Starting an octo build, can I get some advice?

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by cadre, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. cadre

    cadre Blue Ring Registered

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    Hi there, I'm new to tonmo but you guys have a lot of great info on Cephalopods so I'm hoping to get some advice. I have been keeping tanks since I was a kid and I made the jump to saltwater about three years ago. I have started working at an lfs a few days a week and we currently have what I believe is an abdopus that I have been caring for. I currently have a custom 18g ADA tank that has housed all types of corals as well as a dragonet and a wrasse. It's a beautiful tank and I'll be sad to see it go but I'm only allowed one tank at a time right now. I had considered turning this into a merc tank but it would be a challenge to make it octo friendly. So I picked up a new tank. This is where the fun starts.

    I picked up a 55g for dirt cheap so I am thinking I may build this out. The idea is to make it into an all-in-one peninsula tank with a protein skimmer and all the other equipment safely out of reach in the back chamber. I may also add an ice probe or maybe two for cooling. Does anyone use these? I know they can't do much but I'm hoping they can at least keep the tank a few degrees below room temp.

    I plan to use LED lighting so I can save on electricity and heat. I want enough light to grow macro algaes and some soft corals, will that much light stress an octo? I use LEDs in my current tank to grow sps but I probably won't use the same fixtures.

    I also have a vortech mp10 that I would like to use for flow but I've been told they're not safe. Is this true? I can downgrade to Koralias if that would be better.

    I was thinking that I would like to get abdopus (acleatus?) but I really just want an active, curious and diurnal animal. Any other species suggestions? I cannot do a bimac since my water will not be cold enough so I'm thinking something from warmer waters.

    Sorry for the long post, I've been lurking but I haven't quite found all the answers yet. Sorry if these questions have been asked before. Thanks in advance for the help, I'll keep you guys updated on my progress!
     
  2. neurobadger

    neurobadger Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    If you're getting your animal from the dread LFS, get a picture of the animal so we can identify it for you so you can make sure it's not a vulgaris or a mercatoris. Octopus vulgaris requires about 200 gallons and Octopus mercatoris is nocturnal. Where are you planning to get the octopus?

    It is generally not a good idea to keep an octopus in the same tank as other animals.
     
  3. cadre

    cadre Blue Ring Registered

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    Why is an LFS dreaded? Did you miss the part where I said I work there? And I will not be getting this animal as it was ordered for a customer. I'm fairly positive it is an a. acleatus (sp?) but that is not the point really since it is already spoken for. The guy who's getting it seems to know his stuff so when he comes in he should be able to identify it.

    Anyways, one of the other stores will probably order my octopus for me. They're pretty certain that they can get a specific species and my discount at my store hasn't kicked in anyways. Plus I trust them to work with me if it ends up being the wrong species or something.

    And I realize that octos are not community animals, not to be rude but I don't think that I said I would be putting an octopus with anything other than macros and sorties.
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Diurnals are tough but if you could find a male hummelincki, I suspect you would be pleased. Hummelincki is, more or less, the Caribbean equivalent of the Pacific bimac in basic look and personality. Most come in from Haiti and if female usually will brood within the first two weeks but the males seem to do quite well. Hummelincki is a small egg species so there is no hope of raising hatchlings. Check out the List of Our Octopuses 20xx for links to journals of the various species (CaptFish has two hummelinckis at the moment).

    I have used an Ice Probe on an 8 gallon and found that it would cool too much if the probe happened to come out of the water :roll: If you can put it in the back chamber (I am assuming you are going to set it up as an all in one with some kind of mini built in sump partition (See Diablo's tank buildout for what I think you basically have in mind), it might do the trick (keeping the tank at ambient) but it is prone to cold spots and needs good circulation that will not rewarm the water (Koralia would likely be good for this).

    Any power head that has an intake to an impeller must be securely covered (Diego - bimac - managed to pull off the cap on a PVC pipe this week so securing the intake is a challenge in itself) . In addition to octoproofing, the problem with trying to do this is the debris that collects at the intake. Your 18 would make a nice sump ... just sayin' :wink:

    Of the water movement options I have tried, the small (but not nano) Koralias seem to work best. They can still take off an arm tip but I have only had this happen with the larger ones.
     
