Octo from Philippines - Abdopus Aculeatus(?)

Justine27

Cuttlefish
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#1
Hi everyone,
I pick up my new octopus tomorrow. I've been told he's a pygmy, but they don't know the species. I just spoke with the saltwater manager, and it's country of origin was listed as the Philippines. Would love some help finding out what he is.
He's about the size of a golf ball, if that helps at all. I don't have many pictures, as he's still at the store. I'm guessing he's nocturnal, as he's always trying to hide from the light at the store. I just saw him today, and they had the lights blocked (new shipment) and he was sitting out in the open more.
Thanks in advance!!
FB_IMG_1488417033459.jpg
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#4
Most typical from this region that fit the basic look in the pictures would be an animal in the Abdopus genus, the most common species has been aculeatus but we have seen others. Aculeatus is not a dwarf but considered a medium sized species. However, there does seem to be a dwarf that looks very similar. Aculeatus is diurnal where the dwarf appears (from the few anecdotal hobbyist observations) to be nocturnal.
 

Justine27

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#5
Most typical from this region that fit the basic look in the pictures would be an animal in the Abdopus genus, the most common species has been aculeatus but we have seen others. Aculeatus is not a dwarf but considered a medium sized species. However, there does seem to be a dwarf that looks very similar. Aculeatus is diurnal where the dwarf appears (from the few anecdotal hobbyist observations) to be nocturnal.
After lots of googling last night, I also came to the conclusion that he is probably from the Abdopus genus as well. It's unfortunate that there isn't a lot of info on the different species. I just found a paper on the A. Tongus, so that's one potential option. What would you recommend for temperature for my little guy then? That was my biggest concern, was getting the temp right. I currently have the tank set to 76.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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Moderator
#6
The general consensus is that keeping octopuses closer to the bottom vs the top of their natural environment temperatures tends to extend their lifespan (all other things - water quality specifically - being equal) so your 76 would meet that but, being a warm water species, you would not want to drop it lower and would not want to exceed 80 over an extended period. You can Google Temperatures for the Philippines shallow waters for more specific info but this range seems to have worked well for both Caribbean and Philippine shallow water animals.
 

Justine27

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#7
The general consensus is that keeping octopuses closer to the bottom vs the top of their natural environment temperatures tends to extend their lifespan (all other things - water quality specifically - being equal) so your 76 would meet that but, being a warm water species, you would not want to drop it lower and would not want to exceed 80 over an extended period. You can Google Temperatures for the Philippines shallow waters for more specific info but this range seems to have worked well for both Caribbean and Philippine shallow water animals.
Okay, thank you! I will bump the temperature up a degree or two. I keep my reef tank around 79, but wasn't sure where this little guy was coming from and his temperature needs until yesterday.
 

Justine27

Cuttlefish
Registered
#8
Here is a better photo of him when I opened the bag. He appears to have two rows of suckers on his tentacles, and his head is pointed. He immediately went into hiding once he got in the tank.
IMG_20170302_211250491.jpg
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#9
No change in thinking about species. You can expect abnormal behavior (which varies from very friendly to total recluse to out of time sync) for about a month. After that he/she should start to establish a more routine schedule.
 

Justine27

Cuttlefish
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#10
No change in thinking about species. You can expect abnormal behavior (which varies from very friendly to total recluse to out of time sync) for about a month. After that he/she shoult start to establish a more routine schedule.
Thank you for your help! I'm hoping the little guy settles in soon! He was so stressed at the store (he's been there a month), so I'm confident he'll feel much better now! I'm already in love though! Watching him crawl off my glove, and colour blend immediately was amazing!!! Then he retreated into his PVC home I made him right away.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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Moderator
#12
So very sorry to hear this. We see it happen and I have had similar experiences without answers. Our best guess is stress and/or water parameters being off. Slow acclimation (about 3 hours) seems to help but not always.
 

