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Acclimating a new (baby) octopus


Mar 2, 2007
I have had conflicting accounts of how to acclimate a new octopus. Both recommend a slow drip method and water replacement - but one suggests that the entire acclimation take place within an hour and another suggests a minimum of two hours ... Which is more correct/safer for the octopus?
my octo set acclimating in the dark for four hours while i was at work, my girl friend was scared to do anything with him while i was gone... he is still kicking!
Acclimation time is a compromise between two different concepts: on the one hand, you want to go as slowly as possible, so the transition from one set of water chemistries to another is gradual. On the other hand, the water quality in the bag probably isn't very good and if your octopus shipped from somewhere overnight it is likely that there's ammonia and CO2 present, so the sooner he's out of there the better. In the end, I usually take 45 min or an hour for something that's been shipped, and a bit longer for something that I picked up local.

Try to keep the room lights low during acclimation. I suggest being present for the whole process (My wife acclimated Mr. Octopus because I was at work: he would start climbing out of the bag whenever she left the room!). This is a very stressful time in the animal's life, so don't bother it. When you let it loose in the tank, let it go at its own pace and leave the tank lights off for the day.

I know on the first day of acclimation you should keep your lights off, but is it okay if i turn on my red lights to see him? I bought a roll of 100 red Christmas lights that i plan on using..
Please reconsider those Xmas lights unless you are absolutely sure they won't get splashed, that they are rated for outdoor use and are UL approved. So much of that stuff is no longer properly regulated or we just assume everything is safe but it is not. We noticed one of our lighted tree ornaments had actually heated badly enough to burn through the decoration (fortunately, I use an artificial, flame retardant tree).
i use the outside of the hood and glass, so the water shouldnt come in contact with it unless i accidentally splash water from the tank on it. I was planning on just using clear red gift wrap and putting that around one of my aquarium lights. So the xmas lights will probably be temporary, just to be on the safe side
I used this inside the cover of one of my lights (an outdoor light retro fitted for a tank that had no hood and difficult to light) and it works wonderfully. The bulb I have does not get overly hot and we installed small PC muffin fans but the film is high temp and would be much safer (and not fade as fast) than wrapping paper (I used two sheet together to reduce the light a bit). The price is right too!


He also has some with a sticky back that I ordered but ended up just using the high temp stuff pictured.
Let me second the comments about water quality and acclimation. I used to go very slow acclimating blue-rings, but lost quite a few. Ammonia is certainly a problem, but so too is oxygen. If the animal was shipped with an oxygen fill, titers will drop rapidly when the bag is opened and the water is not circulating. How fast the oxygen level will drop depends on the size of the octopus, the volume of water, temperature, surface area, etc. It is definitely something to consider even to the point of adding a very gentle airstone.


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