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My Common Reef Octopus Just Laid 200 Eggs


Jan 31, 2005
I bought a common octopus about 2 months ago and it was a full grown adult at the time of purchase. She has not eaten except for a couple of times when I first got her. Since then I have been very worried about her. Just today my girlfriend was looking under the tank into her lair and she noticed that there are about 200 or so eggs hanging from the live rock in her den. The eggs are still pure white and she is taking care of them by blowing water over them. This is the second octopus that I have owned but the first that has laid eggs. I have many questions. The first being how long is the gestation period of a common octopus? Also what do I do once the eggs start hatching? Do I remove as many of the babies as possible and start a rearing tank or do I just leave them in the mature reef setting? The tank is a 75 gallon and I am concerned about the babies getting sucked up into the filters. I appreciate any suggestions that anyone that has had success can give me.
:welcome: Did you by chance get it at That Pet Place in Lancastor? I see you are from Pa and I have purchased quite a few from them over the years. The first would be to try to ID it. I know this particular store sells all their octopuses under the label Common Brown Octopus so before we can help you, it would help to know size of your octo, any distinguishing markings. I know I purchased what I thought was a small baby from there but it turned out to be a dwarf. Laid eggs which hatched in about a month or so but the babies were so tiny it was impossible to rear them. Anyway, good luck! I am sure you will have lots of advice!!

Yes I did get the octo at That fish place. She is a quite large. She does not have many distinguishing marks but except that she is usually white in color and sometimes a slight green tint to a very light brown. She is about the size of a CD when curled up in her lair. But I have seen her reach as much as 18-24 inches. The eggs are also rather large and milky white. The eggs are about 1/4 inch long. Have you ever heard of octopus laying unfertalized eggs? Or is this impossible?
Thank you for your help,
Yes, an octopus can lay unfertilized eggs - my bimac did just that. But if she was in contact with a male even months ago, she may be able to lay fertilized eggs.

O. vulgaris lays many small eggs (sometimes thousands) - they're from 2-4 mm in length and hatch into plancktonic young (as contrasted with O. bimaculoides, that lays large eggs (8-18mm) but fewer of them. These large eggs produce bottom living hatchllings. The quarter inch of your eggs is about half way in between the two!

I'd think you'd do best to leave the eggs for the mother to take care of, at least until they're just ready to hatch.

You can cover your intakes with fine mesh or netting to prevent loss of small octopuses.

From the sound of it, you might have O. briareus.


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