[Octopus]: Nebula - O. briareus

creature55

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Just a quick update: Nebula is doing great and is now definitely eating small pieces of thawed shrimp off the end of a skewer. Most days she tries to take the skewer too lol.
DWhatley - great suggestion about small pieces! She hasn't rejected the shrimp ever since I started making the about the size of a pea.
 

Jocco

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Very exciting! Congrats on your newest edition! Our octopus isn't too much older than yours.
You are ahead of the game by knowing where she is :smile:
 

creature55

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I haven't been very good at posting in my thread, but today I have sad news...I think Nebula's time is up. Not entirely sure what happened as I think she is too young to be dying of old age (I still call her she even though I've realized it's a male). Today I woke up and noticed she was out in the open during the daylight (which never ever happens) and was breathing heavily and the colour of her arms was washed out. I kept an eye on her for another few hours and the colour got worse and her arms were just kind of flopped around her as opposed to the suckers being attached to something. She lives with a few fish (that she surprisingly never tried to eat), so I've moved her into a little net box hanging in the tank just in case anyone decided to pick on her. I guess now is just the countdown to the end...:frown:
 

DWhatley

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Definitely something wrong. For O.briareus, coming out in the daylight as they get older is not unusual but the other symptoms are not good. I assumed you checked your water temp, salinity, nitrite/ammonia and PH but it never hurts to do a water change when you observe problems.
 

creature55

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Yep, checked params and all are the usual (her tank does run high on the nitrate front, but that was never a problem). Did a water change as soon as I noticed the abnormality and also changed the carbon in the sump.
D, have you ever seen an octopus come back from such condition? If I had to guess, I'd say he/she's about 7 months old. I checked your old briareus threads and Nebula is just slightly smaller than Cass when she died.
Nebula just has no fight left in her at all...she hardly resisted when I gently lifted her into the net.
I feel like my fatal mistake may have been feeding the fish with food soaked in fenbendazole (dewormer) once last week. I have used this dewormer in tanks with inverts before and had no problem, but it caused a big die off of bristle worms. If there was an ammonia/nitrite spike from this, that might have been all it took. I did take precautions by doing two 30g water changes in the last week (this is a 100g + 20g sump), but maybe wasn't enough. Anyway, I feel like this is my fault and I feel HORRIBLE. I'm absolutely devastated...the same way I would be if my dog or cat were dying. Crazy how attached I got in just those 4 months with her.
 

DWhatley

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Sadly, no, I have never seen recovery when they become lethargic but my observations have been during senescence. Had he started refusing food or eating less? This is almost always the first sign of senescence, often a full month in advance of other symptoms. Their lifespans are not well studied but I would have expected this one to be with you for a full year.

I don't know of anyone using Pancur/fenbendazole in tankmate food or directly in the water with cephs so can't speak with any knowledge on its potential harm. An ammonia/nitrite spike would give symptoms but if it had not continued over a period of days I would not expect this lethargy. However, I would not discount the dewormer as the direct culprit. I used it (long ago) in a seahorse tank and lost a serpent star even after a full water and bottom substrate change (it tends to be absorbed into the rock and then leach out - partially why it is used for worm control in aquariums). I do use heartworm and flea poisons on my dogs but avoid any kind of poison control in or around the fish tanks (no aerosols at all) because cephs are so sensitive.

My only thought would be to move him to a bare QT with newly made water and see if there is any improvement.

Yes, being touched (mentally and/or physically by an octopus has a strong effect. If you have not done so, I will suggest Sy Mongomery's, Soul of an Octopus. (I highly recommend the book but if you prefer short stories/articles, This article and this article (written several years before the book) will give you a feel for the book (reading the articles will not be a complete spoiler for the book) .
 

creature55

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Yeah I really do think it could be a direct effect of the dewormer. It was just such a tiny amount in such a large water volume that I ignorantly figured it would be alright. Hard lesson to learn :frown: I have noticed a decrease in appetite over the last couple of weeks, but that also is roughly the same timeframe as when I used to dewormer. I wasn't too worried because although there was a decrease, s/he was still taking food every few days.
S/he is still alive, but laying on her side in the net. Breathing looks very laboured, but still has colour in her mantle and webbing. What really convinces me that this is the end though is that her eyes are clouded over. Any idea if that only happens in senescent octos or does it happen when they are dying from other causes too? Anyway, with the state s/he is in now, I don't think there's any hope in a QT tank rescue. I would be surprised if s/he lasts til morning. I hope s/he is not suffering...I feel so bad. A marine biologist friend of mine suggested euthanizing her, but I would only feel right doing that if I knew she were suffering.
 

DWhatley

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I have never euthanized an octopus and have felt that all the pain was only my own but that is because I perceive their lackluster state as being without agony (rather peaceful in appearance). With a dog or cat (or most mammals) I think we have a good understanding of symptoms of suffering but an octopus is so foreign that I am not sure if we would recognize agony (or if they have an equivalent).
 
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