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Octopus Q & A

Scruffy

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
Joined
Jul 18, 2006
Messages
11
I've been reserching how to take care of an octopus for a short while now. Probably about 4 to 5 months. This is by far the best site I have come across. The octopus I have in mind, like so many others, is a bimac.

I've read all of the care articles on this site, and have browsed these forums and have learnt alot, even printed off alot of information which is now stapled together and has it's own folder :smile: hehe.. But I still need help.
While I've found these articles and forums very helpful, everyone seems to know what everything is, and therefore they don't feel the need to explain what something is. For example, skimmers. As far as I can gather they are a type of filtration system? This is just an example, but it seems the case with alot of the equipment needed.
In another thread I read that there's no point in having an eqipment checklist and there are so many different kinds of setups. Fair enough.
But what are the essential things to have? And could I have a short description of what they are and do?

I also have some other questions, ones that I haven't seen any info on.. they may sound silly and maybe obvious to some experienced people.. but I have never owned any sort of marine animal before.

So, here goes:

1. I've read that I should do 10% water changes every week, or 20% water changes fortnightly. How often, if ever, do I need to do a full water change? This also brings me to my next question..

2. Where do I put the octo while i'm doing a full water change? Should I just fill a container or smaller plastic tank with some water from the octo's tank and just leave it in there untill i'm done?

3. What should I use to remove the octo from the tank before i'm confident enough to use my hands?

4. I've read that after 3 months you should feed once a day. Is that one shrimp or crab once a day, or a couple once a day? And how much, and how often do I feed it when it is under 3 months old?

5. Before I put my hand in the water, should I wash my hands with anything specific or just water?

6. If I was to get a license to fish for crayfish in canals would that be a suitable food source for the octo? Every so often I will give it treats for a change, what osrt of things would you recommend?

7. May sounds silly, but can they hear? My boyfriend and I are very into music.. and like it loud. But I wouldn't want it to startle or annoy the octopus.

8. I've read about using glue on some of the larger rocks so they don't hurt the octopus by falling on them as they move them about, is it best to glue the larger rocks together or to the base of the tank? Obviously I won't glue the smaller rocks as I know they like to play with them and make little caves etc.

9. I know the minimum for a bimac is about 50 gallons, so i'll aim to get a tank that is 50-60 gallons. Thing is.. I have no idea how big tanks that hold this much water are. So if possible.. anyone with tanks these sizes, could you tell me the measurements in inches so I know how much space it will take up?

Sorry for all the questions, I just want to be as educated as possible before getting an octo as a pet.

And ANY other information that anyone thinks might be useful would be excellent! Also.. If anyone who thinks they could help me out would add me to msn that would be great.. I don't want to make threads everytime I have a question. I'm friendly - I promise! My msn address is [email protected]
Thanks in advance.
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
2,390
Scruffy;80767 said:
I've been reserching how to take care of an octopus for a short while now. Probably about 4 to 5 months. This is by far the best site I have come across. The octopus I have in mind, like so many others, is a bimac.

I've read all of the care articles on this site, and have browsed these forums and have learnt alot, even printed off alot of information which is now stapled together and has it's own folder :smile: hehe.. But I still need help.
While I've found these articles and forums very helpful, everyone seems to know what everything is, and therefore they don't feel the need to explain what something is. For example, skimmers. As far as I can gather they are a type of filtration system? This is just an example, but it seems the case with alot of the equipment needed.
In another thread I read that there's no point in having an eqipment checklist and there are so many different kinds of setups. Fair enough.
But what are the essential things to have? And could I have a short description of what they are and do?

I also have some other questions, ones that I haven't seen any info on.. they may sound silly and maybe obvious to some experienced people.. but I have never owned any sort of marine animal before.

So, here goes:

1. I've read that I should do 10% water changes every week, or 20% water changes fortnightly. How often, if ever, do I need to do a full water change? This also brings me to my next question..

2. Where do I put the octo while i'm doing a full water change? Should I just fill a container or smaller plastic tank with some water from the octo's tank and just leave it in there untill i'm done?

3. What should I use to remove the octo from the tank before i'm confident enough to use my hands?

4. I've read that after 3 months you should feed once a day. Is that one shrimp or crab once a day, or a couple once a day? And how much, and how often do I feed it when it is under 3 months old?

5. Before I put my hand in the water, should I wash my hands with anything specific or just water?

6. If I was to get a license to fish for crayfish in canals would that be a suitable food source for the octo? Every so often I will give it treats for a change, what osrt of things would you recommend?

7. May sounds silly, but can they hear? My boyfriend and I are very into music.. and like it loud. But I wouldn't want it to startle or annoy the octopus.

