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New here! Question on clams and my bimac!

Joined
Dec 16, 2022
Messages
9
Location
Warwick, NY
Hi all! I recently acquired my second ever-octopus, but my first bimac. The first little guy was maybe 2" total length and very hard to keep track of, but not at all a picky eater. This little lady (Bubblegum) is really confusing me. I've had her about 2 weeks and she's very interactive at this point, but I can't figure out what she's doing with her food. I started by stocking the tank (it's a 65 gal with 20 gallon sump, protein skimmer, and all that good stuff) with a few hermit crabs from my feeder tank and she just ignored them. I tried stick-feeding fresh scallop and she seemed to take it right away (and the stick too!), but then i saw the scallop floating in the tank later on. I thought I'd try little neck clams since she's such a big girl and she immediately took the clam, but now she just moves it around with her as she creates new dens... It's like a toy to her? She's had it for several days and it's still alive, but it moves often. I pried a live one open to feed her directly and she was uninterested in the open clam. She seems to be occasionally eating a hermit now, but it doesn't seem like enough for her being that she's so big. Any ideas with why she's moving this clam around? Suggestions for feeding this picky girl? I want to feed her by hand more since she loves to come up to the top of the tank and grab me, but I don't want to fill her tank with clams she's just going to play with! TIA!
 
Hi @cerealmomster, thanks for posting. Sounds like an active and curious bimac! (would love to see a pic or video :popcorn: )
I'm not an expert but hopefully some folks here will help. We do seem to get a lot of concern about perceived lack of eating with ceph keeping hobbyists, but from what I've read here it's not unusual for them to go without eating for a few days for sure. It's a good sign though that she's eating a hermit here and there and also playing around with the clam :smile4:...

Maybe create a Journal for Bubblegum; I'd love to follow along! :read:
 
Thanks for your response! She is really fun. I've been enjoying keeping her more than I even thought I would (and it was a lifelong dream). Here are some pics/ video!

She likes to steal everything that enters her tank and special things (like bamboo feeding sticks and clams) get hidden in her den. We read that some octos like lego so my son built a raft out of lego and she disassembled part of it, so that's what the video is!

I'll see if I can keep up a journal. I'm never very consistent with that type of thing, but I love sharing stories of funny things she does.
 

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wow, she's beautiful! And LOVE the legos! I like to think that the lego idea came from @corw314 -- here's her classic article on her bimac, Ink!

I've been lurking around here for a few years now (since I first made the goal of eventually keeping an octopus) and I've definitely come across Ink's story a few times! Probably put the idea in my head for sure!
 
You might be able to try some live crabs (non-hermit variety). Movement is a pretty big trigger for octopus predation so you may have better results with something moving around rather than an opened bivalve. Fiddler crabs are great, or whatever crab you are able to source. They are a bit messy, so you will have to stay on top of removing the leftover crab bits.

As Tony mentioned, octopus don't eat every day in the wild, so its not abnormal for them to go a few days without eating. What temperature is your tank set to right now? That will also have an effect on your animals metabolism. How often do you attempt feeding?

I also encourage you to start a journal for your animal! They are a lot of fun :smile:
 
You might be able to try some live crabs (non-hermit variety). Movement is a pretty big trigger for octopus predation so you may have better results with something moving around rather than an opened bivalve. Fiddler crabs are great, or whatever crab you are able to source. They are a bit messy, so you will have to stay on top of removing the leftover crab bits.

As Tony mentioned, octopus don't eat every day in the wild, so its not abnormal for them to go a few days without eating. What temperature is your tank set to right now? That will also have an effect on your animals metabolism. How often do you attempt feeding?

I also encourage you to start a journal for your animal! They are a lot of fun :smile:
I will have to give non-hermits a try! If you have a source you can recommend, that would be great! Although she has begun to enjoy the opened clams I'm offering if i keep them on the shell and just pry them/ crack them for her. She's much less interested in one on a feeding stick and more interested in the stick. I fished one of the whole live clams out of her den after I posted this and i noticed she had been drilling a small hole, but wasn't successful in getting all the way through.

