Reintroducing myself!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by um0123, May 10, 2015.

  1. um0123

    um0123 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Hello Everyone.

    In 2009 I joined these forums looking for advice on how to set up a saltwater tank to house a cuttlefish (boy it was fun trying to remember my password from back then!). I was only a high school sophomore then and it never panned out due the the expensive and time consuming nature of the project.

    Now I am graduating college and finding myself going through old memories, this forum being one of them. Cephalapods are still my favorite animal and i still really want to own a squid/octopus/cuttlefish but i realize i won't be able to for at LEAST a couple more years due to the same reason as above. Once i get settled in a job and a home i'll take on the project.

    My questions for you guys are the following:

    1) is there any new FAQ/Wiki i can turn to that has been developed since my last time on these forums to learn about the following:
    a) saltwater tank setup (books, website, videos, etc) on how to purchase, set up and care for a tank
    b) differences between caring for a squid vs octopus vs cuttlefish (which one is easier to care for? what are some major differences?
    c) how to properly set up a tank for a specific species and what to expect
    d) where to acquire the species​

    2) I am in california and will be moving to the San Fancisco East Bay area for a job offer in the next two years (once i finish my masters in EE), what species is best to keep in that area?

    It's great to be back and I look forward to owning a ceph one day, but i'm not gonna make the same mistakes my over-eager younger self did by assuming i could do it quickly. So i want to use the time between now and when I have a stable career in a couple years to prepare.

    Thanks!
     
    tonmo likes this.
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Here are a couple of places to start:

    There is a list of Ceph care articles here.

    In Tank Talk, there is a sticky with a list of some of the more detailed tank set ups titled, Tank Buildouts (many of the discussions there may be helpful or at least lead you to specific questions)

    In the Octopus Care forum, look at the Posts with Info for New Octopus Keepers (also a set of links to detailed discussions).

    Sepia bandensis cuttlefish are almost always started as eggs that are imported and often found offered by US pet stores that will ship. It is rare to find another species and all are imported as there are no cuttlefish in this hemisphere (I am assuming you are in the US since you mention, "high school"). Often someone will mention seeing eggs for sale on the Cuttlefish Availability thread in the Sources for Cephalopods and Food forum and a Google search for cuttlefish eggs will usually turn up current offerings. They are quite expensive to feed for the first few months as there does not seem to be a way around using live mysis shrimp until they are big enough to start eating frozen. In addition to high shipping costs, the mysis do not live long and are almost impossible to raise in the needed quantities. If you want to attempt multiple generations, live food throughout their lives appears to be the best option but the larger food is considerably less expensive than the initial hatchling requirements. They can be weaned to frozen mine reverted to requiring live as they aged. The only viable eggs (none of the gen 2 survived) were produced while they were still eating live. The eggs produced after I switched to frozen did not hatch. There may not be a valid relationship with the egg viability and live food but there is other anecdotal evidence that suggests my experience was not unique. A tank set up for an octopus will accommodate cuttlefish so switching between the two over time is viable. The reverse is not true since a cuttle tank may an open top (and a few corals that are not recommended for an octopus). Multiple cuttlefish may be kept together provided the tank is large enough to accommodate them.

    Octopuses will only be available as wild caught animals so the age will be unknown. The Octopus Care forum link above contains a link to a discussion about the different animals we see most commonly available, some animals being more common in some years than others. On a rare occasion, bimac hatchlings show up from an educational institute but this is so rare that I only mention it to warn you away from expecting to find them. The tank MUST have a secure top and can contain only a very few soft, low/no sting corals. With the exception of the dwarf O. mercatoris, only one octopus may be kept in a tank. There has been limited success with raising three species of large egged octopuses from hatchlings (starting with a wild caught female that lays fertile eggs). The only third gen successes we have had have been with O. mercatoris but O. briareus and O. bimaculoides have been successfully journalled at gen 2.

