O. mercatoris setup for a first timer

evan484

Cuttlefish
Registered
#1
Hi,
I am looking to setup an octopus tank on the cheap and decide that this was the species that would match my budget. I have 2 other reef tanks so i can say i have at least a bit of experience in salt water. I was hoping i could get a couple of different ideas for layouts from some different people. For example what kind of filter, is protein skimming nessisary, and if my 20 gallon is suitable?
Also some information about the species from anyone would be greatly apreciated.
Thanks,
Evan
 

evan484

Cuttlefish
Registered
#3
Thanks for the links, they were very helpful reguarding the animal itself. Can anyone tell me specific setups that would be recemended for this species. as in what kind of filter should i should use? is 20 gallons big enough and other general requirements.
Thanks,
Evan
 

gholland

Haliphron Atlanticus
Supporter
#4
That second link describes our tank, filter, and lighting setup on post #5 of the first page: 20 gallon tank, Rena FilStar xP1 filter, red vellum covering a fluorescent bulb. You can see the liverock, crushed coral, and macro algae in the photo.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#5
If you have the option, I prefer an acrylic tank because of the overlapping top that most have for support. This minimizes any octoproofing needed for the mercs (not for other though). Sisturus and Medusa and later Miss Broody's offspring were housed in a a 15 gallon acrylic hex with heafty piece of LR and a Skilter filter/simmer combo. Red lighting is must if you want to observe them and the threads gholland mentioned as well as recent journals by DinoIgnacio and K0mpresd show lighting discussions.
 

evan484

Cuttlefish
Registered
#6
gholland;131358 said:
That second link describes our tank, filter, and lighting setup on post #5 of the first page: 20 gallon tank, Rena FilStar xP1 filter, red vellum covering a fluorescent bulb. You can see the liverock, crushed coral, and macro algae in the photo.
Thanks that is definitly a big help. Is the Rena FilStar xP1 a good enough filter or should i up grade to something bigger like the magnum pro 350 which does 350gph vs 250 i believe. With the abcence of a protien skimmer along with the huge bioload an octopus produces what should my water changes be like?

Also, does anyone have a good source for mercs?
Thanks
Evan
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#7
Danthemarineman (TONMO name) often has them available and usually answers a PM.

I change 5 gallons of water a week in the 15 gallon as well as 5 gallons a week in the 45 (both merc tanks). My theory is the smaller the tank the more water changes (percentage) it needs and have found that 5 gallons a week, regardless of size (over 5 gallons of course, the pico gets a 98% change) seems to keep everything well balanced. Do note, however, that this is not the typical evaluation.
 

evan484

Cuttlefish
Registered
#8
dwhatley;131418 said:
Danthemarineman (TONMO name) often has them available and usually answers a PM.

I change 5 gallons of water a week in the 15 gallon as well as 5 gallons a week in the 45 (both merc tanks). My theory is the smaller the tank the more water changes (percentage) it needs and have found that 5 gallons a week, regardless of size (over 5 gallons of course, the pico gets a 98% change) seems to keep everything well balanced. Do note, however, that this is not the typical evaluation.
Im setting up a 20 gallon. Should i do 5 gallons at once or change 5 gallons over the course of the week?

Also does any one have a suggestion for a filter for a tank that size?
-Evan
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#9
As much as it would seem like too much at once, I do it one time a week and have never had a problem (keep in mind this tank has been set up for several years but has had several bottom substrate changes). As much as they get a bad rap, I like the all in one Skilter skimmer (with additional air stone) for the small tank. The cascade helps keep the surface tension broken for gas exchange and my water stays clear and tests on the money for 0's on ammonia and nitrite. The well stirred sand bed and the filter keep my nitrates just in the detectable range.
 

evan484

Cuttlefish
Registered
#10
dwhatley;131474 said:
As much as it would seem like too much at once, I do it one time a week and have never had a problem (keep in mind this tank has been set up for several years but has had several bottom substrate changes). As much as they get a bad rap, I like the all in one Skilter skimmer (with additional air stone) for the small tank. The cascade helps keep the surface tension broken for gas exchange and my water stays clear and tests on the money for 0's on ammonia and nitrite. The well stirred sand bed and the filter keep my nitrates just in the detectable range.
Intresting, most of what I've seen is people using canister filters. Honestly I am not quite sure the mechanics of them and the advantages. Can someone explain. Did the since the Skilter skimmer is a HOB did it make octo proofing difficult?
Thanks,
Evan
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#11
It would be almost impossible to use this kind of filter for any other octopus and you will need to keep the water level just high enough to keep the siphon going (allowing for some evaporation) but lowered water levels and something covering the top for least two inches has been successful for the two groups I have kept this way.

