[Octopus]: o. Vulgaris, we named him Trevor

Plasticmask

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We are hoping for a boy, obviously we can't gender him with confidence yet.
O.Vulgaris, about 3 months old we think? Found him at our local fish store, of all of the places in the world.
We spent his quarantine checking discreetly on his status every four days or so. Never asked too many questions to seem pesky, just politely dug at them for information. We were given links, leads, other people as well as their OWN experiences with many octopus during this time.
On the day that he went on sale, we had already decided to get him (his PRICE was appalling in it's affordability) and I think it was that same week that I met them unlocking their door one morning and asked for him, what do I need to go and buy to take him home in, et cetera.
I was given the help eagerly and I left, bought a Pet Carrier, came right back and took Trevor home in it (in a baggie obviously).
We are blogging the experience for two reasons.
One, I'm dying. I ONLY TELL YOU THIS because it is why we now have an Octopus in our home. Seen the movie, or heard of, "The Bucket List"? :smile: Onward.
Two, we never thought after all of the research that my wife and I had done on keeping an Octopus as a pet, we never thought that we would ever find one in our home town. We were certain that it would have to be shipped to us, and we flat refuse to be the direct cause of shipping an Octopus any place for any reason. Trevor was already shipped, survived that nightmare that you and I can only imagine, and it is not MY fault. You see?

So.
He's very interesting, so far he broke most of the rules because he doesn't HIDE so much as LURKS, although he's plenty of hiding places. We're told that simply means that he's confident.
We have seen him "Clowning" one time, for several minutes actually, but we were FAR too transfixed to have even thought of a camera.
Once he's just a little bigger, we are setting up the tripod and working out DIM lighting just to take out the reflections in the room... we will welcome EVERY advice on this.
For that matter, we will welcome every advice PERIOD.
There is not enough information out here, on keeping these brilliant things as pets, so we want to do what the others are doing and trying to blog it so that everyone can learn about this.
Will it encourage an Octopus trade, eventually? I mean, if we all keep this up? I kind of pray not. But at the same time, I feel like I have to blog this so that it can be helpful.
 

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Plasticmask

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He is barely eight inches from tip to tip probably longer if he was trying, so we keep him in a Pet Carrier, a clear plastic box with a very tight-fitting plastic lid. We are using cloth window screening to be a (so far) perfect layer of protection from escape, wedged in between box and lid very snugly. Once his little beak is too big, we'll stop needing that screen thank goodness and things will be really easy for -what? Two months, maybe? :smile: Then we'll be needing to "release" him into his 36g bowfront. This is where the Box is currently residing; he's an Octopus in a box in a tank. :smile:
Oh and he's a PIG. Did I mention that yet? Yes. He's a pig. I have begun an above tank refugium, but I need to talk with someone in the Know about simple FILTRATION. Wow.
Our Red Serpent Star is too big to put in with him, we don't know enough to be confident in that regard, although the LR that we DO have in his Box had a Brittle on it at some point. Haven't seen it today.
But yeah, he either needs some partners or I'm going to be changing out his water too often and that makes me nervous.
Side note, I made a "Gym" thing out of PVC, Trevor really does play in it and seems to be glad that it's in there.
So he's got the little LR, a nice green and purple one, and the Gym and an amber colored antique snuff bottle.
Sleeps in the bottle mostly, makes him easy to find with a flashlight and he still thinks he's safe in there. When he's out, he will sit ON it and be the same color as the bottle, has done it twice so far. It's amazing to me.
Eats Krill and fresh frozen bits of "bait" shrimp from the store, right out of my fingers and stays out to eat and stares at me the entire time.
Midden Pile seems to be the interior of that bottle, much to my sadness, it STINKS in that thing every DAY when I pull it out to rinse it clean.
 

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Plasticmask

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Plans: YouTube Channel regarding Trevor, relevant videos involving his colorations and what they might mean, we are learning to make occasional puzzles for him, things like that. Upon "release" into the 36g bowfront, we understand that we have barely a year before his 55g long needs to be ready for him. We've already begun it's planning.
 

DWhatley

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Welcome to TONMO, the fascination with the great critters and the limited ID knowledge of all pet stores :biggrin2:

I am 99% sure Trevor is not vulgaris. The arms appear too long as compared to the mantle (body sack that is often mistaken for the head). He/she and is most likely (but I can't be 100% sure without more info/pictures) Octopus briareus (arguably the most stunning of the local (meaning common US) octos - I could be a bit bias :wink:). Relooking at the photo I believe I see green/blue around the eye socket, this is also a potential ID characteristic that would point to O. briareus.

