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Help With Feeding Californian Octopus


Dec 13, 2003

I live in the UK and collected my first Octopus 4 days ago from my LFS, he is a Californian Octopus and is about 25cm from leg to leg when fully stretching.
I have no evidence that he has feed at all since I collected him and my LFS seem to have just thrown as much food in his tank as possible also with no real knowledge of if had been eating.

I am concern that he may die if he does not each soon, I have tried to feed him river shrimp, live crabs from 1cm - 1inch in size, frozen mussels and cockles, and tonight raw tiger prawns.

How long can he last like this?
He has been in the shop a week so it could be 2 weeks since he has eaten.
He is active as soon as the light goes and I tern the red light on but his mantle/main body does not look substanual (mantal size 4cm)

Is there any food that is a dead cert to get him eating, keeping in mind I do not live near the coast and LFS's in the UK don't stock a wide variety of live foods.

Any help would be much appreciated

I would only feed him live food right now. Most octopus need to be trained to eat dead food. So stick with the crabs, maybe later once he's eating you can wean him onto the frozen prawns (keep in mind tho' that some will NEVER eat dead food!). The river shrimp are OK as a treat but not a staple. ("tis a hobby horse of mine! feed marine to marine ** getting off my soapbox now** :biggrin2:). I wouldn't be too worried yet tho' if you have a properly cycled tank with live rock he may be getting amphipods from the rock. Just leave a couple of live crabs in the tank.

oh and :welcome:

This is all anicdotal and may not be of help but I emphathize with the panic feeling of needing to do SOMETHING that is not harmful. There are several of us with octos that seemed to not eat for over two weeks. It is unknown if they found small things in the live rock to live on or actually survived the hunger strike. Look for posts about Sleipner and Blinky (both California bimacs) and my latest on Trapper (unknown species from the Atlantic).

One thing, which may be only coincidental, is my recent succes with putting dead food on an airline tube. With crabs, I find I can force the claws into the tube enough to keep them attached and with shrimp I just forced some into the tubing to keep it attached. Try putting this outside his den and leaving it for at least 12 hours. This is not something you could do long term (and shouldn't be needed once he is eating) but a few times should not foul your tank.

To kill my crabs, I put live ones in the freezer over night and then thaw before introducing to the tank. An hour or so in the freezer doesn't seem to kill them and my first almost success was with a crab that was still alive.

Trapper finally seems to have an appetite and I am hoping he will start hunting live ones now that I know he is eating but I will continue with the dead crab feed followed by the shrimp to see where it goes.

Thanks for your help so far, he has still not eaten, he almost seems to be scared of the live crabs, a crab is now living in his hiding hole under a rock so he has moved out and he also runs away from crabs rather that attacking them, he is also not interested in dead crabs.
I am picking up 10-20 hermit crabs tomorrow maybe they tempt him????
I have also added some more live rock as he may find food on this.
Fingers crossed as I am sure he does have to long left if he does not eat!
Octopus Dead


I am very sorry to say my octopus died this evening, and worse thing is it looks like also eat for the first time today as there were a number hermit crab body parts scattered around the tank.

Although I am very disappointed I think I will try again as I believe I have just been very unlucky with this being a non feeder, is this unusual for an octopus not to feed at all when water conditions are fine and he is extermly active, is there anything I could do differently next time? the tank is now certainly established with many more food options and live rock.

Anyones thoughs would be appreciated as this is becoming an expensive interest and would like to make it a dead cert next time

Many Thanks

I believe it was a californian ring spot, his mantle was 4 or cm's not sure if this is fully grown but cant be far off.
This was the 4th Octopus my LFS got in all the other died in transit or shortly after delivery they felt this was as the octopus was so small, not sure if this was true!
I believe in the UK this is the best Octopus for a small tank 30-50 gallon as the common octopus can outgrow this size of tank very quickly.


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