i have an O. briareus octopus and i was wondering if there are ANY tank mates i could put in there. i have a 55 gallon tank. i realise eels and triggers and aggressive fish aren't going to work but what about starfish or things of that nature
My first response is always, NO FISH but after that there are a few interesting critters that work.
Pretty much any brittle star (greens can get aggressive and may be a concern for smaller octos) or serpent star is fine and will help keep the tank clean. We always keep a red brittle in with the octos (and they are all named Pesky) as they seem to hang out with them and sometimes make it easier to locate a new den. Most brittles and serpents can be taught to be hand fed but you will not see them often (except at feeding time). The red brittles (actually more of an orange) add some nice color and are sometimes out during the day. Another attractive serpent star is the harlequin (black and white and sometimes green and white striped) but they are very reclusive and ONLY come out at feeding time.
I also like to keep knobby stars as they eat a lot of the scraps and seem to do very well in the octo tanks. They stay out during the day and can be very brightly colored.
Pencil urchins are octo safe and will help keep the algae on the rocks minimized (this includes the purple coraline algae though and I would not recommend them if you like a lot of coraline on the rock work). They are likely to chew on softies and gorgonians as they age if there is not enough algae in the tank for them and I have had to move several. I end up putting them back in though when the rocks need cleaning.
You can keep most gorgonians in the tank but you will need to take care to locate them in continuous current, good lighting and not in a likely octopus path (you will note that your octo does NOT go around things) for survival.
Most any mushroom (excluding ricordeas) or soft leather coral is fine but again, keep in mind the octopus habit of crawling over not around and you will need to establish them on a substrate before adding them to the tank.
We have had several peppermint shrimp to survive octopuses BUT the shrimp really need to be introduced before the octopus and even then some are not fast enough to survive so it is hit or miss with them becoming food. Small hermit crabs will also sometimes survive once an octopus is accustomed to being fed. Often a newly introduced animal will eat snails and hermits but leave them alone after it accepts the easier hand fed foods. However, there are exceptions. My vulgaris ate anything she could find in the tank in addition to her daily meal.
You want to avoid anything that has a strong sting so most zoanthids are not recommended (keep in mind that stinging cells can be set off in the water and your tank is not the ocean so they will remain for a period of time and can cause irritation that may lead to infection and a recent incident points out the toxicity of some zoas). I have found one group of larger polyps that seem to do fine and recommend that if you try any you keep them contained to a removable rock and relocate the rock to another tank if the octopus reacts to touching them.
wow i did not realize that zoas and ricordeas could be dangerous to octos i have been more concerned with the tenticled softies like candycanes and brains , the 92 i was planing to put spider in is coverd with different zoas, looks like i need to do some rescaping.
what about sps corals.
i do have a large rock thats coverd with rusty red/orange zoas and a green ric and cleatus sits among the zoas practicly coverd in them on a dayly basis somtimes allmost adjcent to the ricordea.
these zoas grow so fast that i often throw them away when cleaning my tank mabie if they are an octo frendy zoa i should offer frags to other tonmo members who are willing to pay shipping? i think i have a pic of cleatus siting in them
wow this is awesome! i was afraid i would have to do all the cleaning! i dont know much about corals so i will prob focus on the stars or urchins. i have a few hermits that were meant for live food but if they can help clean even better!
IME, you will see the animal withdraw noticeably from softies that sting it so I suspect what you have is a good find. I have had to remove some that LOOK similar to the ones that have been successful so I stay with what I have and don't experiment much. What I would really like to add are some leather corals but they are quite expensive here and I am not sure the environment I have will support them.
Macro algaes are also fine but usually either require a lot of lighting or a lot of pruning. I have some interesting volunteer macro in a non-octo tank that I keep thinking about trying to propagate in with an octo but I am not sure how to safely harvest a portion of it to attempt a replant. I have occasionally put shaving brushes, sea pansies and halimida (don't recommend the halimida, it breaks up) in with the octos for some color but it does not last more than a few months. I don't recommend chaeto as, like the halimida, it makes more of a mess than serve any esthetic purpose (there are those that swear by it for nitrate removal but I have not been successful with it).
i have some red garcilarna,feather calurpa(don't do it!) shaving brushes and cheato in my tanks under prety strong led lighting wich includes a few 660nm red's so the macros realy florish. i have had the shaving brushes and halimeada spread root structures throughout the sand and spring up on the other side of the tank but these are easly over run and choaked out by calurpa if it's alowed to get out of hand wich only takes about a weak wich is why i say don't do it all types of calurpa i have had have been a huge pain to maintain and even more of a pain to get rid of
the red garcilana adds some nice color and suposedly maintains a more bright red color under moderate light oposed to the brown it somtimes turns under halides it also seems to do best under the led panels that don't have any uv emiters. i have a chunk of cheato in every tank and a few pounds in each sump and it's all prety solid mass their are a few stray peices around wich i don't think my octo spider likes since it always seems to get entangled in his arms when he snatches up his fidler crabs. one thing i do diferently than what seems to be the norm is none of my cheato ever tumbles and it doesn't die on the bottom either, i flip the mass in my sumps every few months and the peices in the tanks get moved about that often as well, mabie it's becouse the led's have realy good penitration or somthing but the "cheato must tumble" rule does not seem to aply to me. my cheato does not break up easly and grows prety fast, i think when it's faling apart it's a sighn of somthing it's lacking either light or nutrient wise
i have a friend in GA coming up to visit me soon if she's near gainesvile mabie i can send a frag of my green toadstool leather home with her for you i can get them prety cheap or sometimes free from friends i trade corals with, the one in my tank now cost me a 2ltr botle of phyto that i grew myself for about $1.50
i forget wear exactly in ga she lives ill have to check into it.
That would be extremely cool! I can't think of something to swap ATM but I can try to get to the macro (it is about 3' down in the tank and my arm is just shy of 2') and snip a piece. I would be curious to see what it does (as well as what it is ). If she will be traveling south on I-85 I could meet her along the way. She is more than welcomed to come see Octavia and Yeti of course. Mini-TONMOcons are always fun!