8. I've read about using glue on some of the larger rocks so they don't hurt the octopus by falling on them as they move them about, is it best to glue the larger rocks together or to the base of the tank? Obviously I won't glue the smaller rocks as I know they like to play with them and make little caves etc.

9. I know the minimum for a bimac is about 50 gallons, so i'll aim to get a tank that is 50-60 gallons. Thing is.. I have no idea how big tanks that hold this much water are. So if possible.. anyone with tanks these sizes, could you tell me the measurements in inches so I know how much space it will take up?

Sorry for all the questions, I just want to be as educated as possible before getting an octo as a pet.

And ANY other information that anyone thinks might be useful would be excellent! Also.. If anyone who thinks they could help me out would add me to msn that would be great.. I don't want to make threads everytime I have a question. I'm friendly - I promise! My msn address is [email protected]
Thanks in advance.

Wow! That's a lot of questions...haha. You're pretty thorough though, that's good.

I suggest going to a local fish/aquarium store, and check out the equipment. This will give you a good idea what skimmers are and what they are for, and help you visualize how big a 50-60 gallon tank is.
You might should even Google a few of the things you are asking about.
Since you haven't maintained a marine tank before, I would suggest not starting with an octopus. I waited 2 years after starting with a 10 gallon, moving to a 30 gallon, and then up to a 75 gallon... which is actually kind of backwards considering the larger the tank, the easier to maintain.

I wouldn't do a full water change, ever. With the exception of something seriously contaminating the tank, ie. batteries fell in. This being said, you shouldn't have to remove the octopus, ever. If you did however, I would suggest trying to get him into a plastic container of sorts, instead of a net, as I understand their skin is sensitive.
Hand sanitizer and a quick rinse should do the trick when it comes to washing your hands.
Crayfish are probably okay. You might not leave their big pinschers intact, or rubber band them. Wouldn't want prey turning predator, though I doubt it would happen. I used to keep snakes and had one killed by a rat... so never doubt the underdog.
I don't know if they can hear. I imagine they "feel" what they hear instead. Soundwaves. I could be wrong.
Glue rocks together, not to the tank. You might not like the placement of the decorations, and the tank will last much longer than the octopus.

Well, I imagine someone else can answer these questions much better for you than I can, as I'm a new owner on my first attempt, but I think those answers are fairly accurate to what you were wanting to know. Honestly I would have just left this thread alone and let someone more knowledgeable than myself answer you, but I'm bored.

Someone else, please fill her in and don't let me misinform her!
 

monty

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Registered
Joined
Mar 8, 2004
Messages
4,884
:welcome: to TONMO. I expect you'll get some more great answers to your great questions shortly...
 

Nancy

Titanites
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 20, 2002
Messages
5,772
Hi and welcome to TONMO.com! :welcome:

It's OK to break up your questions into a number of posts. Put a relevant title (like Protein Skimmers) on the thread, and it will help others when they search.

I'm taking a last peak at posts before turning in and don't have time to answer much until tomorrow evening - but here's a quicky.

Animal Mother has already answered this - you don't have to remove your octopus during a water change. In fact, he'll enjoy it!

And take his advice about visiting an aquarium store. You need to have a look at the products and think about them.

The advice to start with a smaller, non-octopus aquarium is good. At least take a long time to set up and cycle your tank, learning all the while.

Feed your octo several times a day until it's three months. When you feed it once a day, you'll know how much because your octo won't overeat.

Make your your hands are clean when you put them into the water and you have no cuts on your hands. Make very sure that all soap residue is rinsed off.

OK, that's all I have time for tonight....if you don't get more good answers by tomorrow night, I'll chime in again (I'm in a conference all day tomorrow).

Nancy
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
672
How do you execute the water changes? What kind of equipment do you need, and do you just put in more RO water for the amount you took out? Also, I plan to buy my water from my LFS and if it already comes with salt in it do I need to do anything to get it out before adding it?

Sorry for more questions when the first ones haven't been fully answered :silenced:
 

Scruffy

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
Joined
Jul 18, 2006
Messages
11
Carry on man ^^^ the more info the better:smile:

I understand what you mean about not getting an octopus as my first marine pet.. but there isn't really anything else i'm interested in keeping at the moment, and I don't want to use money on something i'm not particularly interested in at this time.
If I don't feel confident enough to keep an octopus after cycling the tank for 3 months, i'll wait longer untill I fully understand how to maintain and take care of it properly.

I'd love to go to a LFS but unfortunatly there isn't any local to me :frown:
But i'm moving soon and I have the number of a store, so i'll give them a call sometime soon and ask about equipment and if they ever stock octos.
 

corw314

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 20, 2002
Messages
3,749
:welcome: Not sure that I did! :smile:

I must commend you on your questions. I can see you have been very thorough in your research on this site!

