aquacultured bimacs, species comparisons, longer life?


Jan 1, 2003
Hi octopods! I'm new to this community, and have really enjoyed perusing all the great information available here. I tried posting these topics earlier today, and appear to have lost it, so if this is redundant, I apologize.

Sorry about the three-part post, but bear with me, they are somewhat related. I'd love to get some feedback.

1) In a previous post it was mentioned that aquacultured bimacs may be available in January or February. Does anyone know if they will indeed be available soon? What would be the original source and what organizations or stores would provide them? Would they be available in the U.S.?

2) While I'm new to this community and the cephalopod page, I have kept one octopus previously, with success. However, when the eggs hatched and she soon died, I could never find a trace of the babies. (Can anyone tell me the species: Florida Keys collected pygmy octopus inhabiting a clam shell and guarding a few LARGE eggs -- so, not O. joubini, I assume?)

Before starting the next tank, I wil do a lot of research. One resource I have not found here or on the cephalopod page is a comparison of species suitable for aquaria. This could be very useful not only for the hobbyist setting up an aquarium at home, but perhaps for researchers as well.

What do you think of putting together a series of species profiles or systematic comparisons of species? Even if it only covered commonly available species such as bimacs, briareus, vulgaris, joubini, etc. it would be useful. I would be willing to compile any information coming in, then submit it for editing to the the moderators. I came up with a few points of information, in no particular order. I'm sure many of you could suggest others:

Scientific name(s)
Common name(s)
Distinguishing characteristics (i.e., how to distinguish from other species)
Natural range
Average size (using some standard measure)
Availability (seasonal? year round? aquacultured?)
Recommended suppliers, if they exist
Where, how to collect
Recommended minimal and optimal tank sizes
Preferred food items, in ranked order
Average life span (yeah, I know they're all short, but 1 vs. 2 years is a relatively big difference)
How likely it is to try to escape (relative)
How active during the day
How likely to interact with humans
Relative hardiness
Special needs or sensitivities
Ease of rearing young (with protocols or suggestions)
Particular advantages/disadvantages

I know you all can come up with lots more. Again, I offer to put together any info sent to me and submit to the moderators for editing/approval before posting. I think this would be a great service to anyone researching what species they would like to keep.

3) I have been fascinated with some of the articles I've read on octopus intelligence and temperament. Has anyone thought of or tried to breed octopuses for longer life and/or "pet quality" temperament (e.g., diurnal habit, lessened desire to escape, ehanced interactivity with humans)? Does anyone know the mechanism of senescence in cephalopods; is it environmentally controlled or completely a "biological clock"? Would a sterile female (triploid or otherwise rendered sterile) live longer than a female that can lay eggs?

I know many of you won't believe in tinkering with mother nature, but domestication of animals such as dogs to be more suitable companions is not such a bad precedent. I'm interested in what you all think.

I look forward to your input and replies.

Hi LIsa,
Welcome to

Well, there are plenty points there and I will try to answer as many as I can.... others are more Steve'O's field so I'll leave that to him or Kat.

So, I'll just try to do this point for point... :smile:

As far as i know the captive bimacs only happened once. A guy who specialises in breeding amphipods and collecting mysis, caught a gravid female and he just put the eggs in a tank full of shrimp and the babies were grown on and sold to shops. The original name of the person was never disclosed and thats to stop people missing out the shops and going to him. They were available from but i just checked their site and none are there. Also I even managed to get 2 to Scotland but via a different source from the same place. Again a closely guarded secret.

Friend of TONMO, Chris Shaw, has managed to mate his pair of bimacs and will hopefully be selling babies by summer or thereabouts.

If babies are available, it will be posted here!

If you had an octopus who never mated she will still lay eggs even if they are not fertile, so maybe thats what happened.

The most common large egg species of dwarf octopus from that region is Octopus mercatoris.

i think that the idea for suitable species is long overdue and been on my list of things to do for a while but havnt had time. Im sure that Nancy will be keen to get involved in this.

Selective breeding of cephs is a long way off. it is rare enough that people get them to breed at all let alone rearing them for certain characteristics.

To be honest (hope you dont mind?!) I couldnt think of anything worse!!! I work constantly with many species of tropical fish that have been 'improved' apon by people and they are often so disfigured and stunted that it is a real shame! Just look at what people have done to goldfish, discus, painted glass fish, 'balloon' mollies etc etc etc i hope we never see the day when cephs are subjected to that. I do have a dog and love her to bits but again....... it bothers me that because she is a white german sheperd and that at 8 she is already acting like a dof of 14 should! And that is because of so much in-breeding! (ends rant :smile: )

Anyway, lets see what materialises regarding the octopus 'most wanted' chart!

Hello Lisa,

Here, in brief, are some answers to your questions.

We've found wild-caught baby bimacs for sale, but no word on aquacultuured ones yet - I'm looking for one too, so I'll post the news as soon as I find them available.

Your second suggestion is interesting - yup, that's on the list to do. There is a lot more information that we want to post in the "Articles" section of this website. Thanks for the offer to help.

I'll pass on number three, since I really don't know the answer to this one. Probably it's too early for this to happen, but it may lie in the future.

And welcome to!

Colin and Nancy,

Thank-you for your gracious welcomes and replies. As I become more knowledgeable, I hope to be able to contribute to this community.

On the third point, Colin, I agree, selective breeding of fish has certainly created some pathetic and monstrous animals, particularly those created for "ornamental" traits. And it's also clear cephalopods are a long way from being captive bred.

Overbreeding of popular dog breeds for commercial gain has also resulted in a host of medical conditions and aberrations (such as a high rate of hip dysplasia in large breeds, or Boston terriers having to be born by Caesarean section, or shortened life expectancy). However, domestication of wild species has often resulted in animals that are more suitable for life with humans. To continue the dog analogy, while wolves are gorgeous, perfect, wonderful animals, they are not as suitable to be a family pet as their very close relatives, golden retrievers, or German sheperds or beagles. The problem with dog breeds is not that wolves were domesticated at all, but that traits of importance, such as health, temperament and emotional stability have often not been focused on.

I don't think it would be irresponsible for captive bred octopuses (if that ever happens in any kind of routine way!) to be selected for increased interactivity with humans or other desirable health and temperament traits. While the wild species is perfectly adapted to its environment, a slightly "domesticated" octopus may thrive better in a captive environment. I'm certainly not advocating designer colors, aberrant sizes, pop-eyes or 20 arms!

Anyway, enough of that... Thanks again for the warm welcome. If I can help at all with compiling information for a species comparison, please let me know.

Hi Again

I have just re read it all and actually wanted to say that you have a good point. Years ago it was said to be almost impossible to keep and breed angelfish and now almost anyone could, then this happened to discus and eventually for many marine species of fish too.... this is because of captive breeeding and the fish becoming more adapted for aquarium life.

So who knows, with captive breeding it may be possibe that octopuses or cuttlefish do become more 'user friendly'

On a side note, on my recent trip to the NRCC, James Wood explained that the cuttlefish they have there are on their 14th or so generation and that 'problems' were starting to appear with them.

cheers :smile:
Colin: That's interesting... Did Dr. Wood say what kinds of problems were developing? I would be very interested to hear what problems arose with the captive bred cuttlefish! Perhaps James Wood can illuminate us if he's reading? :wink:
i cant remeber any specifics to be honest apart from the fact that they were smaller (i think)

Im sure James will add to this, he knows best :smile:

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