• 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.

Invertebrate Quarantine


Apr 6, 2020
South Africa
Hi everyone,

A question that has been bugging me, I know that fish quarantine is a huge deal and has been discussed thoroughly throughout various forums and sources to having a successful long term tank, but I can't seem to find anything solid related to invertebrates and quarantine procedures for them, one theory that I am pondering why there is so little information on this, is because they have very few parasitic, fungal or disease related ailments or the typical fish stuff doesn't effect them, is this true?

I am throwing this question out there so when I eventually get my Octo, he/she will be alone so no point in quarantining them in a separate tank to the display tank, but what worries me is that if I am using live food and they are carrying anything that could be harmful to the Octo and would thus require some form of quarantine and treatment for the food source. I know that Copper is used heavy in the fish quarantine and treatment and would be a big no no for invertebrates, if there are ailments that affect invertebrates what would be the correct quarantine period and treatment processes for them.

I hope this thread serves well for a first proper post.

Definitely do not treat any food or corals with any medications that contain copper. Even a small amount of copper exposure will usually kill an octopus (a bit off since there is copper in their blood). In most cases, the cure would be far worse than the disease so we typically do not treat any of the food or corals. The only safe treatment would be to lower the salinity in a QT to a point where the feed animals are able to tolerate the lowered salt content but parasites cannot. Fish only tanks are usually kept below the salinity of the ocean to minimize parasite growth.

I don't know of any parasite problems with fiddler crabs.

Clams should always be placed in a bucket of tank water with an air stone (using a light cover or deep bucket to keep the water in -- they squirt) overnight to clean out their pollutants.

Frozen shrimp are very often an acceptable main source of food and can be safely sourced from a food market.

Sometimes grass shrimp have parasites but they don't seem to be a problem for anything but the shrimp. They are quite visible and can't be removed without killing the shrimp so I will kill then remove the black "wart" just before I feed. Most adult octos can't catch these but they make good juvenile food and will often be accepted dead by juveniles and dwarf adults.
Hi DWhatley,

Thanks for the clarification, what if I do decide on treating him/her to a hermit crab as we don't have fiddler crabs within the area would that be ok? or would I need to QT the hermit crab and lower the salinity for a few weeks before feeding it to the octopus to ensure a clean source of food.
I have never heard of anyone quarantining a hermit and I never have done anything but tossed them into the tank when I have ordered them but it probably wouldn't hurt to do a 24 hour dip in a lowered salinity to clean off the shells (I believe my supplier and likely others do use some from of QT before shipping so most may actually have been through some form of parasite control before arriving at their home aquarium).

Hermits won't be much of a meal for anything but a dwarf though. Other keepers have been successful using them as feeders for small animals (young or dwarfs) but only my vulgaris (who ate anything offered or moved) has found them interesting in my experience.

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