Lir - Octopus ?

Hi Crabcrusher, and welcome to Tonmo! It's a little overwhelming when you first get started ceph keeping, and disappointing when you hop on to this site and find that your planning and research isn't as accurate as you thought. D and Cuttlegirl are two of the most experienced and helpful of all of us, and I'd have to agree with their comments so far. Know that all of the advice here comes with lots of friendly support!

Regardless of what you have, you have one. It is normal to have to experiment with what your octo will eat- and even if you do have a positive ID, you still might have to try several things to be successful with that particular animal. Once you get all of those fish out of there, you can try stick feeding it a small chunk of raw shrimp from the grocery store.

BTW, I think D is right about hummelincki, keep looking for dark blue eyespots. As mentioned, the ID is more important when it comes to knowing the correct temp, because a hummelincki and a GPO (as your supplier listed) have TOTALLY different temp requirements! And that's just for starters!!! Once again, when you get all of the fish out of there, it will be more comfortable and hopefully come out more. The more pics & video, the easier it is for others to help you ID.

Don't worry about any beginning mistakes, we are not criticizing, just trying to help you make the best environment possible for your new friend! I can't tell you how much more LR I have in my octo tank than I used to. The more you live with them, the more you find yourself getting excited about the perfect chunk of LR and not even noticing the fish at your LFS. This year for X-mas, my girls each got me a new piece of Texas Holey rock, shapes chosen for octo dens.

Good luck and keep us posted!
Thanks for toning down the comments @sedna. None of us intend to come across heavy handed but we are so used to seeing new keepers being somewhat misdirected on an environment that often our first posts seem to be critical when they are meant to be helpful.

There is a sticky in the Octopus Care forum where we try to keep a list of links of longer discussions with new keepers.

I am pretty sure this little guy is not Marginatus, mostly because we don't see them and know that they have shipping difficulties ( as observed by @Thales when collecting and caring for them at the California Academy of Sciences, they do well in tanks, but have some odd issues with survival in between). I also think this is a warm water species so best guess is that you are good with temperature.

The eating twice a day (and alternately not eating at all - the former being much better), is typical of a newly acclimated animal. The first two weeks are the most critical and I have found that if they survive for a full 14 days, there is an excellent chance they will live out a normal life (which is sadly quite short - 12-18 months from hatching and most will be a minimum of 5 months old when caught) in a healthy tank. Full acclimation takes about a month and you will see definite behavioral changes at about that time. Often they seem more "friendly" during the first month but become more reclusive afterwards. They may or may not become human interactive afterwards, much depends on the individual animal and the amount of human time spent in front of the tank.

Hopefully, you will continue to journal your experience with Lir. If you would like, I can move this thread to the journals forum and alter the title to include his/her name.
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Morning! After a rough day yesterday Lir seems to be back to normal. I underestimated catching fish with nets, 3hrs later I had them all out. Then it was off to scour more live rock. No eating or exploring happened yesterday, I had planned on it being just a settling day but the rock situation may have hindered that. This morning he was out exploring and snacked on a hermit out in the open so I think he's getting more comfortable. I have seen bipedal walking three times across the tank now, which I still felt was indicative of a marginatus. Yet today I noticed a spot that could be a false eye, sorry for the quality but the photos are below. He definitely seems to want to interact with us while we're in the tank, every time I reach in for something he comes out of hiding and either inspects what I'm doing or offers a tentacle to help/shake hands.

Sorry to get so defensive and thanks for all the help this far. Feel free to move this to journals and amend the title.


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Lol, had a feeling it would take a while...
It was pretty rugged. Ended up removing almost all of my rock and trying to herd them to one side. They aren't the smartest though; in the refugium they've all made it through the cascades to the skimmer and pump areas. They're staying there until I can get things settled up top. Lir seems to be happy today though, exploring and eating. I can't tell if that spot in the pics is really a false eye spot or not though. When he's sleeping he's very veined and has a Caribbean Reef Octopus bluish and purple coloring. I'll try to sneak a pic tonight.
Definitely not a Common Caribbean (O. briareus). Very different skin texture, proportions and coloration. The red of briareus is generally more of a peach color though it can get quite dark brown, no purplish coloration at all though and it does not have the ability to display the pronounced papillae you see in the skin texture (only very numerous small humps). Did you try the link I gave that will show all the hummelincki journals (post 14)? Both behavior and general looks seem right (except seeing the eyespots - the images in the journals will help identify where to look).

