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Octopus in a Reef Tank

SurfDudeVB

Larval Mass
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Oct 19, 2008
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3
#1
I'm new to the octopus field but have been in the reef field for quite some time. Well, my girlfriend works in a lab in at Clemson, studying the immune systems of oysters. She and her department head have started discussing setting up a tank in the window opening towards the hall and back towards their lab for others and themselves to view. But, upon talking to their higher ups and lab officials over them they have found out that due to OSHA laws they are not able to keep vertebrates in their lab. So, the discussion has turned to a reef tank with the possibility of a variety of corals and if not an octopus, a cuttlefish... I originally said why not corals and some nice shrimps and crabs, but I was told I was being boring. My major question is are octopus fine to keep in a tank with corals and are there any limitations to the types of corals. They were thinking something around the 75-120 gallon range. I understand that they will need a skimmer rated much higher than the true amount of water. What types of octopus would be suited for this size tank and reef setup. They would prefer a day active species since that's the only time they are there. Any ideas and suggestions towards getting this ball rolling would be awesome. I've done some reading but I want some input on if you were starting all over and these were the stipulations, what would you do?
 

monty

TONMO Supporter
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#2
:welcome: to TONMO. There are some corals that don't do well with octos, generally anything that stings. I think it's generally SPS soft corals that are OK, but you should search a bit or wait until someone with more experience or better memory than I have answers.
 

Animal Mother

Architeuthis
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#3
Welcome to TONMO. As Monty mentioned, the limitation is corals that sting. So no euphyllia or anything like that. Most LPS are out. Many SPS corals would be fine but the intense lighting might irritate an octopus (even a day active one) and SPS are delicate and expensive. Combine that with an octopus's kleptomania and you have a bunch of busted up expensive corals and possibly an octopus that hides all the time.

I would suggest sticking with soft corals, minus palythoa's (they sting octos too). For a 75-120 gallon tank I would suggest an O. briareus. They are naturally nocturnal but don't seem to have much trouble switching their lifestyle to accomodate a daytime feeding schedule. O. hummellincki is day active but might be harder to find.
 

Nancy

Titanites
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#4
Welcome to TONMO.com!:welcome:

Sorry to hear that invertebrates such as shrimp, crabs are considered boring! I have just that kind of tank, and I always find it interesting! And I don't even have a spectacular shrimp at this time. But an octopus or cuttlefish would give people something more to watch.

Dale (Animal Mother), could you please list the soft coral species that you've successfully kept with an octopus? Several of our members have kept mushrooms successfully. Dwhatley even keeps them in very low light. Do you try to tuck them into places where the octopus is less likely to notice them or run over over them?

Nancy
 

L8 2 RISE

Haliphron Atlanticus
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Dec 14, 2007
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656
#5
I personally would go with cuttlefish for that tank. Not just because I am more of a cuttlefish person, but because I think that would be a better choice for that tank especially if you want to see the animal pretty often and want to keep corals. The cuttles wont be as likely to fiddle with corals, and are out most of the time so you will be able see them and others looking at the tank will immediately see what's in there. You would also be able to even put one or two stinging corals in there because the cuttles will naturally stear clear of them
 

cuttlegirl

Colossal Squid
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Sep 16, 2005
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4,930
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Pittsburgh, PA
#6
:welcome: I would go with cuttlefish also (although I am a little biased...). You could keep several S. bandensis in a tank that size and you would be more likely to interact with them.
 

Animal Mother

Architeuthis
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#7
Nancy;126847 said:
Dale (Animal Mother), could you please list the soft coral species that you've successfully kept with an octopus?
Sinularia (finger leather)
Anthelia (waving hand polyps)
Capnella (Kenya Tree)
Sarcophytom (Leather)
Lobophytom (Leather)
Xenia (....Xenia)
Gorgonian (photosynthetic gorgonia)
Cladiella (Colt coral)
Pachyclavularia (star polyps)

That's all I can think of.

The Palythoas get the same reaction as an Aiptasia. Looks like touching something very hot or getting shocked.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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Gainesville, GA
#8
I keep these polyps (commonly called sun polyps but there is another that also goes by the same name that is NOT acceptable). These have very short tentacles, get fairly large in diameter and multiply well. When the octopus encounters it, it will close up and all three I have kept with them show no reaction at all during the frequent encounters.

These are the mushrooms Nancy mentioned and they will survive even la ow light set up (but not grow large).

I also have some non-photosynthetic (deeper water and thicker "stemmed") gorgonians with out reaction or destruction.
 

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