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Octopus Encounter

Ian M. Gordon

Larval Mass
Aug 12, 2013
Fairfield County, Connecticut

Hi Folks:

Visited an aquarium in Dubrovnik Croatia last week. Met a vulgaris of which I would like to keep as a pet. It was dormant for the prior visitors to the tank yet when I stepped up, it became active and fascinating to observe. I was surprised that the tank size was not as big as I thought it needed to be to house the animal.

Not a Giant Pacific to be sure but I am trying to gauge just how big it really is and how big a tank I would really need to keep one. I am aware of the articles here about ownership and am very serious about it. I just need to figure out how much it really costs when one thinks about utility bills and food and how often you need to feed it.







Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
Gainesville, GA
There is a sticky in the Cephapod Care Forum with referenced links to help with new keepers with some of the start up questions and most of the yellow links at the top are well worth reading.

Vulgaris is an odd species (more of a species complex with lots of variation and lumping of potentially other species). The photo is much like the one found in the US. Our southern Atlantic/Caribbean animals tend to be a good bit smaller than the Mediterranean group but will still need a 130 or larger (I have kept one in a 65 but LittleBit was smaller than normal (possibly because she was tank raised from a very young animal) and I had a 140 should she have needed it, @Lmecher 's el Diablo would not have survived in a 65 and may have died because of inking its tank) . That being said, sourcing a vulgaris is all but impossible (see my notes on Box of Chocolates in one of the new keepers hints linked thread). More than once you will see them offered but they have always been O. briareus (that look nothing like O. vulgaris). The confusion is in the common name. O. vulgaris is the "common octopus" and O. briareus is the "Caribbean common octopus". The "Caribbean" is often dropped and people offering them for sale will look up the shortened name and use it for species (THIS IS VERY COMMON :roll:).

You will also see some disappointing information about longevity as you read through the mentioned links. I always advise to build out the biggest tank you can care for with a 50+ sump being the smallest. There is only one commonly kept species that can live in something smaller. The dwarf O. mercatoris is often a disappointment (Note that I do like keeping them myself) because of their inactivity and nocturnal life style but we have seen very, very few in the last 4 years.

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