New Octo Advice Needed

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Apr 27, 2019
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Hey all,

Long time lurker. First time octo owner.

After a year cycle with some damsels and a puffer I finally got an octo. Puffer and damsels have been removed.

Octo is pretty small and was IDed (to the best of the marine biologists knowledge) as a Briarius.

I got him and drip acclimated him for about 4 hours and then set his PVC pipe in the tank. The tank is a 200G tank. Sand substrate with plenty of live rock.

He crawled along the glass and studied his viewers as much as we studied him. Then he jet propelled into a hole in the rock where he stayed for about 24 hrs. I had my tank guy come and add some rock and do some maintenance and he rearranged some rock (not the rock he was in)

I tried to entice him with some frozen scallop to no avail. So I left 2 pieces on the bottom overnight but they were not eaten.

Now 2 days later I have spotted him in a den. The scallops arent eaten. When I first spotted him I could see him breathing but the light made him smush back into the den.

I put some small crabs in the tank so he can eat them at his leisure. I'm just afraid he isnt going to eat. They are around his den, one is even in it. He has moved since he slunk back but not much. Just changed position.

The tank is at my office so I cannot really view at night to see if he comes out. I may put a night vision cam on the tank to monitor.

I know acclimation is crucial to these guys so I'm very nervous. Do you have any suggestions? Anything I should do or try to get him to eat? Or is this fairly normal and I should just sit tight and completely leave him be for a few days?

Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated

Thanks!
 
Joined
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I just went to my office at 9pm to see if there was any activity. He was no longer in that den but I couldnt find him.... so I take it as good news that he is moving around.
 
D

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I would give it Time and space. Octopus are very sensitive to stress and only want to hide at first. So just keep an Eye out and It should. Ome around. Do You have a Good clean up Crew? Could be consuming Them and Uou would not even know it
 
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Thanks for the response. I dont have much of a crew. The puffer that had been in there ate almost anything i put in. There are about 10 blue hermits in there and I just put about 10 small crabs I caught yesterday in there.

Still no sign today. Ill leave him alone and hope he comes out. Soooooo hard not to shine a light in there to try and peek around for him but I'll do my best!!!!!
 
D

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Octopus are an interesting Animal in captivity in that They either do really good or really bad... there is no in between. So if It is hiding It is probably ok. Octopus that are not doing well tend to wonder out and stick to the side of the tank or somewhere out in the open. Locate it using a Red Light if You have one. It will not be as shocking. Then try feeding It once a Day.
 

KD5054

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I think the advice is spot on that everyone had mentioned- patience in letting the little guy adjust and offering some live food as well. They don't always accept pieces of food right off and might take time for him to feel more at home. Time as in a few days to a week.
 

DWhatley

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Sorry for taking so long, life is a bit complex ATM. IME, animals that are not sexually mature (generally under 5 months) are VERY shy and only start to interact at the period of their lives when they become predator vs prey.

However, even with very young animals, feeding time can be a few minutes of interaction. I would suggest putting a pea sized piece of table shrimp on a feeding stick (bamboo skewers work well) and spend as much as 1/2 hour holding it close to any known den. Since your new buddy is in your office, try this either first thing each AM if you go in early or just after lights out before you leave.
 
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I think the advice is spot on that everyone had mentioned- patience in letting the little guy adjust and offering some live food as well. They don't always accept pieces of food right off and might take time for him to feel more at home. Time as in a few days to a week.

Thanks! Going on 6 days now since he went into hiding. But I had seen him alive in a den only 2 days ago so I believe he is fine somewhere. I'm going to be patient for a while. Even set up a night vision webcam with motion detection so I can monitor 24/7 to see if he comes out.
 
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Sorry for taking so long, life is a bit complex ATM. IME, animals that are not sexually mature (generally under 5 months) are VERY shy and only start to interact at the period of their lives when they become predator vs prey.

