'Legs' - O. briareus


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Jul 9, 2009
South Florida
Date found: April 15, 2009

Locations Found: Miami, FL in Biscayne Bay 1/4 mile south of the 79th ST causway.

The area has low visibility brown water with depths of 3 feet to 12 feet. the bottom is sargassum (sea grass). The mother had apparently used my commercial stone crab trap as a nest.

Legs was found very young she was about the size of a dime and she was clear with blue eyes. When I found her the octpus was clustered together with thousands of other octopuses. I thought they were jellyfish at first.

edit: I found this picture here on TONMO of a baby Briareus taken by Colin, This is exactly what Legs looked like when I found her:

April 15, 2009

After two weeks still no octopus spottings....

The Tank:
So I put Legs into a 125 gal Tank that has a locking acrylic lid. The tank has a center overflow box that syphons into two foam pre-filters which then gravity feeds to a primary filter then it flows across bioballs into a 15 gal sump tank with a protein skimmer, then back up to the tank through two separate power heads.

May 15, 2009

So After A month went by and finally OCTOPUS SPOTTING!!


Legs came out of the corn she has been living in and stuck to the glass right where i was sitting next t the tank. Legs appears to be about the size of the palm of my hand. I am going to feed her......

Feeding went great! played alittle tug-o-war with the stick then took the chunk of minnow and retreated to snack in her hole.
OK we'll call this june 1, 2009 entry:

Ok things are going great. Legs has become very social with me. she like to play with my fingers against the glass following them as i move them around. Still feeding chunks of minnow everyday, but I suspect that my cleaner crab population is diminishing.

I am amazed by the color changing abilities of Legs here are some more clips

June 15. 2009

Going great!

I saw her give a link jet for the first time this morning. I walked by the tank fast and scared her i guess. Very cool. not very much ink and it dissipated quickly and didnt seem to bother any of the other fish.

also she seems to have taken a liking to my Gobies hole in he sand bellow some live rock. The gobie seems to be annoyed its home is being invaded. I suspect a battle in the near future.....
Ok I'll jump to today and start making regular entries.

Well I was right Legs killed my gobie, she didn't eat it at all just killed it, she has moved into the Gobies cave. She has also started a collection of feeding sticks. she stoll my nice acrylic one and three bamboo skewers so far, its really cool how strong she is.

when she spreads out all her tentacles she is about 10 inches across, and growing fast! I shot some more video this morning I'll post it up as soon as I get it edited and uploaded.

Here is this mornings video. This is her pre feeding behavior. I tried to film the feeding but had technical difficulties. The Video
Most Execellent!:biggrin2:
Sure wish you had a photo of the "Pile-O-Octos" on the crab trap. What an interesting thing to see!

Suggestion on your feeding stick collection problem. SueNami was much larger when he came to live in our aquarium and after a few experiments we found that floating the feeding stick was an ideal way to feed, not loose the stick and not cause a tsunami in the tank (it took me half a day to rearrange the tank after one "fixed" stick approach). Anything that will float and can be used to hold the stick works (even if you initially hold the whole contraption to feed). For Beldar (macropus) I tied several straws together and put the bamboo skewer inside one of the straws (the cheap straws are best because their narrow diameter is just right for the skewers). In SueNami's tank we has a zip tie around a plastic floating ice cube. Photos of both MacGyvered feeding sticks are in the respective journals.

I noticed you have at least one other fish and that one is likely to disappear as Legs grows as well. Briareus seem to be particularly intollerant of fish swimming in their environment. You need to think about not adding other interesting fish while Legs is using the tank. Some fish will pick on an octopus and have been know to go for the eyes so it is safer to serve dead one. Nancy's suggestions for small live crab (we disable the claws - other claim it is not necessary) and live shrimp are the best live food to present (see my kind of cool videos with SueNami trying to catch a live shrimp - Neal said it was better than watching fireworks because of the web deployment and retraction :biggrin2:)

Thanks again for the starting the journal and the back history!

Please look at our monthly photo contest and think about contributing (good camera exercise). We will create a calendar with the results so at least go by and vote if you don't have a submission each month :wink:
One note about my call that Legs is female. Since she is still very young, there is a chance that she is an immature male. I have been known to be wrong on immature octos worse than the 50/50 shot anyone has. SueNami was missing the telltail arm and I assumed female (when it started to grow back is was obvious that we had a boy named Sue :roll:) and Beldar curled up the appropriate arm ONCE (now we just call her Bel) so if you start to see Legs not use and keep the third arm to the right curled, I will have been wrong once again (I did get all but one of my five mercs correct - unfortunately the incorrect choice failed to propogate children from a special male).

