Octopus Q & A

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Jan 4, 2006
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My 2 cents... These may be obvious, please don't take offense.

Your filtration system and the amount that it overfilters will determine that amount and frequency of water changes. Get a good test kit and learn how to use it.

DO get Chromis and Damsels to cycle the tank for at least 3 months. You can get used to them and what they need, just remember a Octo will be much more demanding in terms of how quickly the water fouls, stability, etc. Damsels are to Octos as cappuccino is to espresso.

I have been doing salt for many years and just lost a Octo this last weekend (Oct. 7th) because of water quality issues. It is not a science, it's an art. You don't just say "okay do this -x times a day, and this x times a week" like most books say - thats okay with freshwater. Getting the whole picture together and flowing to sustain itself is the goal. I am going to a large eel in the big tank because I am so frustrated. Save yourself some time and money by getting the tank smoothly running for months before getting a octo. I had mine for 9 months cycling-but it wasn't a smooth bioload. When a large blue crab died behind a rock, the tank crashed. The huge volume of bioballs held the ammonia, but the Nitrite spiked and I lost the octo after 1 1/2 days. The time period shows it wasn't a acclimation issue or wild capture problem. The tank is pristine 1 day later (with higher nitrate), but I lost him.

Hint-you can't mix saltwater in the tank with the animals. You mix it in a seperate tub, let it mature for up to a day (get fully mixed, temp and ph stabilized), and drain off 10-20% of the water in the main tank. Always unplug the heater or it will explode in the tank(everyone here has probably done that once in thier lives.) Salinity has to be the same in the old and new water -so check both first. As the water evaporates you replace it with freshwater becasue the salt doesn't evaporate.

Get a good starter marine aquarium book. I like most of the "For Dummies" books, but you are no dummy. Dummies are the ones who buy a ceph and a tank - fill it with water and then look up this site for instruction.

When you have a tank running well with fish for 3 months, perfect water conditions, and you can look at these threads and others (reefcentral, wetwebmedia, etc.) and know what they are talking about in the answers (you don't have to know all the correct answers, just how to implement them) - then you will be ready to take the pebble from my hand. :wink:

Ceph keeping can be the most rewarding, fulfilling experience interacting with an intelligent, problem-solving pet. Or a downward cyclonic spiral of frustration as you kill off intelligent animals that are depending on you for survival that would otherwise be do fine in the wild. As you can tell there is never any emotion involved, (notice how everyone says "I'm sorry" threads for loss of a animal - they all know what's involved.)
 

monty

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:notworth: That is the the best post I've ever seen on this issue, to the point where I'd like to see it either written up as an article, or incorporated into one of the existing ones. Bravo.

(notice how everyone says "I'm sorry" threads for loss of a animal - they all know what's involved.)

:cry: :angelpus: and thanks for taking the moment to write up the details so that others may benefit from this costly wisdom and knowledge.
 
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monty;80839 said:
:notworth: That is the the best post I've ever seen on this issue, to the point where I'd like to see it either written up as an article, or incorporated into one of the existing ones. Bravo.

:cry: :angelpus: and thanks for taking the moment to write up the details so that others may benefit from this costly wisdom and knowledge.


Monty said it, and I concur. Bravo! :notworth:
 

Nancy

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Yes, Illithid wrote this up very well. I don't know how many times we've gone over this information, but it can't be expressed enough.

The main point that's hard for new people to grasp is this: there is no definitive list you can follow that guarantees things will turn out OK. You have learn as you go and keep learning as long as you're keeping cephs - or saltwater tanks. You have two things to learn about: how to set up and maintain a salt water aquarium, and how to keep a ceph. To do this, you'll need to read a lot and ask questions as you go along, and we expect that.

Monty made a good point about being able to make sense of the threads on reefkeeping websites. Read, visit LFSs, keep working at keeping your tank better. Read about live rock, about calibration of measuring tools, about anything that will help you be a better ceph keeper - keep doing this every week.

Not a bad idea to buy the Saltwater Aquariums for Dummies book to start with- you'll outgrow it eventually, but it presents information in a simple, clear way and has a good index.

Illithid, I especially like your last paragraph -elegantly put.

Nancy
 
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Scruffy;80767 said:
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?

:welcome: Many people have already given some excellent advice but at least I can answer one of your questions!

I have a 55 gallon tank. It is 12 inches deep, 21 inches high and 48 inches long. With the tank stand, it is 54 inches tall.

Good luck, find a LFS and start asking some of these questions, sometimes it is easier to see the equipment and set ups, rather than read about them! Time to take a field trip!
 

Scruffy

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Jul 18, 2006
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Thanks so much for all your great answers. I will get a Damsel or something similar to cycle my tank with, my only concern is i'll have no where to put it once I get an octo! I won't be hasty and get an octopus as soon as the tank is cycled, I will wait untill I fully understand everything involved.
Thanks again, I really appreciate it!
 
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Is it true that you can keep starfish and sea cucumbers with your octo and they will be fine? If you can would you be able to just buy a couple of those and let it cycle with them, or do you need fish? Would the cucumbers crush up the sand into a finer grade that would be better for the octo?
 
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I wouldn't add any living creatures until the ammonia levels are at 0. I'd wait about 6 weeks after initial setup, then add something to jump start the biological filtration.
 

Jean

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shipposhack;80857 said:
Is it true that you can keep starfish and sea cucumbers with your octo and they will be fine? If you can would you be able to just buy a couple of those and let it cycle with them, or do you need fish? Would the cucumbers crush up the sand into a finer grade that would be better for the octo?

We keep stars but not cucumbers with ours. The cucumbers have a distressing tendency to toss out their alimentary tract if harassed............very hard on your filters!

I don't think stars or cucs will be enough to cycle your tank. As for what to do with a fish once your tank has cycled? Check with your LFS often they'll take them back........or perhaps you have a friend with a tank who would appreciate a donation?

Cheers

J
 

seamonkey

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Oct 16, 2006
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Octopodes can only sense very low frequencies-- below about 20Hz.
Just don't put a subwoofer underneath the tank, and you shouldn't have any problems.

Elron
 

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