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corkscrewing-just old age or signs of stress


Staff member
Jul 13, 2008
I promised myself I would NOT jump into a new octo too soon. At the LFS where I got Al, they have an octo just like Al, hanging on the side of his critter keeper with arms curled tighter than my daughter's pigtails. My older daughter belted out, "Mom, you'd never get this guy, he's old, isn't he? Look at his arms!" At this the owner came over and some of the boys who work there to ask about this, as we now know more about octo keeping than them(thanks to Tonmo!). So they asked, is corkscrewing ALWAYS a sign of senescence or can it be signaling stress or poor H2O conditions? I admitted my ignorance and promised to post.
For myself I want to know, what are the best signs of a healthy octo? As I troll the various LFS, what should I be looking for in a good specimen? Also, I've been keeping an eye on the online vendors, how can you trust that you'll get a healthy octo that way (maybe a Q for the "sources" page)?:banghead:


Colossal Squid
Nov 19, 2002
Corkscrewing can be a sign of stress. They need to do a water test asap. I would do the usual but pay particular attention to Ammonia/Nitrate/Nitrite and pH. To be on the safe side I'd probably do a water change too (once I'd tested). Course old age is always a possibility, but this of course depends on species etc.



Apr 15, 2008
I agree with Jean, a water test would be the first port of call as most octopus don't come with birth certificates so makes it a bit hard to tell if this is old age
Dec 16, 2005
Buy an octopus if:

You know the species
The specimen is small for its species (likely young)
You see it eat (frozen or live doesn't matter, if it is eating it should be fine)
It is active
There are no discolorations
Has all arms, or arms that are missing are visibly growing back
Both eyes look normal
It responds to disturbances

If one of these is true aside from the first, usually another will be true as well.

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