Uni-pus?

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by Rook, May 13, 2008.

  1. Rook

    Rook Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    This fall, I'm going to be heading off to college, where I'm going, it's mandatory for students to live in the dorms, so obviously, I can't have a huge aquarium. Browsing the forums, it appears as if octopi aren't really suitable for anything less than 30 or so gallons, and I'm certain my roommate would not appreciate a huge aquarium taking up dorm room. So, that probably puts an octopus out of the question for now. Plus having to move for a month in the winter, and also over the summer, my university is a three-hour drive from my parents' home, and I don't know if an octopus would be able to handle that kind of stress, but maybe it would.

    But for smaller aquariums, are there any kind of cephalopod that can survive in those kinds of conditions? I've maintained aquariums before, but never with anything other than fish.

    I know that caring for any kind of animal can take a great deal of work, and money too, especially for one of a saltwater variety, but I would like to some day get an octopus, and I think it would be a good idea to start out with something similar, but maybe easier to take care of? I know there are some small eel-like fish, starfish, etc. that live in similar conditions, but I don't know anything about them, and I would prefer an octopus.

    I haven't met my room mate yet, however, and I may get someone that would be thrilled to have some 30 gallon aquarium, and share costs and whatnot with me. I would still like something on the small-ish side, though. I've heard Bimacs make for wonderful pets, and there's also the picture of the Octopus filosus on this site, which looks small, but I'm certain it's probably not full-grown.

    I'm not too concerned about the price of the creature, as I won't be purchasing it, but size, living conditions and food costs are something that concern me. I've read that most octopi will eat crabs, and some will eat crayfish, which are in abundance here. I would like to have the information ready by the time I decide to discuss it with whoever I room with, to... you know, try and make a convincing argument, because I think and octopus would be an amazing pet, even if it doesn't have a long lifespan.

    Any and all information on a suitable octopus (or temporary alternative) would be wonderful, as I'm quite eager to get an aquarium up and running again.
     
  2. esquid

    esquid Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    You may want to look at you dorm's rules about pets first. Most dorms have some variation on NO. And the collage i first went to that was qualified with "not even fish".

    The other thing is that if they do allow pets in the dorm it is probably a good idea to wait till after your first semester to get anything. That way you will have a better idea of how much time you will have to left after classes, homework, studying, job, social life, etc. and sleep. Which is usually not much. At that point you would also have a better idea of how trustworthy and responsible the people in your building are. Again usually not much. Think of the pranks that will arise out of the contents of your test kits if they were fall into the wrong hands. Also what the quality of the water is. In a dorm, usually not good.

    I'm really not trying to be a downer, but collage and dorm life are different in reality than advertised and pets in dorms have a tendency to be abused and or killed.

    erin
     
  3. Rook

    Rook Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Yeah, I've checked, and spoken extensively with the residence... people, whatever important titles they have, and they said the only pets allowed are fish. And that's mostly the reason why I was waiting to see what kind of room mate I get, because if I have someone who is... not nice, I'll get my own room, and probably not let anyone in. But... My friend Debbie was thinking of moving into the town I'll be in, and getting her own apartment, in about three years. I've already spoken to her about it, and she said she'd love for us to go in together to get one, and keep it at her house. It's likely I'd be there a lot anyhow, so it wouldn't be... you know, abandoned at her house or anything.

    I know the water quality has to be exceptional and all, but if she does come up and get an apartment, do you think it would be alright there? Or should I wait until I get my own house?
     
  4. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    unfortunately, the only octos that can do OK in a 30gal reliably are the dwarf species, which have other drawbacks (short-lived, shy, nocturnal, and usually non-interactive.) If you have any interest in cuttlefish, a single Sepia bandensis seems to do OK in a 29gal tank, although Cuttlegirl reported that at full adult size she thought they'd be too cramped (she'd moved hers to a larger tank, though). Octopus filosus has now been re-named Octopus hummelincki, which is a bit confusing, but several folks are keeping the species now. They've mostly been available only recently, but it's looking like they at least sometimes get big enough that they'd outgrow a 30gal.

    We recommend a 55gal for any octopus that makes a good pet, really. Also, crayfish, since they're freshwater, tend not to have good nutritional balance for feeding to an octo long-term, it's better to have most of their diet be marine animals.
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Rook,
    I cannot dispute the advice above and if your friend gets an apartment she would also need to do the daily chores necessary BUT look through my threads on dwarfs. Since college students often keep odd hours, one or two might be suitable. I very successfuly kept two in a 15 gallon but with REGULAR 5 gallon water changes WEEKLY (one of these two is still alive AT 14 months in this tank). They only live between 8 months an 1 year and you are unlikely to find a very young one so if you time your cycle and purchase you should be between pets for at least one of your home stays.

    If you are an early morning person and not a night owl, this doesn't work but do some reading and see what you think.

    This is a journal about my tank raised young but there is also a link at the top about their wild caught mother. Be aware that they are not anywhere near as interactive (if at all - several of mine only come out for food) as the larger octos.

    http://www.tonmo.com/community/index.php?threads/7853/
     
  6. Rook

    Rook Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    I figured as much. The chances of me getting any kind of aquarium that big at this moment are pretty slim.

    I think when I get one, I don't want to get a huge octopus, or cuttlefish, because I think I would maybe get a little creeped out by it (And I adore small things). But I have read that many of the smaller species aren't as hardy as the larger, and are less friendly.

    Also, if you get a really big tank, can two octopi/cuttlefish live together, or will they become territorial and attack each other?
     
