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[Locked]: Controversial thread on low-end ceph keeping

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alexfevery

Cuttlefish
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Oct 18, 2006
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Hello, I have looked over this forum for a while and have seen alot of people asking about getting their first octopus tanks. Im not sure if this forum is only for questions. Or if I can start a new thread for this. Many people ask about if the cycling is needed and how to set up their tank, here is how I did it with bimacs.

how to sucessfuly set up a tank and got an octopus without the 3 months of cycling and for under $300 without killing anything(but the octopus will kill stuff). I did this sucessfully for 5 tanks. Unfortunatly this method is conpletly impracticle if you live more than 20 miles from a beach.

First the tank.

at petco or petsmart you can buy an aquarium package which includes 29 gallon tank, filter, hood, light, heater, and net for only $117. Some people say that you need at least a 50 gallon tank for an octopus, I have researched and tryed thru personal experiance and found this to be not true. an octopus that will fit inside a tissue box will be very happy in a 30 gallon tank.


when you buy it, make sure to look in the box to make sure the tank is not broken, happened to me first time and I had to drive back and exchange it.

then buy a steel frame 275lbs supporting stand-$48 probably only at petsmart.

buy 1 10lbs bag live sand-28$ and 1 10lbs bag ground coral substrate.
buy 1 40 gallon tank air pump and airstone with 8ft of tubing - $35

Many people say you MUST have protien skimming, I have found this to be not true so you can save yourself a 120 bucks but it will take a little more work. after feeding your octopus if you use a net to scoop out any debris protien skimming is not needed.

ok set up the tank acording to instructions, get rid of the heater, the bimac does much better in water under 70 degrees farenheight.

make sure to mix the coral and live sand when you put it in.

you should now have an empty aquarium with some live sand and ground coral in it.

now you can fill it.
Here is the part that can eliminate the 3 month cycling. Get a large container(same gallon capacity as your aquarium) and drive down to the beach. fill it with water that is colected in tumultous water 5 feet deep or less. 2 -3 feet is best. -leave the 29 gallon container in your car and use a bucket to make trips back and forth with water. fill the tank. - you can get the octopus on the same day as the water but I recomend waiting a day to make sure there are no problems. make sure the filter is cleaning the water properly and the air pump is oxygenating the water properly. do not worry if there are small shrimp or larvae swimming in the water you collected.

the next day wait until the sun has set and coordinate the time so you get to the beach right at low tide. bring a headlamp, a flashlight is harder but will work. Find the tide pools(usualy at points). search the tide pools for a california 2 spot octopus. You can be 90% sure that any octopus you find will be a California 2 spot. but just look for the 2 blue spots on either side of the head. find one with a bulb the size of a lemon. this means its about half way thru its life. If you can find a smaller one, even better but small ones are harder to spot. You will most likely spot it in the middle of the tidepool hunting, it will look like an out of place rock. Shine your light on it so it freezes. aproach it and grab it. they almost never even budge until you touch it. be gentle while you remove it not to damage the arms or suckers. Place it in a secure container until you get it home. Collect a few submerged rocks with as much stuff growing on them as possibe, these are live rocks and you should gather about 30 lbs worth, this will save you a few hundred dollars, find ones with good crevices or that fit together to form a nice cave. keep them wet until you get home. you will need one more thing. A tide pool sculpin. They are very interesting fish. They also helps to double as a protien skimmer by eating any debris the octopus leaves, they are easy to capture with a net. find one no bigger or smaller than about half the leanght and half the girth of the octopus you have captured, they get along great with octopuses and will not bother each other at all. It is critical to have one as an indicator to the saftey of the water, they are sensitive to water that is not safe. If the water is not right they will breathe eraticly, saves you money on buying water test kits.

