• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

New member - mimic octopus - big mistake?

big red

Apr 4, 2005

Im a relatively experianced marine fish keeper & enjoy the more unusual species, e.g. seahorses, eels etc. The other day I visited my lfs & saw the most stunning octopus - it was probably very silly of me as I know nothing about these creatures but I couldnt resist. I chatted to the owner of the lfs (very knowledgable & trustable guy) to find out whether I would be able to house the cute fella. He said that he was fully grown & ate crustaceans (I live by the sea so should be able to get a regular supply of live crabs) - it all sounded fairly simple & so I took the plunge.

I have put him in a tank of his own with a deep sand bed and live rock (there are a couple of button polyps growing on the rock but I assume this wont hurt him). There is a sump attached to this tank.

It has a lid and just a standard floro light unit so I think the set up is ok for him from what I have read.

However when I have looked up details of his species it appears he is a mimic octopus which everyone seems to warn against & now Im worrying that Ive made a big mistake by bringing him home. :sad:

Any advice would be appreciated.
First of all, :welcome: to Tonmo...glad you found us, even if a little belatedly...ah well.
Yeah, it is too bad that these animals are imported...if it is an adult, you probably will only have it for a month or so, so trying to do something with it at this point is somewhat moot...
I would recommend documenting as much as you can about this relatively unknown animal, there are a few people on Tonmo who are interested in this species, and any info would probably be appreciated by them, even small details.
Best of luck,
What sort of info are they looking for?

Also heres a pic.


  • conv_287839.jpg
    77.1 KB · Views: 116
Hi and welcome to TONMO.com! :welcome:

Well, the bad thing is someone capturing them and selling them to the pet trade, and also that they're adults and won't live very long.

But, now that you have your mimic octo, just try to take as good care of him as possible. See if you can't get information about this species from observation. (Hiding or out in the open, favorite food, interaction with you, etc.) Take lots of pics for us, and document this octopus's behavior. A lot of us are interested!

He spends most of his time out in the open on the tank glass - is this normal?. I expected him to hide in the live rock or even burrow in the sand.
:welcome: What an amazing animal! Do you have more pics? Has he eaten for you? You mentioned you can collect your own food. Where are you located?


I live in Weston super Mare which is a seaside town in the UK. Within about 1 minute of introducing him to my aquarium he climbed onto a frozen cockle in its shell & cracked it open :smile:

Ive also put a couple of crabs in there from one of my other marine aquariums - an expensive way to feed him but thought it would do to keep him happy until I get a chance to go to the beach at the weekend and get some free crabs :lol:

I will take some more pics - may try to do some videoing also as he does some weird stuff - such as his stripes seem to 'pulse' over his face in a kind of a wave of colour :rainbow:

He tends to sit on the glass either all bunched up as a blob or fully extended like a starfish. He likes to crawl around the glass but also sometimes goes for a swim in the middle of the tank in the middle of the water column where he shows off his long legs.

Does this all seem good behavior for an octo?
Hi big red and welcome to tonmo.com, i stay north of the border...

well, here's some news; its not a mimic! It is wunderpus by the looks of the picture... everthing that has been said above about mimic is also true of the wunderpus. With one main exception, which is that they reckon its venemous so please watch your fingers!

It seems that they can be a fairly shy species and you should add as many caves and food grade quality plastic pipes as you can as hiding places.

please take as many pics and videos as you can and post them here. I hope you dont feel too bad about buying this species and i hope that it lives longer than the worst case secenario.

Typical behaviour for wunderpus and the mimic is to bury in the sand and only emerge to feed at dusk and dawn. As for whether they are venomous or not, who knows. There are no data either way that I am aware of. We have some prey that were killed by wonderpus and then immediately frozen, but chemical analysis won't be run until next summer. We are not sure there will be sufficient material to show anything, but it is worth a shot.

Hmmm...neat looking octo...hope we can learn more about them...can you imagine a captive breeding program in the future? That would be something else...
To update you all, Ive now had him just over a month & he seems to be doing well.
He occasionally hides under the rocks but still spends most of his time out in the open. He seems to prefer it high up in the tank on the glass just under the water line. When hes asleep he bunches up into a blob & goes very pale but his colour resumes as he wakes. He get the odd crab for a treat but still happily eats the frozen cockle. Id been advised that he needs mental stimulation so have put some toys in there (e.g. a darth vadar figure) & lots of tubing. I also tried putting his food in a jar with the lid done up but to date he hasnt worked out how to open it. The lfs that sold him to me advised me that he handled him several times in the shop & as he was coming round my house to help me with a different tank he showed me this. He put his hand in and within 2 seconds my octopus climbed on him for a nose. After a few mins he got bored and let go. So in that case I have another question - If he is poisonous how would he poison you? I assume it would be only if he felt threatened?. He is very bold and doesnt worry at all if you need to go in the tank to do any sort of maintenance etc.
Sponsor Banner
please support our sponsor
advertise on TONMO

Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.