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Octopus eggs

butler

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My octopus laid eggs in her den about two weeks ago, appear to be the large variety, and she’s been out of the ocean in my tank about 4 weeks before laying eggs. 2 questions: What are chances eggs are fertile? How long before should I expect to see development (eyes?)? Any advice appreciated!
 

DWhatley

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The chances of the eggs being fertile are very high since females store sperm after mating (for as long as 4 months).

How long until you see black eye spots, and how long until the eggs hatch are dependent upon the species and the water temperature (the warmer the water the faster the development - to a point, of course). For the eggs of Kooah, O. briareus, it was right at a month after egg laying when I could definitely see eye spots. With the O. mercatoris I have kept, I never saw the eggs but the whole brooding process took about 1 month.
 

butler

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The chances of the eggs being fertile are very high since females store sperm after mating (for as long as 4 months).

How long until you see black eye spots, and how long until the eggs hatch are dependent upon the species and the water temperature (the warmer the water the faster the development - to a point, of course). For the eggs of Kooah, O. briareus, it was right at a month after egg laying when I could definitely see eye spots. With the O. mercatoris I have kept, I never saw the eggs but the whole brooding process took about 1 month.

Thank you! That is encouraging. We are excited to hopefully see some hatchlings in the near future! Then we will have to figure out what to do next!
 

DWhatley

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The two linked journals might help you with what to expect. Losses will be heavy during the first week. Finding appropriately sized, food with the needed nutrition and getting them to eat is the hardest. As a rule of thumb (based on so few successes that there is absolutely no statistical relevance) would be to hope for 5 survivors after a month. Animals kept in their brood tanks seem to have fared best. If/when the hatchlings are isolated, use the water from the brood tank during water changes vs new saltwater.

GOOD LUCK and PLEASE JOURNAL!!!
 

butler

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The two linked journals might help you with what to expect. Losses will be heavy during the first week. Finding appropriately sized, food with the needed nutrition and getting them to eat is the hardest. As a rule of thumb (based on so few successes that there is absolutely no statistical relevance) would be to hope for 5 survivors after a month. Animals kept in their brood tanks seem to have fared best. If/when the hatchlings are isolated, use the water from the brood tank during water changes vs new saltwater.

GOOD LUCK and PLEASE JOURNAL!!!
Thank you!!
 

DWhatley

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I see what I think are 3 different eye spots. If you looked backwards on my link you will see that I "thought" I saw an eye spot or two a couple of days before I was sure of what I was seeing.

I believe your octopus is an O. briareus, the same as Kooah in the above link so that journal should be close to following what you will be able to observe.
 

DWhatley

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Great video! Now watch for the hatchlings to flip in the eggs. They do this twice. When they rotate back to this position, hatching time is near.

Don't be too excited about her eating. Sadly, death is programmed into the species but she may live a week or two longer if she continues to eat.
 

butler

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Several have flipped! When they flip back, approximately how long before hatching ? Other questions:

1. Best idea to keep them from going into filter intake and power head intake? Thinking of put course mesh filter around intakes which other octopuses I’ve have hated when they touched at top of tank.

2. Should I be very concerned about them crawling out of tank ? Although there are many reports of this, I have only had one octopus actually crawl out of the tank in my experience, and I would not consider my tank that secure.

3. For food, I was planning to buy lots of mysid shrimp online once per week and just dump them in. Then move to baby/very small prawns I can get from a local store. Any thoughts?

4. Expecting heavy losses the first week, just wondering what the majority of those losses will be secondary to?



[tonmo edit: uploaded video to our Gallery for easy embedding]
 

DWhatley

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Watch that white bubble at the end of their arms. That is the yolk sack and should be gone at the time of hatching.

I would not do anything to keep them from crawling out of the tank. I only had one O. mercatoris hatchling attempt this and it died from being out of the water before escape was a concern.

Hatchling proofing the overflow is problematic. If you block it with something fine (like netting or sponge) it may trap and kill the hatchling. I had numerous hatchlings endup in the filter sock and am not sure that that is not a great place to leave a couple as that is where I discovered Momma Cass and I think she had been there awhile. Others I simply dumped back into the tank and checked for escapees regularly. If you don't have a filter sock attached to the sump drain, I would suggest adding one.

Multiple daily spot/target feedings worked best for me with both O. briareus and O. mercatoris. The mercs I kept in small floating tanks but the briareus roamed freely and I hunted down all that I could find and fed both with a pipette initially filled with Cyclop-eeze (no longer available) and later thawed frozen mysis.

Here is a link to other papers and discussions for raising hatchlings that may be useful.

This quote below is from a researcher in Japan that is exploring raising hatchlings for commercial use. I will add this info to the above link later but am posting it here because of minor technical difficulties :biggrin2:
In regards, to live feeds, we're mainly looking at amphipods and mysids, which we recently discovered can be easily shoveled and sieved out of the sands at the local beaches here provided it isn't too cold. The mysids in particular were plentiful at the transition between the sand and a rocky shoreline. Not sure if anything like this exists in the states though (I presume it does somewhere if a related species exists, try genus Archaeomysis). Hand feeding these critters to our babies last year proved successful, although we had already been keeping the babies for a couple weeks on a mix of chopped up dead whelks, mussel, and crab meat prior to the discovery by the Prof. from a local source. The dead feeds kept them alive long enough for us to establish a supply of live animals, but we found none of these feeds could sustain juveniles for sustained periods (probably two months max, with most not getting to that age). As these juveniles had already become acclimated to being fed, we just did as we always did even after switching to live food. Still, the response was definitely much stronger with live prey, and the struggling definitely provoked much more active feeding among juveniles. This year we're thinking about just releasing the 'pods into the enclosures with the octopuses, and putting some sand in to encourage the critters to stay at the bottom. Not sure if the octopuses will like the sand, but there have been reports that juveniles of other species do burrow in the sand, which would allow them to encounter the prey, unlike in the previous cases we had with pelagic mysids.
 

Nancy

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You might ask if there is anyone in your area with a mature tank able to take a few hatchlings. It gives them a chance, even if not a very good one. I participated in a briarius hatchling giveaway a few years ago. Each person picked up 6 plastic cups with one little octopus, a mysid shrimp, and a little sprig of seaweed. I put all six in the tank and hoped. After two weeks I didn’t see them any more. So I gave up. Then, after about 3 months, a small reddish octopus showed herself!

Nancy
 
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