• 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.

Eye issues

Sep 8, 2006
Well, I recieved another octopus via SWF.com today. I'll start its journal when I decide a name this time.

Unfortunately, it's got issues from the get-go. One of its eyes is opaque, not cloudy. Solid white. I am positive it cannot see out of that eye. Is this something Tetracycline will help or at this point is it probably too late to save that eye? That's probably hard to answer.

I suppose I'll answer my own question by adding that tomorrow I will be purchasing some Tetracycline and doing daily water changes over the next several days. I'm crossing my fingers that I will be able to get it to accept silversides or shrimp loaded with antibiotics.

It will not accept a thawed silverside at the moment, which doesn't worry me too much at this point considering it just got added to the tank about 15 minutes ago. I handed it a live fiddler and it was interested, but didn't want to bother with it after the crab started trying to escape. It blows water at my hand, and was blowing water at me the entire time it was acclimating... certainly not like Tuvalu. :cry:
Tetracycline may help to inihibit any further bacterial infection that may take hold in other parts of the body. It does not sound like the eye will be salvageable but that should not be the end.

Perhaps the condition of the eye is exemplified because of the stress incurred during shipping. The eye may be saved if that is the case.

It was definitely stressed during shipping. When I opened the box it was climbing all over the bag, mostly up out of the water. Not a happy octopus. I'm definitely going to do all I know to help treat it though.

Thanks for your response.

Does anyone know anything about Neomycin? Just asking, because I do already have some of that.
Do you have any evidence of a bacterial infection? Personally and professionally I never add medications to a tank unless I'm quite certain a) what the problem is, b) that the medication will fix it, and c) that I will be able to remove the medication from the water.

If he just has a funky eye without a pupil that sounds like more of a congenital condition to me. Rather than adding exotic compounds to the tank willy-nilly, I'd just call him Geordi and see how he does.

I asked the same question so I assume you have it because of the horses. The only one who had experience at the time (thank heavens for Jean) didn't know about any of the normal seahorse antibiotics but did know that Tetracycline could be used. It looks like gjbarord may also have some background so hopefully he will repond about any other antibiotics or antibacterials that are octo safe.

From a scientific & veterinary standpoint, no antibiotics are ever used on an animal (vert or invert) without proper diagnosis at the aquarium. This framework of thinking, though, is not plausible for the octopus at home. I do not know many hobbyists who have the ability to draw blood, fix the blood, and observe it under a microscope. Close observation and a keen awareness of symptoms are the only ways that a diagnosis can be made at home.


From many observations of cephalopods, the eyes appear to be the first symptom of a bacterial disease, albeit many of these cases are septicemic. The extensive use of antibiotics, and the like, in aquacultured fish has led to resistant strains which can cripple that industry. It seems as if everyone is looking for something they can add to a tank to make the animal better. This does not always work, especially with invertebrates.

I have no problem providing information on antibiotics provided the diagnosis is sound and clear judgment can be made. On that note, I have not heard of neomycin being used on cephalopods, or invertebrates for that matter. Tetracycline would be a better bet. Baytril can also be used in safe dosages.

There is still so much to learn about cephalopod disease. Cryptokarion (ich for freshwater fishes) is easily identified now and easily treated; not always the case. The same type of research went into that parasite to determine drug efficacy as goes into cephalopod disease today. The very first observations of life were diagrammatic and descriptive. Sometimes we may get too caught up in microscopy and molecular genetics while the answer has been under our nose the whole time. Technology will never replace the trained and keen observation.

What kind of octopus is this? How big?

Greg ( i will step off of my soap box now :talker:)
Thanks Greg. I have no intention of adding anything directly into the tank. Worst case scenario, I will use the critter keeper to contain the octopus and use the 5 gallon bucket I acclimate it in, with an airstone, to treat it for a couple of hours every few days. Then I can just ditch the water and add fresh saltwater to the main tank.

Yes, D, I have the Neomycin from past issues with Seahorses, but I haven't used it in a long time, no need to thank goodness. I will not use it on the octopus. I know what Greg's talking about, as I am a nurse assistant at a veterinary clinic, so I am familiar with prescribing and treating with antibiotics, and I am familiar with the ill effects they can have, as Cephalexin made our Husky have seizures. I don't dare dabble with unknown territory with my pets life at stake. Tetrocycline it is, and that is only if my octo's condition spreads, and preferably by dosing the food, if I can get it to start accepting thawed shrimp or silversides.

Also, to answer your questions Greg:

Believed to be Octopus Filosus/Hummelincki, Caribbean Two-Spot Octopus, as it is from the Caribbean and has false eyespots. It's mantle is about 2 inches long, legs about 7 or 8 inches. I believe it's probably about half-life, as cephbase has them listed at a max size of 7cm mantle, 30cm arms. That comes out to about 3.5 inch mantle and about 12 inch arms if I'm not mistaken.
gjabarord said:
This framework of thinking, though, is not plausible for the octopus at home. I do not know many hobbyists who have the ability to draw blood, fix the blood, and observe it under a microscope.

My point exactly: this is why choosing not to medicate is erring on the side of caution.

AM, I'm still skeptical. Moving the animal in its critter cage into a bucket for a dip every couple of days is going to be immensely stressful. I don't think it is a stretch to say that this may accelerate the onset of any problem he may be having.
Well, for the most part, I gave up on trying to treat aquatic animals with anything since I started keeping saltwater tanks. I have had better success with just leaving things be and just taking care of water quality, and feeding a good diet. If any of my fish show signs of illness, I say "that sucks" and just take care of the tank the best I can. In my experience a seemingly healthy specimen will usually overcome any issues after a short period of illness given it's environment is healthy and stable.

At the same time, I hate feeling like I'm doing nothing, and the issues we had with my girlfriends Reidi's improved every time with the use of anitbiotics in a hospital tank. That was her call though. Like I said though, I would prefer to just get it trained on eating thawed shrimp or silversides, then I can just load the food with a dose and not have to move the octopus, or put it into an unfit environment as the critter keeper. This is only going by the advice that was given to Shipposhack about his octo's eyes, which I don't think is the same issue as my octo is having, considering that it's not CLOUDY eyes, it's just really jacked up eye.

And it's not living in the critter keeper, way too big for that. That's just the way I have been acclimating them, so they don't climb out of the bucket if I walk away or turn my back during the acclimation process. Then I can place it in the tank, and open the lid just enough the octopus can climb out on its own, freely, when it wants to.

Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.