  5. cadre

    cadre Blue Ring Registered

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    Thank you for the help! And no, I will not be using my beautiful ADA as a sump, that just isn't right. Haha. But I have someone who wants to buy my entire set up so if we can agree on a price I'll be good to go.

    For the 55g I was thinking about doing a false wall that goes all the way to the top of the tank so my lid will rest on it. Behind that I'll have just two chambers really. One with the skimmer, airstone and carbon and then another with the ato and the return pump. I would have a bubble trap between them and the ice probe(s) would sit over the first chamber. Would that provide enough water movement for them to be effective?

    Also, does anyone know if feather dusters would get eaten or destroyed? I'd like to have some life in the tank other than the octo but I know my options are limited.

    I may use pond foam and dry rocks to make some rock work, has anyone had problems with that for octopuses?

    Thank you again!
     
  6. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    I think "peninsula" means that it is viewable through both long sides, and one end, but it sounds like your partition will cover one long side, so not a peninsula, right? I'm assuming you'll be using live rock for filtration, and that the cold part of the ice probe will be completely submerged. If so it all sounds good. You'll need to cover the overflow so that the octopus can't get through, but also so it won't clog up. It's too bad that the slits in the cover of the Vortec are so large because those things are great, and are air cooled so they don't add any heat to the water. Maybe you could use it, but rig the front half of a Koralia cover over it, stuck to the glass, for safety. Remember that your "Partition" will need to be as strong as the side of the tank, because it is holding back just as much water pressure. You can use thinner glass but only if you install support pieces that run between the original tank wall and the partition. Silicone doesn't stick to acrylic, so using acrylic for the partition would be tricky (although "E6000 Adhesive" sticks to both glass and acrylic, and may be aquarium safe (probably is, but no one knows for sure)).

    LFS's are "dreaded" because they often don't know how to care for the octopus they order, or worse give out inaccurate information about it, and are often willing to sell them to people who aren't ready to care for them. They are also notorious for misidentifying octopus. It's really a crap shoot to buy an octopus from a LFS, or any other distributor, in terms of what species you'll get, no matter what they say you'll get. It's just really hard to id these things, and few, if any, in the industry are expert enough to do it accurately. That's why it's hard to plan your setup.

    Ideally you'll get a Hummelincki, but after you install the partition in your 55, I wonder if it will be large enough even for that. A 55 gal tank is 48" x 13" x 20" tall and only really holds about 47 gallons. The inside front to back distance is only 12.25", and assuming 3/8" thick glass, and a 3" wide rear section, the tank will end up being only 8 7/8" from front to back inside, and only hold 34 gallons of water (plus whatever is in the rear "sump"). That's tight and doesn't give the octopus much space to stretch out in more then one direction. If it were me, I'd partition off one end of the tank, not the back, and actually make it a peninsula. The 3" wide space would be hard to service, and require a large piece of glass. You could partition one end, say 8" x 12.25", which would be easy to service, allow the tank to be viewed from both sides, require a smaller piece of glass, have a much more comfortable floor dimension for the octopus, and leave 39 gallons in the main tank. If you can go 6" x 12.25", you'll leave 41 gallons in the main tank (88% of the original volume of the "55" gallon)
     
  7. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    I would say that a 55 gallon tank is too small for an O. Hummelincki just because I had mine in one for a short time. It's fine up until the end. My animal could stretch out to almost 22" and then some. It is do-able, but I'm just saying it wont give an adult much room. a 75 gallon would be much better if you could swing it.
     
  8. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    You just need to get them small enough. Speaking of which, my LFS got in a male and a female O. Hummelincki in about a month ago. I was going to get both of them and try to breed them, but I don't have the space.
     
  9. cadre

    cadre Blue Ring Registered

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    I was planning to build the false wall on the small end like you describe. I agree that if I did it the oterway things might be a bit cramped. The 55g will probably be cramped as it is, they have the most awkward dimensions. Th problem is my apartment isn't that large and I'm worried about putting that much weight on the second floor. I'm not supposed to have anything over 20 gallons too.

