Signs of death?

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by La_Dispute, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. La_Dispute

    La_Dispute Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    So I'm pretty upset right now, but I think my a. aculeatus is on death's door. I got him early November, so not very long ago. But in the last week he's shown some odd behavior.

    First day, (late at night) he randomly decided he was scared of my hand and inked when I tried to feed him (never done that before). So I ddecidd to do a water change early morning. Checkled levels since, everything that should be is at 0.

    Ever since then he's been hiding more, showing loss in personality and interest in anything (like not bobbing his eyes when I come in the room, or changing speckled like he usually does for feeding time). And the last 2 days he's been really weak, instead of swimming off of the glass to the rocks, it looks more like a fall-then-float to the rocks.

    Is this inevitable, or is there something I'm not doing right and can change?
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I can't speak from experience with the aculeatus but the lack of strong color change, weakend glass attachement (does he use only the suckers close to the body and not at all on the ends of the arm?) and almost falling sound very much like my mercs just before the end from old age. I am experiencing this now with the last of my original mercatoris' (Caribbean dwarf 13 months old) grandchildren. In the previous generation, the cycle lasted about 1 week as they progressively became weaker and eventually could not hold themselves upright.

    The only other thing I can think of would be some kind of infection. There is not much available about how to treat octos but tetracycline has been used without negative effects (positive effects are unknown). It can be purchased without prescription for fish and I have used it twice by injecting shore shrimp with a saltwater dilution. The first time I used it as a preventative on my post brood female and she lived almost 12 weeks beyond the birth of the hatchlings. Recently, I fed the spiced shrimp to my hummelincki for 10 days because of an infected cut on his arm. In both cases, no harm came from the use and I (anecdotally) feel that it was helpful. Be sure there is nothing else mixed wtih the tetracycline if you decide to try it. This is the brand I have on hand http://www.amazon.com/Fish-Cycline-Tetracycline-250-Caps/dp/B0002YF9U0 but there are others and you LFS may have some available.

    If it is old age, there really is nothing you can do to reverse the process. Whether or not an antibiotic makes the end less dibilitating, I can't say but I did not use it on my other mercs (unlike a post brooding female, I could not second guess the males life span to attempt an intervention). Sorry I can't be more encouraging.
     
  3. forever27

    forever27 GPO Registered

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    Is he still eating? or at least showing interest in food? Two weeks or so before my a. aculeatus died, he stopped eating. He became a lot more active though, pretty much always out, jetting back and fourth. At first I thought he was hunting, but then he wouldn't eat anything at all. Also, the color changing ability seemed to decrease as well with mine. He acted like this for 2-3 weeks before he died. Hope that helps or at least gives you an idea.
     
  4. Neogonodactylus

    Neogonodactylus Haliphron Atlanticus Staff Member Moderator

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    Usually the clearest sign of senescence is a change in color and skin texture. They quit showing the dramatic dark browns and take on a more grayish hue. Also, you don't see lots of skin papillae.

    Roy
     
  5. La_Dispute

    La_Dispute Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Thanks, all of you for your help. But he died this morning. D:

    Yes, Yes, he did show a decline in food interest. (and to forever 27: he was swimming and jetting up and down the glass a lot more a couple weeks earlier.)

    dwhatley: Thank you very much. He did have a missing tentacle, but it was alreday gone when I got him, and showed a little hair-like thing at the tip which had tiny suckers on it, almost looked like new growth to me but I wasn't aware they did that. So I assume it happened a long time ago, and wasn't infected.
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I am so sad to hear that you lost him already. As short a time as you had him, I know you were attached because octopuses are just that way.

    Yes, that is what new growth looks like (I though Octane had dead skin dangling the first week I got him) and it does not sound at all like there was infection. OhToo had what looked like a cut and then it swelled noticably so I was sure of infection. I guestimated on using the antibiotic for 10 days (the normal time for humans) based on the time to kill bacteria rather than the subject. I have no clue how much he actually consumed but in 5 days the swelling started to recede and after 10 there was no more swelling. I had wondered if octos heal (without regenerating) and it appears they do as I can't find the injury now. I had wondered about the healing because he has another arm that has no suckers on a large section. The tip is normal but there is one malformed sucker close to the head and then none for about 2/3 of the arm. Roy offered a guess (at my begging) that the missing suckers were either due to damage to a regenerating arm or a defect. The arm has changed since he arrived and now there is no sign that suckers should have been there at all and the bottom of the arm looks just like the top (initially there were round markings where suckers should be and the normal peachish coloration) so I am going with his genetic defect suggestion.
     
  7. Octavarium

    Octavarium Wonderpus Registered

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    Im sorry to hear. The only downside of cephs...their short time with us. I hope you enjoyed your short time with him and consider another in the future. With a little luck you can get a younger octo and enjoy a year or so with it.
     
  8. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    sorry to hear it. It sounds like you did everything you could.
     
  9. La_Dispute

    La_Dispute Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Yeah, at this point I'm assuming I got some sort of old war vet for a pet here. Bernhardt had 6 1/2 tentacles (both with new growth when I got him, so none were in my tank, or I'd never forgive myself!) and two patches with a couple missing suckers. Though there were no markings where they should've been, so I'm thinking it was a damage issue, not a defect. I was wondering myself if that was normal or not, so I'm glad I've at least heard of it somewhere else.
     
  10. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Sorry about your loss.

    Nancy
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks for the additional conformation on missing suckers, I too was wondering if others had seen anything similar.
     
  12. chaostheory

    chaostheory O. bimaculoides Registered

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    There was an octopus at my LFS that only had 5 arms. It had the same "pygmy octopus" label.

    If an octopus lost a defective arm like the one that was missing suckers, would it grow back with suckers? :confused:
     
  13. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    That thought was probably my first post with OhToo. If in a lab environment, I would be tempted to see but I could not bring myself to amputate even if it meant a healthy new arm. Since OhToo has no preditors to fight off and can manuver very well (especiall since all four shortened arms have at least doubled in length since he has been in the aquarium) I am no longer tempted to answer the question. An additional question I have is, "if damaged but not removed, will an arm heal?". OhToo cut an arm without loosing the end. It has healed but not regenerated. Roy suggested that the arm with the missing suckers may have been damaged during regeneration (or is a genetic defect). Since the arm damaged in the aquarium (I have no idea how) has healed but not regenerated, either could still be the case. The fact that the missing sucker arm has changed since I have had him would lean more towards the damage thought, however, I have recently noticed two suckers that are joined on another arm.
     
  14. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Just to add to the arm injury discussion, Kalypso's arm has grown back the end that was lost. For about an inch there are no suckers and after that there are tiny suckers. The tip always stays twisted now.
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    AM,
    When you say "twisted", do you mean the normal curl or twisted like it grew out oddly. It is interesting that we don't have other discussions about missing suckers as it appears it may be quite common.
     

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