So I did as suggested and just held my hand with finger out in one corner of the tank. I sat there for a minute wile she just sat on a rock an looked at me. After a little while she extended one arm Allllllll the way out and just barely touched my finger, then she retracted real quick. She sat there for another minute and just stared then slowly stuck two arms out and investigated my finger. She seemed very interested in it and wanted to explore more but another fish moving on the other side of the tank scared her and me. we both flinched, she returned to her hole, no ink, and I removed my hand. I think it was successful.

I picked up some live shrimp today. they were $1.50/dozen so I grabbed 2 dozen, I dropped eight in the tank live and froze the rest for later. So far Legs is the only one in the tank not stalking a shrimp. Even my little hawkfish is following one twice his size around. I'm sure she will figure it out.
CaptFish;139049 said:
So far Legs is the only one in the tank not stalking a shrimp. Even my little hawkfish is following one twice his size around. I'm sure she will figure it out.


Octane (one of my two hummelinckis) never showed an interest while we watched and the shrimp would be alive in the tank for a week or more and then just disappear (as will likely be the case with your fish as Legs grows). Is the new tank for the other critters perchance? You have a lot of nice fish that will likely be an expensive dinner eventually.

I am not sure what will happen with a group all swimming in the tank. I keep several tanks operational so the food has a place to go separately and is only added to the octo tanks as the nights meal. There has been some discussion about over feeding and shortening longevity but we really don't have a good formula. Neal and I are trying a one day a week fast for all the tanks (really hard to do sometimes and tonight SueNami got a little crab 'cause he was looking at us during dinner with accusing eyes).

Try putting your camera on a tripod to see if you can get some contact shots. I am hoping she will be more like the hummelincki and less like SueNami as you experiment with contact. We have a thread on Octo bite and you will note that very few keepers are bitten. However, not many go through the attempt to train them to come to be petted so my encouragement (note I did not suggest this - at least not directly :sagrin: - but I do have a couple of posts detailing my mostly successful method) might up the numbers.

Well most notable thing is how big she is getting. her mantle is about 2" and when she stretches out tip to tip she is about 16". while free swimming she is about 4" :octopus2:

Things are going great! 'Legs' is steadily feeding on both frozen shiners and Live shrimp. I haven't seen her actually catch a shrimp but I know she is getting them, as I saw her eating one. :sink:

So far her relationship with the other members of her tank are quite symbiotic. most of the time they pay no attention to her, and likewise she pays no mind to them. Lately she likes to swim around and school with the other fish in the tank while I feed them. She likes to swim around just like they do. She will do a few passes around the tank then settle on her perch rock and wraps around it and proceeds with her color changing. The hawkfish and puffer fish do a good job of cleaning up the shiner and shrimp parts that she does not eat, and she cleans up the parts that the anemones don't eat.
So Far, Octopus with other fish is a success.....

She now constantly changes colors, regardless of the camera or what camera I use. Even while eating she like to strobe.
The continuous color changing is an unusual report. SueNami only changes when he is startled, sees movement (which may amount to the same thing) or the dogs are in the room. He makes a distinction between the dogs and people (my dogs are very large - Irish wolfhound and Newfoundland). He does not like the dogs and will usually freeze when he spots them and not resume his activities until we send them out of the room. I still think you will loose fish as he grows based upon some of what I have read about other animals that were not problems with their natural prey while they were young (a great white at Monterey aquarium is the first that comes to mind). Since you are cycling another tank, hopefully you can arrange an alternate home for Legs if you start seeing aggressive behavior in either direction. Hopefully Animal Mother will chime in as he kept Kalypso from a very young octo in a somewhat more active environment than SueNami's tank. I would recommend against adding new fish in any case as there does seem to be something about preexisting animals vs adding something new (true with aggressive fish as well) that is assumed to be food.

Has Legs continued with any kind of contact? I am not aware of any briareus keeper who have tamed them enough to see them come up for gentle petting (there are some cute films of Kalypso trying to escape or eat AM though) like the hummelincki but I am curious to see if they will interact in the same manner. I believe SueNami is not a normal example (and we still might get there) because of his eye sight but Legs might be a good candidate.

Picture please!!!!

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