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Pygmy Octopus keeping

The Matt

Dec 6, 2003
Anybody have experience with pygmy octopuses such a joubini or mercatoris? Iv'e been interested in getting one, but haven't found very much info on them. I discovered that I could get one at either Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratories or caribbeancreatures.com I know they don't live long (6 months). Do they act very lively, or are they reclusive? Would it be possible to keep one in a 2.5 gallon or a 5 gallon (their mantle is only 2cm.)? Can you feed them krill supplemented with ghost shrimp, snails? Finally are these little guys very enjoyable or do they generally make lousy pets. I'm debating with myself to either keep a pygmy octopus in a small tank or pygmy seahorses. (what opposites- the predator, or the sissiest fish ever!)

Your info is greatly appreciated, Matt
Hi Matt, welcome to TONMO.com :smile:

well the 2 you mention are fairly reclusive, the dwarfs tend to be as they are more likely to get eaten. They are smaller and therefore have more predators... they are also mostly nocturnal but will venture out for food and will eventually get used to feeding times.

6 months may also be on the optimistic side for lifespan as they are normally several months old when they get sold as pets. Captive bred dwarfs are few and far between.

Ocassionally Octopus bocki get imported from Bali but it isnt an ideal species either... nocturnal and short lived.

I would say go for a 10 gal tank, bigger the better and have a good filter. they are much messier with a much greater oxygen demand than a fish of similar size.

The final decission is up to you but also consider a captive bred baby octopus bimaculoides and a 50 gal tank... much better enjoyment/longevity.

hope this helps a bit!

I removed your signature from that last post, could you tidy up the wording a bit please?

Its a family site :smile:
Sorry about the signature, I knew that was a lame signature, it just sounded funny at that moment. I updated the signature. Thanks for that info. What do you think about a 7 gallon tank for a pygmy? I'm going to call Gulf Marine Specimens to see if they have a juvenile pygmy octopus.
I'd only get one if it was a juvenile, becuase as you were saying an adult might a very short time to live. Gulf Marine Specimens also provides the interesting idea of getting a pregnant female pygmy in the spring. (lots of juveniles)
half the battle will be getting the species that you want so go to a good lfs and make sure they know what they are talking about.

You may ask for a dwarf and get a juvenile giant!!! :bugout:

As long as you use a skimmer and good filter and it IS a dwarf a 7 would be okay
We've had a pigmy (dwarf?) in a 5g tank for 3 weeks now. It's a O. mercatoris, I think, hitchhiking in on aquacultured live rock. It was a fight getting the tank cycled, even with 'old' live sand and live rock. It hides by day, and only wanders out after dark. It has learned about feeding now (my wife puts a piece of shrimp in on a stick, and doesn't have to chase it--it reaches out a tentacle from under its rock, & grabs the food).

I would much rather have it in a 10 or 20g tank. In the 5g tank, I was checking the water chemistry twice a day and changing 50% of the water as needed. Now, I think I can wait 2-4 days between water changes (still testing daily). I'm trying to catch another few hitchhiking crabs to give to the octopus 8)
I think that small tanks will be too unstable for such ammonia making machines... 10 gal is probably as small as i would go for one

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