Water Changes

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by Spocktopus, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. Spocktopus

    Spocktopus O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Ok, so my octos are producing a lot of ammonia since I've gotten them. I'm thinking it's just because they are new to the tanks, but it's been a few days and the ammonia is still above the recommended level. They seem to be doing fine, though. I've been doing daily water changes, usually an hour or two after I feed them. Should I be having to do them everyday?
     
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    You should be doing the water changes if you have ammonia. Ammonia should really be 0.

    But, if your tank is well cycled, you shouldn't be having ammonia.

    Could you describe your tanks - how many tanks, how large they are, how many octos per tank (1, I hope), is the water pumped from one source thorugh all the tanks, or does each tank have its filtration system. What sort of filtration are you using? Do you have a protein skiimmer? What's in the tanks -any live rock? When were the tanks set up for these octopuses?

    Thanks,

    Nancy
     
  3. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    It sounds like the tank wasn't very well cycled. Once you've got octos in there you've got kind of a catch-22: doing water changes makes the cycle go a lot slower, but not doing them kills the octo!

    Dan
     
  4. Spocktopus

    Spocktopus O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Well, we don't really have a big system or a lot of space, due to regulations at my university. We have 3 octos, each in their own 10-gal tank. They have aquarium supply filters and heaters. There is no direct inflow or outflow for the system other than the water changes I do, since the University won't allow us to hook up non-native species to the drains. We are not currently using the protein skimmer do to the limited set-up. The tanks were set up sometime around May, and the octos got here on the 20th, so they've only been here 6 days.
     
  5. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    What type of filtration do you have?
     
  6. Spocktopus

    Spocktopus O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Two of them are submerged filters, and one is a hang on the back type (the other submerged one broke). My advisor bought them, so I'm not sure where he got them. But they're the kind I think you might use in a home aquarium. I don't have the brand name handy right now.
     
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Unfortunately, you have some problems. The tank hasn't been properly cycled and is too small for a bimac. Octopuses produce a lot of waste and your tank has no way to deal with this waste. You don't have adequate filtration. For right now your one recourse is water changes.

    How big are these bimacs? Are they babies with mantles of 1/2-1 inch, or older? And how long will you keep them in these tanks?

    I'm thinking of what the best way for you to proceed will be - maybe some of our other experts in tank chemistry will also offer suggestions.

    Nancy
     
  8. aximbigfan

    aximbigfan GPO Registered

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    10 gal is WAAAAAYYYY to small. try 50 gal. minumume.

    chris
     
  9. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    I agree with Nancy that you've dug yourself in a bit of a hole. Ten gallons will not support a bimac, especially with bottom-end filtration.

    Here's what I would do: Pick up 3 30-gallon breeder tanks, buy or build stands for them. Get a 75 gallon stock tank from a farm supply store and set it up as a sump. Set up a drain in each tank "LFS-style," that is, drill a hole near the top, and use a PVC elbow inside the bulkhead (octo-proofed, of course). Have each drain into individual 3 gallon buckets of bioballs (or perhaps one larger rubbermaid) and then into the stock tank; and use a decent pump (Mag 9 perhaps) with the output split into the three lines, one for each tank. You're going to want a real nice skimmer in the sump, expect to spend about $600 on it alone.

    Go around to different LFS in the area and see if they will let you borrow or buy bioballs out of their filtration system. That will jumpstart the system, and you might be able to move the octos there within a month.

    In the meantime: water change, water change, water change.

    This system IS going to take up a bit of space and a bit of money, but the bottom line is you've dropped the ball, you already have the creatures, if you want them to survive its up to you to find that space and money. If you're a little creative with a saw and a drill you could build a stand that will stack the tanks vertically above the sump and fit in a large closet or storage room.

    Dan
     
  10. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    I spoke with Amy and now understand the problem a little better.

    It was not planned to keep the octos in such a small tank - she had to move out of the main research room due to a new university regulation - species that are not native to the area cannot be kept in room with a drain. The main research room with tanks has a drain.

    As a result, Amy had to set up the octos in a tiny area away from the main research area, which is why the tanks are so small. She even has a large protein skimmer and larger tanks are available - but so far she can't bring this all together.

    The bimacs she's keeping have a 3", 2" and 2" mantle.

    Nancy
     
  11. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    If you can't connect your tanks directly to the drainage system, what do you do with the waste water? If you are dumping it down the drain, isn't that the same as if they were connected? Not that you want to tell the "authorities" who won't let you connect to the rest of the system... Keep doing water changes, get the skimmer connected! And listen to Dan... How small is this closet?
     
