• 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.

Cycling and Feeding


Pygmy Octopus
May 15, 2003
Hi everyone,

I'm new to Tonmo. I'm presently cycling my tank (1 month in, 2 to go) and I wanted to know why 3 months is necessary. If my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are all zero (I have H.O.T. magnum filter), what is the purpose of waiting three months?

Also I'm trying to find a cheap way to feed my new octopus when I get him/her. I used to work at a zoo and everything was fed mealworms because of their high protein and nutritional value. They are the larva of a beetle that is insanely easy and cheap to maintain. Can anyone think of why this might not be a good idea to feed to an octopus?

Hello, and welcome to Tonmo! Cycling a tank isn't so much a matter of time, but of quality...perhaps two months would be alright...but sometimes it can take six or more to stabilize a marine environment. Three months is just a nice "ballpark" figure.
Mealworms are an ok source of food for some animals, and can be very bad for others, due to the high chitin ratio:nyah:rotein, and a very high fat content...I only feed them to my terrestrial animals on a limited basis. An octopus might try them, who knows, might even like them (lots of personality), but it is certainly not a prey item that would occur to them naturally. Many oceanic animals can not thrive on a diet that is not normal, and since it is so easy to provide cephalopods with their common diet, why not just do that? Shrimps, crayfish, killifish, hermit crabs, etc. are readily available from most stores, and make the best food source...after all, you don't want an unhappy octo in your tank...
Hope your ceph keeping goes well!
Hi eirelav,

Welcome to TONMO.com and glad to hear that you'll be getting an octopus.

Greg is pointing you in the right direction about feeding your future octo.

If you don't live near the sea where you can collect some of your own food, the next best thing is to form a good relationship with the people at your nearby fishmarket or seafood department of the grocery store.
The salespeople seem so happy to be providing food for an octopus that I get special deals and free fish fragments. They even put Ollie's photo up on the wall! My bimac likes fresh scallops, but a scallop is more than enough for several days.

Also, be sure to offer some live food from time to time so that your octopus can enjoy hunting and you can watch - it's quite impressive.

So, we look forward to hearing that your tank has cyled and you finally have an octo.

Thank you for the good feeding advice, I live in California and have access to the beach, but I thought it was illegal to take crabs from the tidepools. Small crabs are abundant, but all the tidepools I've gone to have signs that say it is illegal to take anything away. Any thoughts? I live in Newport Beach.

My LFS has an octopus brooding eggs right now and they promised me some babies when they hatch. That is estimated in less than a month. I'm just worried about feeding them food small enough. I've read the various egg rearing articles on this website and I can't afford to set up the various cultures needed for growing small organisms for food. I guess we'll see when they hatch, they are being given away for free if they ever hatch.
Hi again,

I believe I read of someone who had paid about $20/year for a license to catch crabs, and I think this was in California. I don't know whether this is regulated by the state, county or whatever, but it's worth looking into a bit more.

I think Nancy has hit it on the head...there are some protected animals in Cali, but I know that I go out every year for the spiny lobster season...so permits must be available for other crustaceans! Also, check with the bait shops down at the pier, you know, the little smelly shack ones...they usually have all kinds of weird stuff in buckets...hey, I have even found live octos there! There were a bunch at Dana Point, so you must have some nearby...good luck!
Newport Beach, Dana Point - those are some very nice places! I was lucky enough to attend a conference a few years ago at Huntington Beach (where many of our octopuses come from) and spent most of the time just driving along the cost visiting interesting places like Dana Point.

Where the shore was rocky and there were tidepools, I saw people out collecting things, or just looking.

It must be nice to live close to the sea!


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