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Introduction and question about an Octupus' eyes

Mike B

Pygmy Octopus
Aug 26, 2004
I live in Tampa Florida and I have had a common vulgaris octopus I believe. It was from the southern Florida waters, somewhere probably around the Carribean.
I have had him for a couple of months now with no problems and about 2 weeks ago I put in 3 blue damsels, after the 2nd night two were gone, but still one has remained in the tank. About a week ago I noticed that one of the octopus eyes had changed color from the brown with a black pupil, to a bright blue still with a black pupil. A couple days later I noticed that the same eye had turned a more whitish blue and I don't see a pupil anymore, the whole eye is now this same color. Now I have noticed the other eye is starting to change the bright blue, but still has the black pupil. The octopus still seems to be able to see fine out of both eyes, because he still recognizes things that are outside the tank as well as inside the tank.
I called several of the pet shops here in Tampa and no one has ever heard of this happening!!!
Can you help!!!!!!!
By the way my Octopus' name is Octavius and he is an incredible creature, he comes and and swims around for hours everyday and I have been feeding him frozen clam pops called Pro Pops, his appetite is very good, he eats one clam pop everyday with no problem.
I don't see any swelling or anything around his eyes either.
I hope you can help with an answer for what may be wrong!!!
Thanks Mike! :bugout:
One thing we've noticed as octopuses get older is eye problems. There seems to be nothing to do to help these conditions, and often the octopus can usually still see. One bimac, Ink, did seem to get completely blind last year, but lived way beyond egg laying in this condition.

But still, it's distressing for the owner and causes worry. I hope we eventually learn more about these conditions. This is the first time it's come up in a while, so if anyone has more information, please let us know.

I've also never heard of the change to a blue eye. Was it subject to any usual light conditions?

octo eyes

Yes, actually that's why I mentioned the blue damsels. His eyes actually started turning blue after I put the 3 blue damsels in the tank. I also use the blue tinted lights instead of the usual white ones in the aquariums hood. But that didn't seem to have any effect because he has been in the tank for about 3 months. It was only after I put the damsels in there. So I thought it may have been a defense mechanism like the way they change color. The blue was at first the same color as the damsels, so there may be a possibility of their eyes changing color like their skin. But now the pupils are gone and the whole eye is more of a grey or whitish blue. I also don't know how old he might be, so it could be old age blindness starting. But he definitely still can see things outside the tank, so that's how I can really judge how well he is seeing!
Another question, one of his tentacles he usually keeps curled up most of the time and it is stubbier than the others, does this mean he is a male?
Thanks!!! Mike :cyclops:
Dont really know much about damsels but could they be trying to eat his eyes?? I've seen wrasse species do this to a whole load of fish... I know they aint wrasse but they are still fish. Hmfph

We really don't recommend keeping fish in the tank with an octopus. Either they do bother the octo and can go for his eyes, or the ocotpus will catch and eat the fish.

Octo Eyes

A person at the pet shop told me they would eat damsels and I have seen that they do at least some times. And so I bought 3 thinking he would eat them. After the second day two were gone, but the third is still there and it's been a couple of weeks. I keep trying to catch it, so I can take it out of the tank, but it is very fast and stays around the rocks where I can't get to it.
I do hope it's not trying to eat his eyes!!!! I will try even harder to get the fish out of the tank. I usually feed him frozen clams, but I try to throw a few live things in there for him evry once in a while!
Does anyone know how to tell between a male and female?
Mike :bugout:
Mike, I think you're right to make a great effort to get rid of the damsel.
I know it's not easy. Mabye your octo would heal if it were alone in the tank.

Octo Eyes

Thanks and I will!!!! My Octopus is incredible and I would hate to think that something like that has happened!!! But the weird thing was at first his eyes looked fine they had just turned blue. And I think they have a protective lid too, which might also be what I am seeing, but I am not sure.
If you find that you can't catch the fish, go to a store and buy a tiny hook. Put on a piece of shrimp and voila! you've got him. It's like catching fish in a barrel.
RandyB said:
If you find that you can't catch the fish, go to a store and buy a tiny hook. Put on a piece of shrimp and voila! you've got him. It's like catching fish in a barrel.

'Cept the octo is faster and will get caught first...
What you described sounds like a dead eye, as seen in people that have received trama to an eye, causing it to die off and normally turn a hazy light blue color. No clue if damage occured but sounds similar, food for thought.
octo eye

Yesterday I removed all the rocks from my tank and got the damsel out and my octopus already seems happier!!! It really sucks to think that the damsel could have damaged his eye and probably was the cause of it. I was just trying to put some live food in there for him, so he wouldn't get bored with eating frozen clams everyday. But I have learned in the long run it is much safer. A lesson unfortunately well learned and I hope will help others from making the same mistake I did!!! My octopus was much bigger than the damsels and the guy at the pet shop said he would eat them no problem. I will have to give that guy at the pet shop a piece of my mind next time I go in there!!!!!!!! Thanks to everyone for your help!!!

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