So I received an octopus and her eggs today....

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by Barbie, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Barbie

    Barbie Pygmy Octopus Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    I own a small specialty LFS in Spokane, WA. Imagine my surprise when the octopus I ordered arrived today in a deli container rimmed in egg clusters. At first I assumed she laid them in the container while in the bag in transit, but after taking a few pictures, I'm pretty sure they are too far developed for that to be the case. I intend to take pictures every day and I'll try to post them in this thread as time goes on.

    I've raised many species of fw fish, including quite a few with a reputation for being difficult, but I'm totally in over my head with these guys. I use a special breeding trap for tiny fry that involves a large tank volume with water flowing slowly through it and out a sponge on the far side. I'm quite sure it would work for these guys, but I had read they turn cannibalistic as they grow and that would severely hamper the effectiveness.

    I'm more than happy to read any posts applying to the subject, but when I do a search I get a lot of posts on it happening and not much information on what to feed the fry, development rates, or even what sort of survival % I might expect (other than very low for the small egg species). I do think these are small egg type, with eggs less than a pin head in diameter and about twice that in length. I can already see eyes and mantles in the eggs and I did take some pictures. I feel very uncomfortable just dumping this problem here and expecting people to hand me answers, but I was totally unprepared for the arrival today. I've had octos in the store a few times over the years and I really enjoy them and have great luck keeping them (750 gallon system, big skimmer, 76 degrees). They have always thrived and one I purchased and quarantined for a school system here in town also laid eggs.

    I do not know for sure what species the female is. Her mantle is about 3" long, if that. I couldn't tell you her leg length for sure, but it looked short in relation to her mantle size, in comparison to the last one I had that I also didn't know the species for anyway. I will try to get her to come out enough tomorrow to take pictures. She is hiding behind the deli container, watching her eggs, but totally unwilling to be at the front of the tank. I can't say that I'd blame her. I realize she's not going to eat and will be very protective of the eggs, but should I attempt to entice her with food also? I read one report where a female did eat and lived a few more months, but I get the feeling that's far from the norm.

    Anyway, here's the pictures. You can click on them for a larger version.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thank you for any help you can give me and I'll go back to searching threads. I moderate a few boards and it drives me batty when people won't help themselves but I'm worried I'm going to run out of time on my unexpected new project!

    Barbie
     
  2. OB

    OB Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Messages:
    3,084
    Likes Received:
    46
    First and foremost a hearty :welcome:

    Bane or bonus for Barbie?

    Most if not all of your potential success relies on species, as you may not be surprised to hear. "Small egg species" produce planktonic larvae that are basically impossible to raise in captivity. "Large egg species" provide the option of larvae being raised to the adult stage, but feed and water conditions are paramount. Providing different sizes prey animal at different stages of development is a highly fine tuned art, in which avoiding the hunter to become the hunted adds a little extra spice :wink:

    As you yourself indicate, this forum has a lot of "ready to be had info" already in its husbandry sections. Whilst browsing these, I expect our more experienced keepers to chime in with good advice. Until such time, any indication of size of the eggs would be helpful to decide whether or not a goose chase is in order. If it is, we'll be glued to our monitors to follow progress, I'm sure.

    Best regards, and enjoy Tonmo,

    OB
     
    #2    Top
  3. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    :welcome: to TONMO. You might take a look at the threads involving Varys and Trapper to get an idea of raising octos from eggs, although those would be large-egged mercs. Unfortunately, no one we know of other than fully equipped research labs has raised small-egged species, so it is a long shot at best...
     
  4. Barbie

    Barbie Pygmy Octopus Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    OK, let me add a bit more information. I have a sw system at my shop that has 750 gallons with 5 33 gallon longs at about 9' off the floor that I use as refugium tanks. The skimmer on the system is rated for 1500 gallons, along with about 900 pounds of live rock and a couple deep sand beds. I have three separate systems, but this is the largest, with the most "unused" space available. I have thriving copepod and amphipod colonies in each of the systems, so I would hope I could steal copepods for use as food at some point. I'm quite used to hatching bbs and using it within the first 40 hours before it's utilized most of it's nutritional value building chitin. The eggs are 1.5 - 2 mm wide and 5 mm long, if I had to guess. I could probably rob one to more accurately measure, but I'd rather not, if it isn't totally necessary. I wanted to let the female settle in a bit before I stressed her too much more, but I will definitely work on pictures of her tomorrow if the store isn't just crazy.

