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Setting up a new octopus tank.

crim

Pygmy Octopus
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Hello all. After a few year hiatus from keeping fish, I just put a deposit down on this 72 gallon corner tank that will house a octopus (or maybe a cuttlefish). I've kept saltwater fish for a long time but have never kept cephalopods.

Knowing that I won't have an animal in the tank for 3-4 months, I want to setup the tank with a cephalopod in mind. There is a glass top on the tank that I plan on duct-taping down, and I think I'll use duct tape to cover plumbing holes (unless someone has a better idea). I'd like to keep some simple coral polyps as long as they won't hurt the ceph.

Beyond that, I am just getting ready to put together this setup so any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
 

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DWhatley

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Welcome back to TONMO and marine tanks Crim!

I have found that a coarse sponge (the plastic filter sponge used for filtration is easiest to clean) works well for around plumbing and is easier to form around and in gaps.

Some of the longer buildouts are linked in the Tank Buildouts sticky for ideas.
 

crim

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Thanks for the reply. I will try the filter sponge to cover that area.

Anyone know what type of coral polyps can be kept with octos?
 

DWhatley

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I have some brown/orange large "sun polyps" :roll: that have worked well but have had other "brown" that do not. The key if finding softies that have a very low sting and sometimes the only way to tell is to observe and see if the octopus flinches when it touches them.

Octos are not good about going around anything so you need to take this into consideration when placing any stationary animals in the tank. With polyps, I suggest only adding them on their own rock, observing and removing if there is a reaction. Most leathers, mushrooms and gorgonians work well if you can place them with enough lighting and not in a traffic area. Here is a list Dave and I put together that should be helpful (you may also want to read CaptFish's article on why fish are a bad idea if you are entertaining using them to cycle).
 

crim

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So I just got the tank moved and setup at my house. All looks good so far...
 

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DWhatley

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Sort of a sad picture for me. I now have an empty octo tank an your saint makes me miss our Newfie. Looking good in spite of my melancholy though :biggrin2:
 

crim

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All is progressing. I changed the light bulbs and filled it with live rock. Now I'm just waiting for the water to stabilize before starting to look for the octo.
 

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DWhatley

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It is important to BUILD your bacteria for the next 3 months. Without adding things to decompose your tank will "show" 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite very quickly but it won't have the bacteria needed to convert new ammonia (waste). You can take (hopefully you have acquired your own testing supplies, even if it is just strips) your water to a pet store and it will read, ready to go ... unfortunately, this is true if you bring in newly made saltwater. The key is to force a nitrogen cycle and keep the bacteria growing. For large fish and octopuses, the initial bacteria need to be much higher than for small fish. I recommend not using fish as your ammonia producers but if you do, keep in mind you should remove them before adding your octopus.

If you have fresh live rock, you should see an ammonia spike and witness the initial nitrogen cycle from ammonia->nitrite->nitrate. If your live rock contains very little dead or dying biologic material (often the case) you will have to stimulate even the initial culture. Once you see high ammonia convert, you will want to add critters to feed to keep the cycle progressing. This is the point (often 4-6 weeks) a FOWLR tank would add small fish but I recommend adding hardy clean up crew and feeding heavily. Snails (if you have enough algae to sustain them) and hermits (I like the larger red ones over the small blue leg and they often survive an octo in residence) are a good choice. Feeding them chopped up frozen shrimp will provide more food for you bacteria than most dried. After two months, a hardy serpent star will usually survive. I like to keep these in all my octo tanks and usually have more than one. They can retrieve food bits from tiny places and can often be hand fed (I like the red ones best and the often live in the octos den). At three months you should be ready IF you have continually fed the tank and still see 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite.

Looking forward to vicariously enjoying your new tank!
 

crim

Pygmy Octopus
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As far as cycling the tank, I am using the same sand bed from the previous owner so I don't think I'll have the traditional cycle when a tank is started from scratch. When I filled the tank, I found a dead damsel from the previous owner, which I'm not removing. I also have a couple green chromis that I feed generously. I am trying my best to pollute this tank to make sure that it is stable when I add anything.

As an aside, I know that cycling with fish is frowned upon in todays hobby but I've always done it this way. In my opinion, if it's not wrong to use live fish as feeders then I don't think it's terribly wrong to use them to cycle tanks. It's the way I've been doing it for 25 years. I welcome debate on the subject and respect the fact that many people disagree with this.
 

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