Waldo - Macropus Complex

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by Dools, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. Dools

    Dools GPO Registered

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    I brought home my octo (Waldo) 3 weeks ago and he appears to be healthy and eating. I am pretty sure he is an A. aculeatus as he is usually red in color and has two very long tentacles compared to his other six. His mantle is about 1 in long and his longest tentacles are close to 4 ins long. Thus far he is only coming out when the aquarium lights are off. Does this species eventually adjust to being out under the lights? Are there any steps I can take for this transition? Understand I am happy Waldo is healthy and active, but it woud be nice if I could watch him w/o having to use a flashlight. Any advice or sharing of similar experiences is greatly appreciated.

    Dools
     

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  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Dools,

    From your description, I would guess that Waldo is the Macropus (exact species unknown but often referred to - probably erroneously - by divers as luteus but look up that name for similar pictures) we see that comes from the same area. If I am correct, these are great little animals, hearty and interactive ... at 3:00 AM. I have kept two. One male (Puddles) and one female (Beldar) and there are several other journals (Google: macropus site:tonmo.com)
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    If you decide Waldo does highly resemble the Macropus, you will need to invest in a red light fixture to enjoy him/her. One of the simplest and least expensive lighting fixtures is to rig a shop light like this and a red screw-in fluorescent bulb (links are to Wal-Mart but most home improvements will have something similar). I leave the red light on 24/7 and then use my normal low wattage lighting during the day for the other things in the tank and daytime viewing of non-nocturnals. This is for convenience only and elminating an additional timer. However, if you turn the red light off at night, Waldo may decide to wait until it is off before coming out where he/she will adjust to it if it is on all night. I never succeeded (but did not try very hard) in getting either of them on an earlier schedule but playing with the lighting may allow for a more reasonable activity pattern. Unfortunately, when Waldo does start coming out into the daylight it will signal the end of his life. They seem to be less light sensitive during senescence (see posts at the end for Puddles journal).
     
  4. Dools

    Dools GPO Registered

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    Waldo ID

    Hi DWhately,

    After reading your replies, I believe you are right about Waldo. He (or maybe she) has displayed the flourescent green tentacles and elongates his mantle quite often. You cannot really tell in the picture, but he has displayed a white stripe down the middle of his body much like a skunk. His movements are similar to what you described with your two macropuses; stretched out flat as he glides along the sand bottom. He is eating very well, so far he has eaten one of the two black mollies that were in the tank for a bio-load and several small hermit crabs. He has also eaten several freeze-dried krill shrimp I have put in the tank. I will definitely invest in some dimmer lights. Do you think a blue actnic light will work instead of red lighting? I will definitely keep you posted on his progress.

    Thanks for the info,
    Dools
     

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  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    LOL, the skunk stripe is seen on all octos so you can't use it for ID but the rest holds. If you have more mollies in the tank, please remove them. Fish in general are a bad idea on several levels but freshwater fish are particularly bad as all (or at least most) have been treated with copper for parasites. Copper is lethal and we have lost at least one octo from eating gold fish.

    Your easiest dead food will be regular seafood counter or frozen shrimp (start by offering with shell on and then remove the shell once Waldo accepts it easily (you can buy shell off once they accept it that way but we find the shrimp seem to be less dried out if purchased shell on). They don't eat the shell but we have noticed that young octos seem to take shell on shrimp easier - be sure to clean up the discards ASAP to keep your nitrates in check). Be sure to thaw anything frozen for at least 15 minutes in tank or new saltwater. Second on the list and our personal number one choice is blue crab claw but you cannot find uncooked crab frozen. We go to the Asian market and paw through the fresh crab bins for loose claws (start by separating the claw and arm, feeding each separately as a meal the full claw and arm will be too much food). These CAN be frozen safely and are excellent food. You can feed any part of a fresh uncooked crab but don't freeze anything but the claws. If you can find live clams, these will sometimes be eaten but they do well in aquariums and can be a minor clean up crew until consumed. I put them in a bucket of tank water (make it fairly deep as they will drain something shallow and leave your counter wet with their spitting) over night to eliminate the water they have been kept in while out of the ocean and to be sure they will survive. Check them from time to time to be sure that they are alive but they don't pollute much. You can also offer mussels and oysters but these are heavy polluters and any uneaten remains are hard to remove and messy. Scallops are a healthy choice, however, IME, they will eat exactly one thawed scallop and no more so don't load up on them. You can offer pieces of raw saltwater fish from the market (again, avoid pet store fish). Any kind of small live crab is acceptable and fiddlers are a universal favorite. They are expensive in the pet stores but much more reasonable purchased on-line (Paul Sachs is an excellent supplier, used by many TONMOers).

    Freshwater animals are not recommended but you can give an occasional treat of crawfish. Here again you cannot freeze the body but can freeze the tails and claws if you remove them from a fresh animal. The whole live animal can be offered but be sure it is eaten and remove it immediately if ignored and it dies in the tank (roughly an hour or less). As I mentioned above, avoid feeding any kind of pet store fish because of the copper treatments.