  12. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    As always, I apologize if I was a bit curt...the ten gallon tanks sets off a bit of a fight-or-flight reaction! ;)

    The regulations seem a bit draconian. Maybe you could sneak the system into your apartment?

    Dan
     
  13. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Or another department? What department won't let you connect to the drain?
     
  14. Spocktopus

    Spocktopus O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Well, the authorities of the Marine Center won't let me connect directly to the drain, and there really isn't another facility on campus where I could put the set up. Right now the water has to be treated with bleach and then neutralized before being dumped down the drain, so unless I can work that into the system (which I doubt), I can't have anything running directly to a drain. However, if I can set up a closed system, that might be a possibility.

    I am speaking with my academic advisor, the head of the aquaculture department, today to see what we can get set up for the octos in terms of a better system. She's got a couple of her students who said they could help me as well. Wish us luck! Until then, I'm going to just keep changing the water as best I can.
     
  15. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    Don't worry at all about having it connected directly to the drain. A closed system will do just fine as long as there's adequate filtration and water volume!

    Dan
     
  16. Spocktopus

    Spocktopus O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Ok, so a better system is in the works. I've procured 3 50 gallon tanks that don't leak, and I will be making mesh lids for them. I have people at the marine center helping me build a closed system for them that hooks into a bio filter, a carbon filter, and a UV filter. I have a big plastic bucket for my sump.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for moving them? Because of the limited space, the new, big tanks have to go where the current ones are now. But I wanted to give the new set-up a couple of days to cycle. Unless I can find a place to move the tanks to, I don't know if this will be possible. But to move the tanks do you think it would be ok to put them in buckets? It wouldn't be for more than a few hours, just enough time to either get the new tanks in and cycling or to move and refill the old tanks somewhere else.

    Also, I was going to hold off on feeding them when we were to move them. The set-up should be finished by Friday. Should I hold off on feeding them? Or feed them tomorrow anyway? I just thought there might be less waste contamination during their move when their changing tanks.
     
  17. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    Buckets are fine. When I moved to RI from WI, I had all my fish in buckets for about 10 days. Put a big piece of live rock or two in each bucket: not only will it keep the octo happy, it will go a long way for filtration.

    A few days really isn't enough time. It usually takes weeks to establish a biofilter. You need a source of nitrogen-loving bacteria and you need them now. Two options:

    1) Buy a bunch of fully-cured live rock. Your octos are small; if you got about 50 lbs you should be OK if you watch the ammonia like a hawk. Live rock is pretty expensive, but there are usually price breaks for buying it in volume.

    2) See if you can get a "used" biofilter. Try to find someone with a couple gallons of freshly used bioballs they're getting rid of. For this you might talk to an LFS or find the local hobby club.

    Either of these will give you enough bacteria to seed the filter in a shorter-than-usual time. Otherwise it sounds like a pretty good plan, the 50s should be just fine.

    Don't forget to post pictures of the little guys--we promise they won't show up in publication :)

    Dan
     
  18. Spocktopus

    Spocktopus O. bimaculoides Registered

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    I will post some pictures soon. We are currently trying to track down the bioballs we had used previously, but they seem to have disappeared. We had used them to filter a tank that was meant for cuttlefish (but one came in sick and inked and at the time we didn't have quarantine tanks set up...). If we can't find those, we will have to start with new ones. You say weeks? Hmm...I will have to see if I can keep the octos where they are until then maybe. If I can keep them in the other lab while the new system cycles for a bit, that might work until I get back in August. I will have to see.
     
  19. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    For used bioballs to work they pretty much have to be moved directly out of the old system: once they dry out, the bacteria dies.

    It takes time for a population of bacteria to grow to the point where they can handle the ammonia load of the animals. Any water changes done in that time to save the lives of the animals tend to prolong the cycle. Taking bioballs out of someone elses filter or buying a bunch of live rock essentially transplants an already established bacteria population.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Spocktopus

    Spocktopus O. bimaculoides Registered

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    Ok, so if I got some live rock (where does one get that? and just how expensive is it? I have a limited budget.) and let the system cycle for...let's say...most of July...would that be ok to introduce them at the beginning of August? Or do you think it would be better for me to put them in this weekend (even though the tank is not yet cycled/established)? If I did that, does anyone have any idea how the water changes/upkeep should go (timing wise) until it is established?
     

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