• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

Octopus life Expectancy

Sep 6, 2005
Hi I’m I was talking to some one about keeping an octopus in an aquarium and that they only live for a year give or take so he thinks that octopus such as bimic or other popular species live longer in the wild and I mean like many many years so my question to you is it this cruel to the octopus and is he rite in any way shape or form.
Well, octopuses like the giant pacific octopus have been known to live 5 + years in the wild and in captivity, some deep sea species even live a year or two longer.

In the most part, octopuses that we keep in aquariums only live for about a year at most in the wild or in aquariums. In fact, some aquarium specimens will live a longer life than if they were in the wild.

Even more amazing, some species like blue ring octopuses may only live about 6 - 8 months in the wild or in an aquarium!

I thinks it depends very much on the aquarium. Which is why the members of this forum are so hot on tank size etc. If the octopus has enough room, plenty of varied food of the correct size and stimulation I don't see why they can't be kept and kept "happy"

My :twocents:

really dumb kid said:
Yes.Ok I’m just making sure that they don’t live like 5 years in the wild and 1 in the aquarium that’s all and by they I mean main stream octos.


No, most species of Octopus are fairly short lived and often do better in captivity (provided they're held correctly of course!!). It all comes down o selecting your species carefully and researching their requirements etc etc

Jean said:
No, most species of Octopus are fairly short lived and often do better in captivity (provided they're held correctly of course!!). It all comes down o selecting your species carefully and researching their requirements etc etc

Honest to god, if they lived longer--and maybe were a little more social with eachother--they'd have taken over the planet by now!

HiHo Octoids,

The normal life span for a given species of octopus is more or less
hard wired into its genome - Hatch, grow, mature, breed, & die - all
to be accomplished in a fairly fixed period of time. Click on "Species
Search" at http://www.cephbase.utmb.edu/ and you can find info on the
natural lifespans of many of the better understood species. BTW: As I
write this Cephbase isn't working. Apparently they've been having off
and on problems for several weeks now. If you can't make it work, just
try again in a day or two.

There just isn't any evidence to suggest that a properly housed and
cared for octo won't live just as long and happy a life as one would
in the wild. OTOH: Virtually all hobbiest raised octos are raised by
themselves which is perfectly OK for most of the animal's life but may
be problematic for one of breeding age. I've never heard of any
'strange' behavior from an octopus that has been deprived of the
opportunity to breed; but then again, there are lots of things I
haven't heard of!

The thing that makes octos different from just about any other
aquarium pet is their intelligence. I've mentioned in earlier posts
that the marine center at which I volunteer keeps a GPO for the 4
months of our 'season'. The thing that stands out is the individuality
that makes each one unique but also causes some to be difficult or
almost impossible to keep. When we get a GPO that doesn't eat A LOT,
constantly tries to escape, or displays 'wrong' colors such as white
or gray we return it to the wild. Past experience has shown that such
an individual will eventually manage to escape or starve itself.
Fortunately, we're located on a pier that juts into some absolutely
primo GPO habitat so releasing isn't a problem. BTW: Even if it's been
a happy camper we always release the animal at the end of our season
which is normally the last weekend of September.

The bottom line is that an octopus is born with a maximum life
expectancy of X days. That expectancy is the same regardless of
whether the animal is in the wild or in an aquarium. OTOH: Because of
the lack of predators an octo in an aquarium is far more likely to
reach its maximum age than is the same species in the wild.

The key, as Jean and others have pointed out, is to KNOW what you're
getting and what its needs are. If your supplier can't give you Genus
& species for the animal he's trying to sell you then you've really
got no business encouraging his business practices. If you've got
Genus & species then it's almost trivial to amass more data than you
can use for the proper keeping of the octo in question.

Agedly yours,

Yeah Alex we ALWAYS release ours, usually close to where we got them. We generally release at around 18 months old (P. cordiformislives for about 2 years) that way they can establish a new den, go out and find that special someone :heart: :tentacle:

We feed live food too so they haven't lost the ability to hunt.

On the odd occasion we have misjudged the age of females and end up with a batch of eggs, usually infertile. In that case we keep her til nature runs it's course.....these octis are militantly maternal and we wouldn't want to remove her from her eggs.

Ok, im just making sure that it is not cruel to keep one bc i was talking to a friend and her said they only live short in tanks(with proper care) and i thought that COULD NOT be rite so I checked thanks.
You have to be really careful listening to people that might think they know something about octos. Many people at my local fish store act like they know everything about them but really know nothing. I'm not sure how this happens, they are some of the most intelligent people I've met, except in this department. There are many misconceptions about octos, and you really shouldnt take anyones advice unless they have personaly kept them, myself included :nyah:. But so many here have good experience with them.

Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.