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Stage fright for Ringo and lighting help


Pygmy Octopus
Feb 6, 2008
Hello all,

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for me. I recently was able to purchase an octo (not sure of species, I need to take a picture and post it in the ID forum). I received him 3/13 from Liveaquaria.com and he is doing very well. He is fun to watch from outside the classroom (I am a college student wanting to do a training experiment with him, so he is in a lab). Unfortunately, he is very shy and has inked when my sister approached him and he was not aware of her before then. Fortunately the tank has a very powerful filter and he did not ink too much, but still this shyness worries me, especially since I want to be able to train him to pick the correct color or word from a jar to receive food. Does anyone have suggestions on how to best acclimate him to humans and allow him to become less scared? The classroom is not used that much, only for meetings about four times a month and by me and my friends. I recently added chromis, which seems to have helped, but only a little. He definitely has character, but he seems too afraid to show it to us directly.

Thanks for any suggestions you have.
hmm that seems like an awful lot of pressure on the poor guy. new owner...public viewing area...lots of other kids looking to crowd the viewing glass...brightly lit lab. I'd be pissed too lol. I'm no expert but I would guess that getting the results you want is gonna be pretty difficult. He's gotta get used to you first, and from what I've read that requires constant and regular contact with you. I could be wrong so if any of the others post something different then I'd go with their advice. This was just my gut feeling. But good luck with it regardless!
The best way might be to sit quietly with your octopus for some time, maybe half an hour at a time, for several days in the week, just to get it used to seeing you. A lot of excitement and bright lights aren't good.

We don't have lights other than a growth chamber on generally. We try to keep it really dim. He has no lights on his tank directly. We try to keep the door locked so that no one who isn't aware of 'proper tank etiquette' will barge in and stress him out. I do try to sit with him everyday, generally for an hour to an hour and a half, and I go see him quite regularly throughout the day. He is very funny in that he plays hide and seek. I went in today and he was hiding, but I started talking and he peaked out. As soon as I went to take the picture for ID, he went into hiding, but then when I put it down he came out again. Very funny octo. Do you think the fact that his food is hermit crabs that are always running around the tank and he's not getting food directly from me is a problem?
Thank you for the help. This is my first octo (obviously) and just getting feedback from all of you who are more experienced is a lot of help. Again, thanks!
You might try offering him a small treat of a piece of thawed frozen shrimp on a feeding stick (a thin bamboo skewer or two lashed together with plastic fishing line). That might make him get used to you faster. After a couple of days, slowly bring the camera into sight until he isn't afraid. Some octopuses are always afraid of the flash.

I tried the frozen shrimp on a stick trick and it worked terrifically!!!!!! Thanks so much for that suggestion! I bought one shrimp from the supermarket, and put it on the stick, put it in the tank where he was and expected to sit there for quite a while. However, as soon as I moved it down there, he pretty much leapt on it. He would not let go. I'm going to post some pictures that I have of him on the ID forum to see if anyone knows what species he is, but they didn't come out so well. Thanks again for all the suggestions!
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