Greetings!

Shkuey

Blue Ring
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Feb 2, 2009
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47
Hi everyone,

I want to start off by thanking everyone here for their posts and articles. I've been researching keeping an octopus as a pet for a few weeks now and this site has been by far the best source of information I could find. Sounds like an awesome pet, I've always liked the look of an aquarium but fish are boring. That said I still have a couple questions that I was having difficulty finding the answers to.

The most important is that I live in DC, and it sounds like the more common pets come from California or Florida. Is it safe to ship these guys? None of the stores in my area seem at all interested in carrying or selling them and as such don't seem to know anything about it.

My current plan, after visiting a local aquarium shop, is to buy a 60 gallon tank with an overflow that drains down into a filter/protein skimmer, and then a return pump. Sixty gallons is the largest that space will allow and I realize this limits the choice as far as species goes. Articles suggest this is large enough for a bimac, not large enough for a vulgaris, but I have not seen tank size suggestions for other species.

My shopping list thus far includes:
60 gallon tank, overflow, filter/skimmer, pump
two large bags of soft sand
30 pounds of live rock (is that enough?)
An RO machine
Salt
Water testing kit (salinity, ph, metals, etc.)

I've not looked into food or anything yet as the tank would require a few months to mature, which should give me plenty of time.

I am a little concerned about the overflow and the tube from the return pump. The slots in the overflow are about 1/4 inch (pencil would not fit), which seems tiny to me, but after so many warnings I just want to double check that this is small enough. The tube from the return is roughly 1" diameter, this is obviously a large gap, but with water running from it would the octo still be able to get into it? If so, how can I secure it? The top of the tank is completely sealed, should I drill small holes for oxygen or is that unnecessary?

Hopefully I havent missed anything critical, and once again thanks for the awesome site. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

monty

TONMO Supporter
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:welcome: to TONMO!

I'll leave your tank questions to the more experienced folks, but I can say that shipping shouldn't be a problem in the U.S.
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
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Where abouts in the DC area? Im in NOVA, Herndon/Reston area.

The general rule of thumb for LR is at least a pound per gallon. Have you kept salt water before? If not, I suggest you set up a tank for a little while and learn some stuff from it. Many people (including myself) start out the hobby doing tons of reading, etc (which is great) and then just diving into something big. I, for example, was planning on just diving straight into a cuttlefish tank, but things worked out that it would be a while until I would be able to set one up, so I decided to set up a 12 gallon just to learn a little and have a nice little tank. It was pretty much a disaster, and even though I had been doing research for 3 or so months before I set it up, I found out I knew almost nothing. By the time I finished with the tank though (since it was such a small tank, I declared it a lost cause and broke it down), I had learned A LOT. I've since gone through a few tanks, and now am on a 50 gallon temporary tank while I wait to finish/set up my 200 gallon ceph (cuttlefish and maybe an octo somewhere along the line) system. Because I had the experience of the prior tanks, my 50 has not hit a single cinch that I couldn't deal with easily enough. So my point is, I would suggest setting up a small tank, expect it to be a failure, and learn from it BEFORE you invest tons of money and fish/octo lives into a larger tank.

Also on your list, I would suggest saying "GOOD" skimmer. You want a skimmer that is rated to 50-100 gallons more than what your system is with a ceph tank in order to keep up with the waste, also, I suggest you skip the filter. Another thing I learned with my 12 gallon is that they are more detrimental than helpful.

As for LFS's in the area getting octo's, you obviously haven't talked to the right guys because 3 out of my 4 favorite LFS's in the area is readily willing to get me any type of ceph I want that they can get, and the other has said they would but I'd be responsible for any money they lost for DOA and I'd have to pick it up as soon as they unpacked it...
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
Messages
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oh yeah, and :welcome:

I suggest you check out wamas.org as you're in my area. All of the good fish stores in the area are on there and you'll learn a lot just from reading around.
 

Shkuey

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Feb 2, 2009
Messages
47
Thanks for the feedback guys.

I'm in Arlington, L8 2 RISE, so not too far from you. When I said local stores I meant the closest 4 according to Google maps, so I admit it was not a thorough search of the area. (That said I visited a place called Pristine Aquariums in Alexandria and they were very very helpful, just didn't know about Octopuses.)

I didn't check the rating on the skimmer, the employee pointed me to what he called the "good enough" one and the high end one, and I told him I'd go with the high end (roughly $200 I think? For the price hopefully it's rated high enough) Haven't purchased anything yet, though.

I have not kept salt water before, only fresh water (and it's been some years). I like your idea of getting a little tank to learn the ropes, though I certainly wasnt going to put anything living into a tank I didn't think was ready... I expect I would learn during the three months of maturation that the water requires anyway? Maybe I could do a little tank with some crabs and eventually use them as food... maybe that's too heartless.

Thanks again for the feedback!
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2005
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:welcome: I would also recommend starting a tank with something besides a ceph. You would be heartbroken if your new friend died because something went wrong. There are lots of cool little critters out there besides fish. Crabs and shrimp are a good way to start...
 

DWhatley

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Sep 4, 2006
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Believe it or not, one of my most entertaining critters is my banded coral shrimp :biggrin2:. When we converted the seahorse tank (his home) to a ceph tank he had to go into the large reef and I expected not to see him again. Wrong! Then when we added a (very shy) niger trigger I was worried "Harvey" would be eaten (something I did not think about when buying the trigger). Surprisingly, Harvey rules the roost and cleans the trigger (whether he likes it or not) and is even more entertaining in the large tank.

If you take a year and come up with a small system to raise food you will be sooooo far ahead of the game. Raising food has not been an option (although many have thought about it) for most of us so your success (or not) would be a welcomed journal should you build out a small system with this intent.

As sleepy head :sagrin: mentioned, there is a whole lot more to a saltwater aquarium than anything in the freshwater world and creating a learning environment will save you money, still be very entertaining and the time passes much faster than you would believe. If you get hooked, well, MTS (MultiTankSyndrome) is a very old acronym :sink:
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
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Welcome to TONMO!

You are right about the gap in the overflow teeth. You can use some silicone to glue some screen in place over the teeth (which will require cleaning often) or use a rigid strainer of sorts on the overflow pipe itself (which won't keep the octopus out of the overflow, but at least keep it from going down the pipe). I used an extension of PVC pipe with lots and lots of 1/8" holes and an end cap to close it up.

The skimmer should provide enough oxygen but it might be wise to drill holes in the lid anyway to help gas exchange.

Quite refreshing to see you've already been doing a lot of research.
 

DWhatley

Kraken
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Sep 4, 2006
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I use a tight fitting sponge block in my verticle overflow. I have to clean it weekly and have several so that I can swap them and let the dirty one soak.
 

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