    I understand that LFS aren't the greatest places for animals like octopuses but the ones I frequent are pretty good. They won't get an octopus unless someone orders it but yeah, most employees there know nothing about them. It seems like the distributors are the same. Most of us will talk someone out getting an animal that isn't appropriate for them though. I understand that most stores aren't like that though.

    I would like to do a 75g but it will be much more expensive and I have weight and space concerns. Are there any slightly smaller diurnal species?
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    A. aculeatus is usually smaller than O.hummelincki but life span after capture is dismally short (noting that any wild caught animal can be well into maturity) where we often see decent time with wc male hummelincki. Regardless of which you start with, keep in mind as you build out the tank that it will house a number of animals (cuttlefish are another option that may interest you as some point) because of their naturally short life span even if you are lucky enough to start with a very young animal (and even then the year passes too quickly, especially since they don't appear to be social until they are about 5 months old).

    I have been fortunate to have kept two more or less daytime dwarfs (one unknown and one crepuscular joubini) but the experience is not repeatable. I am finding the joubini to be an excellent aquarium animal but we only see the much more reclusive and nocturnal O. mercatoris sold under this ID. Octopuses are just not mainstream aquarium animals so it is catch as catch can I am afraid (unless, like Joe-Ceph and a few others, you can do your own catching).
     
  11. cadre

    cadre Blue Ring Registered

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    I thought I replied to this thread last night....weird. Maybe it's still in transit?

    Are there sources that usually get joubini specimens rather than other dwarfs? I'm happy to wait a while to get one.

    A hummelincki sounds like a good option as well so I guess I will see what's available once my tank is ready to go. I think I read that the ones liveaquaria.com sells are usually a.aculeatus, is that still correct?

    As far as other animals in that tank is concerned, yes I realize that I can pretty much use this tank for anything. I had considered cuttles before octopuses because I didn't realize that you could even keep octopuses in home aquariums. I will definitely try my hand with them in the future. My husband also loves seahorses so the tank may be used for that at some point.

    I have found a few other options for tanks, they will cost me a lot more money though. There is a 90g for sale locally as well as a 95g L-shaped tank. My concern is the weight in a second floor apartment. I will not be able to put the tank on a support wall so 1000+ pounds seems like a bad idea. Maybe some apartment dwellers or structural engineers can chime in here?
     
  12. cadre

    cadre Blue Ring Registered

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    Sorry, I thought I replied to you guys already.
    I was planning to partition the small end of the tank like you suggest, sorry for the confusion. I agree that doing it the other way would not leave much space. That said, the 55g dimensions aren't that great anyways. Unfortunately I feel like it's the best I can do in my current position. I will do a false wall made from high quality acrylic because I intend to use an odd shape that goes around the lip of the frame, glass would just be too much of a pain if it could even be done. I'll ask the acrylic guy what he suggests to secure it but since I plan to have the back chambers pretty full I think it will be okay. I figure the more water the better here.

    I realize that stores are not really the best place for animals like octopuses but I'd like to think the two stores I frequent are pretty good. Neither will order an octo for someone unless they are sure it's appropriate and they don't stock them. No one knows much about octos there so yeah, caring for it and identifying it can be hard. I think the same is true for distributors though. Regardless, I usually avoid online ordering because I can't quarantine and I don't want to lose my money if the animal dies from stress or something else. I can get one in the store and make sure it's not about to brood and it is eating before I even pay for it.

    I have been looking into a larger tank but I'm just not sure I can do it. I would love a 75g but it seems a bit out of reach at the moment.
     
  13. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    Five big men, standing in a row, weigh about 1000 lbs, and cover about the same amount of floor space. Your apartment was engineered to not fall down, even if you invited 30 big men over to all do jumping jacks in unison. A 1000 lb fish tank is no problem at all for your floor to support. If it were, then it wouldn't be safe for a guy to invite five or ten of his buddies over to watch a football game. The building codes were written to handle a lot more than a 90 gallon fish tank.

