Thinking about getting an octopus

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by Wafflez777, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Wafflez777

    Wafflez777 Blue Ring Registered

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    Im thinking about getting a bimac. My plans right now is to get a 40 gal tank. The tank i want to buy has 3 different lights, vayering from dim to bright. im also going to get a protein skimmer (I don't know what size, any recommendations?), I have I fish store near my house and one of the owners has had an octopus, and he said he can supply me with the food. I'm not exactly sure how to set up my tank, I know to put sand and a lot of hiding places though.
    Is there anything else I need or is this fine?
     
  2. abdopus147

    abdopus147 Blue Ring Registered

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    Hello, I have kept a bimac before and currently have one, first 40 gallons is a little small (recommended size for bimacs is 55 gallons). The lighting should be fine, though sometimes they prefer dim(mer) lighting and for an octopus you should have a skimmer rated for at least 1 and 1/2 of the tank's gallons. Bimac's are hard to obtain, but make great pets! A chiller may be needed, they preferred temperature is between 65-72, but they won't die if it goes a little over (the colder the water, the longer they live).
     
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  3. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    40 gal is a little small for most octopuses kept at home, you could consider a dwarf species like the Caribbean Mercatoris.
    I agree with adopus the lighting should be fine and I too recommend an oversized skimmer. for a 40 gallon a skimmer rated from 60-120 would be great. In my 125g i have a skimmer rated for 200g. However 65-72 seems a little warm from what i read from Thales, Roy and Joe-ceph. i think the range was more like 55-68. with a target around 60.
     
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  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I kept Diego at 72F. He was only with me for 13 months and had major eye infection issues that may have been related to the warmer temps or the Caribbean environment (or both). Other bimacs we have seen from the brood Zian Silver re-homed with TONMO members were kept at the warmer end of the spectrum and lived for even a shorter time. From my own experience, I would not keep another cold water octopus in my current tanks.
     
  5. Wafflez777

    Wafflez777 Blue Ring Registered

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    k thanks, i think ill look into a cooler. But i herd that coolers take up alot of energy, is there any brand or something to make the energy consumption lower?
     
  6. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    A 1/5th or 1/4 HP chiller is probably enough. I don't know if any brand is more efficient than any other, but I suspect they are all comparable. Make sure that you keep the cooling fins of your chiller clean (don't let dust build up on them) and put the chiller where it has lots of cool air to pull in and can blow out how air without recirculating it (i.e.: don't put it inside a stand)

    To save money, you need to minimize the amount of heat that gets into your water, and must then be removed by your chiller. To do that, you need to understand how heat gets into your water:
    1) Pumps and lights. The heat generated by any electric motor, needs to go somewhere. With a submerged pump, all of it goes into your water, with an external pump, most heat goes into the air around the pump motor, so use external pumps if you can afford them (I buy used Iwaki pumps, and blow a little fan over them to keep them cool). Don't use lights that add heat to the water. I use a single fluorescent tube, raised above the top of my tank on little insulated spacers a few inches so that very little heat comes off of them into the water. LED lights might even be better.

    2) Assuming the room air is warmer than the tank water, heat gets into your water through every square inch of surface area that has tank water on one side, and room air on the other. There are three ways to minimize this heat conduction:
    A) Have the room temp as close to the target tank temp as you can. If you can keep the room temp below 72 (might require AC, which also costs electricity) and decide that 65 is cold enough for your bimac, you only have a 7 degree difference. That will be easier to do than a wider difference.
    B) Minimize the surface area that touches cold water. A 60 gallon rectangular tank (48x12x24) has 20% more surface area than a 60 gallon cube (24x24x24). A separate sump adds a lot of surface area. I desingned my tank with a dividing wall, so that the left 20% of the tank is the "sump", and the right 80% of the tank, is the tank. Water overflows the dividing wall, and there is no external sump. That saves the cold surface area that a sump would add, plus the surface area of any plumbing required between them. I also made all the plumbing runs as short as possible.
    C) Insulate any cold surface as much as possible. This will slow down the rate at which heat can get through the surface and into your water. Use pipe insulation around all plumbing (with wire ties keeping the ends tight over the pipes). Use 1" thick, or thicker rigid Styrofoam insulation panels on each flat surface that you don't need to see through. My tank rests on a 2" thick piece of Styrofoam, and I've covered one side and the back with a Styrofoam sheet (wrapped in black vinyl to look nice). Acrylic is a better insulator than glass, so an acrylic tank, especially a thick one, will use less electricity than a glass tank. If you are an ambitious do-it-yourselfer (like me) then you can add spacers, and a second pane of glass, or acrylic, to the uninsulated front, and side(s) of your tank to create a 1/4" to 1/2" airspace. That will also save a lot of electricity, and ensure that you never get any "sweating" (condensation).
     
  7. Wafflez777

    Wafflez777 Blue Ring Registered

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    Is there any types of rocks or plants that I should have in my tank? Also when I set up the tank should I put in the sand first or the water first?
     
  8. Wafflez777

    Wafflez777 Blue Ring Registered

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    Just incase i cant find a seller for a bimac what are some similar species of octopuse?
     
  9. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    What do you mean by similar species?.....Size? Environment(ie coldwater)?

    You want Live rock in general about one pound of rock per gallon of water. so if you have a 60 gallon tank you need 60 lbs of live rock. I also use the same rule for sand one pound of sand per gallon of water. As per plants that's up to you some people have them, I do not. Since bimacs are a coldwater species I'm sure you need different sand rock and algae than most aquariums have. I keep caribbean and indonesian, both warm water species, so I need Joe-ceph or one of the other coldwater guys to make specific recommendations. Like exactly what type of rock and where to get it. I'm not sure if coldwater stuff is common in pet stores out there like warm water is.
     
