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Bimac Hatchlings

SueAndHerZoo

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Hmmmm, something must be wrong with my "subscription" feature -- sorry for the late reply but I didn't realize there were new posts in this thread. Guess I better just get my act together and log in here at least once a day.

Habitat and sibling attacks: Yes, they are in individual breeder nets. When I first brought them home and was acclimating them to my tank water in one large container they were already having altercations and run-ins so I immediately set up separate housing. A few days later I found one hatchling dead in the breeder net of another hatchling. He apparently moved from one net to the other and got killed by his sibling. :frown:

The original owner had all the hatchlings in one big tank and had just started to notice fighting the weekend I picked them up so it seems like "3 weeks of age" is when the fighting began.

Individual personalities: I can definitely already see different characteristics.
One (the largest one) is very food motivated and takes little or no interest in me but does come quickly out of his shell (literally) to check out what I am bringing to eat. Unfortunately he is very picky about what he'll eat, but he likes to thoroughly check everything out before rudely throwing it back at me.
The second one (the smallest) is not very interactive, not even when I'm delivering food. He peeks out of his shell when he sees me making a food delivery but quickly ducks back in if I get too close. He'll grab whatever I'm offering, run into his shell with it, and then usually toss it out after a minute but only using the tips of his tentacles.... he keeps his mantle hidden while I'm there.

The third one is rapidly becoming my favorite. She/he is in the middle (size wise) but is the most interactive with me. She does not seem very interested in food at all, but she is curious about me. Because of this she's the one I've worked with the most regarding trying to interact, bond with, and touch. The other night we made great progress. She was well out of her shell and sitting on the interior outer edge frame of the net. I slowly put my finger within a few inches and she didn't leave. I kept putting it in and taking it out, hoping she'd realize I wasn't a threat. After several minutes of this I would put it right up next to her and she would "tap" me with one tentacle. Thinking that might mean "get away" I would retreat and try again a minute later. Soon I was able to leave my finger next to her, touching her. After about 20 minutes of this she actually started walking over my finger to get to the other side, and then would walk back over the other way. At one point, she "rested" on my finger and brought tears to my eyes. I think that was great progress and will do this again whenever she seems receptive.

Inking: I saw my very first inking last night! It was from #3 (the sociable one) and I think I startled her with the feeding syringe or caught her off guard or something. All of a sudden there was a puff of black and she ran back to her shell. I was sad that I scared her but so excited to see my first inking!

I will try for more videos but it's so hard while they are in those breeding nets.
Sue
 


DWhatley

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It will be curious to see which one is the most interactive once they are five or six months. The O. briareus completely reversed and the reclusive female became the most interactive.

IME, (and I have not had bimacs before), something unusual happens when the learn not to be afraid of something. I can't say I noticed it so much at this young but older octos seem to "play" for an extended period (in one case over 2 hours) after gaining trust and then seem to "forget" for two to three days and then suddenly remember. Once they remember, they will continue the trust but never play quite as long as that first realization. Beldar was the funniest and strongest example. When she learned that she could make me "go away" she spent the night calling me back and sending me away. Initially, I would go sit on the couch when being asked to leave but she had me up and down so much (and in tears laughing at her obvious understanding and enjoyment of the game) that I finally just removed my hand from the tank but stayed on my ladder. She did not want anything to do with me for a couple of days but afterwards would come and play almost daily for a few minutes. The amount of time varies but it was never another all night affair.
 

SueAndHerZoo

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I'm always shocked when I come here to post an update and see how long it's been since my last one. I guess it's true that the older we get, the quicker the time flies by. :frown: I was filming one of my three (yes, all three still growing and thriving!) the other night and didn't realize until after I played back the clip that he/she had inked while I was filming.

Sue
 


SueAndHerZoo

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Here I am again guilty and surprised about how long it's been since an update. :frown:

All three are alive and well and now have a mantle size about the size of a nickel (of course that's a rough guesstimate since the mantle shape and size changes so much). One of them escaped his breeding net and was loose in the 20 gallon tank I was keeping them in so I decided it was time to give them all more space. The escapee has the 20 gallon, another hatchling is in my 14 gallon biocube, and I gave the third one to a fellow (local) reefer. Since the relocations I hardly ever see them, which is disappointing. At least when they were in the breeding nets I could put the food in front of them, watch them eat, and check their status, interact with them, etc. Now that they are in tanks with lots of live rock it's a challenging hunt several times a day to try and spot one. I'm hoping as time passes they will start coming out in the open more and more but for now all I get is a brief glimpse of a tentacle if I'm lucky.

Up to the time they left their breeding nets they still only wanted live crab -- anything else I offered was rudely rejected. So I keep several crabs in each tank with them and hope that they are eating when the desire arises. I do find empty crab shells so apparently they are.

I would love to post updated pix or videos but until they start socializing more, I really have nothing.

