small octopus?

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by a dustball, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. a dustball

    a dustball Cuttlefish Registered

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    I was wondering if there were any octopus capable of being kept in a 10 gallon tank? That is all I have at the moment, although I may be able to purchase a maybe 20-25 gallon max 1. Any advice even off the topic of tanks would be help (any info at all for a new guy to octopuses would be nice)
    Thanks for reading this if you did.
     
  2. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    unfortunately, bigger is better for octopus tanks. In addition to the cramped space concerns, octos and cuttles produce a lot more waste than comparably sized fish, so they really need the water volume of a large tank. We generally recommend a 29 gallon for the smallest cephs, preferably with a sump. Also, the small pygmy/dwarf octos aren't very good pets, in that they tend to be nocturnal, shy, short-lived, and otherwise not very interactive, and because small tanks have less water volume, they're not as good for beginners, because any problem will cause the water to become a problem much faster than in a larger tank...
     
  3. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    A 10 gallon is really pushing it. The problem is that octopuses produce much more waste than a similar sized fish, causing the water conditions to deteriorate quickly. In a tank that small, disasters can occur very quickly. If you were to upgrade to a 20 or 25 gallon with very good filtration you could keep an Octopus mercatoris. They are very small octopuses and quite common in the trade right now. The only downside is that they have a deep-seeded nocturnal lifestyle so you would have to stay up late at night to enjoy them. Many of the larger nocturnal octopuses tend to adapt to daylight hours, but I don't think anyone has had any luck getting a mercatoris to do such. On the other hand, their offspring can be raised relatively easily if provided with enough live food and a member here has had luck raising a second generation and some of them have lived over a year, in small communities which is uncommon among other octopus species.

    To really get the most out of the experience of owning an octopus, you should consider a 50 gallon or larger and one of the commonly available mid-sized species. They are more outgoing and are much more likely to become interactive and display the behaviors that draw interested people to them in the first place.

    As for general information, there is a lot of great information in the ARTICLES section of this website. http://www.tonmo.com/index.php?page=cepharticles

    Before you seriously consider getting an octopus, take into consideration that none of them are likely to live more than a year and dwarf species generally have an even shorter lifespan. On occasion people can keep them up to 2 years. Honestly it's a gamble when you buy one because more often than not the ones available are mature adults with only months or even just weeks to live.

    If you are familiar with keeping a saltwater tank and have successfully kept corals, then keeping an octopus shouldn't be too difficult so long as precautions are taken to seal the top of the tank and all of the filtration and powerheads. They are very curious and keen on squeezing through the tiniest of spaces which can lead them to serious injury or death by escaping the tank or getting arms caught in pumps. They definitely fit into the advanced care category.

    You have to plan ahead for the expense of paying for live food. Sometimes they will accept dead raw items, but more than likely they will have to be trained to accept those items so plan on keeping live crabs, snails, etc. You don't want to use any freshwater items.

    Copper kills octopuses, so used tanks or tanks previously set up as freshwater displays can be risky.

    I think that's about it as far as the basics go. Welcome to TONMO.
     
  4. a dustball

    a dustball Cuttlefish Registered

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    thank a lot, I will now expect to, for sure, buy a larger tank. Do you know if 25 gal would be good for any diurnal species?
     
  5. a dustball

    a dustball Cuttlefish Registered

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    I'd get the largest filtration possible.
     
  6. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    If there's any way you can go larger than 25, it will increase your options. We recommend 29 at least for any ceph, and it's not clear whether any of the "slightly smaller than bimac" species need for optimal health, but I'd guess really a 40-45 is wise. There isn't really a solid answer, the "standard" recommendation for bimacs was pushed up to 55gal when it was observed that they seemed to live longer, healthier lives in 55gal than 45gal, but that the 75 didn't seem to lead to healthier bimacs than 55. For some other species like hummelincki and aculeatus we haven't seen enough of them to tell yet, but 25 would definitely be too small for a full-grown one of either of those, in addition to the concerns about the speed at which the water could go bad.
     
  7. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Part of the problem is that when you purchase an octopus, the seller does not always know what species they are selling. You may request a dwarf species, but receive something else. So, besides the water quality issues, it is a good idea to have at least a 29 gallon because you never know how big your octopus is going to grow.
     
