How did Ollie get so HUGE??


Pygmy Octopus
May 15, 2003
Hi Nancy,

I've been reading over some of your old posts about Ollie. I also got a bimac from fish supply too and I've had her about 4 months, so she is now probably about 7 months old. I've read that octopus have a small period of time when they grow exponentially and I wonder if I've passed that time. Right now Andy's mantle is about the size of a really large grape say about an inch and a quarter. When she stretches her arm out, it easily is 3 inches long. I thought they would only get to be the size of a kiwi, but Ollie is HUGE!!!! When did Ollie start really growing or was it just gradual? I feed her every other day and she seems just fine with that. I wonder should I be feeding her more, I'd like her to get big. When I use to feed her everyday, she would often refuse the food or just play with it and not really eat it. Her diet is mainly frozen squid.
Hi Eirelav,

Well, Miss Ollie would probably prefer to think of herself as a big gal rather than "huge" :)

I've looked back over the many photos I have of Ollie, and I'd have to say that the progress was gradual. Since she was wild caught, she was a bit bigger than the tank raised bimacs that were available later. Her mantle was about an inch, and her legs two inches. I'm estimating she was about 4 months old. She caught a crab with a 1" carapce the first night in the tank, and has been a vigorous eater all along.

I kept her supplied with a variety of good quality food, which meant that I was running to the fishmarket every other day to buy a scallop just flown in from Maine. I fed her several times a day (smaller portions), offering different things: fresh scallops, frozen shrimp, live fiddler crabs, live snails and eventually live shore shrimp. I figured that by feeding her more often, I could interact more with her. I think this worked.

I have been told that Ollie is just about as big as a bimac gets. Her mantle is about 7 inches, and her arms between 15-20 inches. They are substantial arms, too.

But, bimacs do come in all sizes, or rather, grow to different sizes. Some people believe that feeding every other day will mean that your bimac will live longer. Some bimacs have the opportunity -and interest- in getting more food, and these will be bigger. Maybe Ollie enjoyed the stimulation and interaction, and ate more. Perhaps it's genetic, too.

So Andy should grow some more, maybe even get twice as big as she is now. If you succeed in feeding her more, she'll grow more. But whatever, she'll still be a nice bimac.

out of interest what temperature does Ollie's tank average? I would expect an octopus in cooler water to grow slower, live longer and get bigger than perhaps an octo kept in a tank at 80deg F.
Hi Colin,

The temperature averages about 72 degrees. Sometimes with the skimmer on it gets up to 73, and at night it falls a bit, to 71, even 70 degrees.

This is about as low as I can keep it with a fan blowing on the sump - anything lower and I'd need a chiller.

Yes, everything I've read suggests that lower temperatures mean slower growth.

Well do you think it is possible that she might just be a little different from the rest, in terms of size? Could it also be because of other factors like maybe different stuff in different brands of salt that helps her grow abit larger and live longer? Well, so how is she doing?
Ollie is a large bimac, but there are some that grow that large. Maybe it's a bit genetic, maybe she got off to a good start.

I interacted a lot with her - spent at least an hour a day, every day with her, often more time. I played with her, gave her good food, made sure she always had to hunt some live food. All that probably helped.

She seemed to really enjoy her life and was curious and playful.

How is Ollie now? Ollie is in the process of destroying the den she built for her eggs. She has lived past the time when they hatch, and has continued eating a fair amount. In fact, I think she's grown a bit! She still has her beautiful colors. She still plays tug of war - but she won't leave the huge den right now. The one area where I see a decline is her eyesight. She can still see somewhat, but not nearly as well as when she was young. She can still catch crabs, too.

I'll be doing some updates on Ollie soon, too.

Well, Ollie has managed with a 46 gallon tank - the only real problem was when she took up jet swimming, and crashed around hitting her head. But then I observed that she learned to control her jet swimming better, and was able to adapt to the tank. Otherwise, it's been OK - well, except that I've had to do a fair number of water changes to keep my water paramters in order.

Actually, I like having such a big bimac - what big, substantial arms she has! It was really nice when she let me play with her.


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