• 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.

Equipment Checklist:


Jun 30, 2004
Greetings Everyone!

I'm new here (catch phrase of the year no doubt) and just looking for some helpful advice and a few ceph-loving friends.

I've loved the octo since I was two years old. I have always dreamed of owning one and I think it about time I did.

My main inquiry for this post is that I'm looking for a definitive checklist of equipment and supplies I'd need for an 8-10 week old bimac (from OctoPets). Though Colin's article was very informative, I unfortunately need advice on suggested brands and where to purchase them online. As I only have a PetCo. locally most everything will be purchased online.

So to put it briefly:

What are the best brands for all the equipment necessary for said octo and where can I find them online?

Also one other question. I’m having a devil of a time finding an affordable 50 gal tank. Any suggested online sites?

Hi and welcome to TONMO.com! :welcome:

We don't really recommend certain brands of equipment, but you're welcome to come up with a proposed list and ask for comments - other octo keepers may have this equipment and reply.

The About Saltwater links that Colin provides in his Equipment List often lead you to some ranked products. I used their evaluations in buying my equipment.

Do you live far away from a larger city with an aquarium store? Try there, as many carry inexpensive lines and might offer a good deal if you bought everything together. Also, I've seen inexpensive tanks at Petsmart.

Thanks for your reply Nancy, I suppose the best thing to do is to keep on hunting as I have been.

The biggest city is 3 hours away so it is doubtful that I will get down there.

At any rate I suppose its off to search the www :arr:
The cheapest place I've seen online for new tanks is glasscages.com. I use Pentair Lifegard filters, I think they're great. Buy a double or triple mechanical filter (I run two doubles) and buy an extra reusable filter so when you need to clean the filters you only have that pump turned off for a short while. You can have the system back up and running while you clean the dirty filter. There's a variety of canister filters that you could use, I am just partial to the Lifegard ones. I also have two double chemical filters, you'll need at least one full of carbon. I bought mine on ebay. Four double filter cost me about $75+shipping.

For a sump you can use an old glass or acrylic tank, or just buy a pre-made sump complete with wet dry. If you use acrylic all you have to do is glue in the necessary pieces to make it into a wet dry filter. This will save you a lot of money.

I went with two high flow external pumps instead of powerheads. This ensures no moving parts inside the tank for tentacles to get ground up in. I have one pump (1200gph) closed loop that returns to the tank via three 1/2" lines. The other pump(850gph) returns via a 3/4 inch line. The options for these pumps are unlimited, it all depends on the money you want to spend.

The last bit of advice I have for you is something that some people disagree with. Once you get everything set up and all the water flowing and rocks (live or base, live is nicer) setup put a box of Nitrex in the top of your wet dry filter. It helps cycle the tank extremely fast. This doesn't mean put a ton of stuff in your tank right away, but it does mean you'll have much less die off and if you want to throw in some small shrimps you can and they shouldn't die. A week after my tank was set up and running with that stuff and live rock I put in a small (about 1") Coral Banded Shrimp and he's been doing well ever since. My ammonia peaked at 1ppm during cycling of the tank. Doing this ensures that you'll have lot's of live food for your octopus to snack on when he moves in.
There are different possibilities and different brands of equipment that can be used successfully. Good filtration is very important for an octo, as is a protein skimmer. They need a lot of oxygen but don't need too much water flow, which is why a lot of us use powerheads.

Be careful if you are buying a used tank, even for the sump. Copper treatment must have never been used - it's almost impossible to remove completely and octos are very sensitive to copper.

Randy, your idea of putting in small shrimp and future food for the octo is a good one. (but those small shrimp can be very expensive - do you have a special place where you buy them?)

I collect all my stuff from the ocean, so it may not be as easy for everyone. Hawaii doesn't allow the importation of much. But I stocked my tank with cowries, small shrimps and little porcelin crabs to start. They're pretty and interesting and all edible. If you have access to the ocean you can make a cage out of chicken wire, fill it with squid and put it in a container (I use a bucket with some big holes halfway up it) and then submerge it in shallow water. After a few hours all sorts of little animals collect on the food, lift up the bucket and you'll have them all to take home. I also have some type of plants growing on my live rock, seems to help keep the algea growth down and provide food for the livestock.

I'd watch out for the used stuff too. You can buy a new 20 gallon aquarium to use as a sump for around $30 which isn't a bad price. I can post a picture of the inside of my stand for an idea of what you can do. I drilled my tank and plumbed the pump and skimmer external. If you want to be lazy use an external collection cup for the skimmer; I use a 24oz bottle connected via tygon and just throw away the whole bottle every weekend. The pump vs. powerhead choice is all up to you. The pump require more work to plumb, but for me helped to make "octo proofing" my tank easier.

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