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Dwarf Octopus-good for beginners?


Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
See if your (almost)LFS has oxygen. Not likely unless they ship, however, if they do then 1/2 fill an oversized plastic bag with tank water (not new saltwater) and the rest with oxygen. This is a standard overnight shipping method and will be fine for your ~hour drive. If no oxygen is available then an even larger bag with half tank water and half air. When sitting on a table, the octopus should be covered in at least 4x it height and width with water.

In either case, put the bag in a completely dark enclosure and stabilize as best you can for the car trip. If you happen to have a large, insulated shopping bag, this will help maintain the temp. Alternately, a styrofoam box will help keep the temp stable and provide darkness. Resist the temptation to peak in to see how it is doing on the ride home. It won't change anything and the light and movement may cause inking where quiet, darkness should not. Keep it in the dark until you acclimate.

There are pros and cons to providing a den environment for travel. I do not recommend using live rock or shells because either may pollute the water. A clean plastic wide mouth bottle with plenty of holes to allow water to freely flow is often used for shipping. You may want to close the bottle with the animal inside (plastic top ONLY) but for a short trip, this may be overkill (but would protect them somewhat should the air escape enough to make the plastic bag dangerous. Fortunately, unlike nautilus, octos are not known to bite through the plastic but I have mild concerns about them getting entangled in a non-rigid plastic enclosure.

I recommend using test strips while you acclimate to be sure you have a ph match (I know some argue against using test strips but for matching parameters, they are fast and useful). For a shipped animal, this is usually a 3 hour (or more) procedure but with the short distance and minimal temp changes, it should be shorter as the ph should not fluctuate much during the trip (but may still be different than your tank).