However, even with very young animals, feeding time can be a few minutes of interaction. I would suggest putting a pea sized piece of table shrimp on a feeding stick (bamboo skewers work well) and spend as much as 1/2 hour holding it close to any known den. Since your new buddy is in your office, try this either first thing each AM if you go in early or just after lights out before you leave.

Thank you! I will try this. I have spent a few minutes a few times with some scallop but not too long. It seems my scallop falls off after a minute or two! I got 36" bamboo skewers so I can reach down to the rocks.

What you mentioned about young octos makes sense. If he were the species thought to be, he would probably be pretty young. He also reacted like prey when he first went in and got startled and jet propelled into a hole.

I will give a nice attempt each morning to see if he will come out for a taste. Problem is I have a nice amount of rock in there piled up and he seems to not only go in the caves (where I saw him in that time) but also we saw him day 2 inside a tiny little hole in the rock. We just could see the suckers inside the rock. The hole into the rock was the size of a dime.
 
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Here are the only images I have of him. This is when we put him in prior to him going into the rocks.
20190729_164458.jpg

20190729_164448.jpg

20190729_164442.jpg


And here is the tank right now with night vision
Screenshot_20190802-233715_Wyze.jpg
 

DWhatley

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I recommend a small (eye sized to start) piece of regular table shrimp (this type of shrimp would be common for O. briareus in the wild) over other frozen foods to begin training. With all my octos, they would try thawed scallop once and only once (odd since scallops are also native to FL and likely eaten). I think freezing may change the taste in some way. If you can find live blue crabs and can collect just the claws that have been already severed but do not smell (I use Asian markets but they have been absent lately - you should have better luck in FL), these make almost irresistible food (I do crack the back and peel away some of the shell). Fiddler or small shore crabs are also a big hit for live foods. Some people have had success with hermits but my guys (with one exception -- LittleBit ate ANYTHING you put in the tank) would never find them interesting.
 
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I recommend a small (eye sized to start) piece of regular table shrimp (this type of shrimp would be common for O. briareus in the wild) over other frozen foods to begin training. With all my octos, they would try thawed scallop once and only once (odd since scallops are also native to FL and likely eaten). I think freezing may change the taste in some way. If you can find live blue crabs and can collect just the claws that have been already severed but do not smell (I use Asian markets but they have been absent lately - you should have better luck in FL), these make almost irresistible food (I do crack the back and peel away some of the shell). Fiddler or small shore crabs are also a big hit for live foods. Some people have had success with hermits but my guys (with one exception -- LittleBit ate ANYTHING you put in the tank) would never find them interesting.

Thank you for the advice!

Give him the whole claw? Just wave it around and leave it in the tank for him? The octo was collected in FL but I live in NY. Still shouldnt be hard to find fresh blue crab here.

Update: he still has not come out or been seen since he relocated from the bottom den on Wednesday. Tomorrow will be a week since he went into the tank. I ordered a red flashlight to search with. I'm still not overly worried as it is a large tank with a nice mountain of rock so there are plenty of cracks and crevasses for him to be in. Plus there are a lot of fiddler and shore crabs in the tank so he can be feasting without leaving the rocks. Hopefully tonight or tomorrow we will see him. I will go in early and offer food for a while before work.
 

DWhatley

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Give him the whole claw? Just wave it around and leave it in the tank for him?
Yes, whole claw, there is not that much meat. Try placing it near where you think he may be denning. Once it becomes accustomed to a specific feeding time, you should see it nightly if only for a quick food grab.
 

sedna

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I’m sorry I’m late to your post! I’ve kept mostly briareus for the last 11 years- my absolute favorites! I didn’t read in previous posts what time you’re looking for your new friend to be out- but know that briareus are crepuscular/ nocturnal, so you have to look for him to be out at times that fall in those ranges- don’t expect him to be out in the middle of the day.

I have always gotten mine from the Florida Keys, and I feed them live blue legged hermit crabs and I stick feed pea sized raw shrimp from the grocery.

