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Octopus Availability

tonmo

Cthulhu
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It's definitely a strange thing. Unfortunately, we eat them, and it's a giant trade. The process associated with keeping one alive outside of its natural habitat (including ethics, conditions, and effort) is highly complex and uncertain. This site is here because we know people do try to keep cephs in home tanks, and we want them to help each other and share learnings.
 

ceph

Wonderpus
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Dec 20, 2002
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I'm in the Florida Keys on vacation right now and while I'm down here, I thought I'd look for wholesale sources of octopuses. I found one, they know what they are doing and the octopus looked healthy. The good news is that I can buy Caribean Reef Octopus wholesale for $30 Sounds GREAT but that is where most of the good news ends.

  • The minimum order is $300 (of livestock, excludes shipping and other costs). They don't have a lot of other items that I would want as the prices they are asking.
  • The octopus is put in a dive bag so it doesn't escape, bite through the plastic bag, etc. That is $15 more. OK $45, no biggie. . . but there is more.
  • A CRO takes a full box, the cost of shipping of a full box with an octopus and enough water to likely keep it alive overnight in state to Coral Sea Aquarium is $100.
  • Local pickup isn't an option from this wholesaler. Wholesalers deal in volume and large orders and for their business model to work, many don't want to deal with individual one-off requests that slow them down. They too have a biz to run.

So, for $30+$15+$100 = $145 I can get a CRO shipped to my shop. That is my wholesale cost. $30 of that counts toward my minimum order. Their prices on other livestock run high but the quality os great. This is challenging as customers rarely want to pay more for the same exact fish. . . only it isn't the same exact fish. How it was collected and quarantined matters. . . but you can't see that.

Live arrival of octopuses is not guaranteed. This is typical. Octopuses are a pain in the $#%@# to ship. If their box is dropped and they ink that can kill them. In nature, they ink and move away from that ink.
I've had great success collecting them myself and not much luck having them shipped to me. I bring lots of extra water and pay attention.


So we are at $145 to get one to my shop, no guarantee of live arrival.
At least another $100 to ship it from my shop, more if out of state. Overnight shipping and also the risk of losses are huge obstacles. Successfully shipping a live octopus isn't anything at all like shipping a frozen one. Not even close. Now we are at $245 cost, assuming no losses (ha!) and nothing for time or towards rent. Like many brick and mortar businesses, I pay commercial rent. Rent is a BIG NUT. This is not a good business model. No many are going to pay $500 for an octopus that may not arrive alive.

$185 for a bimac is a deal! Take that deal.

I had originally hoped to catch an octopus and scouted out a promising area but the weather turn bad on Thursday and has stayed bad since. If I do manage to catch one, I cannot legally sell it. And I will not. I have a Fl saltwater fishing license but not the commercial fishing license needed to catch and sell. The cost for that is $1000/year and I wouldn't use a license enough o justify that cost.

So this is what it looks like from my end as a potential supplier of wild caught CRO. I did ask if my wholesale source could direct ship and am waiting for a reply; so far "no" has been the answer to everything "special" I've asked for except "can I visit the facility?". And I understand that. Wholesalers deal in volume, not one off little stuff.

I've not given up on this, and have some ideas but they will take luck and time. This should give yall some idea why shipping a live octopus is nothing like frozen food.

Dr. James
 
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Nancy

Titanites
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Nov 20, 2002
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5,765
Interesting account of what you learned. So who does this wholesaler usually sell octopuses to? It must be someone who would want more than one, such as an institution.

Nancy
 

OctoFLDad

Hatchling
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Jan 7, 2020
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2
I have access to tons of bimac's where I live. I am shipping one to Dan hopefully in the next couple days. I do not run a buisness although my dad wants me to but I can do side deals with people if I feel they're trusted. I posted some pics of bimacs earlier and If your interested I can sell em cheap to you. Possibly free as long as you pay shipping. I don't know if thats considered worthy for this thread and I won't take it personaly nancy if you delete this.
I'm interested :smile: please contact me and let's chat!
 

pkilian

GPO
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Jul 31, 2019
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132
Interesting account of what you learned. So who does this wholesaler usually sell octopuses to? It must be someone who would want more than one, such as an institution.
@ceph I am also interested in learning more about this wholesaler. Do they just have local-caught Florida species? Would you be able to send me a message with their contact information please?
 

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