[Octopus]: Seven + - Unidentified - Newbie with Octopus meant for sushi


O. vulgaris
Apr 27, 2016
Hello! :smile: Absolute newbie here. I was given three live octopuses by my seafood supplier yesterday- supposedly so I can make sushi with. But after reading about them, I want to try and see if I could keep them alive as pets instead. I don't have a set up, and will probably only have time in the weekend to do so. What I have is a 10gallon tank, a pump, and access to salt water. Is that enough to keep them alive in the meantime? Or is this a lost cause?


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Unfortunately, a 10 gallon tank is far too small for most octopuses. If these happen to be a dwarf species, it may be possible to house them but a saltwater tank needs to mature for 3 months to be able to keep up with the waste produced by the animals. You can try changing out the water daily until you see if they will survive and decide if you want to invest in keeping them. Be sure the water in the tank and the new water are the same temperature before doing the water change.

We occasionally see live animals in some of the Korean markets in the States but they are shipped in extremely cold conditions and no one has been able to keep them alive for more than a week. From your location, I am assuming these are local warm water animals so you will have a slightly better chance.

Also note that, particularly in such close quarter, they may cannibalize each other.

Good luck and please let us know what you try and how it comes out.
The one on the left is the one that died today.

The one on the right is Seven (named as such because he's missing one tentacle). He's the most reactive and wriggly of them. He managed to craw and jump out of the holding tank while I changed the water today ;p The solo photo is of him too.

I don't have a photo of the third one, he hides most of the time.


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Seven looks like a member of the Abdopus complex, possibly aculeatus (common in the Philippines). The one that died looks quite ill in the picture (white color and arms curled around mantle). If you can keep up with the water quality, my guess is Seven has a good chance. Do keep in mind that their lifespan is only about 12 months, these are not hatchlings, and there is no good way to determine age. DO make sure they have some place to hide and provide a dark time during the night.
Was able to setup a filter for the tank yesterday. I got conflicting advice about a protein skimmer from the pet shops I checked out, so I'll be going to a specialty shop tomorrow.

Also got some snails, clams, live rocks (and dead rocks) for the tank. The octos seem to be more active now. I was feeding them grocery shrimp the past few days, which they would sometimes refuse. But they're really liking the clams that I open. All of the snails and clams are still alive, so I'm thinking they just aren't hungry enough to 'hunt' their own food.

Very happy with how it's turning out so far. Watching them has been very therapeutic for me :smile:
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Don't put the live rock directly into the tank. It needs to cure in a separate tank (this can be a garbage can with circulating water) until all the dead stuff stops giving off ammonia (rotting) and the bacteria starts to convert the ammonia to nitrite and then to nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite are deadly (and the reason for continually changing their water in your temporary set up). This process generally takes about 1 month then the bacteria needs to continue growing so that it will ultimately process the ammonia from the octo waste (usually about 3 months total IF the environment is continuously fed ammonia producing waste (dead shrimp fed to a clean up crew work well).

You can add the dead rock to the current aquarium for hiding places or you can add it to your holding tank to speed up its use as live rock. If you place it in with the octopuses, continue major water changes and monitor for ammonia (sometimes dead rock will still have rotting critters, especially sponges if it is from a marine environment). It won't provide filtration for quite some time if you place it in the octo tank now but it will give them a place to hide and reduce stress.
I would put the live rock in a bucket with moving water for a couple of days then test the water for ammonia and nitrite. You can have your LFS test it or buy test strips or a reagent kit. I recommend getting the test strips (others will frown on this but I have found them most useful) so you can also monitor the octo tank water, especially under your current conditions. If ammonia AND nitrite are zero, you probably have cured rock (or dead rock - often the case with LR kept in bins at an LFS without adding any decomposing matter) and you can add it to the tank. If you see ammonia that is not bad (it would show that the rock is alive) but means it needs to cure further and should not be placed in the tank (especially on the size you are currently using as it will foul the water almost immediately).

After you add the rock, watch for nitrates (the end product of ammonia->nitrite->nitrate cycle). If you fail to see it, then the rock is not alive and won't help with your filtration for quite some time (it will EVENTUALLY become live rock from the waste in the aquarium but the process is slow and you MUST continue very large, regular water changes to keep the environment livable.
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