Justine27

Cuttlefish
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#13
I'm wondering if it was stress. It was at the LFS for a month in a critter keeper, without anywhere to hide. I acclimated for around 2 hours. I was even able to feed the little guy some shrimp last night. I'm debating on having another one ordered in (by a different store), but I'm kind of upset and discouraged.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#14
Stress is a known factor but check your water for ammonia and nitrite first and validate your salt content. Two hours should have been OK since you were not using shipping but recommend using test strips to be sure you have reached the tank parameters (reagents are just too slow and the strips work well for matching even if there are arguments about accuracy). What other, if any, critters do you have in the tank and how long have you been cycling it? The one picture of a rock suggests it may be under cycled so you may need to actively cycle for a longer period of time to be sure you have enough bacteria to manage the ammonia.

@Justine27 May I move this thread to journals?
 

Justine27

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#15
I'll double check my water parameters are good tomorrow. I triple checked the salinity before I started the drip acclamation. The tank had been cycling for 3 months now, and has had various hitchhikers living in it since the beginning (stomatella snail, colonista snails, limpets, and the odd bristle worm I'd throw in from my main tank). I added 5 hermit crabs a few days before I purchased him, to make sure everything was alright in the tank. I added 5 more crabs the day after the first 5, as well as two nassarius snails. Everything was looking fine, so I picked up the octopus two days later. The photo with him and the rock was taken at the LFS, while he was in the critter keeper. When I started the tank, I used bio max media from my very established reef tank, and was able to get some really well cycled live rock. I continued to provide an ammonia source through the cycling process, to ensure that the bacteria was being fed. I'm going to pick up a bacteria additive for the tank (on top of one I already use), to trying and get a good diversity of nitrifying bacteria to the tank.

I've decided I would like to try again with another pygmy octopus, and plan on having a different LFS order it for me (one I trust more). I wasn't planning on getting another octopus after this guy (even though they're my favourite animal), but he was so amazing and mesmerizing.

Yes you may move it :)
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#16
Excellent info and preparation. It is helpful to have the tank details with both successes and losses. I have kept over 20 and still have lost them in the first 2 weeks (the time I call critical), my last was a similar heart break.
 

Justine27

Cuttlefish
Registered
#17
Yes of course, it's good info to learn from for everyone. That makes sense, the first two weeks are critical with most saltwater inverts I find. I'm happy I was at least able to get the little guy away from the horrible LFS before he passed. This was my main reason for quickly octopus proofing my tank (originally planned on pistol shrimp/goby pair). This LFS brings in octos once or twice a year, and they typically sit there for up to 6 months.... Until they pass away, or a staff member takes it home to live out its remaining days. I really wish they'd stop bringing them in there, as there doesn't seem to be much interest in them here. At least he got two days of peace in my tank, and a tasty last meal! :tentacle: The ground is frozen here, so I placed him in a small box with some nice tissue paper and a ribbon, and have him in the freezer. I will bury him once the ground thaws some. It didn't feel right to flush him.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#18
I still have a few in formalin. I started preserving them when teachers and parents wrote in to request them for kids but not all have been taken and we don't see the interest as much lately. Without the formalin, they make a good fertilizer so if you have a garden, it would make a good resting place.
 

sirreal

Vampyroteuthis
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#19
I am so sorry to hear about your loss and the loss of your cat. I would be crushed myself. Both my dog and cat are very old and I cant imagine what I am going to be like when that day comes.
I am not a fan of the critter keeper or leaving an octo in one for any amount of time. yet I know many who have and understand why its done. Again I am very sorry.
 

Justine27

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#20
I am so sorry to hear about your loss and the loss of your cat. I would be crushed myself. Both my dog and cat are very old and I cant imagine what I am going to be like when that day comes.
I am not a fan of the critter keeper or leaving an octo in one for any amount of time. yet I know many who have and understand why its done. Again I am very sorry.
Thank you. Our cat wasn't very old, and it was very sudden, so I was even more devastated. I'm feeling a bit better now, since a few days have passed.

I have decided to try again with a new octopus. I talked to the owner of my favourite LFS, and he's going to look for one for me. He said he's going to contact his US vendors and try getting one from there. If he can't find one from there, he'll contact his Indonesian vendor.
He also suggested that the octopus could have been collected using cyanide, as collection practices in the Philippines aren't regulated well. I'm not sure if this could have been a contributing factor to it's death?
 

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