• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.



Sep 8, 2008
Soon I will be attempting to keep a few octopus (not sure about the species yet) for research/academic purposes. I have no experience at all with octopus. The aquarium I'll be using is one of many that is fed by a main supply of reverse osmosis water. It has been running for quite a while, and should be mature. I know I will need to cover the top, and monitor the water quality, but what other steps do I need to take before I introduce the octopus? I'm interested in a few helpful hints!


Jun 9, 2006
An octopus is NOT something to just jump into. You MUST do research, and do lots of it, before attempting to keep one. And I noticed you said 'a few'. You can only keep one octopus per aquarium, and there arent any exceptions to that rule. I would also reccommend gainling some experience with other, hardier, saltwater animals before trying something as difficult as a cephalopod.

By the way :welcome: to TONMO.
Dec 22, 2007
I would also be sure to get a FULL history of the tank you are intending to use. Find out what has lived and died in it and any supplements or medications have been used in it.


Colossal Squid
Nov 19, 2002
:welcome: to tonmo!

Octopus are extremely sensitive to copper (at levels lower than most test kits can detect) so it is essential that the tank has never been used for any copper based meds or had copper wire, ornaments, light fittings, pipes etc in it!

You will also need to think about food! Cephalopods are hungry critters! Marine food is best, so crabs, shrimps etc are perfect, FW only as a treat. Some can be trained to take dead food off a stick but many will only go for live food. Same goes with snails and bivalves some will eat them others won't, some will eat them at certain life stages and the refuse them later!

Waste removal, you will need a VERY stable system, cephs put out several times as much waste as a similar size fish and they are sensitive to water quality. Over filtrate! and be religious in water changes!

Finally as daddysquoc said, you generally can't have more than one octopus per tank, they WILL fight to the death in most cases (there are and have been exceptions but these are rare). For a Bimac size you will need a 55G tank at the minimum, vulgaris MUCH MUCH larger!

Of course in a research system you may have access to more than one tank?????????

Oh and Duct tape is your friend!!!!! Just putting a lid on isn't enough.......it will need to be secured and any gaps bigger then the beak need to be sealed or you will be spending your days on an octopus hunt! Bricks on the lid are good too, if you don't mind the look! :biggrin2:

Good Luck



TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Mar 8, 2004
:welcome: If you haven't already, check out the ceph care articles under the ARTICLES tab near the top of the page... they cover a lot of the basics, so they're a good place to check the recommendations vs. your setup to see if you've forgotten anything.