    You can keep hermits and snails for your clean up crew. In most cases (there are exceptions but not likely with this one) once they are accustomed to being fed, they will leave the hermits and snails alone but these are also acceptable food in a pinch if the octo will eat them.

    There are differing opinions on the use of blue LED lighting (ie moon lights but NOT actinic any PC is too bright for a nocturnal regardless of lowered wattage). I use red because it is almost invisible to the octos (in fact my young ones usually den directly under the red but often migrate to darker areas when they become adults). Blue may appear as bright as white light and keep your octo in hiding, however, some people have reported success with normal moon lights. IMO, go with the red, it is not expensive (albeit not attractive) and easily set up with a little thought. I've kept two fully nocturnal species (the Macropuses and O. mercatoris) and usually have a resident O. briareus that is crepuscular as an adult (early evening early morning hunter) but nocturnal as a juvenile and believe the red does provides more viewing (lousy photography though). The cheap, ugly light is easily removed for a diurnal species (who need total darkness at night IME) and can be upgraded to something more attractive if you continue to keep nocturnals. Keep in mind that the life span is very short (a year or less) and you are not starting out with a hatchling so make the best of your time with Waldo (size wise I think you may have lucked out on a fairly young one but size is not a consistent factor of age).

    With your permission, I would like to move Waldo to our journal area in hopes that you will continue to log your experience.
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Quick tutor on terms :roll: Often arms and tentacles are used interchangeably but in the case of cephalopods, there is a strong visual and usage distinction. Octopuses have 8 arms and no tentacles. The decopods, Squid and cuttlefish, have 8 arms and two tentacles. There is some discussion about octos arms vs legs but the official term for all is arms. :grin:
     
  7. Dools

    Dools GPO Registered

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    Thanks for the excellent advice and the education regarding arms vs tentacles. I will remove the mollie as soon as possible. I have no problem having Waldo moved to the journal area.
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    LOL, at least they are not damsels (as far trying to catch them but the copper concern is greater with the freshwater animals)
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Oh, also, most octopuses will hand feed with a feeding stick (easiest with a piece of shrimp but start with a small piece). If you have an acrylic stick, this is fine but a bamboo skewer works well and a pack of 100 is less than an acrylic and they are handy for other things - I have and use both). Once they start investigating the feeding stick you can try direct hand feeding if you are so inclined. It can get adventurous after that though but this species is not very aggressive (caveat each animal is an individual and always keep that in mind when discussing behavior).
     
  10. Dools

    Dools GPO Registered

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    The first week I had him I was able to hand feed him a piece of freeze-dried shrimp, but have not tried since. I will try to feed him some fresh shrimp tomorrow. I'll keep you posted. Also, I got Waldo from one of my LFS, Aquatic Solutions
     
  11. Dools

    Dools GPO Registered

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    Waldo Update

    Today begins waldo's 3rd week in my tank. I purchased him on 9 Dec. This morning while I was observing under the red light of a flashlight, he took another freeze-dried krill and is currently eating it. He is still very active and appears comfortable in his surroundings. Later today I will set up a red light that I hope will allow better viewing of his activities. Here is a picture of him eating the krill.
     

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  12. Dools

    Dools GPO Registered

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    Video Upload Problem

    I have been trying to upload a video link to a you tube video I posted, but am having problems. I keep getting an "invalid file" when I upload the link. Does anyone know what I am doing wrong?
     
  13. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    What format is the video (not usually a problem with YouTube)? Are you trying to upload from the camera or your computer? If from the camera, try copying it to your computer and uploading from there (don't know why but I have had a problem from the SD card - may be a speed issue).
     
  14. Dools

    Dools GPO Registered

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    I was trying to download the URL from the You Tube website, but I am having no such luck. I thought I read in an earlier thread that you could not download video directly from the computer.
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Are you having trouble uploading a video to YouTube or just trying to display a video that is already on YouTube? If it is already successfully on YouTube, THAT I can help you with :grin: (if you are using a computer, I am not a lot of help with mobile).

    Go directly to the video on YouTube and copy the URL from the address bar into your clipboard (NOT the share HTML it offers, just the regular URL for the YouTube page). Start a thread reply here by clicking on the little film icon (5th link group icon to the left, starting with the world and a chain link). You should see a pop-up window (you may have to turn off a security block and then click it again). Paste the URL into the edit area displayed in the popup and click OK then save (Post Quick Reply) the thread entry. If this does not work or if you are using a mobile device, past the URL in the quick reply and I will fix it to display (mobile URL's are a bit different but I can find the PC URL from the mobile).
     
  16. Dools

    Dools GPO Registered

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    That worked.

    Thanks D.


