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Need some help..Hitchhiking baby octo from Morehead, NC


O. bimaculoides
Oct 23, 2008
D, or anyone that has had little ones please give me your thoughts asap..

We went diving yesterday off Morehead NC and collected some fish, hermits and snails. Upon returning home and going through our gatherings in the water we found a baby Octo (or maybe dwarf?)
It is currently in a water bottle floating in our small tank which doesn't have any livestock currently but has been running for 2 years...We exchange the water in the bottle with tank water every hour or so and have tried to feed frozen but not sure its eating or not as its so small. It appears to have lived through slow acclimation over past 24hrs and as long as it will eat hopefully all will be good.
It is currently 1cm across when spread out and when calm has a reddish color. It stands on all eight almost always vs laying with them spread. When scared it becomes almost translucent with an iridescent dot in its mantle.
I will try to get some pics if its at all possible soon.

My questions:

1. What do you all use to keep tiny Octos in? It would be much more convenient to have something water flowed through to eliminate the constant water changes but we don't want it to escape into the 40 tall tank until it gets some size to it.

2. How do you differentiate dwarf vs hatchling?

3. What foods and how often to feed would be best at this point given the above info? (we are trying cyclopese, frozen myasis, clam pieces etc.

This is just the beginning so please bear with me as we have never had one this tiny and the normal care doesn't seem to be enough in my mind…

LOL, so many wish for such a hitchhiker! Cyclopeeze has been my main stay for the little ones but also offer freshly killed shore shrimp (tedious process). Table shrimp are too tough at this point. You can try frozen mysis but I have not used them for hatchlings. Others have had luck with krill. Kevin at At your door fish store (eBay only at this point) may be able to get you some really tiny crabs. You will have to contact him through one of his offerings as I don't have a direct email (he is working on a website). Mention me and tell him you have a hatchling octopus. He is likely to let you buy an order of shrimp and then mix in some tiny crabs (if he can find them or has some in stock that I have not taken :sagrin:).

If it is a dwarf, you should have no problem keeping it in a breeder net (the bigger the better, I use an over sized style that I find on eBay. I like this one not only for its size but I put the shelf in the lowest position and place shells on the internal shelf. The suction cups allow you to keep it just above the water line and work well once or twice. I used/am using this style for cuttle eggs but use a jerry rigged set up to keep it near the top as the suction cups no longer function. I don't recommend the hard plastic kind as it is too easy for them to crawl out.

It it is O. briareus, all bets are off on keeping it in a containment. None of mine would stay in a breeder net and others have had a similar experience. In either case offer it a couple of shell shells that will provide darkness and a den then feed the shells. You should see arms coming for the food.

If the iridescent dot is a whole lot of green speckles, then O. briareus is most likely. If it is a single dot, I am really curious as I don't know what it might be. Arm to mantle ratio would be helpful. A dwarf will have arms about 1.5 to 2 times its mantle. O. briareus somewhere between 4 and 6 times (depending on age and how often it has found crabs when hunting :roll:). O. mercatoris red is typically brownish where O. briareus is typically a peachy color but neither white nor brown/red are terribly useful for distinguishing little ones. A good photo might help.
I have had good luck with a small critter keeper and hooked up a small wonders bubble filter to help the water flow. Hope to see pics soon!
Here are some pics and a video


  • Octodime.JPG
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Definitely a hatchling, regardless of species. I am going to guess not O. mercatoris but not sold on O. briareus (still looks close but video has me puzzled). Below are images for O. briareus and O. mercatoris.If it is O. briareus, you should see a fluorescent blue around the eyes but watching the video, I don't see differences that make me think it may be something else. O. vulgaris would be a possibility from your location but there are others that I am not familiar with. I am pretty sure it is not O. hummelincki and probably not a dwarf. I hate to include outside photos as large images but I embeded these as full size so you could click on a section of the image to see an enlargement, a feature that does not seem to work using thumbnails.

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Here is a 3 day old O. briareus. The difference that struck me in the video (and made me review more images) is the single line of strong chromatophores in your hatchling vs double rows in mine. This may not be significant. I kept an O. vulgaris that was very young but older than your little one. The first images I have of LittleBit show considerable webbing and eye stalks that join to a crease.
@eng50 I think you figured it out but just to confirm. TONMO does not have hosting capabilities (and, IMO, that is a good thing because there are too many formats and too much horsepower needed to host them). To have a video display it needs to be hosted on one of most any of the popular video hosting sites and then past the URL link into your post (not the embed code many offer).
I put an emergency call into sara at Sachs and hopefully she will ship me something in the am… I am going Briareus just on location and pictures but who knows..just like a child, if it lives and its healthy we will be glad with whatever we got!


Ill let you know how the next couple days go, I don't have high hopes, but I am gonna try my best..
It is unlikely Sara and Paul will let you down as they are probably the most reliable sources for live food on the internet. If you have Cyclop-eeze (you won't likely find any frozen this year, the cubes that Drs Foster and Smith have are not the same as the original frozen - I think they are rehydrated dehydrated. I bought a bunch of the cubes and was disappointed) or any tiny meaty dry food that you can mix with water you can try squirting it in a shell den (twice a day, three times if you can manage) until you get some shrimp (you might continue this even when you see it eating the shrimp). My mercs were mostly raised on the Cyclop-eeze but the briareus more on shrimp (but still adding Cyclop-eeze nightly to the tank). If you have frozen mysis around, that may work as well. This is definitely a very, very young animal. The briareus photo with the vulgaris is a 3 day old and yours does not look a whole lot larger.

Stocking/panty hose material would work for a top but I would not use it for a full netting as water will not pass through enough to keep it clean. I don't believe the briareus escaped through the net and think that they went over the top. However, I can't be sure (also, there may have been holes in the netting where prior usage enlarged the net where the suction cups attached in the past. Holes they WILL find). The smaller merc hatchlings stayed in the breeder nets (except Wiley, one that escaped multiple times and grew up in the aquarium) until they were 5 months old so I am basing my escape thoughts on this difference.
So far so good we are still alive!

Sara and Paul Sachs are the best! I can't say enough good things about them and hope others use them for food sourcing. I specially requested tiny food and got tiny fiddlers, tiny shore shrimp, and myasis the very next day. Please consider them when you need something!!

I think my little micro has grown a touch and hope we continue on this path..

I still have not changed the environment from a bottle and given it a shell yet as I really want to assure it is eating and growing..maybe soon..

Please consider the shell even if it is in the bottle. As much as you want to see it, it needs to be able to hide and stress can kill them.
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