• 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.

Info on octo eggs and care

Mar 31, 2008
Hi all Newb here, I have some questions about caring for octopus eggs. I recently purchased a Dwarf octopus from a guy that breeds them near me. I had picked out what he told me was a male octopus. I have a 12 gallon nanocube that I have plumbed into my 100 gallon reef aquarium so it is easier to keep the levels maintained. She has this tank all to herself. I put in some pvc pieces for her to hide in she quickly made a home out of one of them. She never came out not even to eat, so I would give her the food while she was still in the tube. After a few days I pulled the tube out of the aquarium to check on her. Once I pull it out she came out of the tube and inside the tube I saw all these sacs attached to the tube. I realized they were eggs so I quickly took some pictures and put it back in the water. I have been feeding her every day in the tube and she eats everyday. I have been browsing the forums and can't find the exact answers to my questions. The questions that I have are first what should I be feeding her? I am currently feeding her raw frozen shrimp tried scallops but she wouldn't eat them. How long until the Eggs hatch? She laid them about feb 20. What should I feed the young fry? I have a reef aquarium with a large supply of copeopods, anhropods and other misc small critters or should I feed frozen mysis. Then what is the best way to get the food from my main aquarium to the new babies. Should I seperate the mother from the eggs or after they hatch? What is the Ideal water temp for the new babies? Any help with these questions would be greatly appreciated. Attached are some pics of the eggs and the mom.


  • conv_303291.jpg
    145.2 KB · Views: 171
  • conv_303292.jpg
    47.4 KB · Views: 198
  • conv_303293.jpg
    66.9 KB · Views: 168
:welcome: to TONMO!

If you haven't found them yet, dwhatley's "trapper" and "trapper's babies" threads are probably the best reference for your situation, and gholland is in the process of something similar. It looks like you have a large-egged octo, which makes it possible to raise raise young. Dwhatley feeds mother octos primarily cyclop-eze, see her posts for details...

It sounds like you don't know the species, but it's consistent with mercatoris. I'm surprised that she let you take those pictures, since normally they really don't like to be separated from their dens when there are eggs... was she OK with that for a minute?

In any case, it's pretty hard to ID a living octo as male or female, particularly a small one where you don't know the exact species... mercatoris are a bit easier than some because the males have some oversized suckers, but they're pretty hard to spot unless the octo has his suckers positioned to give a good view.

anyway, searching for "trapper" is probably your best bet for stuff to read immediately, although there's no "distilled" version like an article or FAQ.
Thanks for the quick reply. She is a Dwarf octopus "Octopus joubini " I will check out the Trapper. She is ok for a minute being seperated. However I don't have to seperate her to take the pics. The back of the pvc has a screw off piece that I can take off while she stays in the front gaurding her eggs. Here are some pics from today.


  • conv_292526.jpg
    261.9 KB · Views: 181
  • conv_292527.jpg
    284.1 KB · Views: 199
  • conv_292528.jpg
    298.3 KB · Views: 165
YOu don't need to separate Mum from the Hatchlings. The sad fact is that nature will do it for you, most octopus die after breeding :sad: . The pods etc from your reef tank sound just fine for the babies. Transfer either by moving a piece of the live rock (no anemones or corals attached...very bad for the babies) or scoop them up with a very fine mesh net. The water temp for the babies should be the same as for the adult.


So any ideas when I should be expecting the eggs to hatch? I read somewhere on here about 50 days for the gestation period but it was for a different species would it be the same for mine Dwarf octopus "octopus joubini". And then if you look at the second set of pictures that I posted not all of them are developed as much as the rest will those still hatch?
Great pictures! Looks like you've been pointed in the right direction. Dwhatley's threads are probably the most detailed literature you're going to find on the subject. I'm sure if you read enough you'll find the answer to your gestation period question, but I imagine it's going to depend on a few things, like water temperature and flow.

Some of the eggs might not develop but looks like the majority of yours are well on their way.
How big are the eggs? Our O. mercatoris eggs were about 8-9 mm long... O. joubini eggs will be smaller and from all accounts, virtually impossible to raise. If they are the larger size, then you probably have O. mercatoris. Our eggs took between 35 and 50 days to all hatch out at an average temperature of 75 F. Copepods and mysis have done great for our babies (Varys) and they are now eagerly taking frozen foods at 1 month of age.... Guess I need to update our thread, eh?
Trapper lived almost 12 weeks but that is VERY unusual (5 seems to be closer to the norm for a feeding mother) and she only had six young (three are 12 months old and counting). Greg (gholland) DID update Varys' thread and added a terrific video of the babies eating as well as info on feeding:

Varys' babies (O. mercatoris)

Trapper's children's thread is located here: [Octopus Eggs]: - Trapper's Babies - Tank Raised Mercatoris

and contains a link back to the original (as does gholland's - copying is the highest form of flattery ;>)

If the decriptions are correct, almost all dwarfs listed as O. joubini are actually O. mercatoris. Supposedly the only way to tell the difference is in the egg size and you definitely have the larger eggs attributed to the Mercs.

I hope you will join Lev, Gred and I in adding a journal of your full adventure with your new brood.
Well they have started to hatch about 7 so far. And most of the rest are flipped in their eggs. I was wondering how you can tell if they are eating? I tried to feed them some cyclops but it just seemed like they were blowing it away.


  • conv_292538.jpg
    117.5 KB · Views: 143
  • conv_292539.jpg
    72.5 KB · Views: 107
  • conv_292540.jpg
    423.8 KB · Views: 115
I never did get our young hatchlings to eat cyclopeeze the way D's did. I had the same problem you describe and lost all 15 babies I tried feeding that way. I think D had hers in a net with a return jet that kept the particles constantly moving like live food. For the next batch of hatchlings I ended up buying several bottles of live "tigger pods" (Tigriopus califoricus) the first week or so until I switched them over to live mysis. That worked well for me. I think the key is to have a high density of food items that move.
I was thinking that the round thing next to the one on the glass might be a yolk sack... if it is, then it probably won't need to eat until it's done with the yolk. Or is it investigating a snail and that's the snail's foot, or something like that?
Yes that was a yolk sac, that pic was taken right after that one hatched. He ate it in about 10 mins. Im sure they are hungry by now. How often do you guys feed your babies.
Sponsor Banner
please support our sponsor
advertise on TONMO

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.