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Suppliers of research-grade tanks, filtration, pumps, etc.

Jan 25, 2008
Hello All,

I am a neurobiologist working in San Diego. There's a possibility, in the near-term, that I may be trying to equip a lab with octopus tanks to pursue behavioral studies of, say, 4-5 animals at any given time. Does anyone--professional researchers and octopus fanciers alike--have any experience with suppliers of research-grade tanks and associated equipment (i.e., filters, pumps, single water supply flow-through systems)? If so, I'd be really interested in vendor recommendations. FYI, each tank should probably be no larger than 250 gallons, primarily because of space considerations; but, if you think each octopus would require more living space, I could make provisions for larger tanks.

Thanks very much in advance.

-David Edelman


Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Mar 17, 2003

A couple of things to consider. First, do you want to put in one closed system or five stand alones. A closed system with a large sump and good filters can be cost effective, efficient and maintain really good water quality. Down side, if odor is part of the study, the animals are not olfactorly isolated. Also, even with UV, disease can spread more easilty - although my experience is that nets, etc cause the same problem.

Secondly, get figures on the floor loading for your set-up Five, 250 gal tanks would not work in many research labs, particularly small ones. Also, pay a lot of attention to the stands you want to use. Too ofen I've seen people plop down a 100 or 200 gal. tank on a standard lab table. In a few weeks you will see the table sag and eventually the tanks will fail. I speak from experience. I recently had to send a weekend with a bunch of 4x4's, a sledge hammer, and saws shoring up several tanks.



Jan 19, 2007
Hi David,

I think 250 gallons for home-tanks are an ample size for most species except the very large ones.

I get most of my equipment from Aquatic Ecosystems (we keep nautiluses), and they are quite good - I believe they will make tanks to order from plexiglass with plumbing and filtration integrated, but this is a pretty expensive option, I expect. They also sell chillers, skimmers and all the bits and pieces you will no doubt need. Here's their homepage:


Jan 25, 2008
Hi Roy,

Thanks very much for the good advice. I had thought that a closed system would be quite cost-effective, but I must admit that I had never thought about the prospect of the spread of disease--and the potential loss of five animals; a really important consideration. So, even though, clearly, five separate systems would involve greater expense, more work, and, potentially, issues of maintaining consistency of water quality, this might be the way to go. As for the issue of floor loading, this is also a really good point. I think our labs--which are at ground level, and are built on top of massive poured concrete slabs--will handle the weight of thousands of gallons of water. However, as you pointed out, we'd definitely have to put some thought into robust stands or check the specs. for the built in lab benches (which have heavy slate tops on them to begin with).
In any case, I really appreciate your response to my query. Thanks again!
Jan 25, 2008
Hi Robyn,

Thanks very much for the info. and the link to aquaticeco.com. I'll check out their homepage. Also, if you're the Robyn I'm thinking of, congrats on the completion of your doctorate! I just received a pdf of your dissertation, but must admit that I haven't had a chance to read it through; I intend to do so while on break in Maine.
One thing's for sure: since hearing about your work, I'll never underestimate the memory capabilities of nautiloids again!

Thanks again!

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