[Octopus]: Mac (a bimac journal)


Feb 12, 2013
New bimac arrived! Settling in well.
First things first -- @Tomh is fantastic to deal with. Really excellent.

I'll name him/her Mac, because it's the simplest thing I could think of.

I had turned off my chiller and let my tank temperature drift up to room temperature (69F), to minimize the temperature shock when transferring him into the tank from the acclimation bucket. Probably unnecessary, but I'm paranoid about stressing out the octopus. Once he was in, I put the chiller back on, which cools the tank down at around 1 degree per hour. I've got the thermostat set to 65, and it cuts on at 67 -- so the temperature slowly oscillates between 65 and 67.

Mac arrived in great health. I acclimated him(?) with a drip setup for about an hour (periodically removing water as the tank water dripped in), then dumped out most of the water and poured Mac into the tank.

Here is the acclimation setup and the new arrival:
032724 acclimation setup.png

032724 acclimating.png
A couple of quick videos of Mac getting used to his new home.
My apologies about the light -- my bow-front tank strategically reflects everything within a 100-foot radius. The videos are recorded at high resolution (4k, 2160p), so be sure that YouTube is playing them back at the highest res for you.

My interpretation is that he's curious, but really just looking for a nice cozy spot to settle into after a long day of trave.
Mac has found a nice place to settle in, digging a cave below a large flat rock. Lucky for me (or maybe by his choice), it's right at the front of the tank. I can see him all the time, and he can keep an eye on the room.

032824 at home.jpg

A couple of videos -- first, just a nice closeup, to really see what beautiful skin and patterns he has. Again, make sure you view this at the highest res if you're using a large screen!

Next, a half-hearted attempt at hunting, but ultimately giving up either due to not being hungry enough or still not being fully confident to leave home (I'm guessing, obviously).
Eating so far: hermit crabs and fiddler crabs from @Tomh, and a couple of clams from Whole Foods. Possibly snails too (plenty in my tank) but I'm not sure about those.
A couple of simple videos:

First, just one minute of the octopus sitting at home, just breathing. No action whatsoever:
I hadn't noticed the interesting patterning on his "chest" before. Hopefully he's supposed to look like that!

Next, a short video of a very easy crab hunt:
I'm trying to introduce him to glass bottles, to maybe try some hunting challenges, but so far he's too shy to reach in.

Finally, a nice still of Mac at home:
033024 at home.jpg

You can see that he's added quite a bit of decor to the front porch.
Mac has spent a lot of time just chilling in his comfortable cave, keeping an eye on the room. However, each day he gets a little more curious, reaching tentacles out a little more often, and exploring periodically. Here he is coming back home after a little exploring. Such great colors! What a beauty.
I'm hoping to get Mac onto a diet of at least some store-bought food, since importing live fiddler/hermit crabs gets expensive!

The first attempt is a golf-ball sized (live) clam from Whole Foods. I scrubbed the outside of the shell and then soaked it in tank water (in a pint-sized takeout container) for about an hour, and then tried to pry open the shell. The clam was strong! Enough so that the shell broke, but I left the broken piece in place, and put the clam into the tank right next to Mac, to see if he was interested at all.

The video is pretty short, but essentially Mac showed no interest. I left him alone for about 30 minutes and then basically gave up, and went to take the clam back out of the tank.

As you can see, I had misinterpreted the situation, and I guess Mac had just been sleeping, or in any case didn't realize that it was a big clam dinner right in front of him. When I went to take it out, he suddenly realized what it was, and was very interested...
He's pretty strong! He didn't seem to have any trouble pulling off the broken shell (about 1 minute in).

Also, he is an impressive eater -- by the time he was done, that shell was perfectly clean!

Here are a couple of photos of his post-meal food coma.

033024 food coma 2.jpg

033024 food coma 3.jpg
I'm trying to introduce Mac to clear containers, to eventually add some challenges to his feeding. He has had a little trouble figuring out why he can't get at the crab directly (with the glass in the way), but here is the first meal where he was able to reach into the glass to find his prey. The hermit quickly realizes that he's in trouble, but it's too late. It's also clear the exact moment when Mac realizes that he's got a live one and not just a shell.

A few movies of Mac just out and about exploring. He doesn't seem to be shy or stressed at all -- though, admittedly, I may not be able to truly tell.

Finally, another clam from the seafood market. Like the first one, I broke the shell trying to pry it open. View on a big screen if possible to see Mac in all his colorful glory. He had no problem finishing this seemingly enormous meal.
I got a batch of hermit crabs from tropicshells.com . Quite a reasonable price, but shipping is expensive! I got 50 "medium" for $0.88 each, but I asked them to mix in half "small", because I didn't know how big they would really be. They're BIG! I'm glad I asked for half at the smaller size. (The image shows them in a hardware store utility bucket.)


Mac is very excited about the hermit crabs, and goes after them with gusto! I'm trying to get him used to eating from glass, and he's still figuring out how to navigate it, and why there is this strange invisible force field sometimes separating his arm from his dinner...

Eventually he settles in for a meal, which gave me a chance for a nice closeup shot.
Quick video of hermit-crab capture. He has been hanging out in the rockwork lately, and not in the cave that he dug out earlier (and that's where he takes his crab to eat). I think it gives him the right balance of protection but also good views of his surroundings.


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