Some questions.

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by briareus, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. briareus

    briareus Cuttlefish Registered

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    I can finally post on this site, great.

    Just a beginner here and as you can see from my username, I am interested in keeping an octopus briareus. However, any personable species will actually be fine.

    Before I start asking questions, these are limitations to my resourcefulness.

    Am sixteen, and thus financially incomparable to adults.
    Am in Singapore, and will probably access to a large variety of octopi.
    However, the average room temperature is at 28 celsius, and this could be a problem with octopus like Bimaculoides.
    Am placing the octopus tank, if at all, in the bedroom.

    I would like to have some answers to the following questions.
    How much will feeding cost?
    How much should I feed at one sitting?
    What size prey items should be fed, are there any limitations on being too big for instance?
    It is required for octopi to be weaned onto non-living food, or will they just take it first hand?
    Can I do without an RO-DI unit?
    Which species should I start with?
    How do I tell different species apart, in particular, hummelincki, bimaculoides and bimaculatus?

    This seems to be all for now. Thank you for your help!
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    :welcome: briareus

    Finding an O.briareus in Singapore may be difficult because they are a Caribbean species. The collectors I use do no exporting but I know some are exported but I don't believe they are easily located. I would suggest checking out both seafood and aquarium stores near you and photograph any you see. We may or may not be able to identify local species but those imported for the aquarium trade are usually identifiable.

    This will vary by your location. What you will need to price is the cost of:
    Small live feeder crabs (depending on the octopus size anywhere from dime to quarter sized)
    raw crab claws (I get these from my seafood store when they have live crabs, the bins always have loose claws and we take the out with tongs. You may even be able to get them free depending upon your seafood market. They can be frozen).
    Frozen or fresh shrimp.

    Most of us living in-land use frozen as a staple with live feedings only a couple of days a week. Since discovering the crab claws, ours get fewer live crab feedings than they used to. Size can be as large as they will take but I have found the mentioned animals to happily take about one 2" (5 cm) feeding a day. The quantity and size will vary with the octo species, size, age and individual preference. There have been recommendations to feed the colder water animals every two to three days and give them multiple items at one feeding. With ours, we feed once a day, 6 days a week and fast on the 7th day.

    As with a lot of your questions, it depends. We have very good luck feeding dead immediately but others have had to feed live for long periods. Jean's aquarium (New Zeland, Portobello Aquarium) has never been able to feed dead. You do have to coax them and dead is rarely taken if just left in the aquarium vs feeding with a feeding stick or by hand.

    IMO, no. There are circumstances where this can be side stepped but I personally will never recommend otherwise.


    One that will fit in your tank as an adult. Most vendors have no clue what they are selling so you could end up with most any of the more common species we see but being in Singapore adds interest to what you might find. There is no "beginner" species.

    Bimacs are unlikely to be found. They are not legal to sell if caught in California (where most live) but even experts have difficulty telling a bimaculoides from a bimaculatus. Visually, there is a slight difference in their eye spot and bimaculatus lays small eggs where bimaculoides lays large eggs and there is a viable opportunity to try to raise hatchlings (not so with small egg species). The bimaculatus lives in deeper water and is slightly larger (on average) than the bimaculoides. I think we have only seen one bimaculatus. Both need a cold tank. For your temperatures you would need a chiller

    Hummelincki looks similar to the bimac but is smaller. Some are even dwarf sized where others may grow to have a 3" or 4" (~ 8 - 10 cm) mantle. The arm shape and ocelli are different but the easiest way to tell them apart is to look at the tips of the suckers. When displaying color the tips of the bimac suckers will be bright orange where the tips of O. hummelincki will be a purple blue.

    I created a slide show that might be helpful for visuals but it is not particularly user friendly and is not ready for "prime time". However, if you use this link:

    http://www.octopusid.com (works best with IE8)

    Then click on the introductory picture, you will see a scrollable list of topic on the left. Clicking on any of the Main topic headings will start the photo session for that section and clicking on any of the camera icons will display pictures related to its heading. If the entire picture frame fails to fully load, click a second time on the camera/heading.
     
  3. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    :welcome: to Tonmo
     
  4. OB

    OB Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    :welcome: briareus to our corner of the web! Hope you'll enjoy yourself, and hope you'll be successful in finding your right species! Be aware of the absolute necessity of cycling your tank, prior to even attempting to house an octopus, this will take several months at least.
     
