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Raising Octopus Hatchlings Links

I'd say rice size. The mother and eggs are under a rock and can not be seen. I had raised the rock once this morning looking for and expecting a dead Harley.

How can I tell if the eggs are fertilized?
Do I dare raise the rock a second time?
Should I and if so how to give the mother food?
I am rather stressed and would like to make this work.

I see three options, please tell me the one that is the best choice!
1. move the eggs and the rock into a breeding net box, in the same tank, with the mother.
2. move the eggs and the rock into a breeding net box, in the same tank, without the mother.
3. Move the fish and cleaner shrimp, I don't have a plan for this alternative, but if it is the best I'll make it work. I'll need to set up a new tank using some of this tanks water and rocks. with this alternative, how long will the mother and eggs need to have the tank to themselves?
Of course if you have any other ideas, I'm all ears.
Unfortunately even if the eggs are fertilized it is not currently possible to rear these hatchlings; the very small-egged species hatch into tiny paralarval octopuses that no one knows how to feed them to keep them alive. The female may or may not survive to hatching, but in my experience (I have kept a good many of this species in my lab, and the females often lay eggs) if the eggs are fertile and at least ~14 days developed before the mother dies, they will hatch as long as there is water flow over the eggs. You will be able to tell if the eggs are fertile around day 10; you will see red eye-spots developing. I'm attaching a picture of eggs from a female of the same species in my lab at 11 dpl, just when the retinas are just starting to pigment.
You can certainly gently lift the rock to look at the eggs; it sounds like you've had the octopus for a while so I am sure she's habituated enough for you to check the eggs out. I would suggest leaving her and har eggs where they are, even with the fish in the tank. You can offer food as usual, but remove it promptly if she doesn't eat immediately. In my experience some females will continue to feed in the early stages of incubation, but all eventually stop eating. I've had a couple of females survive up to two weeks after their eggs hatched.


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