Once-ler's eggs in parent tank

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by sedna, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    A quick summary of what is already posted as "Once-ler's journal" in the "journals and photos" thread.

    The Once-ler was a wild caught aculeatus that I bought from a LFS. I had her about 5 weeks before she began to "brood"- to me defined as time from last seen out of den to when the eggs hatched. The tank is a 54 gal bow front tank in the living room of my home. It is positioned to the side of a window with a southern exposure, and the tank receives both indirect sunlight and moonlight. The tank is illuminated with regular "actinic blue" and "super white" tube lights.

    acquired on- Sept. 9
    began brooding- Oct. 14 (full moon)
    eggs hatched- Nov. 5 (first quarter moon)
    brooding time- 3 weeks
    temp- 78.2- 78.5F
    pH- fluctuated between 7.8 and 8.4 during brooding time
    nitrates, nitrites, ammonia- 0

    I will make a different post for the "Dopplekreisl," there were some good lessons there! This will focus on the babies in the "parent tank," where I have had best luck so far.

    The babies have been kept at above parameters since hatching, 6 days ago. I have been feeding them baby brine shrimp and "Rotifeast," a food produced by Reef Nutrition that I got at a LFS. I have been feeding them 3-4 times a day. The tank also has a healthy population of copepods or similar critters. The babies have been observed eating brine shrimp in the water column, and can direct their swimming toward or away from something. They can rest on the bottom of the tank and begin swimming after time. They have been lost in macroalgae or live rock and then emerge later. The alternate between floating and swimming, and seem to purposely rest in an ascending stream of bubbles then descend for food, or just 'cause!

    More later, point out any information I haven't shared. Don't be shy to share ideas!!
     
  2. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Six days...

    It is officially 6 days now. I have been checking H2O chemistry everyday. It continues to be good, so I still have not filtered the water in any way. I did a 5 gal change today, I think the tank is only holding 47- 50 gal right now. Not sure how often/much to change out, going with 10% every other day for now.

    There are now 20+ babies left. They continue to mostly bob at the surface, then dive to the bottom and ride the bubble streams or swim up against the glass. They are still actively feeding, chasing shrimp hatchlings (and sometimes each other). Sometimes as I sit and watch one or two will come to the front and watch me for a bit. They really do make a conscious choice to change direction (or choose one if just bobbing aimlessly) and come to the front of the tank.
     
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Could you please give more details in this thread about what you are feeding, how much, and how you are feeding it to the hatchlings, please.

    Does anyone remember what our record (number of days) for keeping small egg hatchlings is? Seems like you're doing very well with your hatchlings.

    Nancy
     
  4. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    ONE FULL WEEK!!!

    So, at this point I expected to have no octos left, babies or otherwise. It is near impossible to get an accurate count because I can't tell them apart and they don't hold still, but there are 15-20. They are so near transparent that in 50 gal of water I know I'm not getting them all in the count.

    FEEDING- from the first day I have been feeding freshly hatched brine shrimp and "Roti-feast" mixed together and dumped into the tank. I use a 3 ml pipette and suck up about 6-7 squirts (18- 21 ml) of shrimp into a clean glass, then add 2-3 (6- 9 ml) rotifeast (cold from the fridge) mixed together. I have 2 shrimp hatchers, (thanks to D Whatley) that are hatching eggs out in 14- 16 hours, and timed them about 12 hrs apart. The first couple of days I just dumped it in the tank. I feed them 3- 4 times a day.

    On Sunday I decided to "train" them for feeding time. I turn off the tank light and ambient lighting and place a strong flashlight on the glass lid so a tight beam shines through the water column for a few minutes. I spot feed them at first (the fast and smart ones), but I don't really need to because they can catch the food just fine on their own. After a moment the slow ones catch up and I dump the rest in. Some of them seem to respond to the light instantly, will change direction where ever they are in the tank and come into the light and wait until I feed them. I don't know if the rest are slow or "slow." I really only started doing this to see what would happen. The thing is now if I want to peek at them after dark with a flashlight I feel obligated to throw something to the ones who show up to eat. Also, it is much easier to observe an individual eating with that lighting, with the tank lights on their translucence makes them near invisible.

    I have really been trying to get good pictures, but it is SO hard. Between the bubble wall, their small size, transparent color... I did pull one out of the tank and look at it under the 'scope, but I couldn't get a cool Thales type shot of them. They are super cute, with their giant eyes and polka dots that you can't see without magnification. I didn't take long with it, though, I didn't want to kill it.