  8. a dustball

    a dustball Cuttlefish Registered

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    wow you guys know a lot, ok my new goal at least 29 gallonn as the smallest, also does anyone know about breeding your own feeder crabs?
     
  9. Neogonodactylus

    Neogonodactylus Haliphron Atlanticus Staff Member Moderator

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    I usually agree that a minimum size tank for even a dwarf octopus is in the 20-30 gal range, but in all honesty, this really depends on many factors that go beyond volume. The temperature, stability and maturity of the system, water changing regimen, species, type of food used, etc., etc. all play a roll in determining what size tank is needed to house an octopus. In my lab, we keep some blue-rings and other dwarfs in 5-10 gal systems with no problem. However, these tanks have large capacity filtration, have all been running for literally years, receive frequent water changes and have minimal biological load - one octopus and that is it. No coral or other invertebrates and uneaten food is immediately removed. So, to be fair, it can be done. We just don't recommend it since it only takes one problem to do in your pride and joy. There is enough uncertainty to keeping cephalopods that you need the largest possible safety zone and the easiest way to achieve that is through volume.

    Roy
     
  10. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    Do you have enough staff that you have pros check the tanks every day? I've generally imagined that research labs have the resources, and are probably even required to use them, to have a professional check up on all animals daily, or something like that...

    I know for mammals that's required, although I guess the rules are a bit more lax for fish and inverts.
     
  11. a dustball

    a dustball Cuttlefish Registered

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    After visiting my local pet store (of a national chain) I realised that tanks weren't that expensive so I really don't have a limit on size any more except under basically 70gal
     
  12. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    Great! That really opens up your options!
     
  13. a dustball

    a dustball Cuttlefish Registered

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    ok, thanks Monty, what kind of octo would you reccomend?
     
  14. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    bimac, briareus, hummelincki, or aculeatus would all be good choices to consider. The briareus is the largest of those, and occasionally get a bit cramped in a 55gal at full size, the others are OK in a 55gal. We haven't really been able to tell if hummelincki or aculeatus have a higher mortality rate in smaller tanks yet, so to be safe getting a 55gal or bigger would be ideal. You can read about all 4 of these species in the journals and photos section, I can't think of anyone who has a bimac right now, but Octane is a hummelincki, Kalypso is a briareus, I forget the names of aculeatus but I'm sure at least one member who has one now, and you can look for DHyslop's older posts about Mr. Octopus or Corw314's or Nancy's extensive journals about bimacs.
     
  15. a dustball

    a dustball Cuttlefish Registered

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    k, I will research those. Do you buy all your food, or breed it(if thats even possible)?
     
  16. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    I buy all my food. I'm hoping some of the shore shrimp will have viable eggs and that the larvae will survive in my tank for the next inhabitant to enjoy but that's the closest to breeding food I'll get. For the most part though, mine eats frozen stuff like raw shrimp, krill, silversides, etc. Some of it's from the grocery store and some of it's from the fish store. I try to balance it out with live crabs and shrimp though to provide my octopus with enrichment through hunting and it's just more nutritious.
     
  17. a dustball

    a dustball Cuttlefish Registered

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    ok thanks, so do most octos accept frozen food? I will use live crabs also.
     
  18. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    It depends on the individual octopus.
     
  19. a dustball

    a dustball Cuttlefish Registered

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    ok thanks
     
  20. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    a_dustball,
    Almost all of the octos recorded on the site learn to take freshly killed shrimp. Even my Mercs will eat dead shore shrimp if I feed it to them directly with a feeding stick (in this case a large pipette since the shrimp are a bit small for a stick). Additionally, fiddler crabs are a major food choice. Snails, hermit crabs, scallops and clams as food varies widely. My Mercs do not eat any of them but Octane (Hummelincki) will eat some snails (the larger expensive ones and I don't use them as food the ones he consumed were clean-up crew), may or may not eat the hermits on occassion (also in the tank for clean-up), has eaten only one frozen scallop (when he was first introduced to the tank but not again) and will open and eat about one clam a week (these can also be used for clean-up but you must watch them to be sure they don't die uneaten). Given this history, I would suggest that you start with a small amount of fresh frozen shrimp (or live shore shrimp if you get a small octo - the Mercs do not eat pieces of regular shrimp) and a supply of fiddler crabs when you first get your octopus then work with him/her as your experience together grows.
     

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