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

DWhatley

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The 150 is way better (but may still be small but likely doable - fortunately the Caribbean animals are quite a bit smaller than their Mediterranean cousins. IMO, these are the smartest of the octos we keep and I would dearly love to keep another (be sure to read the Box of Chocolates summary linked in the New Keepers info collection) but best practice is to take what you get, accomodate and enjoy. Like LittleBit, they can be aggressive but, as you may see in my journal, I think LittleBit wanted attention and that I was probably a bit sissy with interaction (she is the only octo that has left sucker marks on my arm - they are probably the strongest of the home kept as well).

You will not likely be happy keeping an O. mercatoris (Caribbean dwarf) after keeping a vulgaris. Mercs are delightful but are nocturnal and rarely interactive. O.hummelincki is an diurnal, in-between size that is more or less perfect for most keepers, fits well in a 60 gallon tank (again, long better than square as they do swim a bit) - just hard to come by (Shelby, my current ward and is O. hummelincki). Where O. hummelincki is diurnal (and sleeps at night as well as early in the AM) O. vulgaris is noted to be crepuscular (foraging early evening, early morning) but can be found out and about at any time of the day or night (noted in the wild as well as in the aquarium). They CAN appear somewhat similar (true of many species) in appearance but it does not take long to note the differences. Besides size, O. hummelincki has a notable (usually) set of false eye spots below each eye.

On the West Coast (coldwater) O. bimaculoides is very popular (slightly larger than O. hummelincki but a 60 is doable) but cannot be sold so obtaining one is difficult and requires a chiller.

O. briareus is another that may eventually be of interest. Also a Caribbean and quite crepuscular. It is larger than O. hummelincki but smaller than O. vulgaris. I often call them the blonde of the octopuses as they don't appear as intelligent as O. vulgaris but are stunning to see when they deploy their very deep mantle.

I've kept and fully enjoyed all of the above and favoritism often runs with the one currently in house :wink:

I looked over your thread and I think this fella looks exactly like the pics you have on the webbing and mantle.
I suspect you may be looking at the @Lmecher 's El Diablo pictures as LittleBit had me confused for quite sometime (she was a baby when she arrived) and I kept insisting she was O. joubini for months. El Diablo's pictures are far more typical of O. vulgaris.
 
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DWhatley

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As I was feeding Shelby, it occurred to me to mention that no mollusks were safe with LittleBit. With all other octos I have been able to leave several clams in the tank. Eventually, most were eaten but some lasted through several octopuses. Not with LittleBit, she ate anything you would put in the tank so the only clean-up crew I could keep with here were brittle stars. A couple of turbo snails survived the longest but she would try to eat even these (I would see her wrestling them off the wall and tucked into her mantle but the operculum is strong enough to give them a fighting chance. There is a photo series with one crawling around after such an attack.
 

Nathan Belz

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I sent an email to the wholesaler and he sent me back the following message

"Glad you like the octopus and it is doing well. It is Octopus briareus. I hand collected it here in the Florida Keys about 2 miles off shore. He was just cruising the reef not in a hole.

Thank you for your order.

Jason Fox
Foxy Saltwater Tropical Fish

jfox@mysaltwaterfishstore.com

www.mysaltwaterfishstore.com

321-303-6629"

You never know if that's 100% accurate but he did right me back right away.
 

DWhatley

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Until more pictures, I am sticking with the O. vulgaris guess. They are sometimes (as with the two I have linked above) found in the Keys and used to be fairly common around the Tampa area (not so much over the last 10 years though).

In trying to ID an octopus (my hobby extension but it often takes me a bit to be comfortable with a good guess and I have been fooled with babies often - that being said, O. briareus young are quite distinguishable), one of the features I look for is the color of the tips of the sucker rings (most helpful in differentiating between O. hummelincki and O. bimaculoides). This one has blue/purple tips and O. briareus usually shows only white. Another is the arm to mantle ratio (keep in mind that arms a often truncated so this is not always reliable). O. briareus' arms are about 6 x the mantle length where vulgaris only about 4 times. Watch for it to raise skin flaps (papillae) around the mantle. O. briareus only raises tiny pinhead bumps, never skin flaps. Another is skin patterns, O. vulgaris has splotchy circles that may show orange/yellow spots (on occasion) and often show a veined pattern, O. briareus has only two colors, white and shades of peach (almost to a brown) that tend to run in stripes or blend. Briareus also has an iridescent green (men often call it blue) set of tiny dots covering the animal (when they die, the spots seem to be on a top, thin translucent layer that can slide around, not embedded in the thick skin). These can usually be seen with a flashlight (and is a way divers will often find them on night dives). The fact that it was out cruising during the day also favors O. vulgaris but one cannot rely heavily on time of day for crepuscular animals. The eyes are also different. O. vulgaris eyes sit low on the mantle and often show a stripe where O. briareus tend to hold them out in a V shaped stalks (again, they can present themselves in different shapes so a collection of pictures is always more helpful than a single image). The eyes in your later pictures, along with the wide mantle resulted in my changing my initial guess.

@Animal Mother's journal of Kalypso has a really nice series of images showing O. briareus' color effects. I think you will see the difference between the two species from these images and the ones of el Diablo.
 
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DWhatley

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Rereading your initial post, I will recommend pulling the temp down to between 72 and 75. 72 is a little cold but with the closed top, the display will likely be warmer than the sump (assuming your heater is in the sump - do put it there if it is in the display as they don't understand too hot to touch - information from an experiment Jacques Cousteau performed with torches filming them underwater).

I'll also recommend some fun reading that is still very relevant. Octopus and Squid, The Soft Intelligence is out of print but used copies are easy to find (Amazon and eBay) and inexpensive. Excellent read and there is quite a bit about their adventures with the Mediterranean O. vulgaris.
 

Nathan Belz

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Just thought I would share an update. Since moving into its new home the octo has adjusted well. I am expecting fiddler crabs in from the suggested source tomorrow, but was very pleased when he ate raw clams from central market. He also ate fresh soft shell crab.

My daughter (3 years old), decided that we are naming it Olaf (after the snowman from Frozen).

He inked for the first time yesterday and I'm not sure why, but it was a minor amount and stringy. It was immediately picked up by the skimmer and filter media.

So far I think everything is going good (at leSt as far as I can tell. Olaf is extremely active and moving around more often than not still.

I will keep everyone posted. Thanks for all your help thus far.
 

DWhatley

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I added Olaf's name and expected species (reviewing the pictures, I am pretty confident of vulgaris) to the title. May I move this thread to our Journals? Love it that your 3 year old takes and interest!
 

DWhatley

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No change at all to what you are doing but by moving this to journals in stead of Octopus Care, it helps to keep all our stories in one forum.
 

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