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octupus with eggs help!!

Tomh

O. bimaculoides
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#1
Hi i just purchased an octupus that the LFS had in a critter container. It turns out that the octupus had eggs. I am acclimating him. I plan on putting the container in tank. There are about 10 strings of white eggs attached to top of container. This is my third one but never dealt with eggs. Told it was a Macrapus. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Tom
 

cuttlegirl

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#2
Well, you are acclimating her... probably not much hope for the eggs, but you can put the container in the tank with her. How big are the eggs?

Your octopus may not eat after this, either...
 

DWhatley

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#4
If it is a macropus (pictures of the female will help to made a better guess) and imported from the Philippines, it is likely Callistoctopus aspilosomatis. Unfortunately, this is a small egg species (the eggs would be about the size of the ball on a bulletin board stick pin - large eggs slightly smaller than the larger, tubular pins). There has been some Aquarium and hobbyist success with the larger eggs but only less than a handful with the small eggs. The problem seems to be finding food for the tiny hatchlings. Crab zoae (newly hatched crabs) has been the only food that seems to work but the survival count in all cases is very low (1 or 2 individuals - high mortality is also the case in the larger egg animals but hobbyists have been able to raise several to adults.)

She will likely lay more eggs so be sure there is a den available when you release her. The ones already laid can be made available to her but she is more likely to lay the new ones in her new home and ignore these (baseing this on a single observation with O. vulgaris).

You can watch for development on the first laid if you place them in an observable location. They may begin to mature if they are fertile (a likely possibility) but they will not likely hatch if she does not tend them (you can attempt to aerate them with a gentle water flow). Watch for two black spots. Those will be the eyes. Most (discounting the GPO) small egg species eggs hatch 2-3 weeks after being laid.
 

Tomh

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#5
Thanks, right now she is tending to her eggs. I am worried that if i open the hatch to the container she will stop tending to them. She has been in tank for 4hrs should i open the hatch and see what happens? thanks
 

DWhatley

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#6
She will tend the eggs until they should hatch (whether they do or not) and then die. If you want to let her continue to try to brood these eggs (I still think she may produce more) then I would attempt to provide a cave like structure (so that it is dark) around the critter keeper and open it so that she can still tend the eggs but has more freedom of movement (the O. briareus I kept used various methods of keeping the eggs moving, including placing her mantle under the egg mass at some points so she did move around in her den but did not leave it). A brooding female does not need much space since they don't often venture out and don't (normally) eat but I worry about the water quality in a closed mini-tank as well as enough room to alternate her brooding methods.
 

Tomh

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#7
Thank you, here are photos of her and the eggs. She has made a new den in the cave and probably laid more eggs. She collected all the empty shells in the tank and put them in cave. She has not went back to the original eggs as far as i know. Do you know of any sources of food for eggs? Can anyone identify her? I really appreciate any input. Thanks Tom
 

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Tomh

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#9
Hi her tentacles are about 12 to 14 inches and they are webbed. Her mantle is about 3 inches and she is light brown. Thanks
 

DWhatley

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#10
Definitely a small egg species. There are more eggs in the original cluster than I expected so I am less sure as to whether or not she has more to lay. The shell gathering is typical of octopuses to make a "door" for their dens. We do see it in non-brooding animals and always to excess when a female broods. Basically she shuts out predators (and maybe light) and remains in her closed den until hatching (or until infertile eggs would have hatched).

For images and journals of the suspected animal you can search titles for Callistoctopus aspilosomatis and macropus to compare to what you have observed. I have kept two of these and you can find my journals under titles of Puddles (male) and Beldar (female) (for some reason they did not show up in the linked scan).
 

DWhatley

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#12
You are in new territory with trying to do this so anything you try is distinct. You can try to aerate them with a gentle current in the tank as this has been done with some success. The group that I placed outside the den were infertile. LittleBit did not pay any attention to them and they simply disintegrated. She did try to care for others in her den in spite of the fact that they could not hatch. Eventually, I removed all of the eggs in her den in hopes that she would stop brooding. This worked for a couple of days but she then sequestered herself and proceeded with normal senescence.
 

Tomh

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#13
Hi Here are pics of eggs. i see some black spots and mother is in separate den and seems to be active. I am going to feed now. She was caught maybe a month ago. Could or do these eggs look viable?
 

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DWhatley

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#14
If you are seeing tiny black dots inside the eggs (i.e. not the dark connecting strand - all that I can make out in the picture) then yes, the eggs are fertilized and may hatch. Keeping a gentle flow on them should help keep them free of algae. Eggs have been hatched without the mother but life after a few days (with or without the mother's care) has no hope. In my opinion, it is a rewarding experience to watch them develop and photograph what you can but be prepared for the losses.
 

Tomh

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#16
Hi Just a heads up. Squidward ate last night. I put a clam on half shell and she ate the meat. That is not normal. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks Tom
 

DWhatley

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#17
Definitely try to keep her eating. On a rare occasion we do see the females eat after laying eggs and those animals lived a bit longer. Trapper, my first octopus ate during most of her brooding and then would eat cyclop-eeze (VERY tiny shrimp) afterwards. She lived almost 12 more weeks but this is very unusual (she only had 6 hatchlings which may have played a part in her extended longevity). I attempted removing the eggs from LittleBit's den (they were not fertile since she came to me as an immature animal) in hopes that she might start eating again (rumor had it that this MIGHT help). She did come out for a day or two but did not eat and reverted to brooding non-existent eggs without life extension.
 

Tomh

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#18
Thanks will do. Do not know if she laid more eggs. The other day i tried to find her nest and she grabbed my finger so i gave up without being able to see if there were any more eggs.
 

Tomh

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#19
Hi its been a couple of weeks and Legz is still eating but never comes out of her den. I only see her tentacles. Is this normal. Will she ever come back out? How long can eggs take to hatch or die? Thanks for your help. Tom
 

DWhatley

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#20
Depending upon the species and water temperature, egg can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 years (or so they think). Two weeks to two months is most common for the animals we keep in a home aquarium with the small egg species having a shorter brooding cycle than the large egg and warm water speeding up hatching. Since Legz is still eating, she may survive beyond her brood cycle. The short answer, all you can do is wait and see.

Have you noticed any changes in the eggs?
 

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