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Preserving octopus tentacles in a jar...


Oct 19, 2010
I want to preserve octopus tentacles in a jar and the full baby octopus in another. I've been researching this on the internet for two months now. Every site has different information. I'd like the jars to last at least a year if not more.

Here are some of the things I've found...which one is correct?

-Place the octopus in a jar full of rubbing alcohol, seal it off

-Soak the octopus in formaldehyde for a week, take it out, then place it in a jar of rubbing alcohol.

-Place the octopus in a jar full of denatured alcohol

Which one works? I've also read that with most of these methods you need to poke small holes in the animal, does this hold true for octopi?


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Jul 9, 2009
South Florida
I want to preserve octopus tentacles in a jar
That's impossible, octopuses don't have tentacles they have arms. :mrgreen:

Seriously though here is what you do:

By DWhatley

You'll need:
Enough formaline to entirely cover the animal
A disposable sealable container to hold the octo in postition and fill with formaline
90% solution of isopropyl alcohol (vodka will do as well but don't use the 70%, cheaper solution)
A final sealable container to hold the animal and the alcohol

First, you need to find formalin. It is getting harder to find so I hope you can find it locally. You will see outrageous prices but keep looking. The last I bought was a half gallon of Kordon's pond stuff and looking in an outdoor pond supply place will likely be your best bet to find it locally. It is not (inspite of the percentage stated) as strong as what I have used in the past but it works as long as you leave the body in it for a week. Formalin should not get COLD so keep it in the house in the winter. If time becomes an issue you can freeze until you find it but the results may not be as good.

Second, you will need to watch her closely (unfortunately, I think you are less than 24 hour away - hope I am wrong) and preserver her ASAP after death. The briareus breakdown quickly, especially the skin. After preserving 3 brieareus, KaySoh was the only one that preserved well and I was checking on her constantly in the end because she was sharing the tank with Kooah.

You will need something you can seal that will hold the position you want (they become rubbery after the tissue preservation). With KaySoh I used a sealable bag that was almost as long as her mantle and arms. The position of the arms will be fixed within seconds of adding the preservative so positioning is tricky if you care.

Seal the body in formalin for about a week (longer is fine). Remove (being careful with the formalin rinse immediately if you get your hands in it. I don't put it into the sewer system but put it in the yard where I don't want anything to grow and where it is unlikely to get to the lake.

Rinse with saltwater. Soak and move the body around to flush out the formalin. Replace the saltwater several times.

Store in 90% alcohol. If the alcohol yellows in a week swap it out one time.
This is the Formalin solution I used.

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