My first Octopus (briareus)

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Hello all, new here. Just wanted to show off my newest addition to my tanks, Octopus briareus. He's about 10" tip to tip, and is clinging to the rocks where I can sort of see him, which I'm stoked about. I just added him about 15 minutes ago after ~1 hour acclimation time.

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Let me know what you think!
 

CaptFish

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:welcome: SWEET!! Your going to love the Briareus, the are ton of fun and one of the coolest looking octos. What kinda tank and filter do you have?
 

DWhatley

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Can you give some sizing? Mantle length (back of eyes to tip of mantle) and arm length of any arm that is close to uniform in thickness. From the photo the arms look like he has had a rough a predation encounter or two and most arms are in the process of growing back (note the arm thickness difference at the web and then about half way down the arm). He may well be a male as AM states but new arms are often held curled and the third arm to the right is newly grown. It does appear that some of the suckers on the first arm to the left are enlarged (another sign of a male) but with the new growth it is hard to be sure.
 
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Mantle length~2.5", tentacle length~5"+2"webbed

He's been dead for a few hours now, after 10 minutes of temp acclimation, an hour of drip acclimation, and about 45 minutes of cup-by-cup acclimation

Had him in a 75-gallon alone w/ a bajillion lbs of LR, a Fluval 205 and an Aqueon 55 HOB filter.

I would hope that Tom from Tom's Caribbean Tropicals would give me a credit on this, as I believe it probably died about 4 hours after the shipment arrived (he requires photographs of DOA's within 6 hours of shipment arrival). I see a lot of people have gotten their octos from him, particularly those that own briareus. Any experience with this type of situation?

Another question: In your opinion, was this octopus near death from the time it arrived at Tom's?
 

DWhatley

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I believe you will find Tom to be helpful remedying the situation but do not delay contacting him. I believe he warrants the animal but not the shipping but I have not had this experience to tell you for sure.

The animal seems to have had run ins with preditors but the arms have what appears to be at least 2 months of growth (judging from your numbers, a guestimate of where the arms were bitten off and assuming a 1" per month growth rate). It is not new damage that occured during handling. The octopuses are by-catch from the lobster trappers and are fortunate to end up with Tom instead of as bait (they are not released alive if found in a lobster or crab trap).

It is prudent to ask if you know for sure that no copper medications have been used in your tank (this includes before you got it if it was purchased used) and to affirm that your ammonia and nitrite are not showing a detectable value (ie they both show 0). A briareus with a 2.5 inch mantle is an adult and with the need to regrow so many arms, it may have been close to full age but not grown to typical full size (briareus seem to be slightly more age/size determable than the other species we see, at least to a point). Your acclimation time was shorter than I would think it should have been for a Keys animal simply because the PH drop is usually very high from Keys collectors (IME which may have to do with going from a warmer to a cooler climate or air travel if the box did not go by truck) and PH changes need to be addressed slowly (my own experience has been that the water is close to 7 but the nitrates close to zero so there is no need to rush an acclimation).
 
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Bought the tank new about 4 years ago, and I am not one to use medications aside from Melafix (this used to be an african cichlid tank). The tank has 100+lbs of live rock in it, and a very thin sand layer with very few critters living in it, but a couple stars and snails/hermits to keep the filter running, so the odds of any NH3 or NO2 at the time of acclimation are slim to none, and there are none now.

My concern with spending a long while with drip acclimation was that the pH change would activate some NH3 stored in the water as NH4+ due to low pH, which is why I drip acclimated for an hour, then drained the majority of the water from the container and refilled it at a moderate rate with tank water, so that whatever remaining NH4+ converted to NH3 would be miniscule and dilute. I sent Tom an e-mail asking what salinity the animals are kept at before shipping, and he failed to get back to me, otherwise I would've had the salinity dead on at time of arrival(not blaming him for this, I'm sure he's a busy guy).

I sent Tom an e-mail as soon as I got home from work and discovered that my octo was dead, and shortly after sent a follow-up message with an image of the dead briareus attached. I hope he's able to see that this octo seems to have been doomed from the start of his trip and credit me the price of the octo (- shipping of course)
 

DWhatley

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The only negative I know about Melafix is that is an oil stops CO2 exchange so I don't think there is likely any kind of residual effects from it. It is always a concern if a tank was FW (several of mine were at one time) because of the issue with copper but since you know the history of the tank and did not used the typical copper based treatments for ich trying again (my concern at this point) should be viable.

Acclimation is always a trade off with ammonia/nitrite toxins as well as stress and reaching equality of water parameters. I always strip test every 10 - 15 minutes to see where we are and where we are going (I am going to ask Santa for a PH meter to control the PH rise in a more controlled way). If you choose to try again (I hope you do), I would suggest adding an air stone to the acclimation chamber and allowing about 3 hours unless you see toxins. Yes, the air stone could raise nitrite levels but the air exchange seems to be very important for cephs.

I have only lost one like this and it was crushing even though I believe it may have been a post brood female. She was shipped from the northern part of the country via a city having an ice storm and came in at extremely low temperature. I still get sad thinking about her and wonder if I should have done something differently to address the extremes she had been through.
 
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Okay, so tell me what you think here. My plan for the next acclimation is this: I will have a 2.5 gallon tank sitting inside a 10-gallon tank, with an airstone and a bag of carbon. the octopus will be placed in the 2.5 gallon initially with aeration, then drip acclimation will start. I'll place the bag of carbon on top of the airstone to draw water through the bag, pulling out excess organics in the water. When the 2.5 gallon is full (I'll make that last about 1.5 hours), I will remove half the water in that tank and continue drip acclimation for another hour or so, then allow tank water to flow into the 2.5 gallon at whatever rate an airline will allow it, overflowing the 2.5 gallon until the 10 gallon is close to full. Then, I'll remove the 2.5 gallon from the 10, and place it into the 75-gallon, allowing the octopus to leave at his own discretion. This acclimation should consume all of around 3 hours and he shouldn't notice any change in water chemistry, nor will he be disturbed in any way when I add him to the tank. Maybe this seems like a little overkill, but I lost the first one, and I don't want that to happen again. If anyone has any pointers as far as how they go about acclimating, let me know, it would be much appreciated. I want this shipping/acclimation process to be as stress-free as possible.
 

DWhatley

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Probably overkill but I like the stress minimization of the method (I don't use drip though, I use a turkey baster in 5 min increments instead but many people prefer to drip).

Have you heard back from Tom?
 

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