What is a good octopus to start with

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by Infinitenticals, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. Infinitenticals

    Infinitenticals Larval Mass Registered

    Jun 29, 2007
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    The aquarium near me says that they can get http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=552 as well as a "California Octopus"- which i think they mean a Bimac? I am completely new, so i realize i must first set up a tank and learn a lot more, but i have a few questions. What is an easily available octopus that is good for a beginer? I would like to have about a 40 gallon tank. What kind of octopus is fairly active and what type changes its color the most? sorry if these questions seem completely ignorant but im a newbie here so please give me a break. I am very attracted to the Caribbean Reef Octopus that can be seen in that link. Thanks for any help
  2. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

    Sep 8, 2006
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    Hi and welcome to TONMO, first and foremost.

    To answer some of your questions... I don't think there is any "easy" octopus for a beginner. Many of them are relatively hardy creatures, but you should stay away from the Wunderpus and Mimic species, as well as the deadly Blue-Ring.

    None of them are really easy to obtain, unless of course you have someone from a municipal aquarium that can get them for you, as you stated. That's a great contact considering they are likely to be reputable and knowledgeable of the creature they get for you. What a hookup... :)

    If you want an active species, you're going to need a larger tank than a 40 gallon. Octopuses are very messy and will ruin the water quality very quickly in an insufficient tank. This is easier to maintain in a larger tank, as the volume of water is greater, thus diluting the ammonia/nitrate/nitrite in the water. (water chemistry is the most important part of keeping an aquarium)

    Unfortunately a lot of wild-caught octopuses seem to be very mature and don't have long to live in captivity. Octopus have a naturally short lifespan. The longest you can hope for is about a year. Sometimes more. If you receive a mature female, chances are she will spend the last month or so in her den and likely produce eggs. Some species eggs will hatch into tiny octopuses, some into tiny planktonic-stage. The latter rarely surviving in captivity, or in the wild for that matter.

    As for the "California Octopus" aka California 2-spot Octopus aka Bimaculeatus and Bimaculoides they are available from a couple of members here on TONMO. MarineBio_Guy and Zyan_Silver both have had successes in rearing babies to maturity and have supplied many more members with them. I believe Zyan's are getting close to the end of their life cycle, likely to produce more offspring before kicking the bucket.

    I would love to have a Briareus myself. Beautiful creatures. Most species available are really quite attractive though.

    If you insist on keeping a smaller tank, there are pygmy species available online from time to time. In most of our experiences though the pygmy species are very secretive and always nocturnal. Also their lifespans are even shorter than their larger relatives.

    I happened upon an O. Mercatoris at a local fish store and brought him home. I kept him inside a critter keeper (bug cage) a little smaller than a 10 gallon tank, and kept that inside a 75 gallon community fish system. He wasn't very interactive with me, but he seemed to enjoy having the fish to observe and occasionally crawled back and forth on the side when they would come up to him. I got him to reach out and try to touch my finger on the glass a time or two, but that's it. I transferred him to a 10 gallon so he could have more roaming space to himself and cooler temperature, but he responded poorly to being alone. He would jump into his den if I startled him. I had to hang out around midnight or later most of the time to see him, but it was worth it. He lived in my care for 4 months.

    Well, I hope that gives you some idea of what you're getting into. The best thing you could do for yourself and your future friend is read the Ceph Care articles on this website. The authors are experienced and responsible people who've mapped out pretty good guidelines for the rest of us to use and build on.

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