R.I.P. Shaggy


May 20, 2003
I hate to tell everyone this, but Shaggy died last week and it was all my fault. :cry: He hadn't been acting like himself. He wasn't coming out of his den and dancing like he did every morning, he wasn't hunting and he had started eating one of his legs. It was half gone. I was really worried about him and decided to put him into a different tank. You see Shaggy was in a reef tank. I'd had him for 5 months and he was doing fine in the reef tank, even though everyone says Octos should be in a species tank. He fed. He hunted. He danced. He never hid too much. He had a couple of different dens that he decorated with bits of shell and small rocks. He had his own fridge, I kept live ghost shrimp in the empty internal filter chamber Shaggy would go in and eat his fill. He fished, he'd leave bits of shrimp outside his den's door and when the fish came by to eat them, he'd try and catch them. He seemed very happy. But with this change in his behaviour, I thought maybe the fish were ganging up on him. Something was causing him to change. Maybe I was overreacting. :oops: I am feeling really guilty about it all now. Anyway I had to pull the reef apart to move Shaggy to the other tank. I got all the fish and coral out, but by the time I found Shaggy, he was dead. It really didn't take me that long, and hour or so, so maybe he was dead before I started the move. I hadn't seen him at all that day which was very unusual, but that is too much of a coincidence for me to swallow.

For the 5 months I had Shaggy he brought me lots of joy. I feel like a very bad Octo mommy. I'd give just about anything to see him dance across the tank one last time.

Now I have two mature tanks, I may buy another octopus and keep it in a species tank. I've asked the LFS to keep an eye out on one for me, but I am still in mourning for Shaggy and can't really think about it right now. I feel like I've already done badly by his species and wouldn't want to subject another little guy to my bad parenting.

Anyway I thought you all would like to know about Shaggy. Enjoy your Octopus while you have them. It really breaks your heart when they leave.

Claudia :octopus:
Hi Claudia,

So sorry to hear about Shaggy. Don't beat yourself up. Sometimes, they just reach their lifespan, which from what I've heard can be only 6 months, and nothing we did or didn't do can save them. Hermin, my Bimac before Ink died at 6 months.

Anyway, sorry!!!! :(

Hi Claudia,

I'm really sorry to hear about Shaggy :cry: But I really don't think it was your fault. I know that it's the thing to keep octis in species tanks BUT so long as you pick your tank mates carefully I see no reason to isolate the octi. For instance our aquarium octis are NEVER in species tanks always community ones and we have very little trouble. My money is with the disease I mentioned and there is nothing you can do about that. As far as I'm aware it's always fatal. So you're not a bad Octopus Mummy (sorry Mommy!). Just be sure to completely sterilise your tank and equipment before you get a new friend..


Hi Claudia,

So sorry to hear that Shaggy has passed on. He was happy in the reef tank, so it was fine that he was living there - he didn't need a species tank. You did everything you could to give him a good life. I'm sure you miss him very much.

All the best,

Claudia, I feel your loss. Many a times when something goes wrong, we kept thinking if it was something we did or didn't. I'm sure you have done the best for Shaggy. I too lost my marbled polypterus that I've kept for two and a half years last month. It jumped on the very morning I planned to move it to a bigger tank. It could have survived from the few hours ordeal out of water, and was breathing hard near the surface after I put it back. But I decided to move it to the big tank with better aerated water. It died there. I learned later that it must be able to breath air. The tank was too deep and it was too weak. I drowned my fish. :( From a finger length, it grew to from elbow to the tip of my hand. I miss it.

That's why I find the experience from our fellow keepers so invaluable. I hope they would help me make no more good-intentioned but ill-informed decision. I'm sure too you have gained good experience from parenting Shaggy, and hopefully soon another lucky octo would be under your care :)

Five months is a good time to keep a species like what you had. you did well
Condolences Claudia,

Sorry to hear of your loss, it sounds like there was nothing you could do and from the experiences of others and their comments above, it sounds like you did well.

I believe also that if you keep your tank mates choices particular then you will be alright, especially since your bound to have an octo stumble across a reef and live happily in the wild.

Just take it as a learning experience, obviously you didnt mean for him to pass on. So you can use this experience to benefit your next one when your ready.

All the best

I'd just like to thank everyone for their words of sympathy and condolences. :) I did try and do my best by Shaggy, and the experience of keeping him has taught me lots. I hear 5 months is a good amount of time for an octopus, but under the circumstances I still feel a bit responsible.

The LFS phoned my husband and they have an octopus for us. If we want it, we have to pick it up to day. So ready or not, I may give this one more try. :shock:


I purchased Shaggy and the new octopus, who is as yet unnamed, from T.W's World of Aquatics 727 Lea Bridge Road Walthamstow, London E17 9DZ Tel. 0208 520 2211. They don't keep octopus in stock, but they will special order them for you.

Manor Aquatics Centre 653-655 Romford Road Stratford, London E12 5AD Tel. 0208 478 4478 have octopus and cuttlefish more regularly, and they will order them for you if they are not in stock.

With both of these places it is hit and miss what type of octo you will get and neither seem to know much about keeping them.

Yeah, i think that is quite typical in the UK. Do the shops both use TMC?

What species did you get this time? Any ideas or pics?


I asked at T.W. Aquatics and they use TMC. I don't know about Manor.

We have named the new octopus Mars. He glows green under the blue lights in the aquarium, his mantle is pointed, and he has large orange eyes. It looks a bit like a martian, thus the name. So far he is strictly nocturnal. When I get a photo I will post it, and maybe you or somebody can tell me what kind of Octopus Mars is. T.W. Aquatics didn't have a clue.


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