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Newbie with octopus and eggs

Mar 14, 2006
Hey, I have a tank we set up in the first week in February 120 gallon with trickle filter and chiller keeping it at 65 degrees F. 140 lbs of Utah lace rock, 80 lbs of live sand. On Feb. 12th we added 2 octopi, one larger(9"?) and one smaller(6"?) that were caught off the coast of Santa Barbara. Have been doing well together with the exception of a couple of minor spats. I thought they might be Pacific Giants, but this morning the larger of the two scooped out a nest in the sand and deposited a clutch of eggs at the base of the overflow box under the rocks, eggs appear to be about a centimeter in length and approx. 20-30 of them. The smaller of the two seemed to be doing a happy dance yesterday evening. Since they are sexually mature I am thinking maybe they are another species? I am an experienced professional aquarist but this is my first Octopus aquarium, Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated. Can you help me identify the species? Advice on eggs? I was thinking that she may have been eggbound already when caught? What is gestation period and appropriate foods for hatchlings?

Thank You in Advance,



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Hi Tim and welcome to TONMO.com!:welcome:

These are beautiful octopuses (are the pics ony of the smaller one?). However, I don't think they're bimacs because I can't see any eyespot. They look something like young O. rubescens. We now have a forum under Ceph Science for IDs, so please post your pics there with a short description (size, where they were found, size of eggs, etc.)

If you click on Articles above, and then on Ceph Care, you find a list of articles on keeping cephs. The ones on octopuses should interest you.

The length of time for the eggs to hatch depends on the species and water temperature - it might be 6 weeks. These are large eggs so you'd have a chance of raising them. They need small prey, such as mysid shrimp and amphipods, if you want to give it a try.

Do they have names? I'd like to post them in the List of Our Octopuses
at the top of this forum.

The eyespots might be hidden behind the curled tentacle in the middle picture, perhaps? It does look awfully red though. Let a man have hope, Nancy :smile:

wow, you all are pretty active on the board, The tank is at a client/friends office so I don't get to study them at will. But am finding them to be even more fascinating than I had expected and am debating on keeping one personally. This site is going to be a big help, thank you. Here are a few more pics. Names are Ophelia and Oscar although they are now being reversed since the big one is a female. Yes the pictures are only of the small one(now Oscar) but they are the same species. The big one(now Ophelia) has not been as photo friendly(maybe brooding?).



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Great pics!!!! The eggs in O. Rubescens are 3-4mm long, so a small egg species, which means they would be hard to rear(planktonic). If you have access to rotifers or perhaps a plankton net with an ocean nearby you could give it a go.

I think I'll put my money on it being O. digueti, I can't see the little spikes on the eyes (O. Rubescens), and "spots and bumpy skin" seem like a good description based on the pics(go Cephalopods a world guide go!). :biggrin2:
Are there two flaps under the eyes Viciousfishes? I cant quite make it out?
If this is the case your chances of raising them are much better - the young will be benthic , making it much easier to feed them. Lots of pods ect will be good. Try and see how big the eggs are too, that will help confirm what species you have.
Good luck with it. :biggrin2:
i will have yalls access to the dried copopod and amphipod eggs here pretty soon when i do ill post the web adress for my friends store and you can order them through him
Hi Tim,

The consensus seems to be that you've either got O. rubescens or O. digueti. I'm not knowledgeable enough to speculate but here are a couple of picture galleries that might help you:

This one is O. rubescens

And this is O. digueti

These galleries include pictures of both the animals and of their developing eggs.

FWIW: Your pictures do appear to be of a male octo. In the center picture in your original post (Octopus2.jpg) the arm that is pointing directly to the left seems to be different than the others - that's indicative of a male since they have one specialized arm for sperm transfer.

It's possible that the "spats" that you witnessed were actually the two octos mating. The fact that one is significantly larger than the other but that both survived the encounter reinforces that idea.