Her temp is at 75 currently. I heard a lot of range for bimacs, so I'm not sure if that is optimal, but she is VERY active. I'd say about 2-3 hours during the day (mid-morning) and then again for another hour or so in the evening and she can be found moving about most times during the night when I pop by her tank, though I don't have a camera on her so I'm not sure how long that goes on for.

I offer her food every day when she comes to the top of the tank. She takes it about every other day. She tends to climb up to the top and then float down to the bottom as a common activity. When she's hungry, she hangs around the top and grabs whatever I hand her. When she's not she will hang down lower, reach out a tentacle and yank on my finger instead... and she even squirted water at me once, so I knew she was annoyed. After that I started to dangle the food at the other side of the tank to wherever she is and let her come to me.

Some other moving crabs could be good, though. I don't want her to get bored and she still has a few hermits just wandering around, unharmed!
 
I don't have any great sources for crabs but some cursory google searches brings up a few places. I can't vouch for their quality though. Depending on your budget you could get them from carolina biological supply but they are really expensive IMO. If your animal likes the clams then you might not need to try the crabs but variation in diet is usually good for captive animals. You could also try thawed flash frozen, deveined cocktail shrimp available from your local supermarket. Just make sure it doesnt have any added salt or preservatives or anything before feeding. You'll want to cut the shrimp into about 1.5 cm cubes and remove the tail before feeding. 1 cube should be plenty but you could try more than one if your animal will accept it. Shrimp pieces are also messy and should be removed quickly if uneaten.

75F is a bit on the high end for your animal. Cephalopods lifespan and metabolism are greatly affected by water temperature. If you lower your temp to 70 or even 65 your animal may slow down and eat less often, but may also live for a few weeks/months extra. I've kept bimacs as cold as 60F before. Currently my bimacs are at 67F for reference. These are animals I feed every day and want to stay active so I keep them a bit warm.

Make sure if you do wish to lower your system temperature you do it over the course of a few days so you don't temperature shock your animal. 1-2 degrees a day should be plenty slow to avoid any adverse effects.
 
Thank you for the info! I'll just have to keep trying with the food. I would love for her to be able to hunt a bit, so I'll keep looking around for a reliable source for crabs! And I'll see about the temp. I don't have a chiller, but I do live in NY so room temp could be pretty chilly in the winter!
 
Brine & Ghost Shrimp, Feeder Fish, Aquarium Supply - Live Brine Shrimp is where I source my fiddler crabs. Both the Bimacs I had LOVED fiddler crabs more than anything else! We also fed live feeder shrimp and blue crab claws from the seafood market with success. A more ideal temp would be in the mid to lower 60's! At the 75 degree temp the lifespan will speed up drastically. Best of luck!!
 
I will have to give non-hermits a try! If you have a source you can recommend, that would be great! Although she has begun to enjoy the opened clams I'm offering if i keep them on the shell and just pry them/ crack them for her. She's much less interested in one on a feeding stick and more interested in the stick. I fished one of the whole live clams out of her den after I posted this and i noticed she had been drilling a small hole, but wasn't successful in getting all the way through.

Her temp is at 75 currently. I heard a lot of range for bimacs, so I'm not sure if that is optimal, but she is VERY active. I'd say about 2-3 hours during the day (mid-morning) and then again for another hour or so in the evening and she can be found moving about most times during the night when I pop by her tank, though I don't have a camera on her so I'm not sure how long that goes on for.

I offer her food every day when she comes to the top of the tank. She takes it about every other day. She tends to climb up to the top and then float down to the bottom as a common activity. When she's hungry, she hangs around the top and grabs whatever I hand her. When she's not she will hang down lower, reach out a tentacle and yank on my finger instead... and she even squirted water at me once, so I knew she was annoyed. After that I started to dangle the food at the other side of the tank to wherever she is and let her come to me.