    The only squid we see successfully kept are the little Hawaiian bobtails. They are very short lived (just a couple of months) and only available on rare occasions. Other squid eggs are sometimes available but do have not survived in home tanks. There has been some success keeping a few species in very large public aquariums.

    Happy reading! :grin:
     
  3. um0123

    um0123 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Thanks for all the info! You were right about US (i even say later in my post i am californian).

    So I will probably either be looking into S. Bandensis Cuttlefish or Bimac Octopus since those are the two easiest to keep and obtain in california.

    I would also like to ask how many hours a week does caring for a bandensis or Bimac take?

    Moreoever how much does it cost to get up and running? Let's say I just want a small 50-75 gallon tank to hold one Bimac or Bandensis, what are the monthly upkeep costs like? Is it a large one time investment to get it running or will this be a constant sink of money. I know food is going to be recurring cost but how much is food really?
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Getting a bimac is difficult as you cannot legally buy a live animal but you may be able to catch your own (legal) since you will be in SF. You will need to keep the tank below 72 degrees (65 is better - cooler temps = longer life for this species) so a chiller or colder environment is needed. In SF some keepers can achieve this without a chiller but I live in the SE and a chiller would definitely be required. I kept one bimac but normally keep Caribbeans to avoid the need for a chiller. Octopuses are relatively inexpensive to feed since they usually will eat table shrimp and blue crab claws (we source the blue crab claws digging through the live bins for loose claws at our local Asian market and then freeze them). A typical feeding schedule for a bimac is every other or every three days but water temp will impact feeding schedules (the warmer the water, the more often it will want to eat).

    Bandensis are warm water animals so you will need a heater much of the year. New hatch cuttlefish are very expensive to feed unless you can catch your own mysis (~30/week min if you can't find them locally. If you cannot locally source food this is a minimum and a major reason few people keep them ). Once they will eat frozen (~2 months) it is more reasonable but if you continue with live, more costly than an octopus. New hatched cuttles need to be fed several times a day. As they age once a day is enough.

    You also need to keep in mind that these animals only live about a year (bimacs kept at 62-65 degrees have been known to live almost 3 years but 18 months can be expected at higher temps, warm water species - keep in mind they are not hatchlings - rarely exceed 10 months).

    The tank and hardware will last for many years but you will need to do weekly saltwater changes (and evaporation top offs with fresh RO/DI water). Water can be created at home with an RO/DI unit (figure $100/year in filters + salt) or sourced from a LFS. Filtered seawater may be available in SF (I am inland so I have an RO/DI unit and make my own). For tank, live rock, sump, pumps, skimmer and filtration costs you will have to do some pricing. Generally speaking, finding someone that is upgrading or leaving the hobby will be the cheapest but prices vary widely. If you buy used, you will want to find a tank that has been used for invertebrates and not fish. Most fish have (and thus the tank) have been exposed to copper to cure parasites. Copper is deadly to inverts and cephs are extremely sensitive to even the smallest traces.
     
  5. um0123

    um0123 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Wow thanks for all the information! So based off this i think a Bimac is by best bet (or other octopus) since bandensis seem to require MUCH more attention and don't last nearly as long. I'll do some more research, in the meantime please feel free (anyone) to add your own advice/words of wisdom!
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Cautionary caveats about longevity:
    1. Bandensis MAY live longer in your aquarium since you will know their age and they are less expensive to purchase as eggs.
    2. A warm water species octopus has a typical lifespan of 12-18 months but it will not be a hatchling and could be an adult with little time left.
    3. The extended time for a coldwater animal is only the case if the water is kept cold. Bimacs will survive in warmer (but not tropical) waters and be more active but it shortens their lifespan.
     
  7. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    :welcome: back @um0123! :smile2:
    I can only add that our Search feature (input field in the upper right corner) has improved quite a bit since 2009... if you know what you're looking for, give it a shot!
     
  8. ekocak

    ekocak Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Welcome back. I too, had a similar hiatus.
     

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