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Accidental Octopus

Sep 19, 2004
I work at an LFS and on Friday evening we were shipped an octopus that we did not order. I'm having a horrible time trying to figure out what it's requirements are, how big it get, so on and so forth. I currently have him in a 18"x18"x15" aquarium by himself with a sliding glass top. The tank is on a 800gal system with tanks seperated by UV steralizers. I've given him approx. 15-20LB of live rock to hide in. He seems rather alert and active today. He took some frozen food today as well though he was unwilling to take a live feeder comet. I'm going to try and get a picture to post tomorrow however I will try to describe him as best I can now. The head ( I think its called a mantle) is about 1.5" long. Total length when swimming is about 6" to 8". Changes colour from light yellow to brown to black almost instantly. Maintains whitish specks even when changing colour. It has what looks like spines or hairs along its body with a rough looking texture to its skin overall. I have not yet noticed any false eyespots. The invoice calls him a Brown Octopus with the latin name Octopus spp. And I believe this was our shipment from Bali though I need to double check tomorrow. Other than that he has been eye balling both myself whenever I've been watching (more than I really ought to b/c he is really cool) and his neighbors a bunch of Ocellaris Clowns. Any advice or help will very much appreciated.

Clayton Northey
Hi Clayton and welcome to TONMO.com! :welcome:

So you have yourselves an octopus! You're right to put it in its own tank and give it live rock to hide in. Be very careful about using feeder fish because octopuses are very sensitive to copper, and copper is sometimes used to treat fish. He'd enjoy a live crab, if you have one around, even a fiddler crab. Thawed frozen shrimp is good, since he accepts frozen food.

Please verify where the shipment is from, and a pic would be good to help with identification. I've heard the terms Bali Octopus and Brown Octopus from local LFSs, but it's unclear what species they equate to.

Octos need water with an sg of around 1.026, seawater level - I mention this because some LFSs keep the salt level lower.

You can find more info about keeping octos in our Ceph Care articles - just click on the Ceph Care button above.

Are you going to keep the octo for yourselves?

I keep my salinity on that system at 1.023 at 78 degrees farenheit. Am I right to assume that the 1.026 read is based on a lower temp, somewhere in the range of 50-60 degrees. Now what he actually ate was some our discus mix which contains beef heart, I realize that this probably not the best for him however my first concern is to ensure that he is eating at all. I was planning to pick up some live mussels or clams for him from the supermarket. We don't actually have much for crabs at the moment, I believe I recieved 50 hermit crabs but I would prefer not to feed one of them unless I absolutely have to. I've been having quite a bit of trouble over the last 3-4 mo getting hermit crabs in from our suppliers. I've noticed the same at a number other stores in the area. Will the clams and mussels be ok or should I try him on some frozen krill or shrimp? Funny thing is that I've always admired the Red Octopuses when I used to live on the west coast in British Columbia as a child. Since I've been at the pet store I had never even considered bringing octopuses in. I had seen them on the order lists and dismissed them since most of what I had read stated that Cuttlefish were extremely sensative and Blue rings were far too deadly. Besides I believe you need a number of permits to bring a Blue Ring into Canada. Anyways thanks for any advice you can give me. I've been scouring this site and a few others for several hours now and I think its time for bed.

Clayton Northey
Try frozen shrimp. Some people have been successul feeding krill. I wouldn't buy too many mussels and clams, because not all octos know how to open and eat them.

My octopus liked fresh scallops as well as frozen shrimp. But most of all she loved live crabs. That's the favorite food!

I think you'd be OK with 1.023.

Are you writing from somewhere in Canada?

I am fairly confident in guessing that it will be Octopus aculeatus.. This is the second North American import we have had this month and over here I know that they are for sale too. Must be their time of year.... it was sep 2002 when i got one too.

As a species it should take defrosted prawns/shrimps but it is most likely a fully grown individual and may not be that interested in eating. From experience they dont always seem to live so long and that's most probably through them dying of old age.

However, i could be wrong and pics would really help...

trying doing a search on TONMO.com for aculeatus and that should dredge up more info for you.

Hi teen

yeah that is aculeatus... looks full grown too so unfortunetly you may not have him around for too long, but the important thing is to not feel too bad if it dies quickly on you, its just old age (senescence)

I said goodbye

just an update on the octopus that we were sent by mistake. He went home to a Guy I know quite well. I guess he's going into a 25gal very well estabolished aquarium. The guy who bought him has a number of marine tanks and has had quite a bit of success in the past so I'm glad that our septopus (we noticed that when he was shipped he was missing a leg, its since grown a small new one) is going to such a good home.

good deal...maybe he will become enamoured of octopii, and get a bimac next!
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