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Questions about Baby Vugaris....


Blue Ring
Sep 17, 2005
Our octopus is a Juv. vulgaris. Recently there has been a strain on the tank from him going to the bathroom a lot, and shedding. I feed him about 2 times a day and have had him for 2 weeks now. His diet consists of emerald crabs, clam,flounder, and he's taken it upon himself to eat snails and the little crabs in the tank.
How often should I feed him? or what is a resoluton to this?

What do you have running your tank? Do you have extra carbon and a protein skimmer? By strain do you mean a rise in ammonia which can quickly be fatal to an octopus? I see you are from Pa. Where did you get him from? Also, make sure you remove the carcasses of his meals.

Good luck! Any pics?

Your octo won't overeat, so try give him as much as he'll eat and remove any uneaten food as soon as he's finished. You may have to experiment a bit. He may eat more than you'd think. It's good that you're offering a variety of food, too.

We have a 80 gallon filter and a 90 protein skimmer and it's a 40 gallon tank. The tank looks a lot better, it cleared up that night. What do you mean by carcasses? like crab shells or uneaten food?

I'll post some pictures soon
Bibet, do you have a larger tank set up and waiting in the wings? Vulgaris grow pretty large. Assuming you have the Caribbean Common Octopus, you coulds see an 8" mantle and 30" arms.

People have had good experiences keeping this species. Beware, though, they have a reputation for escaping!

Bibet said:
What do you mean by carcasses? like crab shells or uneaten food?

Hi Bibet,

Both! Conventional wisdom holds that most water problems are caused by rotting food. In the context of an octopus tank, uneaten pieces of fish, clam, or (frozen) shrimp are the obvious culprits but the "empty" shells of live prey crabs and shrimp also have enough leftover meat to cause problems. In general, octos are wonderfully dexterous at removing crabmeat from the shell but that's not the same as saying they do a perfect job. Further, some octos will avoid eating certain parts of the crab (gills mainly). That's pretty noticeable when you're feeding full sized rock crabs (Cancer productus) to a GPO since those gills consist of two structures of 4.5 square inches each. If you're feeding small shore or fiddler crabs to a small octo the gills will be quite a bit harder to spot. To further confuse the issue: Some individual octos DO eat the gills.

FWIW: I volunteer at a small aquarium where we usually have a GPO on display. On average, the not quite mature animals we keep eat two or even three rock crabs per day (three to five pounds total gross weight). At that rate of feeding we still spend more time on cleaning up after the octo than we do on catching the crabs and feeding them to the octo.

Janitorally yours,

Bibet said:
How often do octopuses shed?
Do baby's shed freq.?

Hi Bibet,

Octopuses shed the outer layer of their suckers frequently. I've been told that they shed 100% of these every day - I don't know if that's absolutely true but they definitely shed a lot! GPO sheds look like slightly milky contact lenses and I suppose that most octos' sheds would look pretty much the same (albeit smaller).

The reason for all the shedding is that octos have what amounts to taste buds in their suckers and these need to be renewed fairly rapidly to maintain their effectiveness. The shedding is pretty much a lifelong thing so you can expect it to become even more pronounced as your baby grows up.

Here's a link to a short video clip of an O. vulgaris going through its shedding routine:
I can't speak for all species but the writhing motion you see in the video is exactly the same thing that E. dofleini (GPO) does.

GPO sheds are (very) slightly heavier than water so, if your tank has a bare bottom you could vacuum them up. If you've got a sand bed your best bet is to make sure that you've got a robust and varied clean-up crew of scavengers.

Renewably yours,


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