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  5. GPO87

    GPO87 Sepia elegans Staff Member Moderator

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    Welcome to Tonmo! :welcome: Hope all of your questions get answered! :heee:
     
  6. briareus

    briareus Cuttlefish Registered

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    Sorry I took so long to come back to this.

    Was looking at the threads of another Singaporean that was here some time ago, and I found this.

    Cephalopod Species
    in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Singapore

    Argonauta argo
    Octopus (Octopus) aegina
    Octopus (Octopus) cyanea
    Octopus (Octopus) globosus
    Octopus (Octopus) macropus
    Octopus (Octopus) membranaceus
    Octopus (Octopus) vulgaris

    Is anyone familiar with these species? Which of these are most suitable to keep? I am hoping to have a tank around the size range of 50 gallons, with a fairly diurnal/crepuscular species of octopus. Would also like to note toxicity if necessary.

    D, as per your previous post, it is possible to find hummelincki in Singapore?

    It is looking rather unsuitable for me to maintain octopuses, since it is unlikely that I will be allowed to set up an RO-DI system. So, what are these certain salts or chemicals that need removal that could be potentially harmful to an octopus?

    I will have to look around for fresh crab claws or similar products, they don't appear to be found easily here either. Fresh prawns are fairly easy to find here.

    How easy is it to maintain small live feeder crabs? What species would they be? There's actually some sort of canal to pick matuta lunaris and Portunus pelagicus crabs with rather clear water during the low tide; but come high tide and that same area of sea is a swirling slum.
     
  7. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    I have a portable RO-DI system that can hook into a sink and then be unhooked when I am finished filtering water. Is it possible that you could get that kind of system?

    How close are you to the ocean? Could you collect clean ocean water?
     
  8. briareus

    briareus Cuttlefish Registered

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    That is pretty interesting. I don't know how possible it is, but how much did it cost you?

    Unfortunately, the sea water at the local beaches are labelled risky due to high bacterial concentrations, I doubt that collection of clean water is possible.

    There are actually local uca species, though I haven't seen them. For a good listing of crabs found in beaches here, http://www.wildsingapore.com/wildfacts/crustacea/crabfi.htm

    Also, I do have a good access to clams, cockles, mussels and even certain saltwater snails from the supermarkets.
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Any crab that is not too large for the animal is acceptable IF IT IS COLLECTED FROM CLEAN WATER. From what you are saying, the second half is a problem. Fresh shrimp are a good choice. Here, we expect anything offered in a food market to be safe. I am not always confident this is true but an effort is made to at least monitor the animals before they reach the market.

    The RO/DI unit is a multi-stage filter and a lot depends upon you water supply. Typically there is a particulate filter in the first stage, several carbon filters to remove chlorine and other chemicals (both of these help keep your RO filter working longer), then an RO membrane that filters what does not come out in the prefilters. Lastly the DI "sand" binds with metals and removes them (copper being the biggest concern).

    I am only familiar with a couple of your local animals
    Octopus cyanea - grows too large
    - very cool animal but in addition to being large is a roamer and probably not suitable for anything but a public aquarium
    Octopus macropus - there are several in this complex but the majority are nocturnal
    - I have kept 2 of the smaller variety and found them very interactive - at 3:00 in the morning
    Octopus vulgaris - grows to large
    - also a very cool animal but even a tank twice the size your are considering is too small

    These I am looking up in a book (Cephalopods A Wold Guide by Mark Norman) because I have no first hand knowledge. Anyone with additional or countering knowledge PLEASE chime in!
    Amphioctopus aegina - good possibility for size
    - no mention of activity time of day
    - may also be called Octopus dollfusi
    - should be abundant and is often sold as "baby" octopus when it is an adult for food
    - sand dweller so it likes to bury
    - I found nothing about it being toxic and it is regularly caught and sold for food. This term was once considered a complex name that was regrouped under the name Amphioctopus (16 octopuses), leaving this name as a specific species member of the group. See the Wikipedia article here for some of the history. There is one in the Amphioctopus group that is considered poisonous, Amphioctopus mototi
    - From the Philippines, Thales sent back another in the Amphioctopus genus (marginatus) to be housed at the California Academy of Science's, Steinhart Aquarium and found them to be suitable for aquariuim living but very delicate in shipping and environment change.
    - I happened upon a stunning photo of one of these and posted for an ID in this thread. Be sure to view the photo link in the first post.


