• Welcome to TONMO, the premier cephalopod interest community, and birthplace of #WorldOctopusDay and #CephalopodAwarenessDays. Founded in 2000, we are a large community of experts, hobbyists and enthusiasts, some of whom come together when we host our biennial conference. To join in on the fun, sign up. You can also become a Supporter for just $50/year to remove all ads and enjoy other perks. Follow us on Twitter for more cephy goodness.

Hitch hiker identification

Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
8
We recently received some Tampa Bay live rock. Just yesterday when we were trying to extract a mantis shrimp an octopus came out. It looks as if there is another one in the same hole that the first one came out. I was wondering if you could help me identify what type of octopus would come from this area. I'm not sure how big it will get and exactly how to feed it. If it isn't reef safe, would it be ok to keep it in our 65 gallon sump if we provide some tubes for it to hide in as well as food?

Here's a picture but it will be hard to id him from this since he is all wrapped up. When I can get a better picture, I'll post it.

 
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
2,390
About how big is it? If it is an O. Mercatoris it might actually be okay in the sump. No octopus is going to be "reef safe" unfortunately. They'll mangle all your inverts and play with anything else they can wrap their arms around. Also, if it is an O. Mercatoris it will only get about 3 inches long, arms and mantle. Try to seal your sump so that it won't get sucked into the return pump or climb out the top.

Looks a lot like Einy did. He was an O. Mercatoris.

I believe this time of year is breeding season for them, so you may have an explosion of tiny octopuses soon pouring out your live rock.
 
Upvote 0

DWhatley

Kraken
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
20,973
That pose and location definitely suggests Mercatoris. Mine is brooding now and has had babies at one or two at a time for the last week with a total of 5 or 6 (not sure if one was counted twice :confused: ). The low count if very unusual. Mine was very happy when I put a cluster of the large barnicle shells in the tank and she choose to brood in one. I was able to turn the cluster to be able to view her which has been a huge benefit because they are nocturnal creatures and often not seen. This also lets me hand feed her in hopes of prolonging her life a few weeks.

The biggest problem with your sump (more than enough space and water for this size octopus) will be the pump intake if you don't already run a sponge over the input side and the fact that it is likely to be open topped and octo escape prone. A full, tight fitting lid is going to be necessary, at least until it starts brooding (if it is a female). You might consider using a very large critter keeper inside the sump to keep it from crawling out if you cannot fashion a lid. A brooding female usually won't leave her den and I now keep my top open without fear of her escaping.

If you run 24 hour lighting in your sump, the octopus will be very unhappy and if you run reverse lighting to your main tank, you need to provide ambient darkening during the lights off period.

Fiddler crabs seem to be the most common food accepted by these little guys. Mine would not eat anything else it was offered, even before she started brooding.

Welcome to the world of cephs!:octorun: Be careful you may just get hooked!
 
Upvote 0
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
8
Getting pictures of this guy has been really hard - he's really camera shy. He might be crawling all over but as soon as he sees the camera - woosh, he's gone. Here are two pictures of him in the first stage of our sump.





He likes to move between the first and second stage of our sump. The total size of the sump is 36" wide and 18" high. The first stage is dark and is 12" wide. The second stage is constantly lit and is 14" wide. The third stage, where we haven't seen him yet is 10" wide and has a sponge to filter the water spilling over from the fuge. I'm adding two pictures of the fuge so you can figure his approximate size from the previous pictures.





What do the octopus eggs look like? I think there is another octopus in the hole in which this guy came but my husband thinks they are eggs. I think it look just like our guy when he's wrapped up - you see all the suction cups. It is really hard to see anything in these holes. I thought I read though, that they don't usually stay with another octopus. If that is true then my husband would be right that they are just eggs.

We have some small Gorilla Crabs that we removed from our rock. Would he eat those. If so would he mind if we kill them first?

We don't have anything covering the output holes to the pumps right now. What would you suggest that we add. They are threaded holes to pipe that exit the sump.

Thanks so much for the education. We weren't planning on having an octopus so haven't done any study on this. Out of curiousity, why would they climb out of the water if it is going to kill them?
 
Upvote 0
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
2,390
Curiosity and the desire to find another place to be.

I didn't have eggs with my Mercatoris (male) so I can't tell you from experience, but by what I've read, seems they look like a small grain of rice. Mercatoris babies are actually tiny octopuses instead of planktonic larvae, so there won't be any guessing when/if they hatch if they are indeed eggs. Also, if they are eggs, this little octopus doesn't have much time left.
 
Upvote 0
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
8
Oh, that's so sad. I was really getting attached to her.

What we think are eggs are larger then grains of rice. They seem like a blown up piece of rice (maybe 1/4 of a jelly bean) and gelatinous.
 
Upvote 0
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
8
Assuming these are eggs that are in our live rock, should we try to get them out? Will they hatch without her around? We do have a mantis shrimp in the same rock that we haven't been able to remove yet. I don't know if he finds them great food now since we removed the mother.
 
Upvote 0
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
2,390
Doesn't sound like any easy solution to that one my friend...

They would fair better with the mother around, but I don't doubt it possible for them to hatch regardless.
 
Upvote 0

Latest Posts

Forum statistics

Threads
20,944
Messages
207,037
Members
8,497
Latest member
annainbrooklyn

Monty Awards

TONMOCON IV (2011): Terri
TONMOCON V (2013): Jean
TONMOCON VI (2015): Taollan
TONMOCON VII (2018): ekocak

Top