[Octopus]: Mr. Ocho (O.Bimaculoides)

sedna

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Umm, the white stringy stuff was most likely poop. Yes, they can poop “at you!” 🤣. It looks a lot like white “silly string.”

They lay eggs in a den, which they usually take several days to make. It’s different than a regular den in that every tiny shell and rock available will be blocking any entrance. The female doesn’t usually leave the brooding den, but sometimes in captivity they will reach out an arm to accept food, but not always.

I’ve never seen a male by itself “throw” a spermatophore. I think you got pooped at because he didn’t appreciate you Lego offering! LOL
 

pkilian

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@Spinelli1 That's great to hear! @sedna could be correct with their poop guess. The reason I leaned toward spermatophores or failed egg laying is because typically I see bimac poop that's brown/reddish/black, and while it does look stringy like that photo, usually there is a more compact piece forming the "body" of the poop, and your photos just showed the strings. Additionally, the white globules in the photo look like unfertilized, underdeveloped eggs. Like I said earlier, it'll be hard to tell without sexing the animal, but I digress.

About your chiller - one tip to increase the efficacy of a chiller is to reduce flow into and out of the chiller. The water will spend more time in contact with the cooling coils, meaning you may be able to get those few more degrees you need out of it. I recommend fussing with the chiller a bit more- it can really increase the lifespan of your octo!

Keep up the good work and I look forward to hearing more updates!
 
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@pkilian yes I think @sedna was correct and it was poop. Makes sense to me. There were only little small clumps in it at points but maybe he was being underfed? I only had been feeding shrimp once a day. Maybe a thumbnail size piece. Now he ate 2 crabs (1 every other day) and some shrimp in between so if he throws it again I'll see if it increased the texture.

He also seemed to have calmed himself and has been a little more dormant in his den for the day after eating a crab. Perhaps he is stuffed and more complacent/digesting.

Got a water change coming Wednesday so I may do another crab that morning so the water change/cleanup happens afterward. His den area looks like someone went to red lobster, went nuts and nobody is around to clean the table
 

pkilian

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You might be able to feed them a bit more if you wanted to. It'll be harder on your system because of the increased waste, but it may be a good thing to try if you continue to see a lot of exploratory and escape behavior (crawling around on the glass, and spending a lot of time at the air water interface). Often octos will try to escape if they feel their needs aren't being met in the tank you have.

Alternatively, you could feed every other day and double or triple the amount you are feeding now. It'll be hard to tell, but you can gauge their food needs by paying attention to the amount they take until they start rejecting food. You don't need to worry about over feeding them!

Additionally, if you want to do any cleanup in between the times when your tank person comes, I'd recommend a small net or a turkey baster to scoop/suck out the crab bits. They can (and will) grow bacterial mats if you leave them too long so its usually best to take them out after a few days.
 
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Thank you for the turkey baster idea! That may easily pick up the crab leg particles.

My only problem is the tank is so deep I cannot reach the bottom. With a nice turkey baster i may get there with my whole arm in the tank so that would work. I'm gonna try that tomorrow before my tank guy arrives.
 

B_Walsh

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I really enjoy these updates! Just wanted to pop in with some other solutions for scooping out the remnants of meals:
-a long net
-a python hose/vacuum hose (if you're comfortable doing this without your tank guy)
-a "coral feeder," which is essentially just an extra long turkey baster
 
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Update! 11/26

Mr. Ocho is doing great!

We have been feeding him the crabs occasionally with frozen shrimp in between. We are looking to give him some mental stimulation and keep him occupied. Any ideas would be amazing.

We did try to give him a crab in a jar with a lid. He had no interest. He tried to grab the crab a few times and then left. It was a twist jar. Maybe we will try a different type.

Mr Ocho is out and about a lot during the day. Usually just hanging around or sitting on the mug watching the outside world.

If we tap the glass he will reach to us before sliding over against the glass where we are. His color changing is very apparent. We have seen pretty white when he is outside his cave, darker near the rocks, and when in the back of the tank he goes almost true black as he blends into the black tank back wall.