If you're not familiar with the octopus life cycle it might be worth pointing out that these two animals are almost certainly going to die soon. That's the natural way of things. Depending on species, an octopus grows to breeding size/age in 6 to 36 months (more or less) and dies after reproducing. You might want to warn your client!

BTW: Those were excellent pictures! I'm sure everyone wishes you the best of luck and hopes that you'll keep us informed about how things are going.

Reproductively yours,

Thanks for the links, I'm pretty sure that we have O. digueti after comparing the pics. Are these the ones that are easier to raise to adulthood? Any tips? should the eggs, or babies, or parents be removed from the tank? We are all aware of the short life cycle but were just getting attached to these two and had hoped to know them a bit longer :frown: oh well such is life...
viciousfishes said:
Thanks for the links, I'm pretty sure that we have O. digueti after comparing the pics. Are these the ones that are easier to raise to adulthood?

That means your in luck!!!! These are so called big egg species - when the eggs hatch a "fully" formed mini octopus will pop out, and carry on just as normal.

Small egg species on the otherhand have planktonic larvae, making them pretty much impossible without very intense care- kinda like raising clownfish, but much harder. :shock:

Here's a link to Cephjedi's log on raising some eggs.... http://www.jimbolouislabs.com/eggjournal.htm

And here a good bit of info Dan found from the now closed octopets....
Octopet Egg Festoon

Octopus eggs are difficult, take a lot of time and care to hatch, and once hatched they require live feed. Octopus will not eat dead food until they are older and they do not survive on brine shrimp. I recommend that only the most serious and experienced marine hobbyist attempt to rear an octopus from the egg.

Now If the warning didn’t scare you off, let me tell you how to hatch and care for octopus eggs.

1. Water quality needs to be high, see Octopus info for water quality guidelines.

2. Attach egg festoon to a piece of Styrofoam with fishing line or rubber band, so eggs stay off the bottom and sides of tank.

3. IMPORTANT! KEEP EGGS CLEAN! Gentle aeration under or near eggs, so eggs move just enough to
rub against each other, this helps to keep the eggs clean. Gently rubbing the eggs between your fingers
everyday will also help keep the eggs clean. In nature, the female octopus spends all her time rubbing
every egg of her brood, between 400-700 eggs. She even stops eating and never leaves her
den. Dirty eggs lose the ability to transfer oxygen through the egg wall and will not hatch.

4. Water temperature effects hatch time; the warmer the faster they hatch.

5. The closer to hatching the smaller the yolk sac gets and you will be able to see the baby octopus through
the egg wall. Be very careful with aeration and rubbing eggs when the yolk sac is less than half the size
of the entire egg. When the yolk is the size of a BB (Copper BB gun ammo) or you get any eggs
hatching prematurely, you should stop handling the eggs, premature hatchlings tend not to survive.

6. LIVE FEED! Have your live feed ready for the day the octopus hatch, amphipods , mysids, copepods and
pretty much anything live and small enough for them to handle. Feed 2-3 pods/day/octopus, keep the
area the octopus live as small as possible and as shallow as possible, this helps them catch food because
the food has less space to escape. Always have live food in the octopus tank, so they won’t eat each

7. OCTOPUS DENS, start with ½ inch pvc pipe pieces, always have more dens than you do octopus, so the
octopus don’t fight over them. As the octopus grow and fill their dens you need to put in larger and
larger pipe sizes. They prefer pipes with a cap on one end and half a cap on the other end.

8. The bigger the octopus gets the bigger the live feed, so this gives you more choices for feed. Small
clams, small crabs, snails, worms anything you think the octopus are big enough to catch, eat and won’t
be eaten themselves

It will be interesting to see how it goes :biggrin2:
They sure don't resemble digueti, and they are out of the natural range...of course, they could be transfers, or abnormals...hey, it does happen.
Adult digueti are about 8" in diameter, spread out...more miniature than miniature
viciousfishes : can you see "two flaps below the eyes" on the octopus? This apparantly is one of the ways to distinguish between the two species.
I only just worked out where Santabarbara was, it does seem a wee bit out, but who knows.
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