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Kang - Senescence?


Blue Ring
Jan 6, 2004
I have noticed a change in Kang, and I am not sure of the cause. I hoping its not senescence, but I can be realistic that it might be. About a week ago, I needed a rock for another one of the tanks I have. I pulled a small grapefruit sized rock out of Kang's tank. I was not part of his cave by nearby, maybe 8" away. Since then hes gathered all the shells and rocks he can find and barracaded himself in and hasnt been himself since. I'm hoping its coincidence. He ate this last weekend, but nothing since. I usually feed him 2 crayfish every other day or so, with maybe some small frozen prawn/krill in between. Additionally he was very active always crusing around the tank morning, noon and night. He has ceased this activity. I stuck my hand in yesterday and pulled away a rock covering his cave. He flung a few arms at me, but didnt come after the rock. Eventually he came out fully, in a mottled color white/brown like he does when hes alarmed. He wrapped a few tentacles around my fingers, but quickly lost interest and went back to his cave. I next tried the sure fire method to get him out. In the past when I put in fish flakes and/or Formula one, he'd go bonkers, and come out like he was on fire. Not so yesterday. He doesnt appear to have any sores, or un-naturally pale. Though, occasionally he does appear in his cave as white with black around his eyes, but will go back to his normal coloring. I have not seen any eggs, but that does not mean they arent somewhere in the cave that I cant see. I have not been able to interact with him the last couple of weeks as much as usual too, and since he disassembled the powerhead again, that hasnt been up and running for a couple of weeks as well, so he lost a toy. My question...is this senescence, or could this simply a reaction to the rock being gone and less interaction from me and the powerhead. I know they thrive when their brain is exercised, could this be a combined reaction of the above, or is it possible that Kang's run is coming to an end. He is fairly large, but I do not know when he was born. I should be getting more crayfish today (ran out tuesday), and will try feeding again to see. Any insight would be helpful as always. I would hope it wasnt senescence, since Ive only had Kang since January, but it seems it may be a possibility.
Well, it does sound like a female with eggs, or about to lay eggs. The building up of the the den is usually a sign.

However, if you're lucky, even with eggs Kang will continue to eat and interact somewhat, although may be unwilling to leave the den area much. Do continue to feed him/her and don't give up at rejections - Kang may take the food the next time. Don't give up on interaction, either.

I think we saw with Ollie and Ink that the maternal instincts eventually waned and they returned more to normal. Ollie lived two months after laying eggs, and Ink even more. But they were both bimacs and Kang is not.

So just take this day by day, keep trying to interact - and please report what's happening.

A number of us have been through this - if it is eggs, it's a little sad, but you'll still have Kang for a while.

yes, it sounds like that is the case...
let me also urge you to keep records as this is a part of the hobby which still needs a lot of work...
Let me second what Colin says. Please keep a journal. You have your past posts about Kang's behavior as a start. This would be valuable information. We're trying to get more of our observations down in writing.

It came as quite a surprise to me when I realized that Ollie was building a den and getting ready to lay eggs. I had called Ollie "he" for so long - but I got used to the idea that Ollie was a she and now it seems normal.

I think Kang ate the other night. I put a small crawfish in the tank. He did not show any interest while I watched (about 10 min). The next day I did notice a small shell from a crawfish cast aside, that was around the size of the feeder. I am usually good about removing old shells, as Kang piles them up for me out front, but an occasional one gets missed and I find it later. I think this one was new, and hopefully this meant Kang ate at his own pace...it was behind some rocks as opposed to out front. He refuses to leave his den though. His den, though he fits entirely in it with a llittle room to spare, does not seems practical for egg laying, there simply isnt the room, so I am curious to what is going on in there. Oddly enough, there are tank residents, a mated sebae clown pair and a damsel. These have never bothered Kang, and do not now. But, after more than a year of the clowns not laying eggs, I think they finally have..in conjuction with the possbility of Kang laying eggs. The female clown has been "guarding" a flat surface between 2 rocks. Anytime anything goes near them he bolts at the fish. He often is seen "sweeping" the same area with his tail , in a series of quick motion. I cannot see the surface of this flat area as there are "lips" on either side of the flat rock and I cannot get a vantage point to observe what is going on. The tank is definately getting interesting. I just wish I could gauge a little better where Kang is in his existance, to better assist him/her through this transitional process.
When Ollie laid eggs (and she was a bimac, so it might be a little different in Kang's case), she also wedged herself into a tight space, pulled in all manner of shells and other rocks. Later on, she enlarged her space by pushing the rocks and shells out, even throwing some out. I even helped her get rid of some.

You'll need to find a way to offer food so that Kang can take it without leaving the den. Ollie took some food during the first couple of weeks in the den, after which she ate more regularly. She would still play pull the stick with me in the den. I tried to get her attention and interact a bit each day. At first it was as if she was drugged, but that eased up later, too. Ollie never really left the den until she died - she did rise out of it, leaving only an armtip in it from time to time. But later she enlarged the den and tore down the walls so it almost wasn't there. Ink did leave the den after a time.