    Octopus globosus - nothing in Norman's book
    - also called the Globe octopus

    Amphioctopus membranaceus - nothing in Norman's book
    - I could find nothing about size
    - This may be one of the ocellate animals in this complex but keep in mind that A. motoi is also ocellate and should be avoided.

    Hopefully, my notes will get you started. Do post other material references if you find them.
     
  10. briareus

    briareus Cuttlefish Registered

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  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Very interesting cuttlefish you have. I have not seen this one before and I wonder how large it gets. Without a visual reference, it is hard to tell but it appears bigger than bandensis and smaller than officinalis. It might be worth finding out more about this one if keeping a cuttlefish interests you.

    The animal marked reef octopus I believe is O. vulgaris (at least in most photos, there are a couple where the arms look overly long).

    The bob tailed squid is the only squid that have been successful in home aquariums. They are very short lived, nocturnal and bury most of the time but we have had members enjoy keeping them and they have been successfully bred by universities.
     
  12. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    :confused: Where is the cuttlefish? Am I missing a link?
     
  13. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    I'm missing it, too.... just read through the thread twice and am not finding the cuttlefish D refers to.

    Maybe I should have more coffee before reading anymore - Tonmo wrote something in my thread that confused me, too.... he thinks I lost all my cuttlefish and eggs?

    That must have been one Super-Moon last night! :cool:
     
  14. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Yeah, I noticed that too - I think Tony was just tired...
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The link briareus gives for potential identification has a Flicker photo album attached (upper right, click on free cephalopod photos). Interesting cuttle CG and I would like to know more about it. Instead of the eye having a "W" shape, the whole head has a "W" look
    Here is one of the pictures but there are several in the album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildsingapore/1237155886/in/set-72157594587657091
     
  16. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    That's pretty typical shape for cuttles, it is not a usual angle for taking photos, so it might be why it looks unusual to you. The middle of the W is the rounded end of the cuttlebone. You can see the same shape in my avatar.
     
  17. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    so what species are they? Their arms look short too but, again that may be the photo angle.
     
  18. briareus

    briareus Cuttlefish Registered

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    Thank you all for your contributions. It is great to know that there is such a large variety of native cephalopods here. I will make a visit to the local saltwater fish farms during the mid term holidays before making a decision. My first bias will be to octopus species with brilliant blue on them. No blue rings, obviously.

    My preliminary concerns though, remain the same, and if I can't meet these requirements, then I unfortunately cannot own one of these amazing creatures. Food and equipment are the two most foremost concerns.

    My ability to buy RO DI equipment is questionable, they simply cost too much for someone my age. I will obtain readings for the water here and will test whenever necessary. Depending on the suitability of the readings, I will probably decide if it is wise to proceed into cephalopod keeping.

    I can probably obtain a decent skimmer in excess of 50 gallons for a fair cost price, and that takes up an acceptable, but large part of my budget. Live rock will also cost on a similar scale, though I will not be obtaining a huge amount of it.

    I have found squid (morbid, I know), shrimp and various shellfish to be readily available, but I have no such luck with regards to crab claws.

    There is a large population of certain crab species that I will be able to access from time to time, one of them being matuta lunaris of a small size, which appears to be a less territorial keeper than the typical fiddler.

    Thus, I would like to know how other cephalopod keepers keep their feeders alive and how often purchase for new crabs has to be made.

    Please advise. :confused:
     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Variety is likely more important than live but you may need to feed live initially (some take dead right away, others never do). Over the summer, live do not do well shipping here and mine only get thawed raw frozen until it get cooler but you should have some kind of crab in the food mix, preferably weekly.

    Do you plan to use ocean water or make saltwater from drinking water?
     
  20. briareus

    briareus Cuttlefish Registered

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    I will have to make saltwater out of drinking water; the seawater here I believe, is not clean due to high bacterial concentration.

    So I can actually start out with weaning the octopus onto live food and could hypothetically be fine by providing a large variety of dead seafood? On this note, will a cuttlefish perhaps by any easier to feed or maintain in my predicament?

    There are still a few of the larger supermarkets that I have yet to check out. Those could hold a larger variety of crabs and associated products. But certainly, it will be very inconvenient to plan weekly trips to these.
     

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