Sculpin: http://www.crystalcovestatepark.com/Images/sculpin.gif

the last thing you will need is crabs, california 2 spot will eat crabs anywhere from 1/4 mantle size to 3/2 mantle size. They eat about 1 a night but you can switch them over to frozen shrimp 3 days after capturing it.

when you get home, put the rocks in and the sculpin, then wait 1/2 hour, if the sculpin is looking healthy it should be safe to put the octopus in. make sure to put him in carefully so he dosent ink in the water, ruining it. Ive never had one ink on me. after adding your octopus he will be very distraut and will look disoriented, breathe rapidly, and change to a dark color, and move around the tank climbing up the sides. Do not worry, turn off the lights in the room and leave. let him calm down. He will after about an hour settle down and find a hiding spot. I have never had any problems with escaping or even seen an octopus trying to escape, My current octopus tank has a large hole in the back where the filter goes the octopus could easily fit thru. but he never trys to leave. after a few hours and he has ajusted put a crab in, if he sees it and grabs at it that means he has ajusted, if he ignores it, take it out and leave the lights off another hour. then try again. I feed all of mine 1 crab or frozen shimp each night, they have large apitites. If for the first few days the octopus stays in its cave 24 hours a day that is normal. after a few weeks it should come out when it sees you or at night. feed the sculpin pieces of the frozen shrimp.

using seawater to keep your tank from having to cycle.
after the initial filling, every week take out 5 gallons of water and replace it with either more sea water or water you have mixed yourself. the water from the sea is already been cycled for millions of years so no initial cycling is necesary.

avoiding a protein skimmer:
the sculpin should eat some of the mess the octopus makes but whenever you see crab shells on the ground or octopus waste, scoop it out with a net.

remember, only 1 octopus per tank

I would like to hear if anybody has any conflicting information. And how other people have set up their octopus tanks. From my experiece they are not extremely hard creatures to keep and I am very happy to say I have never had one die on me. good luck on setting up your tank.

Im sorry if this kind of posting is not allowed. I am new to this forum.

alex
 

DHyslop

Architeuthis
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alexfevery;80927 said:
I would like to hear if anybody has any conflicting information. And how other people have set up their octopus tanks. From my experiece they are not extremely hard creatures to keep and I am very happy to say I have never had one die on me. good luck on setting up your tank.

Im sorry if this kind of posting is not allowed. I am new to this forum.

alex

:welcome:

Its not so much about "conflicting information" but how much margin for safety you have. It seems to me your technique is full of "ifs:" you can get by without a protein skimmer if the octopus never inks. You can get by with a tiny tank if the octopus doesn't grow very big. You can get by without sealing the top if the octo doesn't try to escape. Those things have happened to TONMO'ers in the past and just because they haven't yet happened to you doesn't mean you're safe (I wonder how many times Cory Lidle made the 'tight turn' at 120 knots before ever hitting a building?).

Preparing for these contingencies requires patience, maturity and husbandry; encouraging aquarists to be professional is good for them and above all for the animal. We have a responsibility to the animal to give them as good a home as reasonably possible. You can do the bare minimum to scrape by most of the time, or you can go all the way. Most of us on TONMO advocate the latter.

Dan
 

Nancy

Titanites
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Hi Alex and welcome to TONMO.com! :welcome:

Yes, it's OK to post your experiences in keeping octopuses. I don't doubt that you've been able to keep octopuses in this manner, but you've been very lucky. Most of us have experienced octos inking. Not many have expereinced their octos crawling out, but this is because we advise the tanks to be well sealed. We began to take this approach after losing a few bimacs (two-spot octopuses) to excape in the first years of this forum.

Yes, you could get away with a 30 gallon, provided your octopus doesn't grow too large, and some of our TONMO.com bimacs have grown large. However, if you live near the ocean, you always have a way out - return your octopus to the sea. Most of our octo keepers are too far inland and must rely on a tank set up designed with some margin of error.

Nancy
 

cthulhu77

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I will keep my trap shut on this one. Suffice to say, the conditions are less than perfect, which is what we actually strive for, so we can observe the octopus in it's natural habitat.
I suppose you could keep a hundred cats in one trailer too, and they would live...but...


