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Planning an O. bocki tank

Oct 13, 2005
I am not new to saltwater, having seahorses, reefs, and FOWLR tanks set up. I currently have over 10 tanks, and I am in he 8th grade.

I recently aqcuired a 40 gallon tank for my birthday, and I have decided to use it for a pair of O. bocki. I know that dwarfs are usually nocturnal, and that I wont see them a lot, but I was thinking of finding a red flourescent light strip to put over the tank (along with the normal lights) to turn on at night, since they can't see red light. I also know that by keeping two octopods, I run the risk of cannibalism. I am planning on getting a mesh divider, and separating them. Once they are both acclimated, I will give them short sessions with each other under my watchful eye. This will be at night, and only for a half hour or so at first, then gradually getting longer. I hope that this will tell me if they are compatible, and maybe I will be able to throw away the divider sooner or later. The reason for two is that I hope to breed them. I simply cannot have a pet and not breed them. IMO, it's not natural for any living creature not to breed. I was thinking around 20 pounds o so of live rock, depending on what kind, and how it looks. I plan on gluing the rocks onto an accoringly sized PVC pipe to disguise it as a den. I will have at least 10 of these all over the tank. I am planning on an inch and a half or so sand bed of very fine grain, soft sand. Penguin filter, along with a Remora skimmer, probably recommended for a 75-100 gallon tank. I live fairly close to a bait shop that has live fiddler crabs (which I assume need to be nutritionally enriched?) and crayfish. I can also get live peppermint shrimp for about $1.00 each. I do not want a sump, and I will just seal off the holes with duct tape, and keep the lid on with a lock. The lock opens by a clicker like on a car. You push a button, it unlocks. I will have 3 of these. I know, three locks for 2 dwarfs seems like overkill, but better safe than sorry. Along with the skimmer, I will do 10% water changes weekly, or more if necessary. I am unsure of the temperature to keep the tank at, but these octopods were collected in Bali supposedly. Does anyone know the temperature recommendations for bocki? And if anyone has, or has previously had, O. bocki, could you please reply to this with their personality, ehaviors different from other octopods, ect. Thanks for helping me on my next project!

Brock Fluharty


Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Dec 31, 2003
Octopus bocki can be abundant in some places and have a wide distribution but they're extremely rarely seen foraging out and about in the wild. The only realistic ways they end up in the aquarium trade are if they crawl out of live rock or if they're caught with cyanide. They have a cool shiny blue sheen around the eyes and I like them a lot. But the chances of getting one to order, let alone a male and female, are slim to nil. I'd suggest trying for O. mercatoris/O. joubini (id not always certain) from Florida/Caribbean. They're actually a lot like bocki, and you can be sure they haven't been brought with cyanide. They show up for sale this time of year.

Keeping them together isn't likely to end well, even if there's mesh in between (they'll find a way through). Even if they mate or appear to tolerate each other you probably can't predict cannibalism. Short conjugal visits would be safer.
Oct 13, 2005
I have already found a supplier, and they have assured me that they use absolutely no chemicals when catching their livestock. They do it all by hand. They collect a lot of live rock, so that could also be a way of them getting them, but they do have them consistently.
Jan 4, 2006
I personally wouldn't try a pair-just my opinion.

They interact with people so much, and can learn so much more than fish, I think it would be a waste to have one worrying if the other is going to eat it today.

Fish don't interact with people very much. Yes, I have had Oscars and red tail cats, but they don't hold a candle to a well acclimated Octo or Cuttle. Fish need more fish to really see them shine, octos don't.

They don't like each other and don't see each other much except to mate in the ocean, so if you had two tanks-maybe next to each other; so they could see each other but feel safe, would be nice.

I always feel we are trying to most accurately mimic the ocean, where cephs are solitary. I am still amazed at the recent post of a cuttle stalking a cat and growing ears and turning orange and white-he would'nt do that if he was scared.

Cuttles can be kept in pairs in a large tank-that may be a good option if you can afford it. I am debating on getting one or two cuttles in my tank when it is set up, or one big Octo.

My only other concern is that you plan on using a peguin filter-the only one I know is like a bio-wheel and they have a large opening for the water to pour out of-very hard to octo proof. Maybe a canister filter for a sumpless tank would be easier to seal off.

Good luck!
Oct 13, 2005
I already have the filter on, and (if everything goes smoothly) I think I can seal it off. I am going to cut a piece of acrylic, and cover the opening, to where there is just enough for the water to pour out. I was going to put a mesh divider in the middle, so they could not get to each other unless I removed it for visits, but then I thought of the problem that I might not be able to get them out of the rock to separate them again, so I decided on one, and (since I do run a business where we get octos in from time to time) maybe borrow another from one of my other tanks, and let them breed, but I don't know if they just "do it", or if it takes a long time, or what, but I really want to breed, and I know that other people have a pair of octopods in one tank, so why can't I? I am not 100% positive of the species, but I assume that they are some type of dwarf, and the tank is very long, so wouldn't they have enough room to avoid each other until they breed? I am putting as much live rock in it as I can fit, because I have access to cheap rock. I am also planning to put around 10 PVC pipes in the tank, with live rock rubble glued to it for multiple hiding spots. If you guys and gals really think that 2 is a bad idea, then I guess I will get one...


Jul 10, 2005
My understanding of breeding octos - (from a Jaques Cousteau book mainly) he gave the impression that it was a "wham bam thank-you mam" affair. :biggrin2:

If I remember correctly he simply chucked them in the same tank, and that was that, then removed them shortly afterwards.
Sep 16, 2005
See this paper Observation on Mating of the Pacific Giant Octopuses by Roland Anderson in 2003
Although it is observing the mating of Giant Pacific Octopus and probably does not apply to O. bocki but at least it gives you an idea of their mating rituals.

Also, I had a question for you, how are you going to be sure that you have a male and a female?

Here's another paper, but I didn't track it down yet...

Cheng, M. 1996. The reproductive biology of two species of pygmy octopuses, Hapalochlaea lunulata and Octopus bocki. University of California, Berkeley.

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