     
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  17. Dools

    Dools GPO Registered

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    Sorry for the video quality.


     
  18. Dools

    Dools GPO Registered

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    Last night I set up a red CFL bulb over Waldo's tank. It illuminates the tank really well and I wasn't sure he would come out. When I went to check on him this morning, he was out and his usual active self. I really focused on his 8 arms to see if I could confirm his sex. I do believe he sometimes coils the 3rd arm (from clockwise) at the end, so I will continue to regard him as male. I also noticed one his arms (5th from clockwise) is missing the tip.

    I filmed a short video of his activity which is a better quality than th previous video. It is hard to get really sharp quality with a red light. He also ate another freeze-dried krill, so I am glad to see he is accepting non-live food. I purchased some frozen shelled-shrimp which I will try to feed him next.

    Happy New Year

     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Happy New Year to you and Waldo!

    I'm glad you tried the red light. As I mentioned it works very well for viewing but miserably for photography. My camera has a way to compensate but I have never gotten around to trying it out :oops: so I don't know how much its the white balance adjustment would help.

    If Waldo does not accept the shelled shrimp right away, try shell on and then go back to these after he takes them easily. I expect you will not have a problem though as it has only been the very young animals that we have found the shell makes a difference. DO be sure that it is tank temperature before offering (thawing in tank water is fine).

    If the tip truncation is new, look for something in your tank that he can get into. I can't tell if there is a little thread coming off the shortened arm or not. If there is a thread like extension (new growth but initially it looks like a string that should not be there) then the damage was more likely done before entering the tank (it takes a few weeks to be easily seen). They almost always find uncovered power heads so adding a screening on intakes is heavily recommended (I find zipping media bags work really well for this and even keep my Koralias inside them even though I have not seen damage to an adult).
     
  20. Dools

    Dools GPO Registered

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    Question about Interaction

    Dools - Hi D,

    I have question. Is physical interaction important? Waldo keeps reaching out (it seems anyway) when he is on the front of the glass. I let him briefly touch my finger, but to be honest; I am not sure I want him grabbing hold of me (color me a wuss). I did let him touch me briefly this morning, but I pulled back and he shot across the tank (no inking though, :smile:).

    I meant to say the shrimp I purchased still have the shell; so I will see how he likes them soon. Also, I did remove the mollie from the tank; so now it is just him, a hermit crab and a conch.

    Lastily, I am pretty sure his arm was like that when I purchased him; so I do not think anything happened in my tank. I will keep an eye out to see it it starts growing back. Compared to his other 3 "back" arms, not much of it is missing.

    Happy New Year and thanks for all the great info.

    Dools

    DWhatley - If you don't see any regrowth, then he has likely found something in the tank that he should not have, they stick their "fingers" into everything looking for food (child protection caps on all electrical sockets :wink:). Regrowth is pretty fast once you see the little "string" but may take a week or two before it starts. It is quite normal to receive them missing all or parts of arms though so try to get a good look at it (hard, I know they don't hold still well).

    There is no requirement to interact but they are curious about you and touching is their way of showing that curiosity. You don't want to whimp out and pull back quickly though (hard to do when they surprise you, especially when cleaning the tank and you don't see them out). If you decide you want to experiment, I recommend inviting contact when you are NOT feeding. Most nips have come from accidental tasting when they are being fed. Neither of mine were in the least bit aggressive (unlike my current O. briareus, Yeti who is always more interested in capturing your hand than her food for the first 5 minutes at feeding time). The beak (the only part that is a concern) is located in the center of the arms. As long as you keep your fingers out of this area, there is no possibility of being bitten. If you don't want physical contact (and a few other keepers do not), then I recommend always using a feeding stick. I personally think you miss something in keeping them if you don't have play time with them though. One of my O. hummelinckis would play a little with a floating toy. I would push it to him and he would push it back. Legos have been a popular toy with some but others ignore toys altogether. Here is an interaction video with Puddles you might want to watch to see how gentle they are should you decide interaction is unavoidable :sagrin: Generally, when they are not accustomed to touching you (no so afterwards) simply touching the back of the arm will get them to release you.

    I would like you to journal your touch and go experience and you desire not to interact. These journals can be very helpful to others in addition to great references for yourself over time.


    Dools - Great video of you and Puddles. I will work on my interaction hesitation and post how it goes in the journal.

    DWhatley - I am looking forward to how this plays out. It is probably a good thing you are starting with this species :sagrin: . Yeti has become quite agressive at feeding time. Watch the three videos, starting here to get an idea. This is not to scare you :grin: and the macropus is not as strong nor as agressive as an adult briareus. Yeti insists that we "play" at supper time and won't have it that she is simply fed. For a long time, she would hold her food at her beak so there was no concern about biting but now she knows the food won't go away and will drop it until she is satisfied we have given her enough attention. When I clean the tank she will wrap around my arm. I just ignore her and don't play so she goes back to her den.
     
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