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Beginner Octopus Owner

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Hello everyone I hope you are well. Me and my gf are looking into buying an Octopus. How much does it cost roughly to get started? Where could we find a store that sells them? We live in the Northern Central Wisconsin area. What do I need to know about caring for it? How often do you change the tank water? We are also starting from the ground up so how big of a tank do we need?
 
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Okay. First thing Inneed to know ia do you have any experience in the aqaurium hobby? Then we can gonfrom there. I can walk you through it
 
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Okay. First thing Inneed to know ia do you have any experience in the aqaurium hobby? Then we can gonfrom there. I can walk you through it
The only experience I have with aquariums is the fish I got from Walmart as a kid. I have no experience whatsoever.
 

pkilian

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Welcome to TONMO! I would suggest giving this forum (and the links within) a good read to get some basic knowledge on keeping an octopus.

- What is your budget for the project? This will help inform us of what products that might work for you.
- How much room do you have in your house/ how large of a tank do you want? Ideally something larger than 50 gallons would be preferable.
- Do you want any species in particular or just whatever is easiest to find?
- What is your timeframe like for the project? Starting a tank from scratch as a beginner, it might be worth your time to "practice" with a saltwater tank with some fish or other critters that are easier to take care of, before moving to a more complex and difficult to care for animal like the octopus
 
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We'd like to keep this project on cheaper end
We don't have a specific time frame
We could do a 75 gallon tank easily
We prefer a species that is active during the day, has a decent size, and can take lids off of jars for crabs
I wouldn't mind having small fish for the 3 months or so it takes for the saltwater to establish to get my bearings
 

pkilian

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This sounds good to me. Read through the links I posted earlier, as well as these here, and if you have any more specific questions that aren't answered in the getting started guides, feel free to ask them here!
 
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The only experience I have with aquariums is the fish I got from Walmart as a kid. I have no experience whatsoever.
Okay. I will condense a lot of info in to what you could do. First and foremost you need to learn about the nitrogen cycle in a marine aqaurium. If you haven't already.
Live rock plays into learning about the nitrogen cycle but I want to inform you of something.
People might tell you that you need X amount of live rock per gallon in your tank... while it does not hurt to run a tank with a lot of rock. It is not completely necessary. Look up minimalist marine aqauriums and you will see what I mean. Octopus do need hiding places though. So keep that in mind as well. Just make sure the filtration you use can hold a lot of bio media to compensate for less "in tank" rock surface. If you use a basic HOB filter of appropriate size then more live rock is necessary. Do a little research and then go from there.

As far as tank set up. If your looking to stay in the cheaper end. Cheaper is more complicated in my opinion. But it can be done. Get yourself a size 40 breeder tank. You can get away with putting a bimac in there. Though bigger is better. It is not really necessary In My experience. My bimac got good size, but she still would of been fine in a 40.

Research filtration. What brands and types. Get a high overturn rate. I use a canister filter. If you have a roughly 40 gallon tank, get filtration with a flow rate of 160 GPH minimum. More is better. But you don't want your aquarium to be to turbulent either. Power heads are good for flow but you might have to cover them in mesh if they have gaps big enough for octopus arms to fit in. You need a protein skimmer. Dwarf species you can get away without a skimmer. Everything else you would need one from my understanding. You can reaserch what size skimmer you need for what tank.
Octopus do not need special lightning. So you can go cheaper in that end.

Octopus are pretty easy to keep. Don't let people scare you. They are pretty hardy.
Look up 'Advances in laboratory culture of octopus for biomedical research' by Hanlon and Forsythe. It gives you some parameters in there.
You will learn they are actually pretty tough little buggers.
Temperature is important for octopus as it can slow or speed up there life cycle. So try to keep octopus on there low end of their Temperature tolerance if possible. That is up to you though. If you want a short term pet that goes through its life cycle quickly then higher temps work. If you want to have one for longer, lower the temperature.
 
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We'd like to keep this project on cheaper end
We don't have a specific time frame
We could do a 75 gallon tank easily
We prefer a species that is active during the day, has a decent size, and can take lids off of jars for crabs
I wouldn't mind having small fish for the 3 months or so it takes for the saltwater to establish to get my bearings
A bimac is going to be a good choice. 3 months my not be necessary, but because you are newer I would say three months is a good working time to learn how things work. Research research research
 
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A bimac is going to be a good choice. 3 months my not be necessary, but because you are newer I would say three months is a good working time to learn how things work. Research research research
So far I'm looking at maybe a 55 gallon tank I saw at Walmart. It comes with a lid and a lamp, a heater and filtration. I know I'll need more than that but what are the names of the machines I'll be looking for? How many live rocks would you recommend typically and I think I understand most of this except for the part about the different chemical levels and the cycles. Is there a video i can watch on YouTube for it? Also if I go with bimacs what are the specific names of my options for the octo itself?
 
