Blue Ring
Feb 2, 2009
After about four months of preparation an octopus has arrived this morning. Thanks to everyone who gave me advice in the "Greetings!" thread; you were all a great help.

I've named him/her Grendel, because I don't know what it is but I do know it scares my girlfriend to death. Such a little thing to be afraid of...

I ended up buying an "indo-pacific" octopus from; having basically zero luck finding anybody who sold a specific species I thought I'd give it a try. I had heard good things about the website but nothing specifically about their octopuses.

It arrived quadrupled bagged in a very well sealed Styrofoam box, so I was pretty pleased with the shipping. The FedEx guy handing me a box that had big bold "THIS SIDE UP" letters upside down was less than impressive, but he got away with just a dirty look.

So I opened it up and found the octopus balled up in a corner of the bag, smaller than a golf ball, and almost entirely green. I setup the bag inside a five gallon water cooler, stole some water to test, and began a drip acclimation from the tank. He spread out abit and moved around the bag some during the process.

My tank:
76.2F, 1.025
Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate all read 0
ph 8.4

Shipping water:
72.2F, 1.022
Ammonia 1ppm, Nitrite .5ppm, Nitrate 10ppm
ph 7.8

Three hours later I moved his bag (now roughly 3/4 tank water, 1/4 shipping water) into my tank and turned it upside down. I had to hold it open which I think made him skittish to leave, but eventually he slid out and promptly vanished under the rocks.

From what I could tell in the bag during acclimation it had a head size of about 1 to 1.5 inches and arms 6 to 7 inches long. It maintained a greenish color most of the time, though it turned white and brown at times. No discernible eye spots that I could find. It looks most like a briarius from pictures I've seen but it came out of the wrong ocean (supposedly) for it to be that and the arms are maybe a little thicker. I took many pictures but it stayed very wrapped up in itself in the bag and vanished too fast in the tank for me to get any good shot of it. I played "find the octopus in the pitch black tank" for about 15 minutes and gave up. As soon as I can get a better picture of it I will post it and hopefully somebody can help me ID it. It would've helped to have a better mastery of my camera, a lot of the shots have a blinding reflection of the camera flash. Nobody is going to accuse me of being a photographer anytime soon.
Haven't been able to even catch a glimpse of it again since it entered the tank, despite a lot of time peering into the various cracks and holes in the rocks. I did find an area where the sand had been dug out under a rock and hermet shells were piled up to mostly block it off. Even with a little flash light I couldn't see anything inside though.
Not unusual for your octopus to disappear for a while after arrival. Don't stress Grendel more by trying to find him - just let him get used to things. Put in a bit of food (a live fiddler, or a piece of thawed frozen shrimp). Remove the shrimp after a few hours if not eaten, but the fiddler can live in the tank for a few weeks. In other words, offer food each day and see whether Grendel becomes a little less shy. You can read accounts of such acclimation on our Journals and Photos Forum.

Thanks Nancy, I've noticed that in other journals so I wasnt going to sweat it.

That said I spotted him tonight when I got home, clever guy isn't even remotely the same color as he was during acclimation. Honestly I had nearly given up searching when he opened an eye, I had thought his head was part of the rocks.

I'm almost positive now that he is an aculeatus, just judging by similarities to other pictures on the site. He's currently white and brown, and his skin has taken up the same texture as the rocks. Already seen some interesting stuff.

I offered a fiddler on a pair of tongs, he saw it but didn't move, I held it in front of him for about thirty seconds before the fiddler slipped the grip of my tongs and is now loose in the aquarium. I figure if he wants it he'll go get it.

My harlequin serpent star saw me in the tank and came out for food, as he tends to. When he got closer to the octopus it turned white with black stripes, almost exactly like the serpent. It then did something that spooked the serpent because it took off quickly back under a rock and the octopus went back to white/brown.

Fun stuff. My camera takes fuzzy pictures through the glass, but I'll upload one here in a sec.

Edit: I uploaded a picture that's fairly fuzzy, it said a moderator needed to review it before it would show up. I need to figure out how to focus my camera through the glass and how to turn off the flash, as nothing in that photo is the color that it appears in the tank.
Some tips for photographing:

Clean your glass well. Your camera may focus on the algae rather than the octopus!
Use a manual distance setting, so that you actually focus on the octopus.
Take practice photos so that you're ready for the real thing
Feeding is a good time to take pics. Try a piece of thawed frozen shrimp on the end of a wooden skewer (feeding stick).

Of course, you need to develop your "octopus eyes" to spot your octo hiding right in front of you.

Thanks for the tip, as you can see it is abit fuzzy:

He's basically dead center, poking his eyes above the rock. Even in the picture it's hard to pick him out.
Didn't get to see it at all yesterday but the first fiddler went MIA, unclear if it was eaten or hiding (though it made no attempt to hide for the couple hours before I went to sleep.)

Last night I left a fiddler in a cup at the bottom of the tank but it was still captive in the cup this morning. I released it into the aquarium, perhaps the octopus doesn't like it being that easy, though both emerald crabs in the tank are still alive and well.

