Pygmy Atlantic Octopus care

Hannahhhh

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The typical signs are not coming out of the den (or aimless wandering), a very grayish white coloration most of the time (vs bright white or other colors), not eating, in females, the mantle will often be floppy but lack of coordination is true with both sexes. However, since this is a newly introduced animal, there is no good way to distinguish acclimation from senescence.
Ok all good to know. Fingers crossed he starts eating soon! Thank you for the help!
 

pkilian

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I've read through the thread again and I have a few comments about the lighting situation for your tank!

1) If your octopus isn't in a room that gets regular direct sunlight, it may be worthwhile to invest in an overhead tank light that is set to a timer, just to give your animal a semblance of a night/day cycle. A light that can gradually brighten and darken at morning/night would be ideal, but even just an on/off light on a timer should help your animal have a more "natural" experience rather than the lights coming on and off as you move around through your house. It's important that you get a light that isn't too bright for the animal. Typical aquarium lights for corals and algae are usually much too bright for an octopus.

2) Octopuses can totally see in red light. They have no problem finding prey and maneuvering around their enclosure with a red light. Because of this, I would suggest only using a red light to ease their transition out of darkness in the morning and back into darkness at night. This would obviously require a more complex lighting system, and doesn't seem totally necessary from my point of view.

I don't think I would recommend leaving the red light on all night considering they can see with that amount of light. The light may bother them if it is particularly bright.

It's good to hear your animal is eating from a stick! I would encourage you to keep feeding them this way, because they will likely slowly become more comfortable eating off the stick and it will become easier to track your animals diet and feeding habits. When I was taking care of pygmy octopus (O. chierchiae) I fed adult individuals once every other day. There's two reasons for this.
1- scavengers like octopuses rarely eat every single day in the wild, and, while we don't have to worry about our octopuses getting fat from over feeding, poking around the enclosure with a stick every day is a good way to annoy your animal.
2- Your tank will be cleaner if there is less food waste, and there will be less food waste if you do not feed every day.

If you try this feeding schedule and your animal is moving about their tank a lot and spending time poking at the lid etc. they may be looking for more food and it may be worthwhile to try to feed every day, or two days on/one day off. Ultimately it's up to you to decide how much to feed them, these are just my experiences with pygmy octos.

It's not uncommon for octopuses to be uninterested in food for the first week or so after shipping so I wasn't surprised to hear that they weren't eating after the first few days, and I'm very glad to hear they are eating from the stick now!

If you haven't already, please consider making a thread in the "Cephalopod Journals" section of the site. Then we can all keep tabs on your experiences with the octopus! (And it's a good place to share photos as well :wink:)
 

Hannahhhh

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I've read through the thread again and I have a few comments about the lighting situation for your tank!

1) If your octopus isn't in a room that gets regular direct sunlight, it may be worthwhile to invest in an overhead tank light that is set to a timer, just to give your animal a semblance of a night/day cycle. A light that can gradually brighten and darken at morning/night would be ideal, but even just an on/off light on a timer should help your animal have a more "natural" experience rather than the lights coming on and off as you move around through your house. It's important that you get a light that isn't too bright for the animal. Typical aquarium lights for corals and algae are usually much too bright for an octopus.

2) Octopuses can totally see in red light. They have no problem finding prey and maneuvering around their enclosure with a red light. Because of this, I would suggest only using a red light to ease their transition out of darkness in the morning and back into darkness at night. This would obviously require a more complex lighting system, and doesn't seem totally necessary from my point of view.

I don't think I would recommend leaving the red light on all night considering they can see with that amount of light. The light may bother them if it is particularly bright.

It's good to hear your animal is eating from a stick! I would encourage you to keep feeding them this way, because they will likely slowly become more comfortable eating off the stick and it will become easier to track your animals diet and feeding habits. When I was taking care of pygmy octopus (O. chierchiae) I fed adult individuals once every other day. There's two reasons for this.
1- scavengers like octopuses rarely eat every single day in the wild, and, while we don't have to worry about our octopuses getting fat from over feeding, poking around the enclosure with a stick every day is a good way to annoy your animal.
2- Your tank will be cleaner if there is less food waste, and there will be less food waste if you do not feed every day.

If you try this feeding schedule and your animal is moving about their tank a lot and spending time poking at the lid etc. they may be looking for more food and it may be worthwhile to try to feed every day, or two days on/one day off. Ultimately it's up to you to decide how much to feed them, these are just my experiences with pygmy octos.

It's not uncommon for octopuses to be uninterested in food for the first week or so after shipping so I wasn't surprised to hear that they weren't eating after the first few days, and I'm very glad to hear they are eating from the stick now!

If you haven't already, please consider making a thread in the "Cephalopod Journals" section of the site. Then we can all keep tabs on your experiences with the octopus! (And it's a good place to share photos as well :wink:)
I will try to start a journal sometime this week! It seems like a good idea.
My octopus is definitely afraid of the feeding stick. He ran away from it tonight.
 

DWhatley

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I can move this thread to journals and you can just continue your journalling in one thread if you would like.
 

B_Walsh

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He grabbed a piece of shrimp off the feeding stick!! @DWhatley thank you SO much for the advice!

Glad he's eating! As I'm sure you'll keep us posted, hopefully he will continue to do so. As Peter said, they may not eat every day and it would definitely cause less stress on your octo to not poke around with the feeding stick daily. As long as you're offering food every other day and allowing him the time to decide if he wants what you're offering (and he occasionally accepts it), it sounds like you'll be in good shape.