Greg
 
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Jan 4, 2006
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This seems to much like the "Mimic Babies for sale-cheap" thread.

"an octopus that will fit inside a tissue box will be very happy in a 30 gallon tank."

Could you please elaborate on this statement. If an a ceph eats more than a grouper, has high surface area skin without the protection of scales, and one of the highest metabolic rates in the animal kingdom -how can a shoe box size animal live in a 30 gallon?

30 gallon sump of a wet/dry -maybe.

I will discuss more if and when I get a response. I applaud everyone for being so nice and considerate, but I have to address this.
 

marineboy

Wonderpus
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Dec 30, 2005
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I think people are taking the wrong approach on this by trying to defend the old fashioned way of keeping. everybody believes that just because it is not what we have all been told that it is automatically wrong. But in truth, have any of you even tryed this method before? You probably have just tryed the way everybody before you has done so you wouldn't know if it was the truth or not. So maybe you should give it a chance.
 

cthulhu77

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Oh, sure. Despite the fact that most of us:

A: do not live near the ocean
B: have decades of experience with different marine animals
C: have kept and maintained and even bred cephs

We should listen to :

Loss of filtration, lack of oxygenation, lack of space for normal healthy octopus lifestyle, etc, etc, etc.

I guess it comes down to whether you want to be an "octopus keeper" or someone who actually cares about them.

Your choice.
Mine is made.

Greg
 

DHyslop

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marineboy;80959 said:
I think people are taking the wrong approach on this by trying to defend the old fashioned way of keeping. everybody believes that just because it is not what we have all been told that it is automatically wrong. But in truth, have any of you even tryed this method before? You probably have just tryed the way everybody before you has done so you wouldn't know if it was the truth or not. So maybe you should give it a chance.

He doesn't have a special technique or method to be tried; rather he's going cheap and so far hasn't killed anything (or has he? Many adult bimacs are larger than that attained by the ones he's kept). You could probably put an octopus in a five gallon bucket with a power filter and it might survive for a couple months: should you try this "method" before concluding that its not the right way to do it?

It comes back to what Greg said: You can keep 100 cats alive in a trailer, but should you? Is keeping that many cats in a trailer a valid husbandry technique? Do we have the right to condemn the cats-in-the-trailer method without trying it? Get my drift? :wink:

Dan
 

alexfevery

Cuttlefish
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Oct 18, 2006
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25
very active forum,

I do not wish to get into arguments with people about what makes octopuses healthy. Some of you say I have been very lucky, I dont believe so.

When I first started octopus aquariums about 12 years ago, I knew nothing, I did not look at the internet, and got all my information from working at the marine institute where I live where I was in charge of feeding the institues 2 bimacs. I wanted my own so i tried the expensive method. 500$ and a store bought octopus. and while I dont doubt that it works, I kept my first octopus alive for 1 year before it died of old age. I have found, over years of trial and error that allot of the stuff that people claim is an absolute necesity is not so necesary.

The tank is among the worst of it. I have kept the same type and size of octopus in a 100, 50, 30 and even 20 gallon tank and they all do fine. Smaller than that and they become stressed which I noticed thru color diference. The rule I use is, place a thin(1mm- a dull pencil) line exactly at water level and then add the octopus, if the water is more than 1.5 mm heigher than when you added him then the tank is to small.

One person said I recomended not oxegenating, I did not. oxygen is one of the most important aspects to the well being. I think I recomended a pump for a 40 gallon tank.

protien skimming, does nothing for the octopus that the sculpin and a little work with your net after feeding wont do. I have tried with and without, I am not confirming this yet, because I have not tested enough, but skimming may have detrimental effects in the long term health of the octopus.
 

Scruffy

Pygmy Octopus
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Jul 18, 2006
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As far as I knew, part of the 50 gallon minimun 'rule' was because of the mess that gets made and not all down to the size the octopus will grow to? Although that must be a large factor.
 
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