• 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.

HELP!!! I [messed] up!


Jan 19, 2004
yesterday I went to catch some crabs, shrimp and mussels to put in my octo-tank. Blubberke had used up almost everything of his last supply of food.

I had a good catch. and back home I put his food in the tank. but apparently it was to much for the filter.

when I tested the water today ammonia had gone from 0 to 1.5 ml/liter. black mollies, shrimp,... were still acting normal. I also keep a few small anemones and an ophiura ssp. in the tank. anemones were wide open and the ophiura moved is I touched it. I couldn't find the octo.

this evening when I got back from work, I did a 40% waterchange and added a bacteria startingculture in the filter.

hope everything goes back to normal asap and that the octo pulls through.

~ Subject title edited by tonmo :police: ~
Well, octos are somewhat hardy...after all, they are almost tidewater animals, so maybe that brief bit of foul water will not bother him too much...
fingers crossed!
Hope it all turns out well. If you're bringing back a lot of food, you'd do better to keep some of it outside the tank. I've kept small crabs in a bowl with rocks, changing the water every couple of days. You could set up a feeder tank, too.

water quality is a lot better. still some ammonia but it's down a lot since yesterday.

normally I put in a few pieces of fishmeat for the crabs every couple of days. i'm not gonna do that untill water is perfect again.

oh yeah, just found a mussel pried open. don't know who did it, could be Blubberke or maybe the ophiura snakestar/starfish (don't know what you call it in English :P )

and nancy, thx for the tip. as a matter of fact, I've already been making some space in the basement for a spare "seafood and sushibar" :jester:
"for a spare "seafood and sushibar"
Yeah, having a spare tank is a must...glad everything is working out well for you!
glad everything is working out well for you!

for now, it's working out. it'll be working out well as soon as I see my little 8 armed pall again.

spare tank seems to have even more appeal with winter coming up. catching crabs probably won't be as much fun when it's raining and/or freezing. most likely won't be as "lucrative" compared to august when it's warm and sunny 8)
Your right about that, I remember having rain coming at me sidewys straight off the North Sea trying to catch small crabs and shrimps... Thats when i started taking extra crabs and freezing them at home so i didnt need to go so frequently through the winter...

I would say to avoid putting live mussells in your tank, especially native ones as they can be tricky to keep alive for periods of time. If one dies by itself it will still split open and a rotten mussell will make a big mess of your tank!

thx for the tip colin

btw, if a mussel dies, does it make your tank "misty"? because the day I tested the water, it wasn't clear. it was like there was a "white cloud" in the water. don't know how to describe it best. only the tank had it, not the live rock filter.
You want to be really careful that your tank isn't getting into a calcium crash...the water turns milky white, and everything dies within days...check your hardness/calcium levels right away!!!!
A tip from my seafood store - you can keep live mussels in the refrigerator for several days, half covered with water in a plastic or glass container.

Does the calcium crash happen because of an overload of calcium? What happens to the pH?

never heard of a calcium crash before. curious to know more about it.

anyhow, that ain't it. water is very clear again. ammonia down to zero. tested it a few minutes ago. and animals are thriving.
"crashes" can occur anytime the ph is disturbed by a large spike of ammonia, or after a water change with impure water...(this was on a thread a week or two ago, where the tank had just been through a water change) The water particulates die off, and almost begin to "snow" from the top of the tank down...the ammonia spike then is catastrophic, usually ending in a terminal tank that has to be stripped down, and restarted from scratch.
This is why we are so vehement about aging the water prior to a water change in the octo tank...you can just use a 7 dollar rubbermaid 50 gallon garbage can...keep it stocked with salt water, and use it for all of your changes...most of the chemicals/toxins in water will boil off within 24 hours.
glad to hear this wasn't the case in this situation.
Nancy said:
A tip from my seafood store - you can keep live mussels in the refrigerator for several days, half covered with water in a plastic or glass container.

You can also do this if you are going to cook them and feed to people. They must be kept alive! Toss the dead ones before you cook them, they will make you as sick as the octo tank.

50 Gallon feeder tub

Cthulhu77, other than powerheads (in congunction with live rock), what type of filtration do you recommend for a rubbermaid garbage tub/feedertank/water change source? I have been planning on keeping one for a while, but would appreciate your input.

By the way, I will formally introduce myself soon. I have been lurking for a while, and am nearly done purchasing all my equipment for my first Octopus tank. I am seriously overfiltering, but this can't be wrong... right?

I am a veterinarian in Michigan that specializes in small and exotic pets, but this will be my first ceph pet.

Thanks a lot, and thanks to all of TONMO!!! This is an excellant source of information, and has helped me tremendously.

David Frye, DVM
Hi Doc and welcome to TONMO.com! :welcome:

How nice to have a vet who's interested in cephs! Glad you like the site and we look forward to hearing about your ceph pet.

(Yes, you do want to overfilter!)


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.