[Octopus]: Olaf - O. Vulgaris - Need help - new Octo just arrived and no idea what to do...

Nathan Belz

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Ok so this is my first post although I have been following this board for a while. The title might be a little dramatic. Basically my wife suprised me this morning with a new octopus delivery for xmas. I had been planning on getting one eventually but wasn't really ready to pull the plug. I was hoping to get approval on what I am doing and make sure it is all correct.

Luckily I was already getting everything ready. I had one more fish in my QT and then I was going to put him in my 265 gallon reef display. The QT is the new home to my octopus as planned. I have already octoproofed it as best I could. It's a cube with a glass top, then I cut thick acrylic to go on top of the recessed glass with very tight clearances on all incoming connection. I am going WO weight it down till I can build clamps to lock it in. The overflows have sponges securing them. I am pulling the hydor 550 out till I can get netting for it.

I have the parameters set at 79 degrees, 8.2 ph @ 1.026 Ammonia and nitrite are both 0 and have been for 9 months. Nitrates are about 5ppm, but I will water change before dropping in the octopus.

I am using Rodi water and IO salt.

I have been drip acclimating for about an hour now. He came with salinity at 1.027, ph of 7.2 and 70ish degree temp.

I plan to acclimate for another 1 or so.

The Octo has not inked.

The tank has been up for nearly a year and fed well but no meds were used, meds were only administered in my hospital tank (not qT)

The octopus is way bigger than I expected which I no is not ideal. He is going in a 60 gallon cube. I have no ID at all so don't know where to start with that.

I haven't sourced food at all either. I know the basics of what to feed them. If anyone knows a member in dfw (Plano technically) I would love to pick their brain on this.

I will post pics of the octopus shortly. Sorry this is so long I just know these questions will be asked so thought I would go ahead and supply the answers now :). Thanks for having me.
 

DWhatley

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80% guess on Octopus briareus but more pictures will help. Do you know where it was originally found? O briareus would be a Caribbean species and likely a local catch. This one looks to be an adult. I usually take about 3 hours to acclimate but mine have been shipped vs purchased locally. If the animal seems relaxed, I will offer food before releasing it. I recommend NOT using the bag to release to the tank. If you can coax it into a container or shell, then move both to the tank, this is preferable, particularly with O. briareus as it tends to freeze and take its time exploring the tank.

Tank prep sounds excellent. A 60 with sump is usually adequate for the suggested species but a longer (vs square) tank is preferred. Without sump, I would suggest extra water changes. Nitrates don't seem to be a major concern and usually run much higher because of the feeding waste but keeping ammonia and nitrite to zero is critical.

You can try thawed table shrimp on a stick (regular nylon feeding stick or bamboo skewers work well). Start with a piece somewhat larger than the eye. For an octopus of this size, a whole small shrimp will likely be appropriate but acclimating them to thawed is often helped by starting with a smaller piece.

For live food (suggested once a week if you can get it or any time it stops eating), any small crabs (I remove pinchers) are universally accepted. The most commonly available are fiddlers (almost always available on-line, Paul Sachs has been a reliable supplier, year in and year out.) I actually prefer smaller water dwelling crabs but they are not often easy to source. Another healthy favorite has been blue crab claws. When in season, I raid the local Asian market for loose claws in their live bins. I have had to try to explain that I am not removing the claws, just looking for the ones already separated from their owners. These freeze very well (don't buy the frozen as they have been cooked). O. briareus is supposed to love lobster but the few keepers that have offered raw pieces have been rebuffed. Fish are not recommended (especially anything bought from a pet store). Live clams from the grocery/seafood store can usually be kept in the tank, add a small amount of filtration and don't cause a mess when they are eaten (not usually a first choice but may be pounced upon during the first month of tank acclimation) or die. I place them in a well aerated bucket of tank water for several hours to expel their shipping contamination and to be sure they are healthy. Be sure to place them in a fairly deep bucket as they will empty something too shallow. Other mollusks are also natural foods but can make a mess of the tank and I don't offer them. (anymore).

There is a collection of post linked in this thread that are usually helpful to first time keepers.
 
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DWhatley

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Oops, Now I fear this is O. vulgaris. A much larger species. I've kept one in a 60 BUT LittleBit never grew to normal vulgaris size. El Diablo is more typical. This is one of my very favorite species but I am concerned about space.
 
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Nathan Belz

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Thanks Dwhately,

Your post is very helpful. I have a feeling I will be reading forum post all night. I did get the Octo (no name yet) acclimated. It took a while to bring the PH up and ended up taking 2.5 hours.

He explored for a while but seems active and happy. I will have to get food, I do have muscles that I feed my bamboo shark. I might try those.

He appears to have been either injured in collection or at another point. One of his legs is missing all the way back to the webbing and another is missing the tip. I don't know if they grow back...

Should I treat him with anything like antibiotics?

I posted new pics :)
 

Nancy

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Hi Nathan,

Welcome to the site! That's a nice looking octopus, very sturdy-looking.

I'm here in Far North Dalllas and know something about octopuses ( and have kept them). Where was your octopus purchased? You might be able to get more information on where it came from if you'd ask detailed questions, and rhat would help determine the species.

You will have to try different types of food, and they're not very available here in the Dallas area. I ended up offering very fresh thawed frozen shrimp,
occasional live shrimp and fiddler crabs shipped in, an occasional crawfish. She would not
eat any type of fish or lobster. But then, octopuses have different personalities, so it doesn't hurt to try.

Send me a private message if you like.

Nancy
 

DWhatley

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LOL, saw the pics and hence my change of id (I give a 97% to the O. vulgaris guess, they EYES are a give away as well as the shorter arm length to mantle ratio).

Yes, octopus arms grow back (and regularly lose them to crabs, eels and fish - grow back rate is not clear and depends on age as well as species but you should see at least an inch a month - with some this may be a week's growth). The damage was likely natural. Look at the very end of the damaged arms. It is very rare (even for very young animals) to collect one in the wild that has no arm damage. You should start seeing a small thread (the first time I saw it I wondered if it was dead skin that should be removed - DON'T). Eventually, you will see suckers along the edge and then it will start growing out to look like the other arms.

No antibiotics needed for arm detachment. They seal off these wounds in seconds and bleed very little. I do keep antibiotics available (tetracycline) and will administer in food if there are signs of infection (occasionally the eyes have problems) but rarely need them.
 
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DWhatley

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This is our FIRST octo of the new year and I'd like to move this thread to our journals (in hopes that we get to follow along with your experience :biggrin2:). With your permission, I'll also add the name (when you find one that fits) and guessed species to the title to help others find the thread in the future.
 

Nathan Belz

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Thanks to both of you. I looked over your thread and I think this fella looks exactly like the pics you have on the webbing and mantle. I will start reading on o vulgaris . This Octo is way bigger than what I was planning on. I expected to get one in that was 3-4 inches lol. Legs spread tip to tip would be 15ish inches.

I have a 150 gallon that will be decommissioned soon so maybe that would be better for him. I do run a sump with filter socks, skimmer, and a dual power filter for extra biological mechanical filtration as well as carbon. It would be a while to get the 150 setup though. Luckily it was a reef and is copper free!
 

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