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Skin deteriorating from octopus mantle?

Oct 13, 2005
Lately i've noticed that the skin on Blinky's mantle has been peeling off and is leaving a large white place. This is worrying me because I don't know what is happening...can someone help me?
Just some additional information about Blinky, from the List of Our Octopuses:

Blinky is one of Zyan Silver's bimacs - that makes him about 10 months old. Brock acquired Blinky in December 06.

Brock, sorry to hear about Blinky's problem. I hope someone can help.

Have you checked your water parameters. One of my octopuses had that problem and we figured out he got injured in some way and the skin eventually healed but never regained the color changing ability in that area. A rise in ammonia can also cause this.

Please keep us posted! I would look at water quality and if needed do a major water change.
Thanks Nancy, I guess that thread is useful (since I couldn't even remember when I got her...heh)


I checked the water parameters, but they all turned out ok. Too ok. The tests are a bit old, so i'm going to go get some more. She is still active, actually, more active than usual. Playing with her toys, interacting with me, etc. It's like the chromatophores peeled off or something...
Skin Deterioration

Is this animal a male or female?? There were a couple posts that contradicted each other. If water quality is fine, and this is indeed a male of about 10 months, my suspicion would lean towards senescence. Male octopus tend to be much more active during this life stage than females do. This characteristic is also why male GPOs are "better" exhibit animals at this point because the animal is active for most of the day; much more interactive than a normal octopus couped up in its den. Of course, I could watch an octopus in its den all day long but in the aquarium industry guests want to see something "exciting".

If you want to try an experiment ...

When Trapper started eating only dead shrimp, I injected the shrimp with diluted tetracycline (available for fish without prescription. I can get the name if you need it - I think it is Fish Zole but a quick lookup should find it for you). I knew that tetracycline was octo safe before I did this (Thanks again Jean) and I wanted to ward off any infection that might result from the brooding. Did it work? I can't say but she lived for 11 weeks and 5 days beyond the first hatchling's birth without any sign of skin deterioration. It definitely did her no harm.

Which posts contradicted each other? I'm not seeing any contradicition...

I don't know if it's a male or female. Most people don't until egg laying.


I may try that, but do you think that this is an infection, or physical injury?
I would guess the skin problem may be a result of injury or bacteria. Extra sensitivey maybe age related. We don't die of "old age", something weakens enough to break and the skin on cephs seems to be one of the areas that breaks down quickly (cuttles in the wild seem to have a problem according to the special we saw the other night) . My suggestion was to treat the problem as a skin condition. The antibiotic should have no ill effect on him (I suggest him since there is no brooding behavior at 10 month) and may help extend his life - a little - eventually, something will break. I have read that of all the drugs we have, only antibiotics actually do something to help the body heal, everything else just helps with the symptoms. I don't know it this is true but it is something I have read over and over again.
I thought I read that it was being called both a male or female... I may have been mistaken.

Yes, it is not common for any animal to actually die of old age. Old age is merely a life stage when bodily organs begin to deteriorate, subsequently causing death. The problem associated with skin deterioration is a systemic infection. Due to the high absorbance of the epidermis, bacteria and harmful pollutants, are transmitted to the rest of the body that much quicker. As the immune system shuts down, certain bodily organs are alloted more energy stores than others based upon physiological requirements. This primary infection of the skin may lead to an entire body infection. In other cases, the first noticeable symptoms of a problem occur long after a bacterial infection. I will leave off there as I will get into more detail at TONMOCON.

I see no harm in antibacterial treatment. The choice you will have to make is whether or not it is in the best interest for the animal to prolongue the condition (given age) or just let the animal live out its natural life cycle. I am faced with this choice everyday and it can be very difficult at times. It is still eating right?

Best of luck with whatever you decide.

Your topic will definitely be interesting and I hope you will have a hand out with the primary points (or will post one here afterwards). I feel that I prolonged Trapper's life with my experiments but tried to keep an eye out for signs of suffering. I did not see any BUT would I detect them? All I knew (thought) to look for was skin decay and agitation. In her case, the only obvious signs were loss of muscle tissue and in her last days, extreme weakness but I saw no frantic movement or identifiable stress. I hope you will address this side a bit if there is anything known.

On a lighter side, we are going to visit the aquarium on our way back through on Wednesday, any suggestions?
There are more than one at Mote? We will be spending Tuesday night in Tampa and flying out of Sarasota on Wednesday evening so we thought we would spend Wednesday at Mote to see what was there since we won't have time on Sunday. All recommendations would be appreciated!
That's what I was debating...(i've called it a she ever since I got her, so bear with me) I can't really tell if she's suffering. She'll kinda swim around the tank, crawl up the side of the glass, stop, and sort of spaz out. She'll just start almost...scratching? Like she rubs her tentacles all over, and breathes hard. It's not the usual octo "cleaning" itself. It's much more twitchy. I'd get a picture, but this is a new comp, and doesn't have the digi cam software. The white spot extends from the back of her mantle, down between her eyes, and a little further. It's just over and inch and a half I suppose. I think she's losing her sight too...I know it sounds odd, but she can't attack live fiddlers anymore unless I spear them and wave them in front of her. Well...she can, but it takes her several tries before she gets it right. I don't think i'll prolong this...:frown:

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