What is the best option

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by Mike hughes, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. Mike hughes

    Mike hughes Larval Mass Registered

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    hi all.
    I am looking at getting my first octopus, it's safe to say they're what got me in to the fish keeping hobby 6 years ago although I wanted to start with the basics and build up to keeping one.

    I've done a lot of research over the years and I think I'm ready to take the step, I've got a 225litre tank lined up but I'm stuck on the best species, all the research I've done has pointed to the bimac given their daytime habits and overall size, although I'm not sure how common they are over here in the UK.

    My local fish store has said they can easily get hold of zebra, vulgaris and macropus, although I don't know much about them specifically their size and habits (are they mostly nocturnal?)
    I've read that zebras don't do very well in captivity and that they are quite expensive.

    Can anyone recommend one that will be good to keep that would be suitable to a 225litre tank? Should I keep trying to source a bimac ?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    Hi Mike! Just wanted to reply to say welcome - :welcome: - and thanks for joining.

    I think you're right about the zebras... not a commonly kept octopus so I would steer clear, especially for your first. I'm sure you'll get some experienced help from others here soon... that wouldn't be me :smile:

    Good luck and keep us posted as you go!
     
  3. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Both vulgaris and macropus get big. I second Tony's opinion on steering clear of the zebra.

    Try searching vulgaris and macropus on this site to get an idea of sizes. A while back someone had a 400 gallon (yours is about 50) that he was considering using for an O. vulgaris.
     
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  4. ekocak

    ekocak Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Hello and welcome! Bimacs were once pretty easy to come by (at least stateside), but since California has banned collecting them commercially, they are hardly ever seen in the aquarium trade anymore. Which is a shame, because all that stuff that was written while they were available was accurate, they were an awesome octopus to keep.
     
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  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    In the Octopus Care section there is a sticky post entitled Posts with Info for New Octopus Keepers that has a short collection of discussions that should be helpful. The species post includes a little bit of information about the most commonly kept octopuses. Some of these are only local to the US (O. briareus, O. mercatoris, O. hummelincki and O. vulgaris - different from UK vulgaris in size - and will not likely be available abroad as I don't believe any are exported. From other European posts, it appears that the Indonesian animals (Abdopus sp and a small, aquarium sized nocturnal macropus (older genus name - now more of a complex) that is most likely Callistoctopus aspilosomatis) are imported to much of Europe. The Abdopus collection often includes the diurnal aculeatus but we has also seen a few dwarfs that appear very similar but are nocturnal. As Tony mentioned, anything labeled zebra, mimic or Wunderpus (also from Indonesia) has as been Wunderpus photogenicus and have not lived long in aquariums (reason unknown, it may be that they are primarily caught senescent but their longevity in an aquarium has been anecdotally shorter than other species.

    Of the animals most commonly reported available in European pet stores, the diurnal Abdopus (sometimes referred to as Bali octopus) will most likely be your best experience. I have kept two of the small macropuses and found them delightful IF you can interact at 3:00 AM. Our Caribbean vulgaris is smaller than the animals local to the UK but still needs a tank at least twice the size of your environment (again, unlikely you would find one). For a local or Mediterranean animal something closer to 760 liters would still be pushing the size minimum.
     
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  6. Mike hughes

    Mike hughes Larval Mass Registered

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    Thanks for your comments guys, it's refreshing to have honest responses that aren't condescending or arrogant like on most forums where my experience is lacking! I appreciate that.
    So you think the abdopus would be the best option ? And it would be ok suited to a 225?
    I'll have to do some searching for a UK based supplier that can source one for me, I have also seen another in a local Lfs recently, I'm not sure what the species was ( and what a surprise neither did they ) but it was small and brownish colour, I think perhaps an Atlantic Pygmy from what I have researched in the past, ( please forgive my lack of knowledge on id'ing ) would this type be suitable in a home aquarium setup? Does anyone have any experience with this species?
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    ID'ing is difficult for many species, some require internal observations to be certain. Keep in mind that they are the top camo experts so a single photo often brings multiple guesses. Often elimination is the best we can do. I would love to say this is my specialty but it is only my hobby passion and I get it wrong way more often than makes me happy.

    To get close, try to get some photos and find out its original ocean. When and if you can photograph attempt to get true colors. An Atlantic pygmy (referring to the ones on THIS side of the pond - there are two but the most common would be O. mercatoris - use the search in the journals and the photo gallery for some examples) would typically show a reddish brown (vs chocolate or coffee brown) with white marbling and eyelash looking papillae below the eye. All octos can show white so it is not helpful. Behaviorally, they will often hold their front two arms up over their head (at least one between the eyes) with the suckers showing. This is not an unusual posture, especially for the smaller species but is especially common with the mercs.

    The other Atlantic pygmy in the states is O. joubini (mostly found in our Gulf of Mexico) but I have never seen one and the few we have arbitrarily given the name are not 100% identified. I have never found photos that are guaranteed to be this species but know they exist and are not O. mercatoris (mercs are large egged species where joubini is a small egg species).

    I don't know of other Atlantic dwarfs on the European side but they likely exist. Most common dwarfs are nocturnal (but I kept an unknown that was diurnal and would dearly love to source another, sadly, like his namesake, Monty, he was one of a kind).

    I think you would find aculeatus to your liking and it will fit easily in a 50+ gallon aquarium. A dwarf species might never be seen. However, keep in mind that the smaller animals (ie small enough for use to keep in an aquarium) only live for about a year (10 - 18 months depending on species) and that the animal you get will not be a new hatchling so your time with it will be short. This devastating when you end up with one of the "special" animals that totally captivates you but allows for variety over time.
     
  8. Mike hughes

    Mike hughes Larval Mass Registered

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    Thanks for all your help guys.
    I have read that life spans are short, even more so with the smaller species, and I have come to accept this as part of the hobby and desire to keep one.
    Although I'm sure I would be devastated to lose one, the prospect of keeping these little devils and having that short time with them is a prospect I look forward to.
    I've sent an email to the main UK aquatics supplier to see how easy it is to get hold of one and I would need to be confident that they are sure it is infact an aculeatus. But hopefully I will be looking to source one pretty soon!

    Thanks again for your help, it's made the confusion much clearer and I am far more aware of what to look for as a result!
     
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  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Final word of caution, your supplier will not know the species and you will have to accept that. The best we get are local collectors who have caught enough of a particular species to have a good guess. Virtually all importer have no clue and they cannot be blamed. We are accustomed to animals living a long time and it is hard to change that mindset even though we know these animals are different. My biggest point about the longevity was that if you don't get what you want this time, enjoy the experience and see what comes with the next "chocolate" selection :grin:.
     
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