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Setting up a new octopus tank.

DWhatley

Kraken
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Crim,

It is helpful to know you have a lot of experience and understand the concerns of new tank syndrome so my notes are more for others reading the thread and setting up a tank for the first time.

As far as an octopus tank goes, my concern about cycling with fish is the thinking (we see it often) that the fish can be left as live food. I am a major opponent to keeping fish in an octo tank and removing them is often a major disruption to the tank so I recommend other methods. Damsels of any kind seem to the hardest fish to catch and aggressive when it comes to pestering and picking on an octopus.
 

crim

Pygmy Octopus
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Admittedly, I have intended to keep some live food available for the octo, especially in the beginning. While a chromis is technically a damsel, I have never seen them aggressive.

Do you think there would be a problem with trying to keep a supply of hermit crabs and peppermint shrimp for an octo to hunt?
 

TMoct

O. vulgaris
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Lots of people keep live food for their octos, and indeed the octopus itself would be strongly in favor of this. The one thing to beware of is keeping them in the same water supply as the octopus itself (like in a sump or refugium), because then your filtration system is burdened with all of the waste from the feeders. A number of people on this forum (including me) get fiddler crabs from Sachs Systems, intermittently and especially with new octopus. I keep mine in about 1/2 inch of mixed saltwater in a "critter keeper" without any filtration, and just periodically pour out and replace the water. Other people have more complex setups.
 

DWhatley

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Hummm, I seem to have lost a post. Here is the gist (from another thread) of what I wanted to mention about peppermint shrimp:
I've kept peps from time to time and recommend only keeping two as they tend to gang up on other animals (may not happen successfully with an octopus but they will kill small fish). Usually I see one get eaten and the other surviving. They will definitely investigate an octopus but at least one will learn to stay (mostly) on the other side of the tank. Do put them in the tank well ahead of the octopus as once the octo knows you are delivering food, almost anything you put into the tank while it is watching is considered fair game (may not be eaten but will be investigated as food). Needless to say, do not put expensive shrimp in the tank with an octopus.I've kept peps from time to time and recommend only keeping two as they tend to gang up on other animals (may not happen successfully with an octopus but they will kill small fish). Usually I see one get eaten and the other surviving. They will definitely investigate an octopus but at least one will learn to stay (mostly) on the other side of the tank. Do put them in the tank well ahead of the octopus as once the octo knows you are delivering food, almost anything you put into the tank while it is watching is considered fair game (may not be eaten but will be investigated as food). Needless to say, do not put expensive shrimp in the tank with an octopus.

Even if you find inexpensive peps, the are not likely going to be much in the way of food. If you try to keep them in a small side tank or sump, they may reduce their own numbers (anecdotal observation from trying to keep 3 in a large breeder net. Only 2 survived even when I tried replacing the third).

As TMoct mentions, keeping live fiddlers is relatively painless and minimal effort and Paul is a great supplier. I am surprised you find dead ones in the tank though as they usually survive well even in a deep tank if they have something to crawl on to come up for air occasionally.

I have returned from FL with live "bait" shrimp in an aerated bucket and CaptFish has access to bait shrimp most of the time and has kept several in his tank for regular feeding. If kept separately they need a small well aerated aquarium. Larger shrimp will often be ignored initially but eventually caught and eaten (the ignored part depends on how you introduce them and the individual animal). My granddaughter was quite upset when she learned that the shrimp in the tank was food after one such trip as they are kind of an interesting critter in their own right.

I recently experimented with small pieces of seafood counter salmon (bones fully removed) with success and will try using it again for variety. The person behind the counter kind of rolled his eyes at me when I just wanted a 4 x 2 inch slice but was friendly and accomodating.
 
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crim

Pygmy Octopus
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All is pretty quiet with the tank right now... I just bought my test kit and tested the water for the first time. Below are the results. Now I'm going to start feeding even more to really put it to the test. So far, all looks pretty good.
 

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crim

Pygmy Octopus
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I realize I haven't updated this thread in awhile. About 10 days ago I got an Indonesian octopus from an online retailer. So far all seems to be going well... The octo is very active at night but has been 100% nocturnal. So far the chromis in the tank is still fine, and most of the hermits seem to be there.

I'll attach a couple pictures I managed to get of this one.
 

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