  7. Rook

    Rook Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Ah, thanks. Those are adorable, and probably the kind I would want, to start off with, even if they're not so social, just to get used to having an octopus and taking care of one. If you had two in a 15 gallon tank, it would be okay to have one in a 10 gallon tank then? If things work out in the dorm, and I find that I can trust the people there with my regular fish, I would very much like to get an octopus.

    Or maybe I'll just get an octopus prop for my aquarium, and just keep fish, haha.
     
  8. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Sepia bandensis are small and adorable, can start out in a 29 gallon - but at about 5-6 months would probably be happier in a 55 gallon. You can keep more than one S. bandensis in an aquarium.

    I would be concerned about keeping a tank in your dorm room. As I recall, space is at a premium in dorm rooms, so a 30 gallon tank might make your room even more crowded. Also, I would be concerned about other people messing with your tank (along the lines of "let's see if octopus like beer..."), or leaving the lid open so the little guy escapes.
     
  9. Rook

    Rook Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Yeah, the space and cost were my main concerns, I'm not really planning on allowing that many people into my room, especially if I end up getting my own (but you make an excellent point). I wasn't sure how large of a tank they'd need though, but 55 gallons is pretty big, and I'm sure the upkeep for that is much, much more than I could afford. So perhaps I should just wait until I get my own place. I will definitely look into cuttlefish though, because they are indeed quite adorable.
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    NO! The official recommendation is 20 gallons or better but with the very regular water changes, small skimmer and filtration, I have found 15 gallons to work. In a 10 gallon, a five gallon water change is 50% weekly (vs 30% for a 15) and you risk the chance of changing the water salinity or PH to excess (30% is pushing it). When you are looking at small tanks even 1 gallon is significant.

    Probably establishing your new life style before you put any critter in a tank would be a good idea. Remember that it takes 3 months to get a tank to mature enough to handle the bio-load of an octopus. This waiting time would allow you to get a feel for how your time will be spent and you can choose your primary critter after the tank is ready.

    As an asside, there is another critter that is well thought of for intelligence and personality that you might consider as it does not have the high demands of a ceph. Do a little reading on Mantis shrimp and you will be surprised.
     
  11. Rook

    Rook Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Buh! Had me thinking I knew something, you did. So I suppose I'll just wait until I've got my own place (Or Debbie has hers) before I get any kind of octopus. Seems like they're a bit more delicate than I'd previously anticipated.

    And. Based on the quick reading I did on Mantis shrimp... I think I will stray away from those. They look like something that would probably... break out and kill me in the night, a bit. Yeah. I like snails quite a bit, though. I don't know what will and will not be considered fish in my dorm hall though, so I may not be able to have anything other than things with fins and no legs anyhow.
     
  12. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    If you like snails, look up apple snails (freshwater). I had several large ones when I had freshwater tanks and liked them better than the fish (and they don't have eyes the glow in the night :bugout:)

    Another dorm alternate would be to consider african frogs. They need an aquarium with something out of the water (a lily plant works) but do not require excessive cost and time. They are still friendly looking little creatures to keep you company, mine all had names and lived on my breakfast room table.
     
  13. Rook

    Rook Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    I did look up apple snails, actually! It appears that they're illegal in the US though, which is unfortunate. Careless people releasing them into the wild and all. It may be difficult for me to find a pet that I like, and that's fun to have. Perhaps I'll persuade my mother to go pet-store exploring and see what I can dig up. I also looked at African frogs a while ago, my sister had some, but they didn't live very long, and I've seen that some snails live upwards of 14 years, which is quite a long time! Thanks for all your help, and suggestions, too.
     
  14. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    African dwarf frogs are very cute. I've had a pair (and some of their babies) for four years. They are quite amusing when they eat. I have them in a ten gallon aquarium. They are also hardy. I moved across the country and they traveled with me in a tupperware container on the airplane.
     
  15. esquid

    esquid Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    I think dwhatley meant two each in it's own 15 gal tank.

    The other thing is make sure that when the dorm people say fish are ok that they are including what you are thinking of. When they say fish, they may have bettas or a small goldfish bowl in mind. Ask a lot of specific questions about what falls in their parameters like filter/no filter, does it have to be under x number of gallons, can it be anything that fits inside a tank, what tank paraphernalia is allowed. And if what you want is ok, get an exact quote from the dorm person stating what is allowed by name and with what qualifications and write that person's name down in case you need it later. Some times RA's and RD's have their own interpretation of the rules and you may need proof that you did your research and had prior approval.

    If the rules do include anything that can be housed in a tank, water not necessary you may want to look at white's tree frogs. They have a lot of personality and seem to enjoy human contact. My brother and I had three between us and they lived for years. Mine used to snuggle in next to my clavicle when I would study and sit there for hours. Just make sure they can't get out of the tank, they like to go exploring and dry out.

    erin
     
  16. Faaborg

    Faaborg O. bimaculoides Registered

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    I remember dorm life... I forsee beer cans and jungle juice floating in your tank:wink:.
     
  17. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Nope. Sisty and 'Dusa lived most of their lives together in a 15 with dilligent water care. 'Dusa is still there at 14 months. With the little ones, the food density needs to be roughly the same for two as for one when you feed tiny food (like Cyclop-eeze). Waste and food removal must be rapid in this size tank but filtering for one will handle the second.

    I think Rook has decided that cycling a SW tank might not work out that well the first year. Hopefully a FW critter will find its way into the dorm.

    Rook,
    I have not kept (except for my remaining fish that just keep swimming) an active FW tank for a few years so maybe the rules have changed. It is a shame if that is the case since the Apples reproduce sexually and are an interesting species.
     
  18. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Ah, the days of college life. I started bringing in my tanks, from a 150 to a series of twenties and thirties, while my new roomate just stared.

    He got another room when the rattlesnakes went off though.
     

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