Ollie kept her good color, too, and made some of the most beautiful luminous lavendar shades I have ever seen during this time.

Hope this helps,

Boy, strange things in the land of Kang. I witnessed some odd stuff last night. I re-upped on my supply of Crayfish again and attempted to feed Kang. Kang has still been sequestered away in his den. I put a crayfish in to see if he'd come out and eat. Now keep in mind, since I got Kang in the first few days of January he has had tank mates, a mated pair of Sebae Clowns and a small blue devil damsel. I heard these were all faux pas, but since no one picked on anyone and no one seemed alarmed at each other’s presence, I left them in. No one has been hurt or chased throughout their co-existence.

Last night I witnessed something that I don’t know how to decipher. I dropped the crawfish in and it immediately starting crawling along towards then den, seeking shelter to hide, like most crayfish do. As soon as he got near, for the first time ever, the fish "defended" Kang. The clowns and the damsel (who don’t eat crayfish, and were well-fed) starting nipping at the crayfish's body and legs every time it got within a body length or two of the den. Driving it back only when it approached. Anywhere else it roamed they left it alone?! I can’t explain that, but what came after was even more bizarre.

The crayfish got within a few inches of the den after about 20 min of circling the tank and finding a way to circumvent the fish. Though Kang wouldn’t leave then den, he wanted to apparently eat, as he would send his tentacles out, groping for the crayfish when it got near. When the crayfish would feel the tentacle it would inch back out of reach. Once the damsel (none of the clowns though) saw this, the script changed. The damsel would race up to the crayfish then keep turning around, with its tail facing the crayfish and the den, and start wildly waving its tail neat the crayfish, kicking up sand, and moving the crayfish towards then den. The damsel kept doing this until it was up against the den. This took 5-6 times of that reversing around and frantically fanning the sand under the crayfish. He did this until the crayfish got close enough for Kang to get and drag him in the den. This whole bizarre thing took about 30 min from the time I drop the crayfish in and got it got accosted, to the final act where the damsel seemingly backed him into the den to get eaten. I never had any issues whatsoever with the fish in the tank, and this just blew my mind, to think it appeared that they assisted Kang in eating. Anyone have any insight into this weird act of kindness. In my opinion, this should have never happened based on everything I've read about tank mates. I would have chalked this up to coincidence had the whole act not seemed so deliberate. After the crayfish was caught, the tank mates went back to normal. Can anybody read anything into this, or how I might have misconstrued this, and if so what were the fish doing, the crayfish was bigger than them, and in all the months of feeding Kang these crayfish, the tankmates have never acted this way.
Well, strange things do happen in our little undersea worlds. The more I observe, the more I think there's a lot more going on in our tanks and in the ocean than we realize.

One thing I can comment on - Ollie made sure she had lots of little tunnels under and between the rocks in all directions, apparently anticipating catching food this way. I watched her test these tunnels as she was constructing the den, and then after she was finally in her den, reach out and try to find food that way. So that seems to be the way Kang intends to catch food, too.

Thanks for observing this carefully and reporting - very interesting event.

This was a bizarre, almost, sybiotic relationship I witnessed. I think. Again, I could misconstrued this whole event, but, this display has never occured in feeding crayfish to Kang in all the months I've had him...err...her. And, it genuinely looked as though they were at one point keeping the crayfish at bay until Kang showed interest, and then the roles of the fish reversed. It was incredible to watch. Especially, the damsel, "shooing" the crayfish towards Kang's den to allow her to eat w/o leaving the den. The fish did not merely swim toward the crayfish but would turn its back to the crayfish, point at the ceiling at a 45 degree angle with its tail pointed at the ground beneath the crayfish, and then feverishly fanning until it moved. Then would go to its new location and do it again until it got it in front of her den. I wish I had documented the entire episode with my camcorder.

I have already told the fish store owner that gets in cephs all the time about the impending senescence. He said they can get me another if I wanted it when the time comes. I gave him a resounding 'Yes'. I will definately get another when the time comes. It will be just a matter of how big a specimen I want to get this time, as he usually can get 2 or 3 in at a time to choose from. Maybe a smaller one that has more time left. Not to get ahead of myself though. Kang and I still still have some quality time to kill. And I'm looking forward to that.

I will keep everyone up as to Kangs exploits as they occur.
Well, things have changed here. Kang has now pretty much gotten rid of his massive wall of rocks at the den door. He will now not seem to accept food as readily. Kang even blew the prawn I tried away with a jets of water. Though I am sure I saw her snatch one ot two up later. In the two nights since Kang has uncovered her den, she has been digging like an archeologist. There are huge piles of sand and she has been out an about like the old days, but only at night and just to dig. Very odd. Is this a normal occurence in senescence? When in the den she has been jetting water continuously, usually frothing up the sand nearest to her. Though, even when she has been out over the last 2 days in the daylight, I still have not seen eggs?! They might be there, but I havnt seent them. Kang looks fairly normal other than slightly smaller looking, and when out, she comes out in a mottled pattern as opposed to the cheery brown that was her norm. Though see usually changes back to her normal colors, after a few minutes, or when back in her den.
I've gone back to my Ollie diaries and notes. Ollie was a bimac, but maybe this will help you with Kang.

