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Got one, now I have a few general questions


Blue Ring
Jan 6, 2004
About 10 days ago I picked up an octopus. I am not sure what species it is. The LFS was unable to tell me much other than it was gathered from the Florida Keys/Caribbean. This is the first time this store has not been able to nail down a item in their store in the years I have been going there. I was quite disappointed in that they gave me the "brown" or "common" reference. It is a brownish color with some lighter colored marbling. Its bell is about peach sized with 8-10 arms. I will add some photos when I get a couple of good pics of him. Neverthless, I feel confident in my ability to raise it. Currently I have 4 marine tanks with Lionfish, Zebra Eels, Goldentail Eeels and more. I love the more exotic fish/inverts. I have the octopus in an established 46 gal corner tank with tons of filtration and an oversized protein skimmer. So far the octopus hides much of the day. He will come out several times a day though to do laps around the perimeter of the tank. At night he is very active moving around or gathering rocks for his cave.

My questions. Is it OK to have a couple of fish in there? I tried to remove all the tanks previous inhabitants to move them to another tank but missed a few (2 clowns and a damsel). All are under 1 1/2". Will these bother the octopus? I know they will eventually become dinner if I dont get them out. Also I have a couple of corals in there, 2 rocks with shrooms and a sea matte. Will these be OK?

Also, the octo is gathering rocks to allow himself more privacy. Right now there is a good amount of rock. He has found a hollow under a big rock that acts as a cave. He is now lining up rocks along the front of it to allow just a line of visilbity between the top of the cave and the rocks hes lining up below. Is this normal, or do you think this might be him stressed and trying to feel more safe, or is he at the end of his lifespan and getting ready to lay eggs?

Thanks for any help anyone can be with these questions. With all the posts on here I could not find all my answers easily.
Hi, and congratulations on getting an octopus!

First I have a question for you: do you mean that your octo has eight 10-inch arms?

We always recommend removing all the fish - they an bother an octo's eyes, or keep him from coming out as readily.

As for the den, he could be building it for either reason. Even younger octopuses will move rocks around to build a den. But yours is larger, and therefore older. So you'll have to wait and see.

"Common octopus" is often the term used for the vulgaris, but a photo would help with identification.

Make sure your tank is covered and well sealed (duck tape will do it) because your octopus might try to escape

Nancy, thanks for the quick reply. My octo has arms 8"-10" in length. Its tough to tell though the number as hes usually "sitting" with them wrapped around himself.

I thought that the fish would be OK due to the size. I didny realize the octo are annoyed or afraid of them. Are there any other inhabitants you can recommend (fish or inverts), or simply a species tank as I had originally planned before I couldnt the last 3 fish out. I read that certain starfish can be OK. Are the corals mentioned OK?

Is the vulgaris native to the Florida Keys/Caribbean? I will get a pic up as soon as possible. Its truly a beautiful specimen.

PS I just looked at "Google" for pics of the Vulgaris. I am pretty sure that is what species it is.

Thanks again.
yeah vulgaris is found in that area and is probably one of the world's most common octopus... also one of only 2 species found in the UK seas.

impatiently awaiting pics :smile:
I'll get some pictures up some. This thing is amazing. It is very curious. Always attentive but never really scared. I went up to the tank today and he shuffled on out into view. So, I rewarded him with a crawfish. He quickly jumped it. When I went to get the camera, because he was right up front in the tank, he shuffled back into his cave, soon after my lights (on timer) went out, so I let him be. I'm not sure if its a vulgaris now though. I has some white markings over the brown on is bell and some white bands at the tops of its arms, right before they join the bell. It also has a small "horn" over each eye. Also, using an article on here I built moonlights. Perfect, what a great addition.

I'll get some pics soon so you can help sort out its identification. Meanwhile, I added a pic I took of the octo tank with its new moonlighting (panorama). Its a corner 46 gal (5 sided).
The moonlighting is really nice! Then you wouldn't have to leave on a nightlight like I always did. I read that the ocean is never completely dark in the depths where our octopuses live.

Well, for now the octo can't be seen to well so maybe another one when the normal lights are on?:mrgreen: . A few members had their octo's come out only after the dmsels were removed.
The octopus was out all night with the moonlighting on, non stop curiousity and dragging rocks the size of tennis balls around. I tried to get a pic with the artinics on this morning before I left for work but to no avail. He moved too quick shuffling around and only got a blurry pic. So I'll try again later. He had also had changed color and was totally a smooth chocolate brown with no other markings this morning.

Weird though, I did not see the fleshy "horns" this morning over its eyes. He does have a new hobby though it seems. I leave the magnet cleaner on the top portion of the glass. He will go up the glass and hang by one arm off of the thing like a jungle gym. He does this a few times a day.

In the 2 days hes also found quite an appetite for crawfish.
Your octopus is able to change textures as well as colors, so that's why the horns may come and go.

You seem to have a very active, outgoing octopus. Never heard of one hanging off the magnet before!

The actinic lights will be too bright - we recommend no more than a 30 watt fluorescent. Moonlight is perfect at night.

Most octopuses do like crawfish.

OK, here they are...some pics. Heres a few pics I got while the artinics were on when I got home. They stay on for 2 more hours after I get home and then to the moonlighting. I dont think they are too bright for him though. He seems to really like that the best. Probably because at midday the daylight bulbs come on for a few hours. But, he is out about 50% of the time in the artinics, both morning and at night. Its a 130W (65W each, 1 blue, 1 artinic) light fixture. But the water depth is 2 feet, so I think it diffuses the light some. In Florida here (80 degress here yesterday), even without a chiller and with those lights its stays only 71-72 degrees in the tank. He seems to have acclimated well, so far, after around 10 days. Should I still adjust the lights
(currently: artinics 8am until 8pm, daylight from 11 am until 2pm, and the moonlight from 8 pm until...)?
Hi and welcome!

I like the last picture with his reflection! Really has big eyes! Does he have a wound on one leg? Congrats and enjoy him!!!! What kind of camera?

hmmmmmmm hard to tell from the pic but i cant think what other species from that area has such big eyes other than briareus?????

might still be vulgaris????
No wounds that I have seen. He aften changes from a total smooth brown colors with no markings to a mottled brown with white bands and blemishes. When hes like that its pretty tough to tell him from the rocks. You may have seen one of these markings as a wound. I do see the pic you might be talking about though (octo3.jpg). I'll check it out though, but I think it may be just a marking or blur. A wound as big as it appears in the pic I think I would have noticed with him out as much as he is and always "sitting" on the glass with his tentacles around him like he is in a few of the pics. If there is a wound, what are my options?

The camera is an old (4 years) digital one, an HP C30 I believe.

I will try to get some more pics that help on the identity of the species. Its pretty cool to have him shuffle out from under the rocks when I get home. Kinda like a dog greeting his owner. Can these guys hear, or just feel vibrations? He seem to have associated a squeak with food. The door on the top of the tank that I feed through makes a squeak. Even if I carefully open it, so as not to alarm him, as soon as it squeaks hes out front and center, whether he sees me or not.
We dno't have octo medicine, so if it's a wound, it will have to heal on its own.

Octopuses don't have ears, but they can recognize taps, squeeks and other aquarium sounds. I believe Carol uses three taps as a greeting to Ink.

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