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Pygmy Octopus Care?


Jul 14, 2008
Hey guys! I'm new here and I just found this site and joined today. Anyways, I was researching pet octopus and that's how I came across this site. I was wondering what type of octopus pygmy octopus are, or if thats actually the breed and not a nickname. I'm looking into buying one but I have a few questions first:

1) How big do they grow?
2) Does anyone know how big the tank should be?
3) What should I feed them, and where could I get it?
4) How much would the cost of their food, themself, and the tank be alltogether?
5) Does anyone here have a pygmy octopus?

And my last question is, my local pet stores don't SELL octopus, but would they probably let me order one (I'm going to ask them this later)?

Thanks! I'm really new to the whole octopus thing.
Hi and welcome to TONMO!

There are many kinds of pygmies and dwarf octopuses. If you live in the US the most likely pygmy you will come across is Octopus mercatoris. Most of your questions can be answered in the journals forum. There are a few members here keeping them, and they have very meticulous journals for their octopuses.

Check out Dwhatley and Gholland's threads in particular.
Varys' babies (O. mercatoris)
[Octopus Eggs]: - Trappers Grandchildren - Tank Bred Mercatoris
[Octopus Eggs]: - Trapper's Babies - Tank Raised Mercatoris
[Octopus]: - Varys, our brooding O. mercatoris
:welcome: to TONMO!

AM covered the information you asked for, but there's also another thing to keep in mind: in general, smaller octos are less interesting pets and harder to keep, so while a lot of people want to start with a small species because it seems like the best way to start, there are a number of benefits for larger species: pygmies tend to be shy and nocturnal, so they're often not interactive or visible... some only come out in the dark under red lights (which they can't see). They also have shorter lifespans, and are most often captured as adults. Also, while larger octos need a 55-75gallon tank, since octos produce a lot of waste and are very sensitive to water quality, having the larger tank gives gives more of a buffer for water problems, and therefore more time to take care of them.

I don't mean to say it's impossible to have a good experience with a mercatoris or similar species, but since it's going to be a big investment in any case, it's worthwhile to consider larger species when you're in the planning stages.
:welcome: to the site.

Pygmy octopus is just a nickname for any one of the many, many smaller species. The minimum tank size for any octopus should be 50 US gallons- this can cater to some of the more medium sizes and will give the smaller species plenty of room. In your research you'll probably find that many people prefer Octopus bimaculoides, a small, diurnal (day active) species from California. I have kept four different species, and of those four this one was the most interactive.

As for food, most species do best with live ghost shrimp or fiddler crabs, or small clams. Do NOT feed brine shrimp- they lack in nutrition and aren't very substantial. You can wean them off onto frozen food, but don't be surprised if they're not interested. Another thing, don't feed them fish- too much fat, not enough protein. I don't know where you live, but if you can collect food, that helps lighten the cost load. I collect my own live clams.

Now to your question about the cost. Equipment, you need a good quality filter and a protein skimmer. For a filter i would recommend one of the better canister filters, since it's trong and it doesn't hang off the back of the tank. One of those usually starts at around $100, and more depending on how big it is. That's another point, make sure your filter system is overspeck, meaning bigger than it needs to be. Same goes for the protein skimmer. If you are setting up a sump, you can put the protein skimmer down there. Otherwise, a good hang-on one will do. You may want to invest in extera equipment, like a UV sterilizer. The good news is that you won't need the expensive lights like you would for corals- a simple fluorescent strip will be perfect.

Be sure to go for long and wide when buying a tank. Octopi prefer to move on the bottom and spend little time in the water column. Provide alot of live rock, with caves and crevices. An octopus in a bare tank will NOT do well- they feel exposed and will die from stress.

Tankmates are rather limited. Crustaceans and fish have no place. Starfish and urchins are by far the best options. Some people keep corals with them, but I do not personally recommend this.

Good luck, please post any further questions you may have. Everyone at TONMO is glad to help.
Hello I'm new to this forum as well and I found this


it is a package for a pygmy octopus with just about everything you need (at least it sounds like it has everything to me) but since it doesn't say the exact type of octopus or how big the tank is I was wondering if anyone could identify the octopus in the videos and maybe give some info on it. It would be very much appreciated. Thanks
I looked into that because I was curious and I asked a bunch of questions like if he includes a skimmer, what kind of filter, what sized tank, what species (I'm almost certain it is a mercatoris)... and he replied with saying that he is based in canada so he cannot ship to U.S. unless you have an import license. overpriced anyways.

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