• 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.



Jan 12, 2017
I think it finally happened...

I was moving a rock in my tank that was sitting a little precariously (my octopus has doubled on her rearrangement efforts). When I did, I saw my octopus was guarding what seemed to be a fuzzy white-ish mat. My first thought was eggs.

For a little more background, she is an Abdopus (not sure which species exactly). I've been concerned for a little bit lately with a sudden change in behavior. She's been eating less and being all around more reclusive and has been rearrange my tank at a much faster pace.

Am I most likely looking at eggs? I can't get a good picture because of how they are situated in the den. If they are, what should I expect? I know this is the beginning of the end, but how long do I have? Days? Weeks? I don't know if they are small eggs or large eggs. How would I know, and should I try anything different to care for the babies or let nature do its thing?

Thank for your help! It's a little bitter sweet knowing my octopus is getting ready to go, but also nice that I was able to give her a complete life without messing it up (this is my first octopus).

Also, for species identification purposes, and because I want to, I included a picture. :smile:


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Sadly, she will be a small egg species and we have yet to figure out how to raise any of the pelagic born. There are a very few successes of one or two hatchlings of O. vulgaris and an Alaskan species (name unremembered) but even these are with tanks that are filled with ocean water. The few successes (and I don't believe any have lived a full lifespan) were fed live crab zoea during their pelagic (free swimming) stage.

She will lay and brood eggs even if they are not fertile. If they are fertile, Incubation depends a lot on water temperature but you can expect roughly 2 weeks.
So that means she'll probably be gone in a couple weeks as well, then?

Also, is live crab zoea a common product in coral food or other reef supplies? My salt water experience is fish (or Octopus) with love rock, so I'm not sure what all is used in the reef side of the hobby.
Sadly, crab zoea (alive or frozen) is pretty much impossible to buy. I even twice attempted raising blue crab pairs (once purposefully and once because the opportunity presented itself unbidden). In both cases the male killed the female before she created an egg sponge. I had hoped to freeze the offspring (also pelagic and not raisable until they are larger) to keep as potential octo hatchling food sometime in the future. It also turned out that blue crabs only produce eggs once in their lives, so not the best choice of crab.

The longest success with live small egg hatchlings that I can remember was ~21 days. Less than a week is far more common.

Here is a link to a collection of posts that may give you a better as to what to expect.

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