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Alternative Food


Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Nov 20, 2002
Dallas Texas
We're having discussions of alternative foods to try when your octopus won't eat.

Bimacs eat mainlly shellfish (mussels, scallops) and crustaceans (crabs, shrimp), with crabs seeming to be the favorite. But you might try buying a live mussel and cracking it, then either putting it in the tank or cutting a piece. If you put the whole thing in, be sure to remove the uneaten part promptly.

Krill is a small crustacean and could be offered. They are available frozen where tropical fish are sold.

I used to feed my bimac scallops, but she eventually got tired of them and only wanted crabs and shrimp. Also, bimacs eat some fish, at least in the ocean and in some public aquariums. I could never get mine to touch fish.

Recently Roland Anderson mentioned experiments with feeding the Giant Pactifc Octopuses in the Seattle Aquarium raw chicken wings - this was mainly for enrichment because it took them hours to get all the meat off the bones. I wouldn't recommend chicken wings for our smaller octos, but you might try a small piece of white meat, raw. This would be a special treat.

Crawfish can also be a special treat.

You could try these foods with other species, too.

Well I just got my new octo tonight. They had him as just a common octo. So i am not sure exactly what he is.
He took a frozen silverside from my hand right away in his rocks he is hiding in.
1 bought a whole bunch of ghost shrimp about 37 of them and i put the new octo in my tank i havent counted the shrimp yet but what if he didnt eat them what should i don i got two snails two
When in doubt..............mumble

WELL IM PRETTY SUre mine are mahumble muble lol...jk

i think mine are fresh water and i think he ate them cause i only counted 27 today and i was looking at him and this thing came out of his little breather tube(sorry dont know his body parts) and it looked like poop like shrip bits haha

but about the crab should i wait till he eats all the shrimp before i put it in there i dont have one yet but it thats the food of choice id like to get him one lol
I would give him a crab (or marine shrimps, bivalves etc). That is the food of choice. Anything freshwater has the wrong ratios of protein to fat etc and isn't suitable long term. A bit like us living on a diet of candy......we might like it but it wouldn't be good for us!!!!!(darn it!)

Jean;86531 said:
Just remember folks that freshwater species are not suitable as a staple diet, just treat food. Are your Ghosties marine or FW?

Buried somewhere in here I recall it saying that freshwater crustaceans would do, but that fish would not.

Advanced Aquarist

If your crab is still swimming (i.e. quite alive), just leave it in the tank and let it clean up. If you have a weak clean-up crew, be sure to keep an eye on it and remove it if it dies (the claw removal will not kill it), but a serpent star or two (avoid the cool green ones) would take care of that quite nicely.

The one caveat with a serpent (one of my favorite clean up guys for all my tanks) is that they will eat Octo eggs and are not easily removed if you end up with a brooding mom but they do a wonderful job keeping the water quality high by consuming all the spare pieces. As soon as Trapper moves out of a den (every couple of days), the serpents move in - sometimes before he leaves ;>). I have a nice looking red one that stays visible all the time.
A serpent starfish works very well! I see you are in Florida? You might be able to catch marine shrimp of of docks and places where there's rocks and plants in inlets, bays and such.

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