New Guy


Jul 23, 2007
Hello all,

My name is Shawn. I am a Northern California Coast native (Red and two spot country). I am a bio-chemist with a background in zoology (inverts n herps). I have been in the aquarium and terrarium hobby for over 30 years.
I have an extremely diverse background keeping many many diffeent species of animals, working with hobbiests, zoos, collectors, and even the pet trade.

What I have worked with in my home:

Aquariums: Reef systems, Fish only, Live planted, Predatory animals, at one time I had 14 tanks over 1400 gallons IN my house, Koi ponds, hundreds of species of fish and inverts, lungfish and puffers have been a favorite of mine

-14 species of Tarantula
-26 species of amphibian
-46 species (plus over 50+ mutant variety) of reptiles, mostly snakes
-Birds (tropical parrots mostly)
-many species of invertabrates including scorps, centipedes, spiders
-list goes on, and on, and on

Outside of my house I have worked with countless species of just about everything from monkeys to big cats... you name it, Ive worked with it somewhere. I have relatives who work in the zoo and zoo education fields and one who works Monterey Bay Aquarium.

At this time I have downsized my collection to just a handfull of various animals (I blame the wife :smile:). A 14 inch 5 year old Mbu puffer named Boofish, a have dozen or so species of inverts, 3 cats, and thats about it, but I plan on starting a few new projects.

So, aside from my background, my current project that I have put off for over 10 years has been working with octopi. My plan is to build a habitat for a Coastal native species (between 50 and 125 gallons) with a nice cave network and overflow system (possibly a partial tidepool dump system as well). I would like to collect a young octo about 3 months old and release it before a year later. I have designed a handful of possible puzzles and games to test the octopus' reasoning abilities. I also plan on documenting the whole experience from habitat building through release of the animal.

I have found this website to be a great source of information and a great group of people here. So, you will be seeing me around from time to time. I just wanted to touch on my background and my purpose for being here. I would also like to share some info with you as my project progresses. Thanks.

Hi Shawn,
Welcome to! :welcome:

We're looking forward to hearing more details about your octopus project.
What species are you thinking of?

You can keep a log of your project over on the Ceph Care forums.

I'm personally very interested in the puzzles and games you've designed to test reasoning ability.

Will look forward to your future posts!

Im still at least 3 months off from looking for a Bimac or a Red (need to build the tank and cycle). Most of the puzzles I have designed initially will be about obstacles between the octo and its food. Some very basic tests on memory, unlocking containers, unblocking pathways, the ability to recognize color or shade, that sort of thing, then ramp up as time progresses.

Pictures will make them more clear, but the one my wife likes the most so far is the ping pong ball in a vertical tube with the specimen cage on top....hehe pictures, I need pictures. The octo will have to figure out that the ball must be pulled downward through the curves and tube network and out of the tube (against the resistance from the floating ball) to be able to get in the specimen container with the crab. Simple...yes.It could take seconds to days I dont know octo brains well enough yet.
:welcome:........Just watch the dump bucket......the beggars CAN climb out against a current!!! We had one crawl from the teaching lab through the inflows and it ended up in the wet lab, in a tank full of abalone (This was an NZ species of octopus O. warringa) we net EVERYTHING now!!! Sounds like a neat system though!

Just out of curiousity.....due you have celtic ancestry? Samhain being the old word for all hallows eve (halloween)........just wondering!


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