I feel bad for my little group of fiddlers, they spend all day and night trying to escape, fruitlessly trying to climb up the plastic wall of their container. What do fiddlers eat anyway? I offered them some meaty fish pellets but it was ignored, and the pack of them has cannibalized one for food. They made a hell of a mess of it too.

Do you get frozen shrimp from the grocery store or buy live shrimp and freeze it yourself?

You can usually get frozen shrimp at your local LFS. You can sometimes get these guys to take small(ish) silver slides via feeding stick too. You'll probably find the abdomen eaten out and the rest tossed aside though. I've had two of these guys and neither ever ate the much of fish though - just the belly of them. You can see pics (and some video I think) of my last one, Olliegoo aka Goo, on my albums. He just recently passed away but he was a great little octopus. He was extremely curious, never hiding and always popped out to greet me specifically. I don't think he ever really made much of a den. I mean, he had one little hidee-hole but rarely stayed in it.
They don't get big though and I suspect that the one you have is probably pretty far into adulthood. I also suspect that because LiveAquaria has had them for a bit now. Was it listed on the Divers Den page? Just curious because it may give some insight to possible age.

Just give Grendal a little time and I bet you'll see quite a personality emerge! Also, if you watch the video of Olliegoo you can clearly tell he keeps one of his arms curled (the third arm on his right side) which is the hectocotylus - meaning he was male. If you can see Grendal moving about at all, you should be able to tell if that arm stays curled. It always seemed more obvious on this species than others to me (except the GPO :rolleyes:) but it could just be mine or my imagination.
Thanks guys, one week in the tank now, haven't actually seen it since last Wednesday. However while I was at work yesterday he decided he wanted to eat everything in the tank. Corpses of two emerald crabs, two fiddlers and a half dozen hermits or snails (never know what was in them) were in a pile on the sand. Carnage is really the only way to describe it, poor crabs were in so many pieces I couldnt tell which piece came from which crab; I guess it was hungry. Yet the fiddler in the cup remains untouched, maybe he doesnt like the plastic cup, I find it hard to believe he couldnt figure out to reach in the top if he wanted to.
I experimented with containers with Octane (hummelincki) and Beldar (macropus) and neither octo went after the containerized food that would have been simple to extact (no screw or snap on lids). The project did not interest me much more than the octos so I did not prolong it though.
I was hoping the cup would coax it out. I guess I'll just let fiddlers lose in the tank. I can't offer it anything on a stick if I can't find it!
Actually, we tried the container thing with Goo as well and he could have cared less. He was always much more interested in watching us, trying to find ways to get our attention or observing with more excitment re: whatever was going on outside the tank vs. than anything inside. He never tried to *escape* from his tank though - he was just extremely curious (not scared) about the activity going about in the room.
The previous octo, Ollie I, didn't bother much with a container either. Just looked it over, then let it be. Didn't even try to take out the little crab (and we know they were the preferred kind) even though it would have been quite easy to get it. One thing interesting Ollie I liked to play was a *counting* game of sorts. I would put my hand in the tank in one corner and Ollie would start from the opposite, come all the way across on the glass, touch me with one arm and then go all the way back. Then, would come all the way across again, and touch me with two arms and again return to the opposite corner. Then, come across to touch me with three arms, and again go all the way back to the opposite corner. This would continue, in consecutive order, until I would finally be grabbed by all eight arms. And, I gotta tell ya, it scared me a bit the first time. :shock: I was grabbed onto with quite a bit of strength and I wasn't so sure I wasn't going to get bitten.
Unfortunately, Ollie I and the one prior to that (Tako) were before I really got involved with TONMO. I might have been 'wiser' about some of my decisions regarding Tako if I had been.
My only writing/posting about anything had to do with a silly, ridiculously backed, poorly written House Bill a silly Senator was trying to pass. :soapbox: I didn't write about Goo until I was finally frustrated, or stumped about figuring out what species he was. And would have never figured it out either if it hadn't been this group. I had thought for quite some time that he was O. rebescens and was worried about letting him touch me yet wanted to let him (they can have a nasty bite).
Anyway, didn't mean to babble on...
You if haven't already, you might want to pull the cup with the crab out. It's possible that the crab is dead (not good for the water) or Grendel doesn't like the cup in there (thinks doesn't go with the decor - maybe into modern indie look and it's too *plasticy* ) :wink: which could possibly keep him/her on guard. Don't know, just a thought...
Hope things continue to progress positively though and I think eating is definitely positive.
I never left a crab in the cup for more than 24 hours, I was freeing them in the tank and putting a new one in. Either way I've abandoned the idea, since a loose fiddler in the tank will disappear and fiddlers in the cup don't.

Still extremely introverted. I've seen him out a couple times, never swimming, moves more like the serpent stars dragging itself along the sand with his arms. Until he sees me, then he will jet under the nearest rock. He has dug caves in the sand under nearly every piece of live rock in the tank and spends virtually all of his time not spent eating inside one.
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