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Need some questions answered about my O. chierchiae (originally mercatoris)

Joined
Feb 21, 2008
Messages
74
Hello everyone my name is Jon Crossan. I am new to this site but I've seen lots of good information circulating through it so I thought it would be a good idea to join. I am the proud owner of a little O. mercatoris and so far he has been doing great (not sure if its a he or she but I'm just assuming). His name is Charley. Before I had charley I owned a O. Bimaculoides that went into hiding, never came out and eventually died of reasons im still unsure of. Now charley is starting to do the same, but I do see him slightly out of his new little hole he hides in. I'm pretty positive he is eating healthy because hes been scarfing down all the fiddler crabs I put in his tank and seems to love them. Hes also been eating ghost shrimp and hermit crabs. I would just like some suggestions on how I could maybe stimulate him to come out of his hole more often so I could interact with him more. When I first got him I played with him and he didn't seem to mind at all, which was very surprising to me. But now hes gone into hiding and im not sure what to do and don't want a repeat of my last octo. Please help!
 

monty

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:welcome: to TONMO!

It's pretty common that new octos will hide for a while when they first arrive, until they get comfortable. It seems a bit odd that he played with you at first, though... that might mean he's a she and is denning and laying eggs, although generally that would also lead to not eating.

Mercs tend to be very shy and nocturnal, so in some ways the interactivity is more unusual than the hiding. In some cases, the only way owners can see their mercs much is if they wait until night-time and use a red light, since octopuses can't see red, so nocturnal octos can be observed "out and about" when lit by red light, thinking they're moving under cover of darkness.

Dwhatley watches her mercs pretty much in the middle of the night under low or red light...

In any case, the usual advice is to avoid stressing out the octo, and to be patient... when people take apart their live rock looking for an octo or try to poke it out of its den with a feeding stick it usually leads to the octo being even more nervous and reclusive.
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2008
Messages
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Yes he seemed very curious of what I was at first. He didn't really mind me putting my hand down next to him and letting him crawl on me. I got a few curiosity bites I think but I could barely feel it. The most protest I got out of me interacting with him was that he would gently push on my hand as if to say, "go away I am busy." The red light idea was something I was thinking about taking into consideration because I would love to witness him hunt, which yes he seems to be eating very healthily. My fish store that I got him from said that they could get me the light. About the eggs though, I'm not exactly sure how old my O. merc is. Its mantle size is about that of a penny and I would estimate its arm length being at around 1 and half inches. I read somewhere that they get bigger than that but I just wanted to make sure that I'm not dealing with a full grown octo and that it might be on its way out soon.
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2008
Messages
74
249878417_840779073_0.jpeg


im not sure if this will work but if it does this is the best picture I have of him. Sorry about the poor quality all I have is the camera on my phone :\
 

DWhatley

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Sep 4, 2006
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Jon,
The picture failed to up load but take look at the pictures in this thread and see if this looks like your little guy:

http://www.tonmo.com/community/index.php?threads/7853/

Some where in that thread is a close up of the enlarged suckers you will find on a mature male (some mature faster than others). You may also notice that one arm will remain curled when all others are straight. If Charlie's mantle is only penny size, he should still be quite young and be thankful he is no longer out in the light as that is more likely a sign of old age. My two most interactive are now (at 1 year minus 10 days and holding my breath) coming out with the lights on around 8:30. I think it has something to do with their eyes and light sensitivity (ie they start to go blind as they approach the end).

I use an outdoor florescent with a red film (doubled) and leave the red light on 24/7. My larger tank has red LED's 24/7 and blue and white LED's during the day. The octos in the smaller tank with the florescent are out and interactive every night and will take shrimp by hand, the ones in the larger tank are much more shy. I don't know that the tanks account for the difference, however, since the location and individual octos are just as likely (perhaps more likely) to influence the behavior.

I have found that using a clear plastic tube (I use a very long -10"- pipette) with a dead shore shrimp pushed 1/3 inside makes a great feeding tool and all 5 of mine will take shrimp that way. Their mother would take freshly killed and some live crabs from an air line tube (claws pushed into the tube to keep it in place until taken). Daily feeding is probably the best way to improve interaction but it is unlikely he will eat before 11:00 (the sooner your ambient lights are regularly off the more likely you will see him before 3:00 in the AM).

Good luck and please start a journal.
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2008
Messages
74
Heres a second try at the picture
249878417_840779073_0.jpeg


judging from the pictures you have in that thread I would have to say my octo might be halfway to being full grown. I really hope my judgment is correct thuogh and hes not about to kick the bucket :frown:

I'm going to contact my fish store today about the red lighting and see if they have shipped it in yet. I'm not sure if dead or frozen food is interesting to him yet. I've attempted to feed him some freeze dried shrimp on the end of a feeding stick but he didnt seem interested. I do know that he loves those crabs and shrimp that im feeding him though. I was trying to feed him with the stick during the day though and once I get my light I'll start trying it at night and see if I get a better response. As for the tank size issue, I originally was expecting to get a Bimac but I was pleasantly surprised with an adorable little merc. So naturally, expecting a bimac I have a 55 gallon set up which is more than big enough for the little guy. I'm not even sure hes finished exploring the whole tank yet and I've had him for about 3 weeks now. I'm new to tonmo also and I'm not exactly sure how to start a journal, but I've been meaning to make some sort of note of everything I've been doing with him and this site seems like a great place to start.
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2008
Messages
74
ugh I wish I could get that stupid picture to work :banghead:

ok well I guess this is going to be my journal. I got home today and charley has chosen a new place to hide I'm guessing because he is no longer in his old hole. I'm going to Fins today (the fish store I get all my stuff from) and getting some ghost shrimp because he seems to have gobbled up all the ones I got him last week. I guess he likes them :smile:
Earlier I found a crab leg outside of his hole and I assumed that he had eaten the crab and just buried the corpse somewhere but today when I got home I found a crab missing a leg haha. I guess they had an encounter and the crab was lucky to get away. Maybe next time!
I want to establish a set feeding time for him but as of now I don't think hes realized I'm his source of food. I'm going to wait until I get my red lights and I catch him out and about before I try to offer him food at a set time every night. Also now that I don't know where he's hiding I can't offer him food on a feeding stick either! It always worries me when I don't know where he is but at the same time I know its a good thing that he is checking out the tank and moving from place to place :smile:
If anybody has any suggestions at all on anything I would love any kind of feedback you could give me.

Jon
 
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