to be considered for coldwater tanks). I have read complaints of accuracy but I rely on them and they will provide consistent readings (be sure to place it on a flat surface and wait a few seconds for the arm to swing into position). The biggest problem with them is not keeping them free of foreign materials. I am not a fan of fragile floating glass objects, particularly in an octopus tank but you can double test with this kind once in awhile to be sure your readings are the same (removing the floating one after reading it). Oddly, I have noticed personality changes if the salinity drops. This is anecdotal and may not have any real meaning.
     
  12. Danny Gonzalez

    Danny Gonzalez Cuttlefish Registered

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    thats the one i had that broke (nothing actually broke off but its completely off so i just guessed it broke)
     
  13. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    humm, when you say completely off, do you mean the arm did not swing upwards or it was only a few points different than your LSF reading? These are pretty simple devices and if there is no foreign matter in them, they last for years. They can be slightly off and should be checked from time to time but way off means something is broken or not properly seated. The armature should swing freely but not move left or right.
     
  14. Danny Gonzalez

    Danny Gonzalez Cuttlefish Registered

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    like if my water was at 1.025 it said 1.030
     

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