    The thing to worry about would be the financial liability if your tank leaks and damages the ceiling and property of the people living below you. The guy living above me has leaked into our condo three times in three years, and had to reach for his check book each time to repair our ceiling. He had plumbing issues, not a tank, but you might want to design a system that is very unlikely to leak, and maybe has a fail-safe built in so that even if it leaks the water will be trapped or channeled outside instead of onto the floor. Now that I think about it, it's probably your land lord who would be financially liable, not you, so probably the worst that could happen to you would be that you loose your deposit, and get evicted. I'll bet a fish tank would violate your lease agreement, which you should probably read just to make sure you're not financially liable if your tank leaks.

    So stop worrying about the weight, and start worrying about the flood risk (sorry)
     
  14. cadre

    cadre Blue Ring Registered

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    Well, yeah the flood risk is a bigger issue. I dunno, I keep hearing from people in the area that the apartments can't handle that much weight for some reason. The flood thing is going to be an issue regardless of tank size though so I'm trying to minimize that the best I can. I have sensors that go off when water touches them and if I ever get my controller built I'll have a sensor there that shuts everything downcand hopefully sends me a text or an email. I figure an all-in-one system has less chance of overflowing compared to a drilled tank with a sump. Plus a drilled tank is more likely to crack. I have a used tank but I may also splurge for a good new one to ensure I don't have any leaks with the silicone. Oh and I'm looking into renters insurance that covers water damage. Most don't but I hear some do.

    To answer your previous question, yes I will be building the false wall on the short side if the 55g if I use that.
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    This is definitely a financially dangerous hobby:octocash:

    Sadly Little Bit and Sedna's Pandora are the only O. joubini we are comfortable with IDing. Most octopuses shipped as O.joubini are O.mercatoris because for many years it was thought that there was only one Caribbean dwarf. Science labs and hobbyists alike called all dwarf O.joubini and this continues to be the case even though it is clear that there are at least two. Oddly, they really don't look much alike, the general personality is very different and the O.joubini appears to be more crepuscular than nocturnal. Most collectors (often unintentional as with the crabbers who have found a market for live animals that take their crabs) know the difference between an octopus and a squid but that is as far as it goes. The point is, you never know what you will get :grin:. Unfortunately, O.joubini is a small egg sepecies so we can't even attempt to raise them.
     
  16. cadre

    cadre Blue Ring Registered

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    O. Joubini seems really tiny to me but I'll see what happens once I get the tank set up. I came across a 70g half hex type tank today but it has no stand and it's drilled. I would really like to go the aio route if I can but maybe that won't happen. We'll see.

    The last of my corals were sold out of my 18g today so I just need someone to come get the tank.

    Any ideas about putting feather dusters with octos? How are sponges and gorgonians with octopuses? I found an amazing source for macro algaes so I'm really excited about that. Oh and it seems like base-type live rock would be better than the really branchy stuff as far as dens go. Is this correct?
     
  17. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    They should be fine just make sure you secure antthing you put in there well. Octos can be kind of destructive when crawling over and aroyund stuff like sponges and gorgs.

    Base rock is standard but there is no reason whty you couldn't have a few branchy pieces too. but you definately want to make sure there is some good caves and hiding spots.
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Off the top of my head lists of what I normally keep I put in my octopus tanks (keep CaptFish's warning in mind while placing anything as octos just crawl over whatever is in their way), what I have seen successfully kept, what is likely to be OK from observation and what to avoid.

    My List of Successful Occupants

    * Brittle stars - great choice, great cleaners. I keep one red one in each of my octo tanks. Both these and serpents can be hand fed if you feed daily at the same time.

    * Serpent Stars - another personal favorite housed with my octos. Avoid greens as they will become aggressive once they are a few year old, personal verification

    * Caribbean Common Starfish - not a problem with octos but even large tanks have a hard time supporting them food wise (anticdotal, they my just get old and shrink after several years as I can't seem to verify the natural lifespan).

    * Most Gorgonians - They need high flow areas. IME these do well in the larger tanks (50+ gallons) but not as well in the smaller.