As a rule of thumb, young octos generally won't allow themselves to be seen until about 4-5 months. I suspect two things with this observation. One, they have reached a predator vs prey size and two, sexual maturity is in progress or has been achieved. Briareus is a crepuscular species (early morning and early evening hunters) but will often be active at a human decided regular feeding time. You DO need to provide a very dark daytime place. His/her activity may be a stress reaction to not having a place to hide but it is not uncommon for a newly introduced animal to appear very friendly for the first month an then revert to a more natural (unfortunately) less active behavior. The good news is that once they are fully acclimated (about a month) they MAY become interactive again over a slow period of time IF a lot of gentle attention is paid to the aquarium. We keep our octo tanks in the eating area so that they see us (and we often see them watching) sitting quietly and on a regular basis and feed them either directly before or after our evening meal.

You don't need (and should not) to put critters in his critter keeper. He/she will do well with the brittle once released to the main tank but the small environment needs to be his own (you can put a snail or two in the keeper that he may or may not eat). Hopefully, you do not plan to keep fish in the tank since you have not mentioned them.

If you have not found it yet, there is a sticky titled Posts with Info for new Octopus keepers that groups a variety of getting started posts that are hopefully helpful and invite new questions.

Looking forward to new pictures!
 

DWhatley

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For determining Trevor's sex, you will want to observe the third arm to the right (clockwise as you orient you eyes with the octos). The male will keep that arm curled most of the time. There is also a spermatophore channel running the length of that arm and a suckerless tip that is slighly funnel shaped but these two features are not easily identified with some species (photos often see more than you will with your eyes). There are several species with examples of the male hectocotylus in the Sexing an Octopus sticky in the Biology forum that should be useful to know what to try to observe. Unfortunately, there is no external dimorphic female trait.
 

Plasticmask

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Wow I hope that he isn't stressing, I must have not been clear but he has plenty of hiding places. He LURKS, he will stay just out of my line of sight unless I lean WAYYY over but he can still see my monitor just fine, and has been binge-watching The Rockford Files with me.
I'll glance over at his Box and I'll see his eyes poking up from behind a pipe, and they'll DUCK back down and creeeeeep back up to stare at me some more. I can't imagine that he's stressed, he's what I was told is a confident brown, with little white spots, when it's feeding time.
:smile: I move around him and his tentacles might get lighter in color, but they go back to brown with little white spots, when I back off and just watch him from a distance. When I clean out his bottle it ticks him off, he turns dark red and goes elsewhere to hide until I shut his Box again.
If he's going to get less social, that's going to be a shame. But I won't be trying to "make" him do anything please don't worry. If no light is what he gets, then no light is what he gets and I can't film him. Thanks, needed to know why I can't find vids on these guys.
 

Plasticmask

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Welcome,

Since he's eating, is there a reason he needs to stay in the Critter Keeper?

Ease of Keeping him. :smile: He's dinky, his beak fits through the slots in the plastic lid (at least, we are going to assume that it will and we are following the LFS instructions in this regard -they've kept four of these). So since he is so small at least for a few more weeks, he stays in there with the screen ensuring his containment.
Once he's too big yes, I'll be losing sleep or at least having nightmares just like the rest of you. :smile:
 

Plasticmask

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Oh and of course we plan on placing no fish with him, nor anything else that's even remotely complicated in the way of corals other than a mushroom or two. Worry thou not, in that regard. :smile:
No, the thing about the Serpent Star is because our Serpent Star either really likes Trevor, or wanted to push his Box out of the tank. So to shorten the story, we looked it up and they aren't enemies but Natural Neighbors; Serpent Stars point out Octopus lairs just because they love to hang out near them and eat the Octopus' scraps.
THAT was why I mentioned Red, our Serpent Star. But he's too big we don't CARE if he has fallen in LOVE even, with Trevor, they aren't living together for at least six or nine months maybe a year.
 

Plasticmask

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Feeding time: Trevor acted more "Normally" to what is hopefully your collective relief, he played with me by reaching out of the PVC Gym and tugging on me, letting go and re-lasso, release, re-lasso, it was extremely creepy, and then after he took the shrimp he gave me a big sucker-kiss that pulled my fingertip down a bit and disappeared into his Gym to eat. The tentacles were brown. Definitely brown.
 

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