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My Octo Plans


Pygmy Octopus
Sep 27, 2007
ok I am writing this to basically see if I am going in the right direction.

I plan on trying alittle breeding, I have had experience with both reptiles and freshwater fish, I know they are different but I think I can pick it up.

I plan on starting with a tank thats about 30 Gallons. I will get 3 O. Mercatoris for it. I know that octos are cannibals but I have seen many reports about this species doing fine in a tank with others of its kind, I will handle cannibalism as it comes. I hope to get 2 females and 1 male. I will have about 40-60lbs of LR and 2 - 3 inches of fine grain sand. As those breed I will sell them locally and even try to ship if people online are interested.

After that I will get a two 55 gallons each housing a Bimac, one male one female, I will get them as juveniles so I know for a fact they are young. at about 6 months I will start introducing them to each other, I will place the male in the female tank starting at a hour each time and slowly moving up until I am satisfied that they have mated.

Does this sound good or should I make some changes in my plans? I really dont want to have to deal with :angelpus: until they have reached the end of their lifespan. So I want to make sure I am doing this right, the only rule I am willing to break is having more than 1 of O. Mercatoris in the 30 gallon.
It sounds like you've done some good research, and if you're really committed, you'll find a lot of support for a project like this... my first thought on reading this, though, is that you're asking for the bare minimum requirements, which seems based on others' experiences to rarely work out for breeding. Zyan started a breeding program with relatively little experience, but he also built a 500 gallon system for the project, and everyone else I can think of who's successfully raised cephs has had many years of experience in saltwater tanks. I'd think that if the scale you're thinking of is a few 30 and 55 gallon tanks, your chances of successful breeding will be greatly enhanced if you focus on keeping a single octopus tank for a while to get familiar with the issues and requirements, and work on building up a larger system of stable tanks to provide an environment for breeding. I'm not sure what the minimal number of tanks anyone here has been successful with, but I've noticed the pattern that the successful breeders seem to be the ones with more than 5 established tanks that they've been maintaining for years, and a lot of experience at professional aquariums. Zyan, again, shows that it can be done on a shorter timescale with less experience, but he was able to devote a whole lot of space and investment in the project.

It would be great if we collected a lot of the practical aspects of breeding in one place here, so I hope that a lot of those with experience raising baby cephs chime in here; there's no right answer, but it seems like having some combination of experience and resources is necessary... I suspect the best approach for a project like this is to try to "walk before you run" by keeping one octopus tank first, then look into expanding it into a breeding setup.

this is all just my :twocents: though; there are a lot of people with a lot of experience who can give you much more specific advice...
Oh I plan on getting alot more tanks, this is just for starters. Im sure I can do one or two good litters (or whatever a pack of baby otcos is) in the 30 gallon, and then after I am successful with that I will start upgrading to not only more tanks but bigger tanks. I am wanting to do both a dwarf species and a non-dwarf species so thats why I picked the two I picked.

Thx for your input, I will take what everyone says to heart and make sure I do things right.
Random thoughts about your breeding concept

You may want to consider obtaining a pregnant female(s) and start your breeding program with the offspring rather than trying to put two unfamiliar octopuses in a tank. Several of us have found that sibblings (and hopefully same aged babies in general) raised together seem to be able to cooexist in an aquarium better than introducing a pair at an older stage (I cannot recall one success with older introduction - someone correct me if I fail to remember a report). Without huge facilities, this will mean that your initial tank raised parents will be inbred unless you start with a pair of wc pregnant females. You will need to work out how to add a new blood line without over stressing your facilities. The larger egg species appear to have roughly 100 offspring (my Merc only had 6, 5 have survived for 6 months and counting but Lev's female produced the more common 100 ish and Zyan's Bimac produced 100 viable) so you will also need to come up with an acceptable culling technique, much larger facility or a pet store that will take and care for new born (remember the Merc have to be fed at night). Neither Zyan nor I experienced cannibalism likely due to my small brood and Zyan's large facilities providing a large water volume per octo. IMO, your 30 and 55 are more likely suitable for an initial attempt with just the Mercs, using the 55 as a nursery with a collection of breeder nets lining the tank sides.

As an aside, if you are hoping to have an income from this endeavor, I fear you are in for a disappointment. Octos are expensive to feed, are very slow movers for the pet stores and do not command high dollars in the marketplace. You may want to review the prices on eBay and talk to your pet stores explicitly about how much they will pay and how many the can take at one time.
Thx for ur info, I will look into getting 2 preg females, Im not really looking for making alot of money out of the Octos, mainly just wanting to break even. I have already talked a few of the pet stores around, I got 4 of them willing to buy from me once I get started and one said he would probably buy in bulk.

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