If he eats a crab he usually doesn't come out the next day. He sits at the edge of his den with his head half out and just stays there digesting. As he gets hungry he gets more active it seems.

We havent seen any more poop throwing and it def wasnt eggs which we witnessed last week.

The escape behavior at night has no come back. We have seen him active once since then at night but not the same glass climbing behavior. Today, we did see him at the top of the tank feeling around. I feel more to explore than to escape for a few reasons. 1) we just had a water change a few days ago. Levels are great. Salinity is great (I have been aiming more towards the top range as I know they need full ocean salinity) last week the salinity was much lower. Towards the lower end of acceptable which could have been spurring that escape behavior. 2) he ate a little piece of shrimp and retired back to his save for a few hours. Then resumed just hanging out on the mug as normal. He never was swimming around anymore. So I'm starting to contribute the more active 'searching' to a hunger sign.

Heres a few good vids:

 
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The first video above you can see multiple patterns and some color changing/flickering. He flickers black a lot when scared or nervous. You also can see his Ocelli goes from very light to as black and dark as can be in an instant.

The 2nd video he gets caught on cam doing a nosedive into his old den. Look closely and as he lands he does a quick color change.

I forgot to also mention we see a lot of texture changes. Primarily smooth and very spikey,
Almost urchinesce.

Also didnt report we got the water dow to 64. Sometimes 63 but when the heat pumping in the office right now, 64 is mostly what the chiller gets it to.

We tried giving him legos but they float. We got it to stay but he didnt go to them. 2 days later my son visited and wanted his Legos back. (Hes 3 and not a good sharer yet)

If you have any suggestions for toys, puzzles or anything to keep him busy or to interact with, please let me know.
 

pkilian

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Great update! I'm happy to hear that you've been able to drop the temperature of your tank!

On the topic of enrichment and mental stimulation: (this can be a tricky subject, and many people have their own opinions on the matter, if anyone disagrees with anything I say I would be more than happy to chat about it. I think there can be a lot of misconceptions about octopus intelligence and enrichment needs, and I believe open discourse is very important) -- I think that your octopus probably does not need any sort of additional mental stimulation (toys, puzzles, etc.). The main reason is simply that these animals would never experience these types of stimulation in the wild. There are no rubix cubes in the ocean, and there aren't any legos or jars filled with crabs either. People love to give things to octos, watch them struggle with it, and say "wow look at it play with the toy!" which I think is a gross anthropomorphisation of their prey-manipulation behavior.
Octopuses are prey-driven animals, and they are foragers, which means that they have a natural tendency to explore their environment, as well as any new things that are added to the environment. This means that of course they will grab and manipulate most things that are put into their tank. Does this mean that the animal is playing? Or is it just exploring a novel item to find out if its edible?

We don't know if octopuses get "bored" in the sense that humans do, but to prescribe boredom on an animal and give it random toys to play with is a very human-centric way of thinking (eg: if I were in the octopuses situation, I would be bored. Therefore, the octopus must also be bored, so I should give it a toy)

I think the most "natural" way to provide enrichment to your animal is to diversify the food that you give it, rather than give it frustrating challenges that it doesn't understand (eg: crab in a jar).
In addition to varying your feeds, you can also change up the aquascaping in the tank every few months to give the animal a new environment to explore. Alternatively, you could try to hide crabs in new spots in the tank to give the animal something to hunt for.

Either way, octopus enrichment is a much-contested topic. I am in the camp of people who think they probably don't need any sort of puzzles or toys because they would never experience these things in the wild, but I am very open to discussion and happy to hear the opinions of others.
 

tonmo

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Great discussion.
There are no rubix cubes in the ocean, and there aren't any legos or jars filled with crabs either.
I guess my thoughts on that are, "yeah, but in the ocean they are free to migrate to unknown / unexplored areas... a tank is a stunted environment; enrichment helps keep it interesting." I love the stories on TONMO of octos watching TV with caretakers. To your point, enrichment comes in many forms...
I think the most "natural" way to provide enrichment to your animal is to diversify the food that you give it, rather than give it frustrating challenges that it doesn't understand (eg: crab in a jar).
Great point and other ideas in your post!
 
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