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Ceph. Research Questions

robyn

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
303
Hey there - it sounds like your plans are coming together. Again, I can't offer much for the tank setup plans, but maybe I can help some more with the trial setup (which I know is off-topic for this area - sorry all)

Transfer can be a problem with large animals, but small ones can be moved easily enough by taking them inside their own shelter (like a piece of PVC pipe). This cushions the moving shock quite a lot, since part of their house is moving with them. You will probably need to do some preliminary observations to determine what you consider adequate acclimation times after being moved. This depends on the individual animal and the species you're using. An extra advantage of this is that the animal itself will get used to being moved, and may acclimate sooner over time.

Overall, I think having a specific trial tank depends on what you're testing. Eg - if your looking at responses to objects - tactile discriminations, object manipulation and food capture, I think doing these in the home tank is better - objects can be easily placed at minimal disturbance to your subject. If instead you want to look at responses to situations - maze navigation, habituation to surroundings, conditioning to visual stimuli, etc, perhaps a separate trial tank will serve you better. One of the nicest setups I've seen footage of was of a long rectangular tank, with a sliding glass partition down the centre - one half as living quarters, the other as trial space. When a trial was to start, the experimenter lifted the partition, and the animal could move into the trial side as it chose. This allows you to discount handling stress and habituation time and allows you to set a standarisied 'start time' when the animal moves into the trial space. Can you do something like that with your space?? If you can, I recommend it as the way to go.

One other thing to keep in mind is that it's very important that the experimenter and equipment be concealed from the animal during trials - so you should consider including space in your setup to hang blinds between the tanks and you (we do this with black trash bags hung from a ceiling beam). This is another argument for separate trial space if your general aquarium surrounds are really noisy or full of activity.

Hope this helps. Good luck!
 

Craig

Cuttlefish
Registered
Joined
Aug 10, 2006
Messages
20
hi there, i was visiting the sea life center in brighton a few weeks ago and i seem to remember that the university of surrey (uk) has been doing quite extensive behavioural research for some years now on sepia officialis so it might be worth contacting them? http://www.sussex.ac.uk/
also the sea life center in brighton has quite an extensive ceph selection including an atlantic octopus that they've been studying in detail.
hope this helps.
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2006
Messages
318
I don't know the research end of ceph keeping, but I do know husbandry and tank setup fairly well.

I would suggest bimacs from the NRCC. They are manageable in size, intelligent and not nocturnal. I agree, 50 gallon tanks would be good and separate systems would be best in case of a catastrophic error in one tank.

I find saltwater very similar to freshwater, with 3 major differences:
1. water changes are a PITA
2. Cycle takes longer and is more important
3. use good live rock -1 lb per gallon is fine-just needed to seed and filter

Mix the saltwater and let it sit a day with a powerhead and then drain and change water every 3-4 weeks.
After a 2-3 month cycle using livestock and live rock you have a finished tank.
You will need a protein skimmer for each tank-cephs generate much more waste than the same size fish and are more sensitive to it. Also to remove inking and add oxygen to the water with increased flow.
I like wet/dry filters best, but I have used canister filters also. Wet/dry would be cheaper if you DIY, but the canister would eliminate overflows, siphon problems, drilling the tank, and escape problems.

Know the nitrogen cycle so you can tell what the test kits are telling you and you will do fine.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
22
Thanks again to everyone for their helpful insights!

Illithid,

I do have the means to DIY just about anything, about how large of a wet/dry filter would you suggest? (A tank that is roughly 50-60 gallons and probably L shaped). Also, I've seen a wide variety of wet/dry setups and suggestions, ranging from keeping live rock to snails to normal filters in the wet section. Are there any considerations I should make that apply especially to octopods?

Thanks!
-O
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
22
I should also ask about marine lighting....I know that the octopus doesn't need especially bright lights, but to upkeep live rocks and livestock to cycle the tank before we obtain some octopi would it be wise to invest in a "medium brightness" >60w fixture?

-O
 
Joined
Nov 22, 2004
Messages
352
You should start thinking about what species you are going to work with and what type of behavior your going to study, because that is how you chose the tank size, etc. you could have a lot of small tanks for holding and one large tank for short term trails or a lot of large tanks for long term trials. One person close by that does a lot of behavior work on ocoptus is Roger Hanlon at MBL. On a side note as far as species the only one you can get a lot of (more than 10) at one time is bimacs and sometimes vulgaris most of the other stuff you can only get a couple at a time.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
22
Thanks!

I'm thinking right now we'll probably end up with 1-4 bimacs, depending on how funding and location logistics work themselves out. In the event we can only foster a few individuals, I plan on making a couple larger L shaped tanks and sectioning off one side for trial purposes and using the other half for living space. Finding space for invert research is difficult in a vert-dominated setting....
-O
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Messages
90
ah a fellow researcher! i myself am just a high school senior, but i did do (well, attempt to do) a project on octo intelligence this year! sadly, the east coast of florida is horrid for obtaining any octopus, so i ended up with a fiesty octopus that is disinterested in any sort of stimulation... mine is a briareus though. def go for a nrcc bimac. i had wanted to get one from them but the idea of shipping an octopus cross-country scared me to death!

as for moving them, another suggestion would be to put the trail tank and home tank side by side and cut a hole in each and secure a glass or acrylic tube inbetween them. just a thought.

off topic, but what were you doing with the stars? i worked with them last year, studying their microlenses! odd, eh?

oh, and the L shaped tanks sound perfect, btw.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
22
Thanks again everyone,

Sorry for the long delay, but we've been on break for a week, followed by the blizzard of 2007, so I havn't been around a PC for quite a while. Norge, we're going to be using bimacs and looking at some aspect of their behavior, especially demonstrative learning abilities and the factors or cofactors that enhance these abilities. The real details are still TBA and dependent on the funding we receive from various departments. We're looking into the basics of tank construction this spring, setting up a marine system, and letting it cycle until about August when I'll start to add our research animals. If Octopods don't work out (hopefully they do!) we might look at other marine aquaria that demonstrate documented learning and complex behaviors (perhaps mantis shrimp).

Just another quick question, I'm thinking of building a U shaped tank to house two individuals. Imagine a large U, with the two vertical sections as housing, and the horizontal section as an experimental chamber we can encourage the animals into for trials to avoid any complicated movement. There will be *strong* divisions between all three sections to prevent escape/intrusion into the living quarters and certain chaos generated between two octopods. As far as tank water flow goes, I realize this may be problematic. Would people suggest we carry out the U construction, or just create a large square shaped tank and include tank dividers that allow water passage to artificially generate the U shape? Just don't want to create or encourage dead spots, and I think moving water in the U might be challenging. Perhaps fellow researchers have a better understanding/past experience with tank schematics. I'll post what I've drawn up if people are interested/need help envisioning the U proposal.

Thanks in advance!
-O
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
Registered
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Messages
4,218
I think you'll have dead spots in the u. we have a tank (built in the 1930's) which has very sharp triangular ends (why....I don't know) but the water just won't circulate in it. So we have to drain (nearly) the tank every week (not fun in a 3000L tank!) to get fresh water in there.

J
 

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