Octopus Housing Requirements

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by OutlawBoater92, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. OutlawBoater92

    OutlawBoater92 Cuttlefish Registered

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    Hello again,

    (I'm currently working on an observational learning thesis which looks into the capabilities of bimacs in Middlebury, VT)

    We've had the tanks up and running since about April, and we obtained two bimacs about two weeks ago. The animals are doing great and have readily adapted to our feeding schedule. One question I that I'm starting to work through:
    What exactly do people think is the minimum amount of non-clear housing that a bimac needs to be comfortable and still behave "naturally?" (objective term, I know, but you know what I mean...non stressed). We're going to begin observational learning trials by allowing some animals to watch other animals perform a task that has been taught to them by a researcher, and documenting the difference between the two learning pathways. The problem is live rock isn't exactly clear, and the dens our animals have constructed don't allow them to see each other through the clear membranes. I know that for some marine animals a clear tube works just as well as a rock cave, is this also true for bimac's in people's experiences? We're running VERY dim lights (it looks like a dark room in there!) so do people think we could substitute a majority of the rock for clear plastic containers and the like. We obviously don't want to ruin an otherwise stable system too, the plan CAN change!

    Thanks for your help!
    -O
     
  2. shipposhack

    shipposhack Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    It probably would not be a good idea to take out rock. Live rock serves as filteration and taking some out could hurt your water quality. I don't see how they would be comfortable in a clear den because they will usually hide in there when scared, etc., and would still be able to see their surroundings when in their den.
     
  3. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    I saw a show on cephs and there was an octopus carrying a brown beer bottle across the sand. The diver coaxed it into climbing into a clear bottle. The octopus checked it out, then returned to its brown bottle and carried on about its business. I think it reallized it was better off in the less transparent bottle.

    Just something to think about.
     
  4. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    I wonder if a dark red glass den could look opaque to an octopus, but transparent to a human? I guess that doesn't solve the problem, though, because you want the octo to be able to see the other octo, so you being able to observe it in its den doesn't help that much... but it might be good for other research uses (and/or fun for pet observation purposes!)

    I was looking at the GPO rhodopsin absorption curves and red LED emission curves, and can see why red LEDs still have a fair bit of overlap with what octos can see... Assuming most octos have a similar visual response to GPOs, the range where humans can see OK and octos can't is pretty dark red, so bright reds and pinks are fairly visible to octos... I've been meaning to look at laser diodes, since they're locked to a fixed frequency, while the LEDs tend to have a pretty wide frequency spread...
     
  5. OutlawBoater92

    OutlawBoater92 Cuttlefish Registered

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    Shippo,

    I have a rather large sump I could relocate almost all of the live rock to if necessary, so we would still gain the benefit from the biological filtration, sorry to not be clear!

    So maybe the answer is some sort of pink tubing or translucent plastic which would offer cover from light and make the octopus den more "comfrotable" while still being somewhat see-through. I'm also interested at looking into if they even care that another octopus is being fed and in what manner, so perhaps this is just a part of the study we need to better manage. At a basic level, I want them to at least be aware of activity in a neighboring partition, which could be facilitated by a semi-clear plastic housing option.
     
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    When they get old enough, octopuses seem to like to watch activity. They will often sit in their dens positioned so that they can watch things.

    I don't know whether they could recognize feeding if a piece of frozen shrimp was handed out, but they certainly can recognize the shape of a live crab, even from some distance.

    Nancy
     
  7. OutlawBoater92

    OutlawBoater92 Cuttlefish Registered

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    Nancy,

    As I have noticed! So far we've coaxed one of our especially "curious" individuals to enter a clear bottle and remove a fiddler crab, and as I write this I'm filming while another fiddler sits inside a cork-stopped container....hopefully he gets the idea!

    I think I can solve the problem by changing where the dens are in relaton to the other chambers...the only problem will be octo-rearrangement. We've installed red-acetate over standard lab florescent fixtures to make a darkroom effect, so from what I gather I should consider this to be very low light to an octopus, but not total darkness?

    Thanks again for all of TONMO's help!
    -O
     
  8. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    We had someone recently report on teaching an octopus to unscrew a jar. The octopus keeper started with the jar lid just barely screwed on, and the crab inside. Then each subsequent time, he screwed the jar lid on a little tighter and the octopus learned how to unscrew the lid and get to the crab.

    Nancy
     

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