Raising Octopus Hatchlings Links

DWhatley

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I have joined a Google+ private group, Cephalopod Aquaculture Research Lab, studying growing octopuses for commercial use in Japan. The primary scientist for the project, Drifloon Che has been kind enough to answer some of my inquiries as to success and feeding and I am passing on his summary from last years brood. Note his comments about raising on live vs frozen.

n regards, to live feeds, we're mainly looking at amphipods and mysids, which we recently discovered can be easily shoveled and sieved out of the sands at the local beaches here provided it isn't too cold. The mysids in particular were plentiful at the transition between the sand and a rocky shoreline. Not sure if anything like this exists in the states though (I presume it does somewhere if a related species exists, try genus Archaeomysis). Hand feeding these critters to our babies last year proved successful, although we had already been keeping the babies for a couple weeks on a mix of chopped up dead whelks, mussel, and crab meat prior to the discovery by the Prof. from a local source. The dead feeds kept them alive long enough for us to establish a supply of live animals, but we found none of these feeds could sustain juveniles for sustained periods (probably two months max, with most not getting to that age). As these juveniles had already become acclimated to being fed, we just did as we always did even after switching to live food. Still, the response was definitely much stronger with live prey, and the struggling definitely provoked much more active feeding among juveniles. This year we're thinking about just releasing the 'pods into the enclosures with the octopuses, and putting some sand in to encourage the critters to stay at the bottom. Not sure if the octopuses will like the sand, but there have been reports that juveniles of other species do burrow in the sand, which would allow them to encounter the prey, unlike in the previous cases we had with pelagic mysids. Might also try polychaetes from a local tidal flat since there was a group that had success with O.bimaculoides attacking those. The tidal flat polychaetes are small, so probably suitable.
Just a note on the small egged octopuses, we did make another attempt at culturing them this year, but got nothing useful out of our efforts. I made some attempts hand feeding some juveniles with large mysids, which they accepted on occasion. Problem there is that there was simply no way I could be around enough to feed them effectively, even spending hours with them and trying to feed at least three times a day. Probably really stressed the paralarvae as well. Keeping live mysids with the paralarvae did not help as the paralarvae had extreme difficulty catching them. Also did some work with amphipods, which failed despite a promising start. We observed that some paralarvae were capable of catching and feeding on amphipods, which was confirmed by expansion of stomach and crop, after being initially raised on a very limited crab zoeae supply, but for some reason by the experiment's end the juveniles were refusing to feed on the amphipods. We suspect that bacteria carried in the amphipods may have gotten to the paralarvae. We only got slightly over two weeks this year, despite reducing the paralarvae we included in our experiments to improve the available feed per paralarva. Certainly seems that zoeae are important as the paralarvae were always seemingly full when with the zoeae, but seemed hungry the day they exhausted our stock as judged through stomach content, despite some other foods being available. Still looking into production methods...
 

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