    So, where do you all suggest I go from here? They don't seem that much bigger yet, should I keep feeding the same stuff? Any ideas for more fun experiments?
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Sedna,
    I would think that continuing what you are doing is the best answer until you see deaths. The one thing that I keep hoping Roy will comment on is when to try better food (fortunately you already have pods in the tank but they are likely too large right now and a tank full of live food has proven not to be a solution even for large egg species). Can you tell if they are eating the RotiFeast? I ordered some in a sampler pack but they sent two bottles of the phyto (plant vs meat - that I will never use up) and am hoping they will reship. I also got some live, small pods from them that I am trying to grow in a small tank but I have no idea of their reproduction rate.

    How many of them are coming to the light? My guess is that these are your best shot since they understand food (which seems to be an initial problem with any of the ceph fry - rabbit trail - One of the recent articles on cuttles suggest they can id food from inside the egg and will tend to favor afterwards the critters they see while still encapsulated - not believed to be true of octos though).

    As far as I know you are now officially in uncharted TONMO waters. YOU GO GIRL :mrgreen:

    PS - One other thought on pictures. I found a cheap (like $2.00) large magnifying glass hanging on one of the impulse racks at Publics. I picked up two for the grand kids for something fun to do with the aquariums. Putting something like this over a clear glass of tank water might give you a chance at a photo. If you happen to have one of those lighted magnifiers for sewing, that might be better yet.

    PPS - Relative to something common (flea, tick, eraser ...) how big are the mantles and how long (proportionally) are the arms?

    PPPS - Still no sign of Serendipty or hatchlings - full moon was tonight.
     
  6. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    9 days and 4 babies

    "The Smart Ones" is how I think of the group of 4 that are left. They come over right away when I set up the lights for meal time, and they are the curious ones who come to the front of the tank when we sit and watch them. The H20 parameters are still great, I'm doing a 10% change every other day. I'm still feeding the same stuff the same way. Today I thought I'd get some cyclopeeze at the LFS- mostly just 'cause they've got it.

    My husband and daughter both commented that they seemed to be twice their original size but I never measured any last week. The volume of water seems huge compared to them. They seem so venerable- there are plenty of bristle worms and brittle stars. Yet, I remind myself that the H2O volume and natural clean- up crew are why the water quality is good. There are more, very different micro critters now. These things that look like umbrellas- green under the scope, are pulsating through the column, too. Who knows what caused them to grow...

    My 10 yr old caught one in a test tube yesterday so we could try a photography session again. The first time I tried in a petri dish but they really like to cling to the sides of things. I set it on a dark towel because they disappear on white and light colors. We set it next to the mm side of a tape measure, and relied on the natural sun because everything else made terrible shadows. You'll have to enlarge the shots of them in the tank, but you can see how closely they resemble all the bubbles, and why they are so hard to get photos of. I have a nice camera (nikon D70s), but boy do I wish I had more zoom! With only 4 left, I will not be removing them from the tank again just for "fun."

    So now, HELP:bugout: If you have any more suggestions on what are important things for me to keep track of now, what I should be doing to make sure that any more progress is helpful to the rest of the community, please let me know!
     

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  7. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    BAD quality clip of babies on you tube

    I did manage to upload a video of the little guys eating on to you tube. I don't have a "real" video recorder, just my nikon "cool pics" in video mode. By the time it went through the upload process on You Tube, it's pretty much nothing but blur. I know I should be smart enough to post the link, but my tech support guy is at work. The title of the clip is "Octopus (aculeatus) hatchlings eating" and it's in the pets and animals section. I'll see if I can borrow a better camera for this because their feeding behavior is cool to watch.
     
  8. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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  9. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Thanks Monty! I was pretty disappointed when I saw how "pixelated" and blurred the video was when after it uploaded. I have more but I'm not sure if it is worth the trouble. I know some of you use "photo bucket," would that give better results?

    I wanted the beam of flashlight to be visible, and half way through the clip I added the food. Instead it looks like a murky mess!

    Honestly I can't tell if they are eating the rotifeast any longer, but at first it seemed they went for that instead of the shrimp. It is thick and hangs in the water and is easy for them to get to. Now it is no problem for them to catch the shrimp.
     
  10. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    made it to 10 days!

    Last night marked 10 days. When I went to bed, there were 2, this morning I can only find one. I doubt this one will make it another night. I'm still feeding the same stuff, baby was just eating it still. I see it dive bomb the shrimp, but in the last couple of days my husband and I both have seen babies with pieces of "stuff" in their arms, they are trying to eat things bigger than themselves. I think it's larger 'pods or something in the rotifeast.

    The H2O quality is still spot on! There is are so many small living things floating in that water now that it looks like primordial ooze. I think if I passed an electric current through the tank I might generate a new life form. "Michigan Mom Mutate Kracken in Living Room." Hey, there's an idea for Octokidwriter!
     
  11. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Well, you have obviously been doing something right. Even though your population has dwindled, I think you have something worth celebrating.
     
