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been longing for octopod...looking for tips.


Pygmy Octopus
Jan 4, 2006
to get it out of the way, i understand basic octopus requirements (ie. SG, nitrogen cycle and appropriate levels, general temp requirements, cycling for 3 months etc etc). i've been doing my homework on that stuff.
i also decided not to squeeze mine into a 6g nano i had up and running. i work at a pet store (it sucks by the by) and find myself thoughorly pissed when people want to put oscars in 10g tanks, or think "nemo" looks cool and they wanna put him with the 10 fancy guppies, goldfish, and "allergy eater" they have in their 20g starter tank, not realizing "nemo" is from the ocean. or the people who have a 55gal tank full of tangs, knowing full well many of them already aren't getting along, and thus decide to fit "just one more" into the tank b/c they want to see the fireworks erupt. so, i do not wish to be "that guy" when attempting to keep octopods.

my thoughts thus far were to use a 30g (just b/c i have a 36" stand and PC lighting unit ready to go from my 38gal...not using the 38 b/c i think it's too tall and not enough gas exchange will occur). i thought about having it drilled so i could include a sump/ refugium. i don't want any equiment in the tank, just the overflow, and the return.
i am not very DIY and that is part of my hesitation.

i'm curious to see how others on this forum octoproofed their set up. i guess what i'm looking for is step by step instruction for how to turn a glass box into a "maximum security containment facility" for captive escape artists. i understand the need for a tightly fitting lid. i just don't want to see this thing find it's way to the sump or random pump impellers.

other questions: would it be possible to house a dwarf species in a refugium environment (ie, mud, liverock, macroalgae, copepods, etc) that was plumbed to a reef setting assuming measures were taken to prevent ceph assimilation into the main tank?
being nowhere close to the ocean, and having no live foods other than ghost shrimp or spending hundreds on "clean up crews" (ie hermits and snails), can i opt to try frozen foods? the zoo near me has had a mimic for a few months now and has been feeding a wide variety of frozen foods.
30G is only big enough for a dwarf species. For a Bimac you'll need a minimum of a 50G.......this ensures more stable water chemistry and room for the octopus to move and explore!

In terms of food; marine food stuffs are better, steer clear of FW species such as ghost shrimp (although they can be given occasionally as a treat) as the fat to protein ratio is off for cephs. You may be able to wean an octi onto frozen food such as shrimps/prawns/scallops etc BUT you will need to start with live food such as amphipods (if you have a juvenile octi) or crabs and some octopus will never make the change to frozen food, it's an individual and sometime a species thing (ours in our aquarium in NZ absolutely refuse to eat anything that isn't alive and kicking!).

Octo proofing you will need a tight fitting lid with holes for inflows/outflows etc and you can put mesh or such over impeller spaces......remember duct tape is your friend:biggrin2: ANY gap needs to be covered!

oh, my bad, i guess i didn't mention that i'll prolly not get a bimac, one of the dwarfs seem more my style. don't bimacs need chillers? i'd rather have something that could tolerate low to mid 70's.
if i drill a 30gal, should i drill the bottom of the tank, and make a partition with an overflow (like when you buy a reef ready 55g), perhaps using sponge to prevent to octopus from residing in that area, OR should i drill the hole on the rear pane of glass and use an elbow with mesh over it? (the return will be the same in either scenario...hole drilled on rear pane of glass on opposite side of tank where overflow is located)

additionally, will it matter much to the octopus if i use significant amounts of light to grow macroalgae, or soft corals like xenia in the display tank. (nothing like metal halides, more in the line of 192 watts of PC light one actinic bulb, and one 50/50 bulb 96 wts each)
I'm not a DIY er so I'll leave the tech questions to those who can actually wield drills without danger to life and limb!

As for lights, Octopus do not like bright light.......the majority are nocturnal or crepuscular (dawn/dusk active), low levels of light, moonlighting or red lights are fine.

I had my 72g rear pane drilled out equally on each side, my LFS guy was good enough to do it for me(and he did a fine job for a mere $15 per 1" hole). My main reason for going this route was octo security. I went with the slip by thread elbow and a 1" male thread strainer.
Even if I decide not to keep a octo it looks really sharp, I'm really glad I had it done. There is however a risk that the pane will crack or split thus changing your aqarium into a terrarium.
As far as lighting I plan to use the single tube 48" fixture that my tank came with however I may upgrade some day. A upper end fixture can be pricey.
With a drilled out back you should be able to have some acrylic or glass cut to shape for security and if you have any powerheads in the tank or moonlighting some small notches can be cut small enough to keep an octo in it's home, also some kind of weights can be placed on the lid or lids to keep them securly closed.
Good luck and let us know what you decide to do.

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