What I found was that serious den building began about a week before laying eggs. She toppled large rocks and did a lot of digging and blowing sand. Got right down to the glass in the tank. Also created tunnels where she could extend her arms under the den rock and look for food.

Several weeks before, she was awake and active more at night. Also more skittish and inked a few times. Still romped around the tank, hunted shrimp upside down and appeared to have a good time.

She retreated to the den several days before she laid eggs. She accepted food sometimes. Actually, her eating improved as the time in the den extended. After she laid eggs, she sometimes stared into space and looked like she was drugged. This also became less after a couple of weeks. I kept on playing with her using the feeding stick, and handed her food. She seemed to keep growing during the two month episode of egg laying, too.

After three or four weeks, she was more likely to partially leave the den. Once when I gave her shrimp by tucking it right under her beak, she decided she didn't want it and threw it out to the edge of the tank. I tried to retrieve the piece of shrimp with the feeding stick, but it was in a crack. Then I felt the stick gently being moved, and it was Ollie coming to help me. She retrieved the shrimp, took it back to her den, and came out the top of the den holding it in her two front arms to hand to me. And she was the most beautiful luminous lavendar color, too. This happened several times.

I also dropped small crabs where she could reach them. She captured and ate them most of the time.

I saw Ollie holding a string of eggs on Dec. 3 - I never saw the eggs again because she must have put them under the large rock that she toppled. Most likely the eggs were unfertilized. After about 6 weeks, she became more lively and began shoving away parts of the den. She never really left the den, always keeping the tip of one arm in it, but she did move about more, ate pretty well, and was more active. She could still see but appeared to have some deterioration of vision. She watched me sometimes like in the old days.

Then, just a few minutes into 2004, about 8 weeks after laying eggs, Ollie seemed to have a seizure and eventually died. She had been with me just under 10 months. I figured she was between 14 and 16 months old. She never grew thin or lost her coloring during this egg laying time.

Hope this helps,

Thanks Nancy. Very helpful actually. The first paragraph where she toppled the rocks and dug down to the glass and had "tunnels" to hunt with under other parts of her den is right on. She came out last night and ate a crayfish. During the early evening though I was handing her prawn, she would merely blow it away, with zero interest. Though I though I saw her sneak one a little later to eat. Most of her material that was covering her den is now scattered around the tank. Seems she is content hiding in the den with it being covered, like she used to. Though she has dug a good sized hole in the sand floor of her den. She has dug holes everywhere though as well, there must be 5-6 large holes around perimeter of the tank as well. I'll keep everyone informed. Thanks again for the diaries entries, they have shed some light, and also it is comforting knowing the general timeline of events, so everything isnt new to me along the way.
Kang has changed her behavior...again. She has now abandon her large den thats she's always habitated for another self-made den. She previously was habitating under a large rock that is naturally almost hollow with a concave bottom, sunk in the sand forming a low overhang. With large rock on either side this formed a nice sized cave which, after adding a few rocks in front of it, has been her happy home since I got her. I was out-of-town for the weekend and when I returned last night (Sunday), she had moved out and built a "lean-to" type den?! She moved a tennis ball sized rock against one of the bigger rocks, then dug a hole underneath this contraption. This has been her home since. I look with a flashlight in her previous den. I did not see eggs, but she certainly was a packrat in her short stay. She had dug a fairly nice size hole under her first den, and was perfect size for her fairly large body. Her new abode does not accomodate her as well by any means. Not sure what to make of it. She seemed playful for a while after dinner tonight as well...
This must be typical, too. Ollie built a new den and it was quite a tight fit for her. She also blocked it up with other rocks and shells. Then she slowly began enlarging it by shoving the rocks out over a period of time. When she finished, she had taken her entire beach area and rocks were up against the front glass.

I've attached a pic of Ollie in her den around the time I saw her with eggs.

Kang has come out for a bit today. She is a shell of her former self. PAle most of the time, when I stick my hand in to play tug-o-war, she'll revert to her normal colors as seen in my icon. That pic looks like a different octopus now. There is definite macular degeneration. One of the two "globes" that house her eyes is significantly smaller and the eye in that socket is shut, while the other eye is open and intact. She still recognizes me when up close and when interacting. She'll still play tug-o-war with my finger, but only for a 30 seconds or so. I have just snapped a couple of pics while she was just out. I will post these as soon as I get them transferred. She has also spent a little time in her old den, but is still living in her new "shanty".

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