Somewhere in the back of my mind I think I saw that Dana was offering octo food but it takes awhile for things to set in sometimes. How long have you been getting food from CCritters? Does Dana send a mixture or mostly mithrax (I hate, but do on occassion, feeding little mithrax - most end up as cleanup in other tanks even when I do get them for food and I tried to rescue a tiny stone crab that was a hitch hiker in my LR but I think Maya found him first ).
I will always keep Paul (Sachs) as my #1 supplier because he is so reliable but I look for additional food sources to give them variety.
I just go to the supermarket and buy bags of frozen raw shrimp for about $8 a bag.... lasts about 3 months. My last octo lived 13 months with me from 2 inch arm-span to pretty much 48-inch arm span.... so yeah. $8 a bag.... lasts about 3 months...
I am trying an order from Dana to offer some variety. These "tiny, ugly buggers" are decorator crabs (Oregonia gracilis). There are two kinds of crabs using this common name. This is not the one that looks like a taranchula.
They shipped well with USPS 2 day shipping but I have not tried them as octo food yet. These are very slow moving crabs so there is not a lot of chase involved and if they are well received, I may leave several in the tank for KaySoh to "discover" on her own.
Update 2010-01-03: I ordered the mixed crabs from Cramers Caribbean Critters and found that they survive very well for a long time in a simple 2 gallon tank. Both the hummelincki (Maya) and the briareus (KaySoh and Creepy) eat them and I think they are especially suited for briareus style hunting. They move very slowly and latch on to crevices in the rock with hook like appendage at the ends of their legs but don't seem to damage anything in the tank. I have added some of the more intresting looking ones to my anemone and clown tank and they are still (2 months later) doing fine. These make a nice variety choice for live food.
I told you theyy were ugly little buggers. I put the whole lot in the tank for Legs, so she could hunt for them. with shrimp I do the same, six at a time, that way she can eat when she wants and she get to hunt. although she will come get a shiner every now and then too.
After they know the large stranger dangling fingers in the tank also brings food, you don't really have to use a stick much. In the beginning, yes, you have to use something to distance your big scary hand from the food.
Hello, I hope this is the right board for food questions as well. I am a soon to be a new octopus owner. I will be getting it from a well trusted tropical pet store and they have answered all of my questions except one. I live in the DC area that has an abundance of Maryland blue crabs. I have water access and I am wondering if i could get crabs straight from the water to feed my octopus. Before doing so I would test the water for copper and other hard metals that are leathal to octopi. I also have read that octopi shouldnt be fed goldfish as they are high in fat. Are there any fish that are suitable for them?
Using wild caught food is just fine. With the blue crabs I would remove the claws to protect the octopus, as the blues can be quite vicious. I use wild caught shrimp to feed mine but every now and then I drop a blue crab in her tank for a treat. Up there you can also get clams and mussels which are good octo treats. The goldfish is a big NO!! We recently lost an octo because someone else tried feeding it a goldfish. there is a general rule that you do not want to feed your octo any freshwater species, the exception being crayfish. Just a warning even though the LFS is very trusted i would not believe anything they claim to know about octopuses, but now that you found us we can help with any of your questions and needs.
What size tank do you have?
what kind of octo were you hoping to get?
Im going to get a pygmy octopus i believe. I was told a 30 gal tank would be the smallest tank possible, so i am going to get a 40gal breeder tank (36x18x16) as apposed to a nonbreeder (48x12x16). I talked to the petstore briefly disscussing some info about the octopi. They said they get pygmy octopi from the Caribean every 4-6 weeks. Im new to salt water fish, but Im ready for the challenge. I did have a pirahna that was supposedly for experts, but i found it quite easy. I have at least 3 months to learn as much as i can about octopi, so ill be asking around these forums for a while.
edit* one more question. About fish, i live on a brackish (half fresh half salt) river that runs into the chesapeake bay. would the fish be ok to eat. Like... kilifish, some species of minnows? perch would probably be a no go because of their spines. Just trying to find a way to lessen octo food costs. im not a fan of using frozen food. Thats what killed my pirhanna, the frozen foods nutrients are drained.
If you are getting a Caribbean dwarf, chances are it will be a mercatoris. You can (and I would recomment it) put multiples in a 30 (I have kept 2 tank born in a well filtered and heavily water changed 15). If you get them at the same time, the chances are good that they have lived together/in close proximity already and I have found that multiples seem to be a bit more active (particularly two males) than if kept singularly. As with all octos, it is a good idea to drop your water level an inch and a half to two inches below the top of the aquarium. The lowered water level coupled with a 2" overhang around the top works very well to keep them easily contained (other octopuses need much more extensive securing).
You will need VERY small crabs (mantle size or smaller). Any crabs properly sized will be hunted and eaten. I diable but try not to remove the claws. Forget the fish (mercs not likely to even think about them but fish are not a good food source), if you can net the brackish shore shrimp, they are well received but you will likely have to hand feed them (the young will hunt them in a breeder net but the adults never seem to be able to catch them on their own but take them willingly if offered. Up until Sleazy (my current female) I had not been able to get the mercs to eat frozen grocery shrimp but Sleazy takes it happily. None of mine have ever eaten hermit crabs but others have had success feeding these as well. Putting hermits in the tank is not a bad idea because they will clean up some of the left overs even if they do not become dinner.
