Octopus eggs and I.D

Discussion in 'The Octopus' Den' started by BrokenxSins, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. BrokenxSins

    BrokenxSins Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Hello everyone I'm hoping someone has so information for me.

    Me and my girlfriend went to a new LFS for one of our sunday night dates supposed to be one of the best in Michigan. Well, right before I was leaving happily with my white spotted bamboo shark egg, my girlfriends eye was caught by this octopus inside a piece of PVC pipe.
    Well to make a long story short she bought her. And the reason I know it's a her is my problem. We got her home and I have her in my 55g display tank in my living room inside a critter cage untill her tank is ready, and everything was good. Couple hours later I moved the PVC she was in to have a look and to my surprise I saw what looks to me like eggs. >.< I did a little bit of research on octo eggs and I'm pretty sure that's what they are.
    The picture I took its really hard to see them, but this octo looks way to small to even be able to lay eggs, as far as I know, the LFS said that she would get a little bit bigger than what she is, but if she has laid eggs doesn't that mean she close to death?

    Either way, I called the LFS and they said they'd happily exchange her for the other one they had, seeing as I don't think I'd be able to even attempt to hatch and care for the fry.
    If anyone could identify they species of octopus she is, also if they are actually eggs. If you can't tell with they picture I'll try and get a better one.
    It won't let me post THe pictures from my phone. I'll post THe pictures when I get home and on my laptop.
     

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  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The eggs do look like octopus eggs. I can't see the eggs clearly but the greenish/brown attachment stem look correct. They would also be from a large egg species. ID from the photo is difficult but given her size, the eggs and her color (or lack of it), I believe she is an O. mercatoris, probably from FL.

    You are correct in thinking she is at the end of her life. Mercs brood for between 8 and 10 weeks. Most females die within a day or two of hatching. The eggs are likely fertile but there is no sign of eyes so remaining time is guesswork. I have had a female merc to live 12 weeks post hatch but she had very few young, ate during most of her brooding time and then again after (not the norm). If you should change your mind about trying to raise the young, mercs are the easiest (but not easy) to raise and we have had several successes, including tank bred from tank hatched in at least two journals.
     
  3. BrokenxSins

    BrokenxSins Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    For raising the young, what would I need to know?
    What to feed them. And the tank I'm moving her too once it's cycled is a nano 180 about eight gallons.
    The eggs came outta the water once when I was moving the PVC to get the picture right, is this bad? Or will it be fine?
    I've never attempted anything like this before so if it would be better to go exchange her for another one please let me know.
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    :grin: First, I will set you to some reading. We just happend to have a section called Raising Octopus from Eggs :wink:. Start with the sticky, Article and Journal Links. Near the bottom are links to journals of keepers who raised eggs but the whole sticky has tons of good references.

    I can't answer the question about the eggs out of the water. I took infertile eggs away from my last female and placed them in a container to see how long they would remain as eggs. The container dried out once and but I added more water to continue the experiement and they still look like eggs over two months from the time they were laid. Unfortuantely, this draws no conclusion about impact on fertile eggs.

    HOWEVER, an 8 gallon tank is too small for any octopus. I will suggest that a 15 gallon with overflow skimmer/filter is acceptable where others insist a 20 is the minimum. There is just not enough filtration and protection from water changes (water changes seem to impact hatchling survival - antecdotal but I have not raised hatchlings in anything smaller than a 45. I HAVE kept multiple O. mercatoris (introduced at 5 months old) in a 15. A brooding female needs no room to move around as she will not leave her eggs but water quality and stability are still problematic in an 8 gallon tank.

    We would love to have you join us and given the situation, the eggs won't likely survive if you return them (the mother needs to stay with the eggs) so I don't know that there is any harm in trying but you would need to have a larger tank should any of the hatchlings survive and you would have to be extremely careful with water changes in such a small tank (perhaps changing 1/2 quart EVERY day, maybe even a little less. The situation merits experimentation I think but there is a challenge in the trying and a commitment if the eggs hatch. Most of us don't plan on raising hatchlings, we just end up with a fertile female and go for it.
     
  5. BrokenxSins

    BrokenxSins Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Well I took the female back to the LFS today, girlfriend wanted to do the exchange instead I me buying a new tank ;P
    I got this little guy. He's in a critter cage in my 55g for now. Seems to be doing alright. Tell me what you think.
     

