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Octo not eating...

May 31, 2006
As of today, octopus #2 would not eat. His buddy, #2 ate eagerly and grabbed all of the food I offered him. (I tried some squid bits in addition to their shrimp today as a treat. I think they like the shrimp better.) #2 would either ignore the food, blow it away from him with his siphon, or when touched to his arm, would grab it but then crawl out of his corner and drop it in the center of the tank and go back to resting. Yesterday he was much more lethargic than usual as well. It does not look good. I'm worried that I may have hurt him pulling my hand away last time he tried to eat it. I had to pull rather hard and eventually he retreated and turned dark.

Any suggestions on how to get him to eat? Or is it hopeless?
I doubt if you hurt him pulling away your hand.
Check the water quallity (I assume the two are in different tanks. - If they're in the same tank, that could be a reason.)
Try a live crab to entice him.
Are these bimacs? What's the water temperature?

They are bimacs, and the water temp is a little on the high side for them due to the space being close to the lighting source for the room. I also have the tanks covered in a black trahs bag on the sides to minimize light pollution. This might contribute to the temp. rising. Today temps were at 24 degrees C, a bit above their upper range. Thus far, they have been fine though. Can I just grab a crab off the beach to feed them? And they are in separate tanks...and water quality is pretty good right now.
Yes, if the water isn't too polluted. Lots of Tonmo octopuses have been fed on crabs caught on the beach. I don't know whether they could eat horseshoe crabs but shore crabs, fiddlers and other small crabs work just fine. Don't get any huge ones!

Ok, I'll try to get a couple tomorrow morning...or maybe even now...hmm...the crabs just eat things from the water, right? My only concern is that if they like live food too much, they won't take the food reward for my experiment. But I suppose that's something I can figure out. The circulation for #2's tank was a bit slow, not sure why, so I'm trying to fix that now as well. He's been hanging out near the outflow pipe lately, so maybe that has something to do with it. He is not in a good mood though, he will spit water at me if the water changes too much right now.
The water temperature is not ideal, but isn't the cause of not eating. However, octos require a lot of oxygen. They get that in our home aquariums through the wet/dry filtration method, protein skimmer, powerhead at the water surface, and so forth. Would the octo in question have a tank with less oxygen in the water?

How old is tank #2? You mentioned "pretty good" on your water readings. Any trace amount of ammonia can throw them off feed. And all my octopuses, think last count, over the years, was 9 with #10 arriving this Sunday, have been fed on locally caught creatures.

I don't think so. I have 3 large airstones going in the tank, as well as a small filter helping to circulate the bubbles. He used to love playing in the bubbles...but he's been hanging out at the other end of the tank the last couple of days when his behavior change started.

There was a bubble backup in his outflow pipe that I corrected today...maybe that will help, I don't know.

I also have no idea how old these octos were when I received them. He was the larger of the 3, and I'm not sure of the gender. Could he just be old? It was a rather drastic change in behavior so suddenly. He did show some slow activity a few minutes ago by pushing a couple of things in the tank and crossing back and forth, but that was about it. He still won't take food.
My ammonia levels today were at .1 and .05, not ideal, but better than they were before the system change, and they have been higher previously when the octos were doing fine. #3 is perfectly fine, and he's in the same closed, circulating system.
I know, but it's better than it was, and it didn't throw them off before. And like I said, #3 showed no such behavior change. That could be it, but I've been doing daily water changes of ~10 gal for an 80 gal system plus sump ...

Maybe he's just hand shy now from our tug o war the other time. I didn't let him take my hand all the way to his mouth. Still, even when I dropped the shrimp into the tank he didn't go after it. I've left it in there for almost an hour now, offering again at the half hour mark, but he rejects it or shows no interest.
Well, I removed the shrimp he didn't eat again. Hopefully I can get some crabs in the morning and he will eat that. I'll keep you updated. Thanks for the help.
I really don't think the lack of eating has to do with the hand episode.
He might take the shrimp and run back to his den, but lack of interest in food over several days indicates something else. What is the nitrate reading? If it's really high, it can affect appetite.

Good news! #2 ate a little bit today. Not his whole shrimp, but at least part of it, and he was more active. He climbed about the tank a bit, played in his bubbles, hid inside one of the pipes, and even reached out for the siphon hose. He's still not himself, but better than yesterday. I did an extra 5 gal change today to hopefully boost water quality.

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