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Bimac is a species itself. The full name is octopus bimaculoides. Hence the name bimac.
Buying a tank setup like that will be ok except the filtration. You will have to buy better filtration. I recommend a canister filter.
A skimmer like this. INSTANT OCEAN Sea Clone Aquarium Protein Skimmer, 100-gal - Chewy.com

Try these videos for nitrogen cycle info.

And buy a test kit.

You will need to moniter your chemicals for a while before adding an octopus to make sure it is stable. Buy a refractometer to monitor salinity. Keep around 1.026
 
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You might be able to get away with the kits filtration but I recommend the canister filter
 
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You might be able to get away with the kits filtration but I recommend the canister filter
Ok thank you for all your help this makes more sense now. Also where do you find octos? Every online store is sold out and I can't think of a pet store that would have them. I live in Wisconsin close to Minnesota so I was going to try the twin cities pet shops but other than that I can't think of where to go.
 

pkilian

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55 gallon sounds like an okay place to start, depending on the size of the animal you end up with.

Recently @Bill Walton started a thread about his octopus keeping experience. He did a great job sharing relevant information about his setup, which looks good to me. You can read about it in this thread here. It should be a good starting place for you to learn and think about what kinds of parts you will want for your system. You will want a protein skimmer in addition to the filtration that the tank comes with. If the tank only has inbuilt infiltration (the entire setup is just one box) it likely will not work to house an octopus. You will want two boxes, a tank for your animal, and a sump (a secondary tank with all your filtration and pumps and heater and stuff) that rests underneath the tank on the floor.

Bill started his system with some saltwater fish, which I suggest you do as well. Octopus are quite expensive (sometimes upwards of $150) so it would be a shame to buy one and put it in a system that wasn't properly cycled yet.

In terms of learning about the ammonia cycle and water chemistry, googling "saltwater aquarium ammonia cycle" turns up a boatload of great links and articles with relevant information. Essentially, before you will be able to have any animals in your tank, you will need to grow beneficial bacteria in the tank that will help to break down the waste produced by the animals that will eventually be in your tank. This generally takes about 3-6 weeks to do properly, depending on the size of your aquarium.

I encourage you to do some more research about water chemistry and ammonia cycles, as well as the filtration needs of octopuses. There were some forum threads in the links I shared with you earlier that detail this information, and there are plenty of websites that have beginner guides to setting up aquaria of various types. You will want to learn about chemical filtration, protein skimmers, pumps and water pressure, heaters, acceptable temperature and pH range.

In terms of shops that sell animals, you will probably have little luck finding them in stores. You will probably have to order some from a vendor. Once you have a tank set up and running then I can give more specific advice about sourcing an octopus, but your search may take a few months (perfect time to have some saltwater fish in your aquarium)!
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
7
55 gallon sounds like an okay place to start, depending on the size of the animal you end up with.

Recently @Bill Walton started a thread about his octopus keeping experience. He did a great job sharing relevant information about his setup, which looks good to me. You can read about it in this thread here. It should be a good starting place for you to learn and think about what kinds of parts you will want for your system. You will want a protein skimmer in addition to the filtration that the tank comes with. If the tank only has inbuilt infiltration (the entire setup is just one box) it likely will not work to house an octopus. You will want two boxes, a tank for your animal, and a sump (a secondary tank with all your filtration and pumps and heater and stuff) that rests underneath the tank on the floor.

Bill started his system with some saltwater fish, which I suggest you do as well. Octopus are quite expensive (sometimes upwards of $150) so it would be a shame to buy one and put it in a system that wasn't properly cycled yet.

In terms of learning about the ammonia cycle and water chemistry, googling "saltwater aquarium ammonia cycle" turns up a boatload of great links and articles with relevant information. Essentially, before you will be able to have any animals in your tank, you will need to grow beneficial bacteria in the tank that will help to break down the waste produced by the animals that will eventually be in your tank. This generally takes about 3-6 weeks to do properly, depending on the size of your aquarium.

I encourage you to do some more research about water chemistry and ammonia cycles, as well as the filtration needs of octopuses. There were some forum threads in the links I shared with you earlier that detail this information, and there are plenty of websites that have beginner guides to setting up aquaria of various types. You will want to learn about chemical filtration, protein skimmers, pumps and water pressure, heaters, acceptable temperature and pH range.

In terms of shops that sell animals, you will probably have little luck finding them in stores. You will probably have to order some from a vendor. Once you have a tank set up and running then I can give more specific advice about sourcing an octopus, but your search may take a few months (perfect time to have some saltwater fish in your aquarium)!
I've been working on researching the cycles and it makes more sense now. Correct me if I'm wrong but my plan is to cycle, then add crabs, then clowns, and after the tank has been up for a while I'll add an octo.
 
D

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Ok thank you for all your help this makes more sense now. Also where do you find octos? Every online store is sold out and I can't think of a pet store that would have them. I live in Wisconsin close to Minnesota so I was going to try the twin cities pet shops but other than that I can't think of where to go.
I recommend online or from a supplier here on Tonmo. Join the waiting lists for octopus on certain websites. Look Saltybottom Reefs website. They are U.S. based.
 
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