Starter food...


Pygmy Octopus
Jan 18, 2011
I am in the process of setting up a tank for an octo. With the delicacy of them I really want to have everything ironed out in terms of care before it arrives. I would really like to ensure that I have a appropriate and reliable food source for the little guy (even already have it on had prior to it arriving).

The main concern I have is with the random availability, you really don't have a realistic idea of species/size until it ends up at your tank. I have read a bit around the forum and have a decent idea of the varieties of food, but would like to see what would be a good "stock" food to have about as well as highly attractive foods for early acclimation. Is there a "rule of thumb" as to the size/amount to feed on a regular basis (most fish will over consume food if available). Are there foods that are species specific?



Colossal Squid
Staff member
Jul 9, 2009
South Florida
I use Grocery store frozen raw shrimp as my main food source.
For new arrival small crabs, like fiddlers, are a usually quite successful. if you can get them Live shrimp work well. Some octos like to snack of hermits and snails, they are always great to have in the tank, if they are not eaten then they serve as clean up crew.

these are some popular places for food.

Paul Sachs - Fiddlers, shore shrimp, and more :
Cramers critters - small crabs for octopus food :


Certified Ceph Head For Life
Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
Gainesville, GA
In addition to what CaptFish mentioned, I have recently found that if you can find large enough hermits cheaply, taking them out of the shell and offering them is an infallible treat (and good quality food). The trick is finding them cheaply and large enough to successfully remove (I freeze them and then smash the shells rather than tormenting a live animal but the octo will take them either way).

Other than shrimp and crab, SOME octos will accept other food but it seems to be more of an individual rather than species choice and alternatives should be tried and bought in very limited quantity. Off the top of my head, a sometimes they will and sometimes they won't list consists of:

Clams (on the half shell, partially cracked or live)
Scallop meat
Abelone (I have had no luck with this and I think it is too tough for most)
Oyster on the half shell (very messy in the tank - I have not tried them pre-opened but any raw is OK to try)
Mussels (also messy)
Cray/crawfish (only occassionally as these are freshwater animals)
Small bits of any raw seafood counter food (including small amounts of RAW fish, lobster meat but it is unlikely you will find raw dead crab or lobster).

IME, it also seems that young octos need very tender food (like hermits or shore shrimp) and can't eat frozen table shrimp until they reach a few months old. Fiddler or other small crabs seem to be eaten by anything but hatchlings.

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