My Blue Ring =)...

tjw13

Pygmy Octopus
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First I realize the obvious reasons why these creatures seem like terrible pets in the eyes of many. For me however, owning Molly (my female blue ring occy), was the single neatest pet ownership experience I will probably ever have. I used a 6 gallon Eclipse tank tightly sealed and fed her ghost shrimp. She was incredibly active (even in the light, ALWAYS trekking around the tank) for her stay with me and lived a total of FIVE months in my care. She also layed eggs... which I never expected to HATCH, but after about 3 weeks of nothing I had about 20 baby blue rings scooting around the tank. They didn't live long unfortunately (I tried everything imaginable =( ). Molly died soon after, but I bet she's one of the few octopi to ever see her own young =). All in all she made a terrific pet. I guess I got lucky for getting such an active healthy girl, but I will be more than happy to share advice if anyone wants to try one. The only real issue is avoiding those deadly bites lol (made trying to save the little ones much more harrowing=). Anywho I have pics and movies of both Molly and her kids if anyone would like to see, and am always up for chat if anyone wants to IM me with any questions. Has anyone else had a GOOD experience with a blue ring? Tim
 

Steve O'Shea

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That's pretty sensational stuff Tim; captivity for 5 months, then deposited viable eggs that hatched in 3 weeks??

The blue ring (Hapalochlaena spp.) supposedly has a reduced ink sac (the literature says so at any rate); did yours ever ink in the tank (just out of interest), and if so, what colour was that ink?

I don't know a lot about the blue ring, but I'd be interested in approximate dimensions of those eggs, their number, how they were attached to the substratum (singly [individually attached to the ?rock] or in grape-like clusters), and a double check on the 3 week hatching time. For those eggs to have been viable the parent female must have mated and stored sperm for quite some time (unless you had a male in the tank also), but stranger things have happened (I am aware that some cephalopods 'store sperm'). The size of the eggs (greatest dimension) will give me some indication as to whether the larval octopus is pelagic/planktonic or benthic (doing exactly what the adult does, only on a smaller scale); it might help in procuring an appropriate food next time this happens to you.
Cheers
Steve
 

Colin

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Hi
Yeah Id be very interested in hearing more about the octo. Did your female carry the eggs about with her? I have seen movie clips with females doing this. I think that Tony may be interested if you can send the mpeg to him... email him via his profile on the site!!!

C
 

tjw13

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Info...

Well she was alone in her tank, which is why I was shocked when the eggs hatched. When she first layed them it looked like one cluster of about 15-20 grains of rice and another of about 10. She did carry them around with her tentacle for a while after laying them (I felt bad for her... thinking they were non-viable since she was all alone in the tank). They never attached to anything though, and I think after a few days got sucked into the filter box... they were SMALL and again, it was an Eclipse 6. I paid it no mind and figured that was the end of it. It was a good 3-4 weeks before I even noticed the little ones and they all hatched at about once it seemed. Some unfortunately were caught in the filter box, but at least 10 were free swimming. It was AWESOME. She paid little attention to them. They were abount the size of a grain of rice but with distinguishable tentacles and eyes. The coolest thing was they CHANGED COLOR just like mom. I never knew they could do that at birth. Anyways, They only lived for a few days =(. I had no way to seperate them or feed them reasonable food (I tried breeders but they were so tiny they EASILY squeezed through the mesh... and an Eclipse 6 left little option), I also tried baby brine and then just an eyedrop of liquid invert food but nothing seemed to interest them in time... o well... I guess the odds are against these little guys in the wild too, so I just tried to let them be as much as possible besides the PICS i took =). Mom never inked the tank. From what I've heard that's one reason blue ring's make slightly better bets (the ink is replaced with VENOM lol). I'll try and mail the movies/pics in today. Hopefully I can share =).
 

joshsaul

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I would like to see the pictures if you can post them.

Also, for very small carnivorous babies, you should try feeding them small copepods if you have a reef tank. If you have a friend who has a sump you will find plenty of food for small fish/cephs/etc.

-Josh
 

tjw13

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Feeding...

If any had survived long enough I would have tried that. Unfortunately none lasted longer than 3 days so I didn't have much time to think =(. I sent in 3 pics and 3 movies of mom, and 2 pics and 4 movies of the kids... hope they get posted soon =). Tim
 

Steve O'Shea

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I don't have all the necessary literature at home (funny that), but I do have some info on Hapalochlaena lunulata (fide Boletzky, pp. 561-564 in The Biology of Cephalopods, Eds Nixon, M.; Messenger, J.B. 1977).

It describes the larval Hapalochlaena as very small (ML 2.3mm) at hatching, and to have quite a high number of suckers along the larval arms (10) (high in comparison to Octopus vulgaris [ML 2mm, 3 suckers], Scaeurgus unicirrhus [ML 2mm, 4 suckers], Octopus salutii [ML 3.5mm, 4 or 5 suckers], and Eledone cirrosa [ML 4.5mm, 8 suckers]). It seems that the larval Hapalochlaena settles on the tank glass every now and then, but generally only when it misjudges its' preys position and launches into it, the glass (by mistake). It doesn't really say if the larval Hapalochlaena is planktonic or soon assumes a benthic existence. I'm bound to find more information at work (or there may be something more detailed already online somewhere).

Sounds like the larval size you describe is consistent with what is known for the genus; the high number of arm suckers for such a small and early larval form is very interesting. More digging required.
O
 

tjw13

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Baby's on the glass...

Once they post the pic you can see one of the babies clingng to the acrylic on the side of the tank. Only a few of them demonstrated this behavior. I actually scooped one out into a plastic cup to observe... looked lke a translucent copy of mom (little tiny legs, and black eyes about half the size of a period). It was too hard to capture their color changing ability, but it was just as amazing as mom's. I really wish I could have reared at least one (I miss Molly's personality =( ), but I have heard that pygmy young are 1 in a 1000000 to raise. Hope everyone enjoys the pics =). Tim

BTW My favorite pic of Molly is the one of her sitting on my aquarium magnet. She would sit there and watch me watch TV. What a cool pet she was =).
 

corw314

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Welcome Tim!

I have been fascinated with your story of Molly and everyone's feedback!

I remember seeing a couple blue rings at our local TFS some years back. They said they were shipped to them in error. Of course, they discouraged me from buying one, especially since I had young kids at the time. Anyway, one escaped into their filter system, all the tanks were linked so they coppered the heck out of the system cause they were afraid of running into it.

I'm jealous you were able to experience what you did!!! Sure sounds like she was a charactor!!!

Carol
 

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