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  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    This looks to be the same species and looking at the mantle I suspect a female close to laying eggs. This is a common problem with keeping octopuses and seems especially true of O.mercatoris and O.hummelincki females.

    You still have the problem with an 8 gallon being too small for any octopus. The waste just won't let you keep a tank that small with ammonia free water. A brooding female stops eating and does not leave her den so there is little waste but an active animal or a female eating heavily just before brooding produces far too much waste to keep 8 gallons of water clean.
     
  7. BrokenxSins

    BrokenxSins Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Poop. Well I do have a spare 55 gallon I could set up.
    But what would I need. As in flow and rock and stuff. Cause I only have one filter left and I used it on the tank become as a salt water and it worked fine.

    But I'd be settin the tank up new and it would need to cycle, how long does the eggs take to hatch? And how close do you think she is to laying eggs.
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Humm, it takes about 8 weeks for the eggs to hatch. The best way to know she is close is by observing that she is very hungry and eats really well. You will need to provide a den that can be closed with a small shell. IME, they prefer a den about 1/3 up from the bottom and giant purple barnacles (look on eBay) tend to suit them well. However, a shell or, as you have seen a piece of plastic pipe will do. As I may have mentioned, this is the one octopus that seems to prefer a den with only one opening that can be easily blocked. You will see her finding something and holding it up as a door. This is normal behavior but she will not come out of the den at all once there are eggs. She may eat for the first couple of weeks if you dangle food near the door. If you can't get a small piece to stay on a stick (bamboo skewers are helpful and you can find very thin one) you can use a piece of thead and tie it or a pipette and cram part into the end.

    Yes, the tank needs to by cycled and in a tank that large I recommend finding breeder nets (as I did with my 45) and placing the hatchlings in the nets with small shells for dens. I particularly like this style net because it has a solid shelf for the shells, is large and places for the hatchlings to roam.

    Cycle time is a concern and normally I stongly encourage a minimum of 3 months. A filter designed for an 8 gallon won't work for a 55 though and you will have to octoproof the intake for any kind of hand on filter. If you keep the hatchlings in a breeder net they are less likely to be sucked up but you can't count on them staying in the net (with mercs and a selection of shells, I was pretty successful with this with the exception of one I called Wiley. He survived in spite of himself but there was no filter intake exposed to trap him).

    You might look at the price of a 20 gallon tank. If you can find one that was never exposed to copper medications, you might find a used tank and filter very cheaply on Craigs List. If you are really lucky, you might even find a fully cycled tank - it happens. Otherwise, my best suggestion would be to find a bare tank and adequate filter and put the contents of the 8 into the larger tank. The normal high bio-load of an octopus won't be the case while she is brooding but you will start having overload issues as you try to feed the hatchlings.

    A normal hatching will be about 50 individuals. Survivor count has been roughly 5. This is one octopus that can live in multiples if they grow up together (and possibly if they are introduced when they are the same size). The 55 would accomodate the survivors and could be transferred after a full cycle (I did not take mine out of the breeder nets until they were nearly 5 months old).

    Needless to say, it is a commitment to keep an octopus but once you have, it is very difficult not to have one in the house.
     
  9. BrokenxSins

    BrokenxSins Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Okay I could pick up a 20 gallon no problem. They have the $1 per gallon at petco right now.
    While its cycling she'll be fine in the critter cage in my 55 gallon right?

    And she hasn't really eaten anything that I've noticed. I tried giving her some thawed shrimp, and thawed squid(this is what all my fish eat) but she didn't go for it. So I out a small hermit in her cage I figured she'd get it of she was hungry.
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    You can try touching a piece of thawed mushy shrimp about the size of her eye to her suckers using a stick. Do this up to 10 times until she continually pushes it away (or takes it under her webbing) then try leaving it next to her (preferably touching her) for an hour and leave the room. Remove it if she does not eat it after that. Mercs are the hardest to feed I think. They are pickier than the other octos I have kept. However, if she declines a live fiddler crab, she probably won't eat and will start brooding very soon.

    If you fill the 55 your water volume will help compensate for water quality concerns and will help minimize changes caused by water changes. Its goosey but a better course of action than trying to use the cycled 8 gallon.
     

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