Do note that these are a nocturnal species and will not convert to daylight living. If you can darken the room around 9:00 you should be able to see them active (males, females seem to be home bodies) around 11:00. We have been able to feed our current female much earlier (around 6:00 PM) but she takes her food in her den and does not come out to hunt that early. A red light left on 24/7 has worked very well to be able to observe them (not so good for photographs however)
Under Forums->Journals and Photos you will find several stickies at the top of the forum labeled List of Our Octopuses followed by a year. The last three have links to the journals but there are more complete journals for mercs in the 2007, unlinked posts (use the animal name to search the threads). GHolland (Varys) and I (Trapper) both raised a WC female, her young and her grand children and have forward linked the original parent thread if you want to spend the evening reading
Hmmmm, well i would probably want to make sure they are mercs before i put 2 in a tank. Iv never had an octopus but iv seen enough national geographic octopus specials to know that they eat eachother... its news to me that mercs can live together. Thanks about food advice. On my beach there are shrimp year round and about 4 months of crabs. Thank you guys so much for all of the advice. Oh, iv been readin some octopi need heaters, some do not. What about mercs?if thats what im getting. My room is about 70 degrees right now, it will probably be 75-80 in the summer. If so, any reccomended heaters, filters, air pumps? (40 gal breeder tank) (36x18x16)
Some octopuses are cannibalistic and we (TONMO members) have never had a successful attempt at keeping any mixed species even with dividers in the tank. We know that in an aquarium briareus young must be separated by the age of 2 weeks. It has always been known that you can't keep any multiples in a tank but we have proven mercs and bimacs will live peacefully (and Mote has kept a pair of vulgaris) together if they are raised/found together (this assumes adequate food and space). I have kept 3 mercs in a 45 and two in a 15 and am confident I could have kept at least 4 in the 45.
I keep my merc tanks between 75 and 78 and have had them as low as 72 (the 45, lighting keeps the 15 warmer). 70 would be cold but you many not need a heater depending upon the heat from your electronics and lighting. I do heat two of my octo tanks in the winter (non-merc tanks but still Caribbean or Indo) and use a titanium heater in the sump but no heater in the tank. Cousteau found that the vulgaris they experimented with would burn themselves on their torches so I have avoided any kind of direct heat in the aquariums. I particularly like the titanium heaters with the remote heat controls over the old style glass units that can be effected by the change in water levels during water changes (in addition to the fact that they explode with the slightest weakness). I don't like anything with a remote probe because the probes tend to get dislodged and float as well as die long before whatever they are attached to.
Thanks for all of the advice. I have a few more questions. 1. how big do mercs get? 2. how big to bimacs get? and why is it that bimacs seem to be the favorite octopus species. Because im pretty sure that the pet store im getting my octo from gets bimacs semi often as well.
Keep in mind that individual animals vary a lot in the octopus world.
As adults mercs can have a mantle from 1.5" to 2" (Two inches is a large mercatoris) and the arms range frmo 1.5 to 2 times the mantle length (mantle is measured from just behind the eyes to the tip)
Bimacs (the common name for two very similar species, bimaculoides and bimaculatus - the bimaculoides being the most commonly found for aquariums) can have mantles as long large as 5" and an arm length of 14". These are cold water Pacific octopuses and are not found in the warmer Caribbean waters.
There IS an octopus that is often called a bimac because it also has two false eye spots (ocelli) that is a warm water species. It goes by two scientific names, filosus and hummelincki because an odd naming/identification history. It's mantle can be expected to grow to about 3" with an arm length of about a foot.
Hmmm, well the thing is, I expected that the mercs would get bigger... I kinda wanted a medium sized octopus. So now im starting to consider getting a bimac. But... from what I have read they are increasingly difficult to find. My lfs is the only place I would get a octo, as i dont trust mail order things. Downside of bimacs are that I would need an expensive cooler right? Costs are actualy the most important things with what octo im going to get... It will be a month or 2 before I can get a tank, let alone the other parts and the octo itself. It is killing me knowing that in a month or 2 i will have the money for the tank and then another 3 months till i can actualy get the octo. What is the actual cost of a bimac itself? at my lfs the merc is $59.99. Im guessing bimacs are 200+? Im starting to get extremely dissapointed. Im too young for a job, but i live in a wealthy neighborhood and made $545 in three days shoveling snow (all money was deposited to car/college fund so no acsess now). Now it stopped snowing, and it looks like I wont be mowing lawns for a while... So my octo may be even more delayed. How do you guys deal with it? I CANT WAIT 6 MONTHS. Im going to start selling stuff. hopefuly wont turn to prostitution (kidding)
edit* What are you oppinions on hummelincki? They are actualy the size that i was expecting out of a merc. My lfs said they were getting some pygmy octopi from the caribean. That means theres a 1/3 chance that it could be a hummelincki right?