That being said, if you're nervous it's been a while, catch us up in your journal as this is a great resource to troubleshoot!
 

Hannahhhh

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Do you guys think it would be possible for me to add a 1 3/4 inch painted angler to my octo tank? I’ve been avoiding adding fish to the tank because I don’t want them to harass my octopus and I don’t want them to be a snack. I was thinking an angler might be a good solution to that. They’re too slow moving to harass the octopus, and (hopefully) threatening enough for the octopus to leave them alone. The only thing is they aren’t exactly cheap, so I don’t want it to be a very expensive snack. What do you guys think?
 

B_Walsh

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Do you guys think it would be possible for me to add a 1 3/4 inch painted angler to my octo tank? I’ve been avoiding adding fish to the tank because I don’t want them to harass my octopus and I don’t want them to be a snack. I was thinking an angler might be a good solution to that. They’re too slow moving to harass the octopus, and (hopefully) threatening enough for the octopus to leave them alone. The only thing is they aren’t exactly cheap, so I don’t want it to be a very expensive snack. What do you guys think?

Unfortunately, it would be stressful on both parties in the tank. Not to mention an expensive risk. Maybe set up a separate tank with your angler friend?
 

Hannahhhh

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Does anyone have any suggestions on interacting with an octopus? Namely how to interact without terrifying it. Mine spends most of his time hiding, should I wait to interact until he chooses to come out? Is it better to interact at night? With the lights on? Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated!
 

B_Walsh

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Does anyone have any suggestions on interacting with an octopus? Namely how to interact without terrifying it. Mine spends most of his time hiding, should I wait to interact until he chooses to come out? Is it better to interact at night? With the lights on? Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated!

I'm not sure what you're referring to. Is this for feeding, or just a general interaction? If feeding, only interact for a brief period to offer food when they are alert during daylight hours as your octo has appeared stressed/disinterested in feeds previously. If this is for "playtime," I would wait to see if your octo gains confidence in their space before attempting to interact with him. Definitely stick to when the lights are on (I certainly would not appreciate someone coming into my bedroom at night when I'm relaxing.) And remember that your octo may not enjoy interaction so if they appear intimidated or scared (making themselves look "bumpy," dark coloration, inking), it's best to leave them be and admire from outside the tank.
 

Hannahhhh

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I'm not sure what you're referring to. Is this for feeding, or just a general interaction? If feeding, only interact for a brief period to offer food when they are alert during daylight hours as your octo has appeared stressed/disinterested in feeds previously. If this is for "playtime," I would wait to see if your octo gains confidence in their space before attempting to interact with him. Definitely stick to when the lights are on (I certainly would not appreciate someone coming into my bedroom at night when I'm relaxing.) And remember that your octo may not enjoy interaction so if they appear intimidated or scared (making themselves look "bumpy," dark coloration, inking), it's best to leave them be and admire from outside the tank.
If he’s nocturnal do you think he would be happier playing interacting at night?
 

Hannahhhh

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d



Oh yes, if your octo is nocturnal, it may be better to interact at night.
I tried, he had zero interest in interacting. He saw my hand go in and took off. I’ll give him some space and try again in a week or two.

I have a question for you guys. I’m thinking of setting up a larger tank for a bimac at some point. If I buy a used tank, do I need to be concerned about the tank’s history? Namely, if the tank has ever been treated with copper or other things bad for an octopus, will that tank be ruined forever? Or is it ok if I just clean it very well.
 

B_Walsh

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I have a question for you guys. I’m thinking of setting up a larger tank for a bimac at some point. If I buy a used tank, do I need to be concerned about the tank’s history? Namely, if the tank has ever been treated with copper or other things bad for an octopus, will that tank be ruined forever? Or is it ok if I just clean it very well.


Definitely clean it thoroughly, as you said. Once cleaned, I wouldn't worry so much about previous medication treatments. My biggest worry with old tanks is exactly how old is it? If glass, are the seams in good condition? Glass tanks that once held water and were emptied and left in a basement for years are worrisome as the seams can become brittle and lead to leaks. Have there been any previous issues with the tank (leaks, etc)? So long as you do your due diligence, a recycled tank should work out for a bimac.
 

pkilian

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I tried, he had zero interest in interacting. He saw my hand go in and took off. I’ll give him some space and try again in a week or two.

I have a question for you guys. I’m thinking of setting up a larger tank for a bimac at some point. If I buy a used tank, do I need to be concerned about the tank’s history? Namely, if the tank has ever been treated with copper or other things bad for an octopus, will that tank be ruined forever? Or is it ok if I just clean it very well.

Another way to test if the tank is leeching copper into the water is to set the tank up with salt water as you would normally mix it, and then add some Cuprisorb in a filter media bag and let the tank run for a few days. Cuprisorb turns blue/green when it interacts with copper, and that should tell you if you have any copper in the water or not. If you cycle the tank for a few days and the Cuprisorb doesn't change color, then you should be good to go.
 

Hannahhhh

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So unfortunately this afternoon I found the octopus dead. I tested alk, salinity, and a few other parameters and all were normal and unchanged. I suppose it’s possible that I didn’t do anything wrong, but I still feel pretty guilty. I would like to have another octopus but I’m thinking I might prefer to set up a larger tank so that I can go with a longer lived species. Is there anyway for me to confirm if he died of age or if it was something I caused?
 
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