  12. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    AM,
    I have an idea for the 60 gal tank you mentioned if you are fortunate to get small eggs again!:sagrin:
     
  13. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    It's very good that you have any left after 10 days!

    Maybe it all gets down to food size, having exactly the right size of food at the right time.

    Nancy
     
  14. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    I'm all ears.
     
  15. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Empty tank

    Well, half way through Sunday the last baby was lost. I'm not counting my run as a full 11 days, more like 10 and 1/2. Sorry I didn't post yesterday, but my patient family was ready for me to buy food FOR human consumption and to change the laundry instead of tank water!

    At MACNA this year "her deepness," Sylvia Earl spoke. She thanked the people in the crowd, home hobbyists, for our dedication and work in our hobby. "You are doing science in your living rooms!" she told us, that what we have learned in the hobby over the years has contributed to what REAL scientists are learning about the oceans and the life it contains. So even if it has been very casual, "fly by the seat of my pants" science, I'm so proud to have contributed even just a bit! When I told my husband I want to do this again, he said "Hell yes!" Now I want to try a large egged octo, if I could jut get one...
     
  16. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Parent tank: what worked, what didn't

    I asked Roy for help and he mentioned that it takes a large tank and lots of food, and a way to keep the babies from bumping into the sides of the tank (I assume he meant a kreisel tank). I'd have to agree that the 55 gal tank had much better success, for a few reasons.

    -The larger water volume was easier to maintain for constant quality and temperature, and had enough room. The babies are little but they swim a lot and I can't imagine keeping them in tiny containers!! Honestly the best ratio was when there were about 30 babies OR LESS in the 50- 45 gal that were in there. They spent a lot of time floating the surface- think of how much "personal space" the surface of your tank will give the babies!

    -The population of benthic creatures kept dead babies and uneaten food from polluting the water. I'm sure the population of bristle worms and brittle stars kept my water clean.

    -I fed often (4 times a day when I could) and I fed a mix of stuff. Next time I will start feeding time in the beam of light right from the beginning. Not that the babies are so smart, but it seemed to be a great way to concentrate phototropic foods. I fed a mixture of "Rotifeast," cyclop-eze and newly hatched brine shrimp. I'm not sure if they ate the stuff in the rotifeast but it is thick and trapped the shrimp and floated at the surface for a bit then sank as slowly as they seemed to like.

    -I had a pre-existing population of copepods. Once I knew I had a female, I started dosing the tank with phytoplanktons- this was about 5 weeks before the babies hatched. Since the lighting is low in the octo tank, I had no algae problems, but I got a bunch of super tiny 'pods on the sunny part of the glass. As the critters grew they moved toward the dark corners. I don't know for sure if the hatchlings ate the tinies, but both my husband and I saw different babies eating the bigger 'pods (at 6 or 7 days old), carrying pieces bigger than themselves!!!

    In retrospect (or, if I had Animal Mother's 60 gal)...
    -The babies float at the top a lot. One was left in the kreisel, survived to too strong current by hiding in the macroalgae. I had hoped the algaes I got would float but they didn't. Next time I'd get some sea grass or something that will float at the surface and give them a place to rest. It'd be even better if there were a population of 'pods on it!

    -I'd keep a small population of tiny brittle stars on some smooth shells or rock, but keep the floor of the container mostly bare. Sometimes the babies would rest on the bottom a moment after a dive bomb, and in my tank there were a lot of predators. Also, I was never able to find them in the substrate after they died. I never had a chance to look at a dead one under my microscope. We found that the "Coolpix" camera lens pointed into even our small (1X and 3X magnification) would yield a recognizable photo- but we were left with rotifers and brine shrimp before we figured out that trick.

    -The bubble wall was good and I put a diffuser on it but still had spots where the bubble stream was too turbulent for the babies. The babies seemed to willingly travel up in the streams once they got to the bottom. I'm sure they were "riding the bubbles" on purpose because you could sit and watch the same babies swim down and ride up over and over. Toward the end, though, they seemed to get tumbled about too much. I think I'd try sinking a SMALL power head in some sort of filtered box (they couldn't get through the filter sleeve material we used on the kreisel). I'd ring the top of my tank with a tube that had tiny holes in it, so that the tank was ringed with a very LOW flow downward. Then maybe a very diffused air stone in the middle.

    I'm sure I'll think of more. Please point out things I forgot to post!!! I'm working on how to upload movies to our "my mac" page- I haven't given up on that yet!
     
  17. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    :sad:

    thanks for keeping us informed. I suspect you've broken the TONMO record for small-egged babies, at least as far as I can remember, and having a record of what was working for a while is very useful.
     
  18. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Congratulations on 10 1/2 days and all the good information you've given us!

    Nancy
     

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