The last thing to consider is that you’ve got a female who is comfortable and started to brood... wait a few more days of not seeing it before worrying about that.
 
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I’m sorry I’m late to your post! I’ve kept mostly briareus for the last 11 years- my absolute favorites! I didn’t read in previous posts what time you’re looking for your new friend to be out- but know that briareus are crepuscular/ nocturnal, so you have to look for him to be out at times that fall in those ranges- don’t expect him to be out in the middle of the day.

I have always gotten mine from the Florida Keys, and I feed them live blue legged hermit crabs and I stick feed pea sized raw shrimp from the grocery.

The last thing to consider is that you’ve got a female who is comfortable and started to brood... wait a few more days of not seeing it before worrying about that.


Thank you. How can you tell it's a female ready to brood? Is that good or bad?

No sign of her today. We searched with the red flashlight and tried to feed at 8am via stick for a half hour and again once lights went out around 5pm.

I have a cam on the tank 24/7 with motion detection so I believe she hasn't been out at all. She could be moving within the rocks and not in the open.

I'll keep you posted daily if I see her or not. If not, let me know when I should worry or do something different.

Thank you
 

sedna

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Can you keep red lights on all night long? Sometimes if you have a completely dark time in your photoperiod, they learn to wait and only come out when it’s totally dark. I keep lights on 24/7- but from 7pm to 9am it’s red lights only!

The way to sex an octopus is to check out the tip of its third right arm. If it’s “stubby” then that’s a hectocotylus, it’s male reproductive organ. You can find lots of references here. So first you have to see the octopus...

If it’s a female who’s decided to brood, then it’s laying eggs (fertile or not) and will die soon after they hatch. The way to tell if it’s a female starting to brood is to watch to see if it’s building a “barricade” around it’s den, packing any shell, rocks, substrate- anything it can find- tightly into any hole of its den.

I’d set my alarm for the middle of the night and check the tank out then. Good luck and keep us posted!
 
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Can you keep red lights on all night long? Sometimes if you have a completely dark time in your photoperiod, they learn to wait and only come out when it’s totally dark. I keep lights on 24/7- but from 7pm to 9am it’s red lights only!

The way to sex an octopus is to check out the tip of its third right arm. If it’s “stubby” then that’s a hectocotylus, it’s male reproductive organ. You can find lots of references here. So first you have to see the octopus...

If it’s a female who’s decided to brood, then it’s laying eggs (fertile or not) and will die soon after they hatch. The way to tell if it’s a female starting to brood is to watch to see if it’s building a “barricade” around it’s den, packing any shell, rocks, substrate- anything it can find- tightly into any hole of its den.

I’d set my alarm for the middle of the night and check the tank out then. Good luck and keep us posted!
The red light I have is a flashlight so that wouldnt work. I'm ordering some lunar LEDs to have on timer when these lights dim out. Until they come I left the regular lights on 3% for the night. Extremely dim but not totally black.

No sign of the octopus today. Did a scan behind the tank, in all the overflows etc to make sure and couldnt find him. Hes def in the tank.... alive or not I'm not sure.
Offered food after lights out for 30 min and nothing.
 
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Unfortunately, still no sign of the octo today. :-(

Tried to offer food for a while after lights went out. Still nothing. Camera has yet to notice motion in the tank (besides some walking crabs or an occasional piece of dust floating by)

Tomorrow will mark a week since he has been spotted. I have no proof that he has eaten. Should I go into search and recover mode yet? I'm just afraid of disturbing it if it is alright and just shy but I'm a little worried something went wrong. I read a previous post that briareus is rumored to scare itself to death. Could it be possible that is what happened when the Damsels darted at him?
 

sedna

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I don’t know about that- I can neither confirm or deny that rumor. BUT, I have absolutely torn the rock work apart in your situation! I’ve found dead octopuses, and live hiding ones. Correct or not, if I were you I’d have broken down and gone into search mode... Good luck! 🤞🏼
 
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