• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

Mental Stimulation & Temp Questions

Jul 27, 2007
I know birds are very intelligent and must be kept mentally stimulated, otherwise they will literally go crazy. It's very sad to watch. They may mutilate themselves or bang their heads against their cage or any number of other terrible things. But then again, birds can live for twenty years, even eighty or more depending on the species, so they're obviously very different.

How does that work with Octis? I did read that you should put rocks and pipes in the tank to keep them occupied, is that really enough? I feel that it is very important to provide the best possible quality of life for an animal if you're going to keep it as a pet.

Even mice need enrichment - it's been shown over and over that mice and rats that live in an enriched environment have better mental health and are smarter overall.

ALSO, after reading through several pages of the forums, I wonder if I might not be able to get an Octi after all. My house is always very warm, because it is very old and the insulation needs to be replaced. There is a five degree temperature difference between the ceiling and the floor, according to my air conditioner repairman. I also have the crank-style windows, which are not very good at keeping air in or out, so I keep the thermostat at 78 during the summer and the AC runs just about all day. I can't afford to keep it any lower, my power bill is about $250 a month during the summer (and my house is only about 900 square feet)! During the winter when I can turn off the AC my power bill drops to $80-100 a month. :P Anyway, I inferred from some of my reading that cooling the tank isn't enough, that the whole environment needs to be cooler, is that true?
rocks and such alone isn't enough(in most cases). many people like to put baby safe toys in their octopus tanks and play games, and some octos seem to even like watching the tv (: they also get enrichment from catching live food. you could go with a warmer water species such as O. briareus but even with a briareus its a good idea to have a fan or something blow over the water (not leaving the lid off of coarse, having a mesh top) or buy a chiller

iv never heard of their being a problem keeping the tank alone cool so long as you keep the temp stable.
We try for natural enrichment (because we release to the wild) so add shells, moveable rocks, seaweed etc also live food to excess is a form of enrichment as the octopus can hunt or not as it chooses.

If you manage to cool the tank, that should be enough. If you get a tropical species of octopus, 78 degrees would be fine. However, with a pump and other equipment, your tank is likely to run 3 or 4 degrees higher than the room temperature. A fan on the sump would probably be enough to keep it cool.

Yes, octopuses need enrichment, and lots of it. YOu can provide some of that yourself by playing with your octopus - if you read about Bidlde in the Jounals and Photos forum, you'll learn that Carol's son plays hide and seek with Biddle.

They like watching you, some watch TV, others like baby toys or something physical to play with. You can read on the past threads about what people have tried.

Live food provides a form of enrichment, too, it you don't just hand it to your octopus with tongs, but let him hunt for it.

My thoughts on enrichment... Enrichment is not necessary if you are able to provide a natural environment to the animal; any animal whether an octopus or an elephant. Enrichment is too easily confused with plain old good husbandry. As long as you are able to provide the octopus a den, or five, ample space for the size, and live food, enrichment really is not needed. Now there is certainly no harm, at least right now, in providing additional stimulation for the animal in the form of "toys" but it is not necessary.

You also need to identify what you want out of a pet octopus. If you want to play with it then you should definitely provide ample stimulation. My thoughts on keeping any animal is to have it live out its life span, if possible; feeding, reproduction, and death. That may be simplified a bit but reproductive success is really the "goal" in the wild. Perhaps additional enrichment places less emphasis on reproduction on captive octopus...

I would not say that I am against enrichment but I have reservations about something so widely recommended that is difficult to quantify, for cephalopods. Just keep a natural tank (dens, shells, etc.) and provide live food every so often and you should be fine.

The temperature problem should be fine. Fans work wonders.

Sorry to ramble.

soft plastic fishing lures are great toys for cephs minus the hooks of course but my octos have always loved them... they can attack pull and stretch them and they can even rip them to shreds if they are frustrated... kinda fun to watch
Thanks for the advice, everyone! I definitely plan to buy some kind of cooling system for the tank ... I don't want my future pet octi to overheat! I am glad that this should be enough.

Also, I will provide plenty of shells, rocks, and live food. I used to have a pet snake and at first I would give him food that I had freshly killed... but then I felt really bad about killing the baby mice so I just started putting them in the tank. Then again, that makes snakes more aggressive. I ended up giving the snake back to the pet store, as I could not manage to keep him hydrated enough. He kept shedding in small pieces, flaky, and would never shed in one nice piece. That meant he was too dry, but no matter what I did I couldn't seem to find a balance between humid enough and not too humid. I didn't want the tank to get moldy! So I gave him back to the pet store so they could find him a better home. :frown: His name was Dolphin, and he was a bal python.

I am so glad that I will still be able to keep an octi in my house, even though it is so warm. And I will definitely be using a sump!
Let me know if you actually try out the sub. We have been fantasizing about the same thing but I wanted to add a remote camera to the adventure (of course I wanted to add a ceiling duster to the small RC planes as well).
Wouldn't one of Rebecca's remote controlled cuttle fish be great? Instead of an RC Car, she could use an RC sub to make them Put them in a tank with fish (NOT cephs) and it could chase them around the tank! :sagrin:

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