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Raising Food


Pygmy Octopus
Dec 11, 2002

I am new to ceph husbandry and am considering getting an O. Bimac. The biggest issue for me now is food. I would like to find some species of shrimp or crab that I could easily raise in a crustacean/breeding tank, but I do not know of any which are cheap, and condusive to efficient breeding. If anyone could suggest a species, or a source, or any tips on raising crustaceans for food, I would be greatly indebted to you.
Hi, welcome to TONMO.com

Well, that really is a problem for many people who want to kkep a ceph.. the food supply. It can be difficult to get a hold of good quality ceph food at a decent price.

There are not really any crustaceans that would breed at a suitable rate for octopus consumption. Not without it taking up a LOT of your time and space to do so...

have you tried bait shops to see if they sell crabs as bait? Or maybe a seafood shop?

Hope this helps
Raising Food

Thankyou, I shall check with bait shops in my area.
Is there any other sort of live food which my octopus would relish that I could actually raise? I have heard of them eating fish, but not liking them too much. Are there any which are better than others?
Also, which metals specifically are lethal to octopuses?
Of the the metals that are lethal to octopuses Copper is the worst, but any metals are bad news. make sure you're running plenty of activated carbon in your system somewhere.

As for feeding you little sea monster, many ceph owners swear by various kinds of market-available fish but I have yet to own an octopus that would eat dead fish. (live fish, on the other hand, sometimes work.) I've had a bit of success with live mussels as well (but not clams! (???)) There's no way around it: octopuses like crustaceans.

I've been trying to crack the nut of breeding cephalopod food for the better part of a decade without success. Things that breed and grow out fast enough to even be considered, such as Bangaii Cardinals, Seahorses and other fish are all but completely ignored by most cephs. Lysmata and paleomonetes shrimp reproduce pretty fast, but the larvae are VERY high maintenance and take too long to mature- but they are an excellent and nutritious source of food for hatchlings.

There are two food strategies I can recommend for you, both of which require you to maintain a feeder tank, which you're willing to do already.

One is the Jedi Mind Trick: at your LFS, see if you can work out a deal buying fiddler crabs, strawberry crabs or crayfish in bulk. "pet" crabs are usually 4-5 bucks in this area, but a shop owner quickly forgets his profit margin if you're willing to buy 50 of them in one transaction- I can usually score them for under a dollar apiece. Crayfish often are unwanted hitchikers in feeder fish shipments, and shop owners typically part with them with little provocation.

The other strategy is that in about two months the internet suppliers down in the bayou of Louisiana will start harvesting crawfish- and many of them will ship surprising quantities of live crayfish for very cheap. Crayfish tend to be the default critter on the menu of my octopuses. Hope this information helps, good luck!

Cheers, Jimbo

Thanks. Another question of mine deals with filtration. Obviously wet/dry seems to be the best choice for an octo tank, but why are they all so expensive? I have searched a great deal for plans, but have not been able to find a set that is both readable and workable for someone inexperienced with acrylic. I have considered simply using a high powered canister filter instead of a wet/dry, but that removes the significant advantage of a sump. I really would like a sump to keep heaters/skimmers out of the tank so that the octopus would have less of an option to mess them up. Perhaps someone can advise me on these issues.
Absolutely dude! The thing you're doing wrong is working with acrylic! Arrrggghhhh!! $$$$$$. No no no.

Here's THE cheap W/D kit:

Step one: Go to Home Depot/Wal Mart/Big store of your choice and buy a rubbermaid tub, the pipe necessary to do everything and three bricks. The tub is the sump, the pipe gets the water from your tank to the sump. The bricks are bricks. They come in handy in a few minutes. It's a good idea to let all manufactured things soak in fresh water for ~24 hours before incorporating into a ceph system.

Step Two. Go to www.thatfishplace.com or www.drfostersmith.com and order the following: a good pump (a mag drive pump or some such) the tubing to get the water back UP to your tank from aforementioned pump, and a 5 gallon bucket of bio balls.

Step three. Wait for all that stuff to arrive. In the meantime, you have to create a spillover for your main tank, to get tank water over the wall of the aquarium and into the plumbing that takes it to the sump. This is the trickiest part of the whole thing. You're really best off buying one. Look for one on Ebay, or ask the LFS if they got a used one in the back of the store somewhere. Also, go a dollar store and buy a plastic collander. PLASTIC. I mean it.

Step 4. the bio balls and pump arrived. Rip the lid off the 5 gallon bucket of bio balls, take out the free T shirt and whatever marketing propoganda is in there. Put the lid back on. Turn the bucket over and use a 3/4 inch drill bit to drill a couple dozen holes in the bottom of the bucket, and maybe a few around the bottom rim. Bingo, you have a bio tower! Take the lid back off (umm, turn the bucket right side up first.) and place the twoer on the three bricks in your sump. Remember, alway soak manufactrured things for 24 hours before running tank water through them. Take your collander and put it on top of the bio balls upside down, so the tank water from the plumbing spills onto it. The water will trickle through the holes into the bio balls, and the mag drive pump will return it to your tank.

Voila! A W/D system easily capable of sustaining 300 gallons of sealife, for about 50 bucks, not including that pump or the overspill.

Good luck! Jimbo
I just let the spillover line rest against the collander.....no connection. In my system (mind you, my tank is drilled so my downline is 2.5" PVC) the pipe just spills water onto the collander. Or, if the tank isn't that big, omit the collander, or substitute and upside down funnel.
Regarding your food question.
I don't know of a food thats easy to raise, but in the UK there are shrimps that live in estuaries known as rivershrimp. These are about 1" in length and ideal Ceph food.
I have a supplier who catches me 2,500 every fortnight and I pay £26. Any left over I sell.
They are really easy to keep provided they are kept cold.
Could there be something similar available locally?


Keith at Aqualogistix sells mysis and corophium volutator as foods. Im sure that he was a bit cheaper than you quoted... I can give you his number if you want? Or see the ads in PFK mag. he supplies to London zoo and most of the deep sea worlds etc... Thats the guy that can get Eledone if you want to try a coldwater octo one day :smile:
You may also want to take a look on ebay for wet/dry filters. I have seen them at very affordable prices, many including return pumps and a skimmer.
Food and Filtration

Thanks for the tip, lawfish. If you could refer me to a way to find wet/dry stuff on ebay that would be great. I can't seem to get past the search keyword there.
To Cephjedi, I owe much gratitude for the info on building wet/drys. It sort of inspired me to design my own, and I think it will work really well.

If you want to find wet/dry filters on ebay just type "wet/dry filter" in the search box. A ton of them come up. OH! and be sure to use the link on the main page here to get to ebay because TONMO the gets some $$$ :biggrin2:

However, don't be afraid to build your own filter, I built a bio-tower and used a 20 gallon tank as a sump. (Pic below) Any specific advice you need feel free to ask.
Oh Yeah,

Regarding ebay, there are great deals if you look for them. I just bought a used Amiracle Pl series wet/dry with a return pump for not much more than $100. Cheers

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