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i can't fine my octopus, please reply! i'm desperate!


May 26, 2003
i got my octopus, mac, three days ago. the first day it was fine, coasted along the bottom of the tank and explored. it wasn't until the next day that i could not locate mac. since i live in central NY, i don't have fiddler crabs handy, and mac's body size is no bigger than half an inch (arm to arm is 3.5 inches). instead, i placed some shrimp in the tank, the first nite he seemd to go over it and eat a little, then she shot up into one of the porous rocks in its aquarium (the aquarium i have right now is a 20 gallon). the next day when i couldn't find him for nearly 10 hours i surveyed the rock he was last in, and yet no mac. i began to worry that he had died, for fear my heater wasn't working right, i checked it and it said 77 degrees. no harm there. so next i took a mirror and placed it under the filter grate of the tank just in case he was under there. success! i found him in the corner, so now i knew i had to remove the grate but be carefull not to let the rock fall on top of mac. every time i moved rocks (in a location far away from him) i would check the mirror and see where he was to make sure i don't remove rock across the surface he was under. after doin' this for about 40 minutes, i was able to remove the floor filder, ensuring that mac wasn't in the way. when he was near the front of the tank below the edge of the filter floor that i was lifting (sealed to the side so that the few stone left wouldn't fall on mac) i had my friend shine a dull flash light at him to make him move to the opposite side. he did and i restored the bottom of the tank, but now i needed to get a new filter that wouldn't trap him under the floor again. i figured the reason he hid there in the first place was that he wasn't fully acclimated to the aquarium and there was an excess of light that nite. so after that, mac stayed in the corner of the tank, really still... bright red (angry). i covered the aquarium up with towels so that it was dark and he eventually began to move about. i checked on him every 2-3 hours, checking the temperature and his activity. the temp kep fluctuating between 75 and 78. the next morning he was good, still don't know if he had eaten anything and by that afternoon he was sleeping on the side of the rock flush white, whiter than the rock... which i was assured is natural for when they sleep. that nite he was not there, the aquarium is sealed off tight and i checked the area around it-no sign of mac on the floor or there about. but that was 20 hours ago, i only check every 2-3 hours so it is possible for him to have come out, but i am still worried. tomorrow i will see if i can't get small hermit craps and snails for him. i pray to god that he is ok and just frighten. but in the back of my head i can't help but feel as if he has died in some small crevice un the rock and that i won't realize that until next week when there is still no sign of life. what should i do, is this normal? will it be ok? any suggestions?
here are my tank stats
aquarium 20 gallons
SG 1.023
temp 77 degrees
nitrate low (not sure)
amonia low (not sure)
filter protein skimmer, amonia/nitrate filter, water filter for marine aquariums.
if there is anything else you want to know, e-mail me
[email protected]

or my aol,

i am extremely desperate, and do not want him to die. :cry:
Hi Michael,

Welcome to TONMO.com!

Since I don't own an octopus myself I'm not sure I can provide a qualified response, but I can post my thoughts for whatever they're worth:

You described your octopus as being very white -- from the accounts I've read, this is usually a color of severe stress... I haven't read anything about them necessarily turning white when sleeping, but it could in fact be the case, I don't know for sure.

We have another thread here from someone whose octopus was "missing" for several days (and like yourself, he thoroughly searched for it). He went ahead and bought a new one, only to find the first one come out of deep hiding! This just happened recently, here's the thread:

TONMO Cephalopod Community

Then check out the Journals and Photos forum for some pictures of the pair.

I imagine some others here may have suggestions as to how to proceed from here. If your octopus is indeed stressed and hiding, you *may* want to refrain from making any drastic changes to the tank for the time being; perhaps the stability will be soothing... But once again, I fully defer to the others! Others?
well, i think i may have figured out some of it. the SG was 1.0225, i prepared a tank almost immediately after i posted my last message, and set the SG at 1.025 (the level most everyone i have read about on this site prefer). after about 15 minutes, MAC came out and moved around on the rock in which he was hiding, he then ate some shrimp (leaving the shard remains behind) and after about an hour, flew back up into the rock. i believe the sald concentration had alot to do with it.
as for color, he is not so white anymore, but rather the same color as the day i got him, white underside and a light brown upper body. he reacts to light so i am leaving him covered with 7-8 hours worth of dim light a day to mimic the day and nite patterns if it were in its natural habitat. tomorrow i'll get some snails and crabs.
here's a question, if my bimac's body is only the size of a nickel (excluding length of legs) what size food can i feed it. is it strong enough to tear through the shells of snails and crabs?
thank you so much for your reply, the past four hours have been extremely relieving.
That's great news!

By the way, for more octopus tank specs, be sure to visit the OCTO database, and add in your own tank as well.

Interesting question about the feeding, let's see what the others have to say.
Hi Michael.

We're all happy that your octopus showed up again. They're good at hiding, and we've had many postings about missing octopuses who then reappear.

One suggestion - you might want to have your water tested. If you don't have the test kits, your local fish store can do it for you. Octopuses are very sensitive to ammonia. It would be good to know the levels of nitrite, nitrate and ammonia - ideally, they should all be zero.

My bimac was able to eat snails very early - I think you'll just have to try different foods. Some will eat hermit crabs and small shrimp. I had success offering small pieces of fresh scallops, too.

Hope you'll eventually be able to post a photo of Mac!

Hi Michael:

Wlecome to TONMO!!! 8) I would not worry that Mac is not out and about that much at first. new octos can take several weeks to become secure enough to move around while you are presaent. Try not to get too anxious and start moving rocks around this is just likely to spook him.

I would suggest that you put you light on a timer and set it for 6 to 8 hrs of light a day. That way you will be setting a pattern that Mac can become familiar with. This will help him to become more secure in his new environment.

I agree with Nancy that if you don't have test kits you should get your water tested to ensure that your ammonia levels do not get to high. If you are not using a reverse osmosis/ De-ioniztion filter or distilled water you should also test for heavy metals like copper because octos are very sensitive to them.

Again, Patience is the key with octos. Let him become secure in his own time. You really shouldn't start to worry unless you haven't seen him for around a week. You may also want to put some food in at night and see if it is gone in the morning (remove what is left in the morning so that you don't get ammonia spikes). This will give you an idea as to whether Mac is out and about. GOOD luck and keep us updated on how Mac is doing.


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