The most famous bi-pedal walking videos are of Abdopus aculeatus as reported by Dr. Christine Huffard (@mucktopus). Since that news though we have seen several species appear to do something similar (though not as long and not as free style). I have seen other references that have mislabeled the bipedal videos as Amphioctopus marginatus but here is one of the original videos Crissy made during her PhD work on aculeatus:

I found a paper, on Bipedal Octopuses, authored by @mucktopus that mentions the bipedal walking of both aculeatus and marginatus and briefly mentions the differences between the two.
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Hey DH, I did look over the other Hummelincki Journals, but I can't see the tell-tale false eye-spots. The fact that Lir has exhibited a true bipedal motion, with the other tentacles tucked underneath, and the diet/times of activity combined with the region all the other merch. was from still has me leaning towards the O. Marginatus. Plus all of this, my octo wasn't shipped, it was pulled from a boat which it was caught on and put directly into a tank, then picked up and brought directly to me (about a 6hr drive). Either way, I'm glad he/she is eating again and back to a somewhat normal schedule. I completely agree about LFS not knowing what they're buying, much less selling. In fact, I had the chance to purchase a Wunderpus instead of this fella, but think I made the right decision going with this guy.
I try to study the clues to identifying octos so bare with me on looking at the different traits.
One of the things I have found that helps eliminate or can be added to traits is the tip color that often shows at the edge of the suckers. Lir's are purple (hummelincki and aculeatus are both purple as are many others where bimaculoides and tetricus tips are orange - mostly somewhat useful when two animals are hard to tell apart in photos). Unfortunately, all of them can display white but when they display color on the tips, it always the same color. So, I went searching for verified images of marginatus. I have yet to locate the tip color but did find this video for you. I knew @Thales had collected martinatus in the Philippines a couple of years ago (and I got to see a pair in their old age at TONMOcon V) but forgot that he made this.

and here is another close up of marginatus from our Cephalopod video thread

both videos show white sucker tips so they are not helpful but this image in Wikipidia
also shows white AND the animal has colored its suckers. Combining the three, I suspect the tip color is always white.

Eyes are also a trait (again hard to pin down in images where watching one in person gives a better observation) and I still feel the eyes are not marginatus. Aculatus does show a star burst around the eye but Roy (@Neogonodactylus) knows these animals well so I am still stuck on a comfortable ID. The fun in the guess the octopus species game is that finding the telling details is difficult.

I edited post #23 to include a link to a paper I found where @mucktopus mentions and briefly describes the bipedal walk of marginatus.
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Sorry I've been MIA guys, I work internationally and just flew back to work. Always takes me a few days to get adjusted to the other side of the world. I'll try to post new pics from my phone, but Lir seems to be adjusting very well. He's filthy though, making my tank go crazy. Now that he's settled I'd completely agree that he's an Aculeatus btw, the pics should confirm it for you guys as well. He's been really active daily lately and is a pig, any crustaceans I've put in he's nabbed right up. I've cut back to feeding him to about twice/week to help cut down on the ammonia content of my tank. I think twice a week should be an ample feeding schedule. With the ammonia going up so have my nitrates and nitrites which is affecting my corals, I'm boosting the system with supplements, changing filters, upping my water changes and testing my water even more frequently. He seems to be doing great, it's just the rest of the tank that's suffering. Even my starfish has developed something on one of his arms. There's two particularly rare/expensive pieces of coral I'm trying to revive currently that I REALLY don't want to lose (Australian Elegance and an Australian Chalice) so we'll see how they fair.
I am still not comfortable with species but I am far from an expert. There are several animals in the Abdopus complex and potentially several not named so if it is Australian, it may be related but still not aculeatus. Lir looks (and pictures can be deceiving, especially without clear size references) more robust (thicker mantle and arms - also arm length to mantle ratio) than the aculeatus we normally see. Of the animals I have kept, Lir most resembles the Caribbean O. hummelinki but you should have seen an eyespot by now. We do have a few that the ID is never comfortably confirmed:oops:

Seeing ammonia and nitrite is a factor of the tank age and the best you can do (as you are doing) is to very diligently change out the water several times a week and hope :fingerscrossed: that the denitrifying bacteria grows to accommodate the bio-load before you lose the animals.

As much as hobbyists want a "natural" looking tank, it is important to understand that our slice of the ocean is NOT natural and we have to limit what we put together. Corals and octopuses don't do particularly well together, in part because of the bio-load but also because octopuses don't go around things. Their climbing ON corals is problematic for both the corals and the octopuses in a small enclosure . All corals sting, some more than others. Frequent contact or potent stings can irritate the octopuses skin eventually leading to infection so we try to emphasize that octopuses need a species only tank. Another term you can google is aquarium multi tank syndrome (MTS for short):sagrin:.
I thought the same thing about the proportions! Even the coloring seems a little darker on Lir than other Alcuteas. I'm fine with whatever he is honestly. The tank was doing phenomenally until he got in and started eating a lot. Do you think twice/week is enough? He just ate a larger turbo snail from the clean up crew this morning. I didn't expect him to tackle that until he was bigger. The coral for the most part can and probably will come out, I already have MTS and have been looking for bigger tanks lol.

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