Merkury - O.briareus

Cerulean

GPO
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Aug 10, 2010
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Day 1

Hello,

A little background info about me. I'm a lifetime hobbyist (first freshwater aquarium received as a birthday gift when I was 10, and except for a few short months during my "dark periods" lol! I have had one ever since). I graduated to saltwater in my early 20s, and have had as many as 7 going at one time ( I do not reccomend!) I am now 40, and I currently am down to only one tank (technically) at this writing (90G Bowfront Reef with Fish). I have wanted an octopus for at least the last 10 years,. but due to living inland, and other factors, I was unable to make the plunge. That all changed on Saturday. This is my first octopus. I believe she (for now) is a Briareus. I am fortunate enough to have first hand knowledge of her origins (the middle Florida Keys) where she was collected by a commercial diver/wholesaler. According to him she made her way up his well pump and through several feet of plumbing where she was able to find his cache of live snails (lunch!). When I found her, she was sitting in an open top tank staring out at me from atop her perch on a piece of PVC pipe. Of course, I knew I had to have her.

So, with no foreknowledge of her species, age or anything else, I took her home with me (15 hour drive bagged in a styrofoam cooler with a half frozen bottle of water keeping her metabolism down for the trip) along with a few other species that I procured from the same location. Not too shabby for $20 and gas money home (I must admit, I was heading that way anyway, so I can hardly count the latter as a cost of acquisition). :smile:

But I haven't named her yet, she has only been in her species tank for about 12 hours. It's a 46g bowfront half filled (safety precaution) and taped shut with a Fluval 350 running in it. It's the biggest tank and best filter I had at the time that wasn't in use.

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The tank is pretty bare right now. I put about 17 gallons in it from my reef tank, and gave her a big fake rock to hide in as well as a few live rock from my host tank. I gave her a Nassarius snail, a hermit crab, and an emerald crab to eat. She devoured the emerald crab within minutes of introducing it to the tank (remains seen in the foreground of the second picture).

I also have a video I will upload as soon as You tube Mobile stops acting up on my home network.

As I said, I believe she is a Briareus due to her mottling, green coloring and underlying iridescence, but I am open to suggestion. Her mantle is about the size of a quarter right now and she has a full armspan of almost a foot when fully stretched out.

Thanks for reading about my new little Briareus. :smile:
 

OB

Colossal Squid
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First and foremost, :welcome: Cerulean!

One emerald crab at least can no longer attest of your new found friend having definitely survived its trip in good shape; so far, so good. The quasi/non cycled tank you are housing it in, might spell a problem, however. Did you prepare it impromptu, or was it already (partly?) up and running? Your post suggests the first, rather than the latter, henceforth query. This is where the experienced keepers will chime in, no doubt...
 

Cerulean

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Thanks, I hadn't thought of the quasi cycling as being a problem yet, but you are correct. I do need a little more in there than the water and rocks. And no, you are also correct regarding the impromptu nature of all this. I did not go to the Keys looking for an Octopus! I just couldn't resist when presented with the temptation though.

For some reason the links are not working to my images.

8r3nMx

8r3nMK
 

DWhatley

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:welcome:I see you found the direct post for photos. It is the preferred method as we lose pictures when people change hosting sites. Your new ward definitely looks briareus.

Getting a larger stable environment should be an immediate priority (and adding more water and O2 to her temporary home). My immediate concern is for the amount of oxygen in the water and your ability to remove the ammonia that will follow shortly. If the canister return is underwater, raising it above the water line to create a cascade will help but octos need lots of O2 (more than an equivalently sized fish) and you need to create CO2 exchange quickly. While she is in an enviornment that cannot convert the ammonia, daily water changes will help with both issues.

She will need something around 65 gallons in a short time (larger is great, smaller will not work well). She will also need more than a single mithrax in a day immediately. The easiest inland available food will be raw frozen table shrimp. Most of our octos will take this from a feeding stick (either the official acrylic kind, or a plain bamboo skewer) once they are old enough (she likely is but offer a piece about half her mantle size to start). The live staple we inlander's feed is typically fiddler crabs and she should get as least some live food each week. If you don't have a local source, Paul Sachs is a very reliable on-line supplier. There are a few other suggestions and suppliers listed in the Sources for Cephalopods and Food forum.

