Caligula: My First Octopus - O. Briareus

Hayek

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Caligula - Octopus Briareus from Tom's Caribbean

After a several month long planning/setup/cycling process, I finally got my hands on an Octopus yesterday. The octopus, O. Briareus, came in at 9:30 am from Tom's Caribbean.

Temp: 72.5
ph: 7.2

Acclimation
The bag was covered in newspaper. I opened it slowly - removing a bit more every couple of minutes so as not to scare the new arrival. Once uncovered, I cut the top off of the bag and set it in a critter keeper (pics will be posted when I stop being lazy). I didn't drip acclimate like many of you. Instead, I added about an ounce of water every five minutes. Once the ph in the bag and my tank were within .05 of each other, I placed the bag in the tank and snagged it on the glass lid such that the open side of the bag was in the tank. It took him all of 30 seconds to realize that he could get out of the bag. He crawled on the glass for a moment before disappearing into the rocks.

As is usually the case, the octopus was a bit stressed during acclimation. The only movement I observed during the entire 2.5 hour acclimation was heavy breathing and repositioning of several tentacles.

side note:
The digital ph tester I bought a couple of weeks ago was very helpful. It allowed me to see exactly how far along I was in the acclimation. It was also instrumental in ensuring standard increases in ph. When you drip acclimate something, the rate of change is greater towards the beginning of acclimation than the end.

size:
He or she, I don't know at this point, is fairly large - 2 to 2.5 inch mantle with probably a 20 inch arm span, it was hard to tell from his brief walk on the glass.


Since acclimation - first 24 hours
The octopus has found a nice spot in the rocks which cannot be seen from the front of the tank. I only know it is there because it kicks up sand periodically. It appears he has chosen that spot for his den.

There were 4 shore shrimp, 6 fiddler sized crabs in the tank (2 "assorted" and 4 emerald crabs), 15 hermits, and a damsel. This morning, 18 hours after being introduced into the tank, I noticed the remains of one of the crabs strewn about the tank six inches from the octopuses den. I surmise the octopus had himself a meal while I was asleep, but it is possible it lost a fight with one of the other crabs and was "cleaned up". The total number of crabs seems to have dwindled, but of this I am uncertain.

I will be updating this with pictures when it finally feels comfortable enough to come out. Most of the pictures I took during acclimation didn't turn out well due to the purposeful lack of lighting in the room.

I am interested to hear comments from those of you that have owned briareus concerning age and size. Tom said he was probably six months old, but his size guestimate was a bit low (1.5 inch mantle, 7 inch arms). How long do you think it has left?

What are some common signs of senility? I have read on some journals that the octopus tried to get out of the bag/bucket during acclimation. I saw no such behavior, and I haven't seen much movement.
 

CaptFish

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:welcome: Newguy!

As for age its hard to tell. But I would say 6 months is a fair guess. Legs is about the same size, alittle bigger, and she is six month old.
 

DWhatley

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For links to journals on briareus, look in the List of octopuses 2008 and 2009 listed in the Journals forum (I will stick them to the top eventually). Eventually, I will play with putting the data into a little database and generate additional posts with ordering by species but I am still thinking about the best way to accomplish and maintain this idea.

Great job on the acclimation entry. I am a bit surprised that the PH was that high as most of the Keys collectors do not buffer their water and the over night shipping usually drops the PH close to 6. I use the strips though and your observation may be a good argument for an electronic instrument.
 

Hayek

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Video - immediately after being introduced into the tank


3991602343_cb0a08804f.jpg
- a den
3992360964_61ab4b45f0.jpg
- kicking up sand/digging a den
3991602329_4f0f2b20c5.jpg
- acclimating
3991602295_a1d7253b85.jpg
- crab pile - I have since removed it
 

Hayek

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I see no new crab carcasses today, but the octopus has made a new den. The tank is stable at 78-79 degrees with a specific gravity of 1.024-1.025 and ph of 8.15-8.2. It has only been 36 hours, and the octopus is still learning its surroundings. It has not yet come out into the open while the lights are on.

The above video (previous post) suggests leg span might be closer to 24 inches.
 

Hayek

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Dwhatley - I have read each of the journals quite a few times. I spend waaaaaay too much time on tonmo.

I have found there isn't enough difference between colors in the liquid and paper tests in order for me to make an accurate reading. For example, the liquid ph test that I own uses very similar shades of brown for 7.8, 8.0, and 8.2. I use the HM Digital PH-200 ph meter. It reads to two decimal places and is currently on sale at eseasongear.com - $69 includes shipping. It is a bit finicky, and it apparently must be stored in ph 4.0 solution which isn't included except for what is already in the cap.
 

Hayek

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I observed the octopus while the room was dark with an unobtrusive red light for several hours last night. It was parked in a den near the front right corner of the tank which I could easily see. He was in an accessible position so I offered him some krill which he rejected. After rejecting the krill several times, he released the empty shell of my horseshoe crab before retreating underneath the rock. While it was eating the crab, it probed outside the den with several arms.

I still have not seen it move in the open, and I now attribute this to the ease with which he can feast. There is much food in the tank, and the octopus probably won't explore much until the easy prey is gone. So far, I know the octopus has eaten two crabs - one assorted and one emerald and a horse shoe crab. I also think some of the hermits were eaten as I don't remember there being any empty shells when I placed them in the tank.
 

DWhatley

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Unscientific observation suggest that they do a lot of nervous eating the first week or so. Some keepers have seen octos kill and not eat the animal during this time (Maya caught a live shrimp, removed the shell and then left it for the clean-up crew but she eats the thawed shrimp offered on a stick). This behavior seems to go away after they are fully acclimated to tank living. The briareus (likely do to its crepsecular life style) seems to show the most shyness during its younger age than others and seems to need to reach an undefined size before it will be daytime visable (review the beginings of the other briareus journals to verify).

We have still not seen Kaysoh out at all but he does go to the wall at the back of his cave at about 6:00 PM (feeding time). Oddly (because SueNami liked catching them), I don't think he has eaten any of the live shrimp in the tank but he will take the thawed with encouragement and finds the fiddlers on his own.

I have wondered about horseshoe crabs and suspected one would not survive an octo tank but am glad you posted that he ate it as well.
 

CaptFish

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dwhatley;143756 said:
Some keepers have seen octos kill and not eat the animal during this time

I think it's in my journal, shortly as soon as she was of size, about two weeks, Legs killed my Gobie.



dwhatley;143756 said:
I have wondered about horseshoe crabs and suspected one would not survive an octo tank but am glad you posted that he ate it as well.

I hade two both about 3" across and Legs snacked on them not that long ago.
 

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