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"newbie" requesting presetup analysis


Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Sep 4, 2006
Cape Coral, FL
We are in the process of setting up our first octopus tank and would appreciate a review of our plans. We have decided to locate a briarius as our first critter for both its size, availability and warmer water tolerance (no chiller this go round).

Tank: 45 gallon hex acrylic (roughly 2' dia x 2' tall). We are moving the overflow and inflows to the back (was in the center). Overflow is 3 inch square "tower" with a short stand pipe. I plan on putting a sponge in the overflow to prevent accidental entry but suggestions here are solicited. Return will be 1.5' PVC straight pipe with holes drilled along the length of the pipe placed behind the overflow. Here too, we would like suggestions on concentration of flow (top vs bottom vs even).

Cover: Solid acrylic top cut to fit the full opening (there is a 1.5" lip around the tank). I would like to hinge the top for ease of access if I can find a plastic hinge - possibly an aquarium light cover hinge will do the trick if I can find one to fit the acrylic thickness. The cover is not constructed yet so I have options here. What amount of weight would be enough to keep it in place for an adult briarius?

Sump: unknown volume but probably only about 3 gallons of actual water. We plan to use rubble live rock, poly-bio filter pad AND charcoal in the overflow filter section. It will house a protein skimmer on the return side. No plans for plant life but we could add a light and a small amount of macro algae if recommended. Overflow sponge will prevent large things from entering filtration (but will it prevent the octo from making the trip?). We will put a two fan Azoo unit over the sump (this unit effectively cools our 4' tall 30 gallon hex without sump about 3.5 degrees from abient, maintaining the tank at 72.5 in a 76 degree room).

Substrate: Live rock and live sand from the prior set up as FOWLR. Rock is currently in our cure tank, some new rock will be added and is expected to arrive this week. The plan is to line the back three walls with LR and Gorilla glue the major pieces together and to the overflow (I know this will kill a small secion of the rock but have had good luck with this glue creating live rock walls on egg crate). The intent is to create many nooks and crannies of varying sizes to allow a choice of dens. Will it be self defeating if the "back" of a cave is against the acrylic rather than rock? We plan to black back the three rock sides. The remaining half of the tank is planned as live sand bottom with scattered LR for rearrangement as desired by the occupant. How deep should we make the sand bed? I believe a functioning DSB is not an option for our critter and recommendations for a reef tank are either 1" or DSB of 6" or more. I would think a 1" depth would not be suitable so we are asking for recommendations.

Lighting: 2 x 65 watt power compact bulbs, independently switchable. Red LED night light, unsure of wattage or lumens but it is strong enough to light the whole tank for night viewing. Is it true they do not see red and that we may be able to illuminate the tank at night using only the red light? Would night lighting discourage daytime activity?

Toys: I have ordered two plastic "ice cubes" that have sealed internal lights, they are FDA approved for use in human drinks :confused: and can be frozen. The thought is to see if it enjoys playing with something cold and/or something lighted. I have found one with multiple colored lights as well as one with only one light color. I have also seen but not purchased rubbery eels with holographic strips inside. Would this be too dangereous since the rubbery material my be sampled and possibly ingested? Two other considerations are to put live shrimp inside a bristle worm trap and a plastic transparent "Easter" egg.

I am also posting a second thread on our intent for critters but would like to contain this posting to hardware. All critiques and suggestions are encouraged and welcomed.

Thanks in advance (see Nancy, I said I would post ;>).

It's hard to answer so many questions in one post. Let me start by answering a couple.

Octopuses are very strong. A weight on the top will not be sufficient. I used a heavy brick and strips of duct tape that a replaced often.
There are other locks and methods, but the top must be very secure.

I smiled when I read the toys you were buying for your octopus. It's going to be a baby octo for a while and won't be able to play with these toys. Start out with a pile of small shells, one small Lego bock - things like that. When it's grown, it can learn to open containers although it may take some practice). Look at what Joefish did with toys with his octopus Kashmir (search on past posts).

dwhatley;79560 said:
Red LED night light, unsure of wattage or lumens but it is strong enough to light the whole tank for night viewing. Is it true they do not see red and that we may be able to illuminate the tank at night using only the red light? Would night lighting discourage daytime activity?"D"

:confused: I woulld also like to know about the LED night lighting available and how it would phase the octopus Behavoir?Which one would be better the red or the blue? I have also heard that they do not see the red as well. If anyone has any info on this or experince i would love to hear about it

dwhatley sounds like you are going to have a nice setup there! but i will let the ones with a little more experince with cephs comment on the hardware:silenced: :wink:
New tank review request - red/blue light


Thanks for chiming in and showing interest in the night light. Now lets hope some of our experimenters check out the tank page!

I am going to "introduce" myself to see if it will bring some educated comments as we are getting close to adding water!

I also wanted to add that we have heard that air bubbles are a "no-no" and have also read that other keepsers use an air line without problems and even to the enjoyment of the octo. Comments and explanations requested as we will drill the tank either for a pump or an air line depending on suggestions or our uneducated best guess - whichever comes first http://www.tonmo.com/forums/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif
For the LED night light I'd definately go with the red - octopuses can't see red-wavelength light, so you will be able to watch them go about their nocturnal activities in secrecy. :biggrin2:
They see blue wavelength light well, so would probably hide or at least act differently, it might even prevent them from sleeping? they would also be able to see you aswell.
Red nightlight

If anyone is looking for an inexpensive RED dome light to experiment with "night vision". We bought the 24 LED light from an eBay vendor. It is BRIGHT and will nicely light our 45 gallon 2' tall tank tank. Our biggest concern is that it may be too bright. The vendor sells a variety of VERY inexpensive lights, shipped immediately and does not charge any more than cost recovery for shipping his products. The light is supposed to be water tight (untested) but you will have to add your own power supply (a very simple splice to the ample wires provided). The 24 light unit, without power supply was $13 INCLUDING shipping and it is the MOST expensive dome light he lists. He has a variety of colors, including blue, if anyone is looking for a reef nightlight.

His eBay store link is: http://stores.ebay.com/Spectrumled
Here's what Neogondactylus said about blue LEDs back in February:

"The real question is whether you want to see the octopus, have a cool looking tank, or have a happy, healthy animal. The blue LED's have a very narrow spectral range peaking at around 470 nm, the same wavelength that you woud find at depths below 30 m in the middle of the day. It is also fairly close to the peak sensitivity of most octopus that have been studied. In short, you are exposing the animal to the spectrum to which it is most sensitive. This is not equivalent to watching an octopus under very subdued lighting. Moon light will have he same spectral qualities, but would be much dimmer. I agree that a tank shimmering in blue light is appealing to our human senses, but it probably seems pretty bright to your favorite octopus."

Also, some of our octo keepers used red LEDs and found their octo could see the light. I don't know whether anyone has found a good red light that works. A Maglight with its own red lens seemed to work well for me, but it's hand held.


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