Would it be cruel of me to remove a lot of the rock so that they would be forced to be more viewable? Also, what else can I put in the tanks in the way of food options? I keep trying defrosted, uncooked shrimp but they show no interest. However, the crabs and shore shrimp that I keep in the tanks with them LOVE the shrimp! At least I'm keeping the food fed, right?
Sue
 

DWhatley

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I have found that wild caught or tank raised does not seem to matter, they don't socialize until they are close to 5 months old and then it seems almost overnight that they have an interest in humans. Keep trying the table shrimp about once a month. I think it is too tough for them as hatchlings and then again as seniors (that is just a guess as to why but not taking it during both phases is pretty consistent). With the small tanks I would avoid clams (likely too tough anyway), mussels or oysters. You can try a little scallop but be ready to remove it in a few hours. They will likely be very happy to take a small crayfish about now as a change of diet treat. It can live for about an hour in the saltwater (none of the ones I have offered ever died from the water though).
 

ceph

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Always provide enough rocks so that they can easily completely hide. They are "naked mollusks" that a lot of other animals would eat - without places to hide they often show signs of stress. I would not alter the tank at this point as that could add stress, instead. . .

You may want to change how you feed them so that they associate you with food. For example, you could stop feeding the tank and put a single crab in a small glass jar once per day. Or smaller crabs twice a day. . . In time the octopus should start to associate your presence with a crab appearing in the jar. This typically takes a week for an adult wild octopus but can take as short as 3-4 days and as long as never.

Once they associate the jar, and then you, with food, the possibilities to train them to take frozen foods opens up.

Give it a shot - it usually works.

James
 

SueAndHerZoo

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Adding the last post to this thread (finally) so that someone else may be able to benefit from the experience and we can all learn from each other's successes and failures (thanks for reminding me, D).

All three are gone. :frown: I gave one to a reliable, reef-keeping friend and one week after he got it, he found it dead. I don't know if it was the change in water chemistry, his water quality, his feeding habits, etc. but I now regret giving one away. (A Mother's guilt).

I had my remaining two, one living in a 14 gallon biocube and one in a 20 gallon tank. They were doing well and still only eating live fiddler crabs but I was trying new foods on a regular basis. They were pretty reclusive.... much more so than when I had them in breeder nets, but perhaps that's because they didn't have much room to escape in the breeder nets. Two or three times a day I would search all the rockwork until I spotted them and would wave some food near them but they never took it.... they just kept watiing for me to leave and they'd then chomp a fiddler and leave me the shells to clean up.

One day in early July I went down to feed the fella in the 20 gallon and found him out in the open and looking kinda pale and listless. I checked the water parameters and everything was the same so I offered him food and then left him alone. When I got home from work that day, he was dead.

I checked the water again, siphoned up the barebottom of any debris, rearranged a few rocks, and left the tank running.... I was in mourning and denial. A few days later I got the brainstorm to move the guy in the 14 gallon tank over to the bigger, empty tank so that he could enjoy more space. 3 days later, he was dead.

I wracked my brain and re-played everything over and over in my head and the only two things I can come up with are:

The water was too warm? The July heat had kicked in but I wasn't running the AC much during the day so it was probably getting to about 75 degrees in the house until I got home and flipped on the AC. Could the warmer air temperature (and ultimately the warmer water temperature) have killed them? Maybe the octo in the biocube wasn't as affected by the heat in the room since the biocubes are so closed off?

My other theory is that something was in one of the live rocks that killed them. I was only giving them small fiddler crabs that they could easily conquer, but perhaps one of them hid in one of the rocks for a few months and grew big enough to actually kill the octos?

Unfortunately I'll never know and probably will never stop wondering what I could have done differently but I guess we all go through that. It's just odd that they were both fine and then I lost them in the same week, in that same tank. I had the pleasure of their company for a little over 4 months but feel like I was robbed of the 12 months I had hoped for. I'm sure someday I will try again.
Sue
 

DWhatley

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Sue,
I doubt it was the fiddler. For one, you would have seen damage if there had been a fight and listlessness is not in the pray-preditor scenario.

My "guess" would be the heat. 72 degrees is pretty much max (not sustained) and if you think it was 75 it was probably even higher during the peak of the day and over a sustained period since the tanks were quite small. This would explain them dieing close together. If heat was the cause it is likely you would have had the same results even if you had not transferred the second one.

IME (not with bimacs) the four species I have been fortunate to have as very young juveniles (two from egg, and briareus both wc and tank born) they are very shy until somewhere close to 5 months of age. This "coming out" time seems to correlate with sexual maturity. This is an antecdotal observation but it appears to be consistent for O.mercatoris, O. briareus, O.vulgaris (only one observation) and an unknown species (Monty) I have kept as well as some guess work and observations from other keepers.
 

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