    I'm realistic and I realize that the odds are slim to none that I can successfully rear any of these, but I still intend to try. The female is quite small and very attractive, even compared to other "common brown octo's" that I've had in at the shop. I have a soft spot for these guys and I actually have enough water volume on that system to be able to handle a pretty good group, if need be (and if I'm lucky as all get out, yes, I realize).

    For my FW fish, I use custom condos that I designed with a flow through design that utilizes chambers, separated by sponges, so the water goes through, but the fish and food do not. It works great, but the largest ones I have are 5 chambers. I might be needing to offer my friend with the acrylic sideline a bunch of incentives to move a new project to the front of the line I guess ;).

    Can anyone tell how developed they are? There are obvious eyes and a mantle in those eggs. I'll be hard pressed to accomplish all of this if they're within a day or two of hatching. For FW fish, they would still look a week or so off, but again, I have nothing to compare it to for SW development. Thank you again for your help.

    Barbie
     
  5. gholland

    gholland Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Messages:
    569
    Likes Received:
    0
    Barbie, :welcome:

    Here are a couple of relatively recent threads by others who have tried hatching small eggs:
    http://www.tonmo.com/community/index.php?threads/9300/
    http://www.tonmo.com/community/index.php?threads/9479/

    Also, a published journal article by Roger Villanueva et al. on raising O. vulgaris, another small-egg species:
    http://www.grupoinvestigacionacuicultura.org/ufiles/Iglesias et al_2007.pdf
    and a another by Iglesias et al.
    http://ressources.ciheam.org/om/pdf/c47/00600632.pdf
    Do some other searches on vulgaris paralarvae and you'll find more.

    If you could, please continue to post your experience with this batch. Too many times, people ask these initial questions, but when things don't work out, they don't document what was tried, and what worked well or failed.

    Not sure of the times for different stages of development on the small eggs... a total time of 30-60 days depending on temperature (21-23 C).
     
  6. OB

    OB Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Messages:
    3,084
    Likes Received:
    46
    Indeed! It is not every day that someone with your set-up and relevant prior experience gets to give it a go...
     
    #6    Top
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    5,584
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Dallas Texas
    Hi Barbie and welcome to TONMO.com!

    This is the right place to post about your octopus with eggs! Other members have given you good information.

    It may be hard to identify your octopus. Can you find out what part of the world it comes from. After they lay eggs, female octopuses do not usually come out of their den at all, and I guess yours has established a den.

    There is hope of raising young octopuses, even those from small eggs, but it will be difficult. Getting them to eat and having the proper sized food is most important.

    Good luck,
    Nancy
     
  8. Barbie

    Barbie Pygmy Octopus Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    She probably won't come out of her den willingly, but if she's going to die anyway and there's nothing I can do about it, I will definitely tear apart her cave and force her through some pictures so I have some idea what the babies ARE. She was in transit in that container until yesterday, so hopefully 5 minutes of forced attention and pictures won't be too terribly cruel and unusual. She is a small pacific "common brown" octo. She is a different species than I received the last two times I ordered them, but I'm not sure I'm lucky enough for her to be a bimac. either. I realize identification is hard without an exact collection locale. I'll see what information I can get from my supplier next week.

    I intend to try to document with pictures as I go and I will definitely update the thread. I really dislike the idea of killing a bunch of these guys, although I realize I killed a lot of angelfish fry when I was first learning how to raise fish.

    Thank you all for the links and information. I'll read through those and take some more pictures today so we can get an idea about development of the eggs. Will the fry continue to eat smaller food, once they're conditioned to taking it? Or do you have to keep managing to find larger foods as you go? I assume they'll take frozen or "dead" foods, once you get them used to everything and thriving, much like the adults. Is that an incorrect assumption? If I could teach them to eat dried food, I have a TON of different sizes of larval formulas that would also work. I guess I'm about to find out!