  10. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Water first then the sand.
     
  11. Tentacle Toast

    Tentacle Toast GPO Supporter Registered

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    ...I wish these guys weren't so difficult to acquire; the more I read of them, the more I.like them (cold-tank requirements aside). On a completely unrelated note, how do you get a quote box around only desired parts of a post you wish to respond to?
     
  12. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Type or paste what you want to quote in the message, highlight the text and click the little icon on the top right, the icon that look like a comic strip text bubble.
     
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  13. Tentacle Toast

    Tentacle Toast GPO Supporter Registered

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    Thank you kindly...
     
  14. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    I've only kept bimacs, but from the reading I've done, I've always thought that for people that want a bimac, but don't want to deal with a chiller, an O. Hummelincki would make sense. They are slightly smaller than a bimac, warm water, and are reported to be diurnal and have great personalities. I understand they can also be purchased, at least at some times of year.

    Rocks and sand:
    If you go with a bimac, and chill the tank, I think you can use tropical "live rock" and sand. Tropical live-rock provides bio-filtration, although it will work at a slower rate than it would in warmer water. For that reason, you should use more of it (1.5 lbs per gallon?) and feed the tank less. I didn't think tropical live rock looked right in a Southern California Biotope tank, and I'm too cheap to pay for live rock, so I used native (non-porous) rock, which provides no bio-filtration. I use a wet/dry trickle filter, skimmer, and deep sand bed for bio-filtration. If you want to keep a lot of other cold water animals, most of which need to be fed a lot because they don't use light to make food like tropical animals do, then even 1.5 lbs of tropical life-rock per gallon is probably not enough bio-filtration to keep up with the mess made by all that feeding, so you would probably need to supplement the live rock with something else (like bio-balls) and have mechanical filtration, and an overlarge skimmer. I should also mention that the two bimacs that I've sent to Tonmo people, and were kept (I think) at room temp, with tropical live-rock, didn't do very well, and died early of (I think) unknown causes. I'm not drawing any conclusions, but one possible reason is that they caught some exotic disease or parasite from exposure to the tropical (exotic) live-rock and/or live sand. I'm not even saying that that's a likely cause, it's just one possibility to consider when thinking about keeping a bimac.

    I like catching my own bimacs, and other tank inhabitants, but if I just wanted an octopus of any species, I'd try to get a Hummelincki and avoid the headache of a cold water tank, while retaining most, if not all, of the advantages of a bimac (personality, diurnal, moderate size)
     
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  15. Wafflez777

    Wafflez777 Blue Ring Registered

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    Thanks, ill look into the hummelincki because it doesn't require the cooler.
     
  16. Wafflez777

    Wafflez777 Blue Ring Registered

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    Are there any requirements for the hummelinincki? I also need to know what temperature range suits them. I alsO have a question about oxygen levels, I don't get the oxygen thing that much, would an air pump for a bubbly treasure chest work, or do I need something fancy?
     
  17. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    You want to make sure that the water in your tank comes into physical contact with room air over a large surface area. In most tanks, that is done by keeping the top of the tank open to the air in the room, and making sure that the water in the tank circulates such that the water that is in contact with the air, is constantly replaced by water from lower in the tank. A large sump, with lots of surface area, is another way to go (since you will probably want to cover the octopus tank to prevent escape, which will also prevent fresh air from coming into contact with the water surface in the tank). If you rely on the surface area of your sump, be sure that fresh room air can circulate over the top of your sump (i.e.: don't enclose your sump in a stand unless the stand is well ventilated. It has been found that skimmers don't oxygenate water very much despite all the bubbles they produce. I've read that an air pump making bubbles works mostly by disturbing the surface of the water, and not so much because of the air coming out of the pump, and also that free bubbles, especially tiny bubbles in the water can collect inside the octopus's mantle, and cause health problems, so many of us avoid blowing bubbles into the tank, just in case that's true. I use a wet/dry trickle filter for filtration, which is designed to provide a massive amount of surface area between water and air, which supplies a lot of oxygen for the aerobic bacteria that it houses, and as a side effect, maximizes the amount of oxygen in the water for the octopus.

    Even if the bubbles from a bubbly treasure chest don't hurt an octopus, it could sustain an eye injury from constantly rolling it's eyes in response to the bad taste exhibited by the choice of a bubbly treasure chest, so I would recommend against that. :roll:
     
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  18. Wafflez777

    Wafflez777 Blue Ring Registered

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    Thanks Joe, I also would like to know the temperature range for the tank.
     
  19. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    For temp range, I like to find out what the average surface water temperature is for each month of the year, where the octopus species is found wild. That will give you the natural temperature range for that animal. It's probably a bad idea to set your tank temp at the top or bottom of that range, since these temperatures are natural extremes, that are never endured for more than a month or so in the wild. For example, I keep a bimac from San Diego, where the average temp in Feb is 57, and in Aug is 68 (F), so I keep my tank at 60. The mid-point of the range would be 62.5, but I think a little cooler will slow down metabolism, and extend an octopus's life span, without being "too cold". The average monthly water temp along the south coast of Haiti (O. Hummelincki country) ranges between about 79 and 84 (F) during the year, so a tank temp of about 80-82 is probably about right for that species.
     
  20. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I would recommend a slightly lower temp in the 75-80 range but most of my animals come from the Keys where the temp is somewhat lower.
     

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