Just so you are not tempted to put her in the 90 gallon, I recommend CaptFishes new article as part of your reading. If you will explore the Journals and Photos forum you will see several "List of Our Octopuses" stickies. The lists show the species of octopuses and from 2008 forward contain links to the individual journals. For general considerations, look through our articles section (from the front page) and the Tank Talk forum for set up discussions.

Hopefully this will get you started on a successful path. We like to see people do some reading first but are glad to help when spontaneity leads people here.
 

Cerulean

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Thanks for all your suggestions. I did install the tank return about a foot above water level, so there is movement in the tank. I hadn't planned on doing a water change until next week, but I will test the amonia levels to monitor the spike (if I get one). I think I will add some filter media from my 90 gallon to the Octo's canister filter, and add a little live sand to the bottom of her tank as well. Beyond that, I'm not sure what else I can do.

By the way, she is hiding this morning and I can't find her anywhere in the tank. The giant plastic rock I have in there is hollow inside with holes on the underside, so she is probably in there.

Thanks, again
 

DWhatley

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Briareus are considered crepuscular (early PM and AM active) but I have seen most of mine active through the night. Getting her trained to eating at regular time will work well toward both seeing her and interacting. Young octopuses of all species are typically very shy. Some grow to be very interactive while other stay aloof (the younger they enter an aquarium the more interactive they seem to become, since I have two tank born hatchlings, it will be interesting to see if this remains true). All seem to learn feeding time but time and patience (lots of patience) are required as they don't change overnight and they don't act like fish.

I would suggest that you do water changes before you see ammonia. Octopuses are more sensitive to ammonia and nitrite than fish or corals and can be permenantly damaged or die if exposed to detectable amounts of either for even a short period of time. I hope you are planning a larger tank for her. We have never had a successful briareus in your current configuration. If she will be in this tank awhile, adding water volume and giving her more places to den are a minimum. I would also suggest adding a koralia for more circulation. I am not sure that adding sand will be a benefit and could easily make the situation worse by trapping food particles but not providing much in the way of conversion. The octopuses we keep in aquariums - including the large public ones - are benthic animals and rarely swim. They need plenty of hiding, crawling and hunting places. The stuctures can be man made but you can't keep the water quality at a healthy level without strong biological filtration and regular water changes.

There are two long running journals on briareus that were placed in aquariums very young (younger than this one) that you might want to read. The oldest is Kalypso's journal, kept by Animal Mother and the more recent is Legs, kept by CaptFish. Going though these two journals will give you a condensed picture over the lifespan and help visualize the growth rate, some of the needs and interactions for this species.

To enjoy viewing nocturnal activity, you may want to add a red light to the tank. They will disappear if you turn on white light at night but seem to tolerate the red with little difficulty and I leave one on in one tank 24/7 (I have not replaced the red light over the second tank but plan to do so soon, for the moment, I use a red flashlight to find and feed the little hatchling in that aquarium). It is interesting to note that the hatchling in the tank with the constant red light currently chooses to den on the side with the lighting even though a totally dark area is available.
 

Cerulean

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Thanks again for the suggestions. I was planning on a bigger tank, but not immediately. Ideally, I was looking for an old discontinued Oceanic 60 hex as I really like that look. Do you think a difference of 20 gallons will make that big of a difference, and if so, could I make up the difference with a 20 gallon sump in the interim? When you say no one has successfully kept a Briareus in my current setup, do you mean tank size or a short-cut cycled tank?

I also took part of the water out and added more new back in than I took out today (2.5 gallons) removed the dead crab pieces, and added the filter media from the established reef tank to the canister of the 46. No live sand added at this time. Thinking of adding more live rock instead.

I tested the water as well and it's still within the parameters of the host tank (zeros across the board). Do you think daily water changes are best? If so, I will have to get more water from my LFS. I only use RO (no DI). :octopus2::octopus2:

Keeping my fingers crossed.
 

CaptFish

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Do you think a difference of 20 gallons will make that big of a difference, and if so, could I make up the difference with a 20 gallon sump in the interim?

The sump will help as octopuses require a lot of filtration but they also need room to move around. My briareus had a arm spread of over 4'. I had her in a 125 gal. tall.

When you say no one has successfully kept a Briareus in my current setup, do you mean tank size or a short-cut cycled tank?

That size.
 

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