    Barbie
     
  9. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    Messages:
    4,891
    Likes Received:
    236
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    :welcome: It looks like you might have a little while for the eggs. I can see the eyes in some of the photos. As they develop, you should get to see chromatophores developing also. Your little guys will start to look polka dotted and even change color in the egg.

    Live plankton is the best bet for these little guys. I realize that Spokane is quite far from the ocean. Could you set up some mysids or copepods?

    You are going to have your hands full. To answer one of your questions, cannibalism could be a problem. Remember that in the wild, most of these would not survive. You may want to set up a few different systems since you seem to have a lot of eggs :bugout:.
     
  10. Taollan

    Taollan Vampyroteuthis Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Walla Walla University
    Barbie, How often do you get octopuses in? I am really interested to find a LFS in eastern washington that occassionally get octopuses.
     
  11. Barbie

    Barbie Pygmy Octopus Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am actually in the process of setting up a 120 gallon reef tank at home, also, with a 25 gallon refugium and 35 gallon sump. I'm considering splitting them up and putting some of the eggs in a container in the refugium of the main system. If I use an aquadoser to slowly run water through their container, it should pick up some small foods, if I put a coarse sponge or something over it so only smaller pore sized stuff can get through. I honestly don't expect to have more than a couple survive, if that, but I'll try to separate them and keep them well fed enough that they don't all predate each other. I'm not holding out a bunch of hope, but I can at least try.

    She's out on the glass at the moment and I just have one customer here, so I'll try to get some pics.

    Barbie
     
  12. Barbie

    Barbie Pygmy Octopus Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    I actually have had 4 in the last year and a half. If I find tank raised ones on a list I snap them up, but I've only seen them twice since I opened the store. I love them and never had a chance to keep them at home, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity. People love to come see them, I can give them a ton of interaction, huge water volume and skimming, and feed them all I want ;). I just didn't expect to be having to try to rear fry.

    I did get some pictures of her in the container with the eggs, so I'll try to pull them off my camera when I get home and see if I can see any development progression.

    She was actively flashing at the fish in the next tank, so I'm considering giving her a small fish overnight. Does anyone see any reason this is a terrible idea? I keep mollies in my sw system so I have a source of live food that's already acclimated and living in sw.

    Barbie
     
  13. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    Messages:
    4,891
    Likes Received:
    236
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    If she is hungry, feed her. At this point in her life, I don't think it matters about the nutritional content, if she wants mollies, let her have them...
     
  14. Barbie

    Barbie Pygmy Octopus Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's what I hoped you'd say. It definitely looks like she laid over a delayed period. There are different levels of progression in the clusters. Some have eyes, some don't, but show mantle shape.

    Here are pics of her with the eggs. They are in a 2 cup deli container, for a size reference.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Again, you can click on the picture for a huge version. Here is a pic of the eggs today.

    [​IMG]

    I figured that, if for no other reason, this would at least give people a progression of development, as I have no idea when they were actually laid for reference.

    Barbie
     
  15. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,713
    Likes Received:
    3
    The eggs look awfully small. I don't think you'll be able to raise the fry without a kriesel.
     
  16. cuttlechris

    cuttlechris Wonderpus Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    5
    they are so cute
     
  17. Barbie

    Barbie Pygmy Octopus Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, I know, the more I read the more I think it will be hopeless. I can't just not try though.

    Barbie
     
  18. cuttlechris

    cuttlechris Wonderpus Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    5
    No you can't not try. That would just make you a horrible person :wink:. I wish you the best of luck.
     
  19. Rthkassey

    Rthkassey Larval Mass Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Recently I have purchased an octopus and within 2 weeks of purchasing the octo she laid eggs. So far she has stayed in her den, except when I tempted her with a live crawfish ( i took the claws off first). This seems to be the only food that I can get her to eat. I assume she ate it because the crawfish was large enough to pose a threat to her eggs, so by eating it she eliminated the threat and got a good meal.Her eggs are very small and are newly laid. I myself am also going to try to take care of them and raise them. But my main concern is to keep the octo alive.
     
  20. Lime

    Lime O. vulgaris Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    That is very cool. :) Now you can have alot of octopuses! :]
     

Share This Page