• 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.

Is octo hidden too long?

Nov 27, 2002
Hello again everyone!

Well, my experience with Gollum (my first octopus, as some of you may remember) has been going quite smoothly, despite him being QUITE the recluse. I rarely see the tiny fellow (1-2 inches) more than a few times a week, and then only because I look for him. I have not once caught him outside of his den, let alone moving. Colin suggested (at least I think he did?) that this is typical for my species, which is most likely c.f. bocki, and that it shouldn’t worry me. Indeed, he’s fed just fine off of small blue-leg hermits (he stashes the shells in a dozen hidey-holes in my live rock :biggrin2: ) and off of little gammarids and such.

But...now I’m mildly concerned. :? I haven’t seen him in quite some time, over 20 days at least. Usually, I can find him with at most a good 10-minute scan, holed up somewhere in the rock. He relocates enough, probably at least twice a week, that he can always eventually be found in the visible front of the rock, indeed I think he generally avoids the rear. Now, hours of scanning spread over not quite 3 weeks have failed to turn him up.

It’s difficult for me to gage his feeding since he never accepted hand-feeding, and free-feeds tiny crustaceans and blue-legs (HARD to count.) So I can’t use “lack of feeding” as a sign of his health. He’s so tiny, and my tank is 55 gal, that I can’t get an impression from my skimmer, either...I figure with normal octos, feeding cessation would cause the skimmer to work far less, and though my skimmer HAS slowed way down over the past month, I have a hard time thinking a 1.5-inch octo and his feeding habits would really have such an impact. Short of moving some of my equipment to be totally sure, I have seen no signs of escape, either.

I could believe Gollum simply is hiding very well lately...he’s a master at that, and never was very social. Still, this constitutes a fairly significant change of behavior. Should I be concerned? If he is unhealthy or senescent, is it wise that I be watching him in order to remove him if he dies? Can a passed-away 1.5-inch octo really even harm a 55gal tank? If so, when do I start turning rocks over?

Just yesterday I got my first octo the store said its a pygmy four hours after I put him in the tank he accepted a feeder fish I stuck a needle and thread thru the fish and a piece of hose and bumped the octo while it was in a hole and it grabed it and pulled it hard enough to rip the thread thru the fish.
today I spent hours looking for the octo but could not find it I did find the fish with only a little piece of it eaten I moved and checked the live rock three times all 90 pounds of it but no octopus it is only a few inches so it can be in a hole but who knows ,the tank is in my basement wich is tiled and wide open so if it escaped I would see it.
I got frozen shrimp and tied it same way as the fish but this time to a piece of live rock in the center of the tank and the shrimp is bobbing around in the current if its missing tomorow ill know the octo is still there
Hey Rusty!

I wondered how Gollum was. Hopefully he found an excellent hiding place.... That's a huge tank!!! Have you checked your water readings?

Just some thoughts.

Manny- Congrats! Maybe leave him be for the moment! He maybe freaked from looking for him! I know Hermin hid when I first got him.

Yeah, I'd like to think he's found some truly invisible hiding places too...I just don't know enough to know when to start wondering! :?

Manny--I agree, I wouldn't worry too much about your octo's behavior yet. When I introduced Gollum to my tank, he moved directly to the side of the tank, behind a pipe up against the glass. He stayed there for a week! And he rejected all my attempts to feed him, even live crustaceans, their favorite. Then, suddenly, he was gone, and I started noticing blue-leg hermit shells turning up empty...or stashed in little hidey-holes! :biggrin2:

hi manny

Octopuses will Always dissapear in a new tank. the worst thing you can do is to turn over rocks and search them out. they require a feeling of saftey and stability which moving rocks doesnt provide.

Rememeber they can squeeze into impossibly small holes and may get trapped if you move rocks. Just let the octo settle in, and let it come round in its own time.

They will come round in time.

Best food for shy octos is crabs to bring them round!

Hope all is well
last night a couple hours after i wrote I went to the tank and there it was hanging out on the rock streching its arms around I gave it a fish with one of those claws you grab stuf with and he ate it then I tried to give it a shrimp but it kept pushing it away . I threw a creyfish in there today just to see but when I got home the creyfish was dead and so far the octo only comes out at night any lights and its gone

I dont know if its a good idea but i separated the 72 gal tank with a piece of plexi glass with lots of holes ( took me about an hour to drill the holes )
I gave the little guy about 1/4 of the tank so I can get another octo in there mabee a bimac or vulgaris the store by me just got another one in today but its the same store that every worker gave me a different name for the same octo and I dont realy know how to ID them except for the two dots on the bimac .
the one they got today is "you know the small octopus,umm common octopus , yea vulgaris thats it ":roll: No I'm not trying to be funny its the truth but I'm probably going to go down there today and end up with another octo hopefully this one is not nucturnal

does anybody know any tips on IDing a young vulgaris?
Just one thing...I dunno how small your holes are, but if they aren't very very tiny there's a good chance one or both of those octos can squeeze through them.

If its a vulgaris or similar you can expect it to go out of its way to escape too. Personally i dont think I would risk it. It is likely at some point to end up besid ethe other and many species are opportunistic cannibals!

Some species can be kept togther like bimacs and Eledone but there are ni details about introducing specimens to each other.

From experiences with a briareus and an unidentified Bali species that could see each other...... They went crazy trying to attck each other and i had to block their line of sight!

Hi Colin

Thanks for the repply but before igot to read it I went and as soon as I saw it I bought it this time they told me its a brown octopus he is beautiful but I dont know what species it is . It's not as shy as my pygmy and it is much larger I've seen it strech when it was in the bag and its got to be about a foot long from tip of head to tip of legs .
I will post pictures of it in the near future but I dont want to stress it out now so I'll leave it be .
As far as getting at each other I have visual bariers and I made sure the divider is tight all around.

Its great to see how much intrest my children have in this hole ceph thing especialy my youngest , three year old daughter.
LOL here we go again :smile:

well, see if your shop can tell you which parts of the world they came from...

The big one looks a bit like a vulgaris or similar, the more pics the better! A pic of the eys sometimes helps.. any blue rings on the webbing?

The smaller octo has very large eyes by the look of that pic, it looks a bit like briareus, but hard to tell from the pic. does it have an irridescent blue sheen on its body?

The more pics the better, but I have had species that i cant yet ID!


PS as long as the octo is healthy it doesnt really matter too much what species it is :smile:
Me again.......

Actually I have been looking through a lot of pictures and I have a pic of Octopus mercatoris via Chris Shaw and it seems very close to your dwarf!

i havnt personally kept this species but if Pat/rudiger is still lurking (:wink:) he might be able to help out a bit on care because his original female mercatoris was the mother of Chris's.


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.