    * Mushrooms - Getting them to attach is the only problem, the red ones from the Caribbean seem to be octo-proof and have stayed in place even when senescent animals have worked at trying to remove them.

    * Leathers, Xenia, Kenya

    * Feather Dusters - place where they won't be molested.

    * Low Stinging Polyps - It is hard to know the impact of the polyps, if you add polyps observe the octopus. If it touches the polyps and reacts by quickly removing the arm, take out the cluster before it spreads.

    * Common Clams from the seafood market - These are not pretty, might help filter your bottom substrate, are hardy and may ocassionaly go missing - as in eaten. They are a lot of work for the octopuses and when octos know there is easier food, mine have ignored them. If eaten, they are far less messy than oysters or muscles and I have never had one detectably pollute a tank. Forget any kind of attractive clam, it will not survive.

    * Peppermint Shrimp - I have found that starting with a pair before there is an octo in the tank and then introducing an octopus usually lets me have one shrimp over several octopuses. Anecdotally, it appears one will observe the other being eaten and then learn to avoid the octopus. The reason one survives and the other is eaten is conjecture but I have experienced it more than once. Peps are not particularly attractive - almost creepy - but will help keep some forms of small aiptasia from heavily populating a tank. They don't seem to like the larger ones and some varieties but for the ones they will eat, they do a great job. I don't recommend keeping more than two in a tank because they can pack and become aggressive. I have seen them try to pick on an octo but that is usually short lived and only during acclimation or when an octopus is dying.

    * Snails or Hermits - Add a handful or more at a time. Some will become food but they make a decent clean up crew. Typically, I will keep one or the other but often keeping both eliminates the snails. I often wonder if the reports of octopuses eating snails is actually consumption by hermits.

    * Pencil Urchins - Good rock cleaners but they will munch on some forms of soft coral if there is not enough algae.

    Usually OK List(animals to watch because of water quality but won't harm the octopus):

    * Cowrie - (I keep one in one of the 65's and am very fond of it. Joe-Ceph reported a major problem with one sliming and I did have some slime the first year I had this one but no problems at all since and he has been kept with numerous octopuses.

    * Cucumber - I have not kept a cuc in with my octos but many have. Keep away from the exotics as many are responsible for the infamous cuc nuke syndrome but the commons are harty and don't seem to pollute like the exotics even when they do die. I recently had one to find a power head intake in the sump or our nano - obviously he should not have been IN the sump - and mutilate the animal but the tank did not suffer. There is at least one from the Caribbean that don't bury and are enjoyable to watch.

    * Low Stinging Anemones - I hesitate to add this one and don't keep them with mine but a couple seem to be tollerated in a larger tank. Typically these will sting if contact is made and stings can damage the skin, setting up a potential infection.

    * Ricordea - these do have a slight sting and should be used sparingly and in places the octo would not typically travel. I have only kept one ric and one flower with any of my octos. The small ric does not seem to be a problem but I have seen Diego react strongly to the flower (it was in the tan before he came and removing it would mean killing it so I am monitoring).

    * Pincushion Urchins - There are warnings against using this kind of urchin but I have seen many people keep them in an octo tank without a problem and suspect the warnings are unfounded. However, I do not keep them with my octopuses

    Avoid list most anything not listed above but especially:
    * Any kind of fish. Sooner or later one will be a problem for the other.

    * Seahorses. Guaranteed meal, they have no defenses and even if not actively attacked will ultimately be touched and then consumed.

    * Long Spined or Rock Urchins - the spines on these break and embed easily and can be another source of unnecessary infection risk.

    * High Stinging Corals - the list includes most hard corals and anemones.

    * Aggressive Sea/Serpent Stars - Green brittle star and any meat eating star that can trap its prey. Anticdotally, we may have lost one octo to a Bahama Star that trapped and killed a sleeping octo. It is possible that the apparently healthy animal died and the star was scavenging but I keep it on my no list because of its behavior.
     
  19. tat2spyder

    tat2spyder Blue Ring Registered

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    i love that list of possible tankmates. that should be posted somewhere for everyone to see
     
  20. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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