Protein skimmers are used to remove not only the extra waste octopuses produce, but if you have an inking episode it removes the ink very quickly. You would be amazed at the amount of "gunk" that it pulls from a seemingly sparkling tank.

Water changes, I have a python I hook up to my kitchen sink to remove the old water. If you mix your own, I have several garbage cans I use just for mixing water. My octopuses in the past have used this time to harrass me and the equipment I use. They consider any activitiy in their tank as a prime opportunity to disrupt our schedule by stalking the utensils, grabbing and playing with them, and most times you have to wait till they are tired of whatever they have their grips on to continue.

That's my 2 cents...I am sure more will chime in!

Carol
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
2,390
Scruffy;80777 said:
Carry on man ^^^ the more info the better:smile:

I understand what you mean about not getting an octopus as my first marine pet.. but there isn't really anything else i'm interested in keeping at the moment, and I don't want to use money on something i'm not particularly interested in at this time.
If I don't feel confident enough to keep an octopus after cycling the tank for 3 months, i'll wait longer untill I fully understand how to maintain and take care of it properly.

I don't think a person can truly understand how to maintain and take care of a marine tank without some hands on experience. Sure, if you read it and put it together it sounds good in theory. But really, there is no substitute for the actual process of it all. Just get a couple of Chromis or Damsels, they are usually around $5 apiece, and that's not much to spend on something just to make sure the tank is habitable and they will help get your biological filtration going. After feeding them you'll see how the whole process works and it will help you prepare for working with an Octopus.

By the way Nancy, I'm a He, not a Her...hahaha :lol: I get that a lot though so no offense taken. Animal Mother is a nickname of a character in a movie, Full Metal Jacket. My roommates gave it to me after I started bringing orphaned and injured wildlife home from my work until I could get them to rehabilition.
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
Registered
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Messages
4,218
Scruffy;80767 said:
2. Where do I put the octo while i'm doing a full water change? Should I just fill a container or smaller plastic tank with some water from the octo's tank and just leave it in there untill i'm done?

3. What should I use to remove the octo from the tank before i'm confident enough to use my hands?

4. I've read that after 3 months you should feed once a day. Is that one shrimp or crab once a day, or a couple once a day? And how much, and how often do I feed it when it is under 3 months old?

5. Before I put my hand in the water, should I wash my hands with anything specific or just water?

6. If I was to get a license to fish for crayfish in canals would that be a suitable food source for the octo? Every so often I will give it treats for a change, what osrt of things would you recommend?

7. May sounds silly, but can they hear? My boyfriend and I are very into music.. and like it loud. But I wouldn't want it to startle or annoy the octopus.

8. I've read about using glue on some of the larger rocks so they don't hurt the octopus by falling on them as they move them about, is it best to glue the larger rocks together or to the base of the tank? Obviously I won't glue the smaller rocks as I know they like to play with them and make little caves etc.

Hi Scruffy and :welcome:

Use a soft net to remove the octi, although unless you have something catastrophic happen, you shouldn't need to for 10 or 20% changes. Hands are not really a good way to shift an octi....ever! While the octis can become very interactive and apear to enjoy touching us (wet hands always!) their skin is very delicate and easily damaged, our hands are rather hot and abrasive to them.

Prior to 3 months have food always available in the tank, mysids or similar. One or two crabs a day after that should suffice! I work in a public aquarium and we tend to have live food available in the octopus tanks at all times (just so you're aware that my take on octopus care is a little different to others on this forum!!! :biggrin2: )

Hand wash in just water, this should hold for ALL tanks soaps, detergents etc are bad for our stock and also for the necessary bacteria in your filters.

Is the canal freshwater? If so then your crayfish are no good as a staple diet, they'll be low in protein and high in fat compared to marine ones (good as treats tho!). If marine then they should be great! (as an aside in NZ typically the crayfish we talk about are marine- AKA rock lobster, and the lobsters are fresh water!)

There is quite a bit of dipsute about whether or not octis can hear, BUT they certainly feel vibration, so I'd keep the music down until your new buddy gets used to his/her new home!!

Check with Nancy or Colin about what sort of glue to use......some would be very toxic (avaoid anything with copper in it for example!) alternatively aquarium silicon will glue rocks together!

Cheers

Jean
 

Nancy

Titanites
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 20, 2002
Messages
5,772
Lots of good information in these answers!

My apologies, Animal Mother for assuming you to be a "she" - have corrected my post.

It is possible to go directly to keeping your first octopus, but it's not easy and it helps to have someone around to advise and assist (like someone who's keeping saltwater tanks).

Another thing I might mentiion - use the salt water for water changes, but when it comes to topping off (replacing water that's evaporated), you need to use RO/DI water (with a small amount of buffer added to bring the pH up to the same level as your tank).

Nancy
 

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