Some other moving crabs could be good, though. I don't want her to get bored and she still has a few hermits just wandering around, unharmed!
Bubblegum's likely more active at night! If you can get a camera on her at night i bet that would be fun. I had three cameras on my tank so I could catch things at night with my bimac, Raccoon. She was very similar with the interest with the stick more than the food lol, pouncing on the stick or tongs and wrapping her arms around it trying to haul it away :tearsofjoy:
Bubblegum sounds like an awesome bimac! Sometimes they do squirt water to play, not necessarily annoyed, though mine usually did it when she was annoyed-just look for other cues in their behavior to tell if they are trying to continue to play or declaring their annoyance!
With the crabs I would let it go at the bottom of the tank and make her fully hunt it, plus also you don't want fun things at the top of the tank, but the bottom so you don't accidentally encourage them to come up to the top where it is easier for her to escape. If you go to live reef stores near your house ask there if they have emerald crabs, fiddler crabs and crayfish. That will give Bubblegum other prey to hunt and a slightly more varied meal plan. Mine did the same, left live hermits and live clams for weeks, opened clams she'd grab the shell and drag around but wouldn't really eat it.
also if you can cut a rinsed out gatorade bottle/waterbottle/soda and cut a few holes in it then put the crab inside it and close the lid and let bubblegum fuss with that for awhile, eventually she'll learn to open the cap if you leave the cap barely on there and she consistently has to eat by pulling the cap away
 
I wanted to update everyone on Bubblegum! I dropped her tank temp to 69F and we have made a ton of progress with her eating. She has gotten much more comfortable with me specifically, and i have been giving her a mix of thawed frozen shrimp that I put inside a little plastic ball that she's obsessed with, fiddler crabs and crayfish, and it seems she's gotten into clams a lot more as well. She LOVES live food, so I try to do that at least once a week.

When I use the plastic ball she comes to take it from my hand though she also tries to yank my whole hand into the tank with her. I was wondering if this was good or bad but just today when she was unsuccessful dragging a full grown human into the tank she inked :frown: so I confirmed that she wasn't trying to play with me but rather... explore me/ assert herself? I'm not sure. I'm wondering if I should just leave her food and not try any more bonding attempts. Happy to hear feedback on that!

She did go into hiding for a few days and I was super worried this was a sign she was going to lay eggs and near the end of her life cycle, but she emerged and was really active day and night for several days after that. Since then I've noticed she tends to be very active until she has gotten me to feed her enough and then she hides out.

She's also grown another 30% bigger so that's been fun to see! I'm looking for more ways to entertain her or bond with her so let me know your recommendations outside of feeding!

 
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wow, great vid! Love this update. Bubblegum is looking healthy!
Inking can definitely be a problem but it sounds like it wasn't too much? Maybe just a warning shot? :sweatsmile:
 
wow, great vid! Love this update. Bubblegum is looking healthy!
Inking can definitely be a problem but it sounds like it wasn't too much? Maybe just a warning shot? :sweatsmile:
Yeah she kinda yanked on my finger super hard and i just stayed still, and when she realized she wasn't making progress she shot away with a little bit of ink. I was just bummed because I had been hoping her touching my finger and exploring my hand and yanking sometimes was progress. Sadly I think she just wanted to see if she could attack me haha.
 
Just wanted to do a little Bubblegum update since I got a great video of her inspecting her tank after I cleaned it this morning. She always needs to check on every nook and cranny to make sure I haven't disturbed her very particular setup. She has gotten HUGE. At least 2x the size of when I got her. She likes to rearrange everything in her tank and make a total mess whenever possible. She also likes to hoard clamshells after she eats them. I have taken to dropping a few in at a time and letting the clams dig themselves into the sand. She really seems to like digging them up at her leisure, but I still supplement with shrimp, live crabs, and live crayfish. Anyway... enjoy this video!
 
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