Several people successfully use canisters with the large cephs but if you can set up a sump for the skimmer and filtration, it is hands down the easiest for maintenance. You can use a canister for the mercs but the combo skimmer provides better oxygenation of the water, an extra important factor when housing an octo in a small tank.
 

sedna

Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
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Registered
#12
I use canister filters on my tanks because space is an issue at my house and I wouldn't be able to reach a sump once it was set up. Each filter is rated for twice the size of the tank they are on. The canisters work well, but it is a lot of work. When there is a ceph in the tank, I actually rinse the filter media weekly- which means taking the canister apart once a week. I have the output tube at H2O level to keep the surface constantly moving for O2 exchange. It has the advantage of adding another 3 gal. of H2O to the system, but with a sump that would be even more. With sumps you have storage for live food items and the maintenance is easier.
 

evan484

Cuttlefish
Registered
#13
dwhatley;131529 said:
It would be almost impossible to use this kind of filter for any other octopus and you will need to keep the water level just high enough to keep the siphon going (allowing for some evaporation) but lowered water levels and something covering the top for least two inches has been successful for the two groups I have kept this way.

Several people successfully use canisters with the large cephs but if you can set up a sump for the skimmer and filtration, it is hands down the easiest for maintenance. You can use a canister for the mercs but the combo skimmer provides better oxygenation of the water, an extra important factor when housing an octo in a small tank.
I dont have a sump, would the HOB still be the best choice or should i got to a canister filter? Also, would a canister filter be more effective even if its a bit over kill?
 

sedna

Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
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Registered
#14
I don't know much about the HOB stuff. I really like my Marineland canisters, as mentioned above I do clean them out once a week AS PART OF the H2O change (like D, about 5 gal each week). On my 20 gal. tank that I now have one merc in, I am running a filter rated for 50 gal. I have not read anywhere on the site about over kill for filtration! Once you have a system in place and a once a week schedule it really won't seem out of hand or confusing! D mentioned the airation as a factor in choosing a skilter, I keep the output at the H2O level pointed up to keep the surface moving. Having used a skilter before, I can tell you it's easier for clean up than pulling your canister out every week, but in part it is what works for you and especially what is available to you!
 

evan484

Cuttlefish
Registered
#15
I was planning on using a 20 gallon tank that i have kept in my atic for about 4 years for my setup. However it recently occured to me, i have no idea where this tank came from. My concern is that it came from a yard sale some where (i was taught to never pass up a fish tank at yard sale), but im not quite sure. The reason this concerns me is that if it was used by someone else, they might have used copper in the tank and from what I read, if copper was ever used in the tank the octo would die. Is there any way to make sure that there are no traces of copper?

If I do need to buy a new tank, does anyone have a suggestion for what size. I saw one person had a pair of mercs in a biocube 14. I didnt even know you could keep them in pairs, any thoughs on that?
Also, are the all in one tanks like the biocube bad because of the posiblility of the octo going into one of the filter cambers. I was also looking at an eclipse 12. Is that to small?

Any suggestions are appreciated
Thanks, Evan
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#16
I am not a fan of the all-in-ones and hate their filtration system. Octo in the sump is a definite concern. I would recommend using a 20 gallon, nothing larger than a 30 and nothing smaller than 15 for an experienced marine aquarist.
 

evan484

Cuttlefish
Registered
#17
dwhatley;131759 said:
I am not a fan of the all-in-ones and hate their filtration system. Octo in the sump is a definite concern. I would recommend using a 20 gallon, nothing larger than a 30 and nothing smaller than 15 for an experienced marine aquarist.
is it worth it to buy a 20 gallon that has a hood or am i better off buying the a tank alone. Im on a budget so what do you think?
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#18
For the mercs, you don't need specialized daylight lighting but you will want to fashion a red light for night observation. Any hooded tank's light fixture is not likely to accomodate a red light well but an inexpensive cover that contains a clear panel for a normal aquarium flourscent would work well to line with vellum (I have a cover like this on my freshwater tank). You will need to have some kind of covering for at least two inches around the top of the tank (a full cover being the best). I tend to prefer easy opening, hinged lids over canopies just for convenience but I can't think of any reason (other than the red light) the Eclipse style tank would not work.
 

sedna

Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
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Registered
#19
When I have had a hood for my tanks hey always turn into a catch all for stuff other people leave around, and it was always a bigger hassle to get into the tank. They LOOK nice, but I think that is the extent of their value (opinion only). I don't have hoods on any of my tanks now. I'm glad you decided not to do the all in one, I like my bio-cube for a small reef tank, but it's hard to clean the filter media and power head- the space in back is cramped for an adult hand and it makes the tank part so dirty when I clean out the back side that I end up siphoning a second time to get rid of detritus that settles out.
 

gholland

Haliphron Atlanticus
Supporter
#20
sedna;131939 said:
I'm glad you decided not to do the all in one, I like my bio-cube for a small reef tank, but it's hard to clean the filter media and power head- the space in back is cramped for an adult hand and it makes the tank part so dirty when I clean out the back side that I end up siphoning a second time to get rid of detritus that settles out.
Agreed. I've tried both for octos and the regular 20 gallon is a MUCH better option.
 

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