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the builder and little marley the bobtail squids


Pygmy Octopus
Jan 23, 2008
aloha all, my son and i recently came across a few bobtail squids. we set up the tank with a protien skimmer, and found some really fine sand to put on the bottom. we are feeding them ghost opae, and they seem to be doing ok. i was wondering if anyone out there had any ideas for "enrichment"? i've seen some people put their octopus food in a jar to be figured out, and while i know that my bobs aren't capable of something that complex, i am looking for ideas so they don't get bored. someone suggested little fish, any ideas as to what kind? also, any tips on a good light for noctournal viewing? mahalo nui!
For nocturnal viewing, red LED are ideal. most marine animals don't have photopigments that respond well to red light and LEDs have a very narrow spectral response, so it is a very "pure" red light.

As for enrichment, all of my experience has been in octos, but I think some of it is applicable. Toys work well, and it seems like octopus keep themselves occupied checking out new things in their tank. I used to use small plastic toys like barrel of monkeys and stuff. Also, making a complex environment in the tank for the bobs to explore might also work. I have a paper on enrichment of GPOs by Roland Anderson and James Wood, and some of the principles would like be similar. If you would like I could email you copy.
Aloha! :welcome: to TONMO! I'm looking forward to pictures and stories (hint, hint). I don't know much about the personalities of bobtails, most people have more experience with them as research animals than pets... I think someone in Hawaii did keep one for a while (Octomush, maybe, who I think changed his username to something else I can't remember?) I don't remember anyone discussing enrichment, though.
wow! thanks so much for all the info, i wasn't expecting any responses 'til the weekend! i checked out the thread on cuttle enrichment and got a bit confused. i think i'll try some small toys (happy meal stuff), i was kind of thinking about a makeup mirror, i wanted to try small fish, maybe something they could chase and possibally eat? my husband wants me to fry feeder mollies, but they're fresh water. he doesn't want me introducing any saltwater fish "no matter how small they are". i was thinking about small aholehole, mullet, even the little gobies. i catch all of our shrimp, the fish could accidentally jump into my net, right? and if i accidentally bring them home, we may as well try it. i just figure that in the wild they do stuff, hunt, hide, survival type stuff, right? i just don't want them to get bored. my husband keeps saying that they're inverts, not kids, am i just being to much of a "mom"?
we caught the "bobs", as my son calls them, in kane'ohe. we had heard of people finding them out there and have been looking for years and never seen any. i was starting to think i'd have a better chance finding a unicorn out there. then on sunday we found 1, the tide had gone down to -.4, and we found "little marley" stuck on a mound of sand. we were so stoked! that night we saw a good 20 of them, and caught a total of 7. it was one of the most awesome nights we've had in a long time!
We don't bother with enrichment for ours (Sepioloidea pacifica from southern NZ). They are EXTREMELY nocturnal, we just provide sand to burrow in, a few rocks and weed for aquascaping and LOTS of live food and leave 'em to it!

i'll try, my husband is really good with the camera and computer stuff, i can barely type. i'll see if i can get him to post some pics. i was also wondering if anyone could help with some other stuff. i googled the bobtail squid to try to get as much info on them as possible. the articles that i found had alot of conflicting information and i'm not all sure what is reliable. first of all, the life span. i've read at one site that they can live for 2-3 years, another said 2-10 months. also, can they be bred in captivity? and, what else can i feed them? like i said we are feeding them ghost opae, which we find where we caught the "bobs" little marley and the builder are the 2 smallest ones we have, they're about the size of raisins, very small raisins, or maybe peas, they could be the size of peas. well anyway they're tiny and the opae that we find aren't that small, the little bobs don't even go after them. i've seen alll the other's eat, but not my babies. what can i feed them? they look hungry. oh, what about ohiki? would they eat ohiki? but i think even the smallest ones might be too big. any ideas? what about brine shrimp? will they eat that? how would i feed the brine with a protien skimmer? do i just unplug it? what if they don't eat all the brine? what do i do? help, someone help me, please!
Someone at HIMB http://www.hawaii.edu/HIMB/index.html was researching these little guys, but I don't remember her name. You might want to check with HIMB to see if they could put you in contact with someone who has more information. You could try ohiki (little sand crabs) but if you are worried about the smallest ones, you might want to release them so that they don't die in your care. Brine shrimp have little nutritional value (except when they are just hatched), so that would not be a good choice.
mahalo! i just got back from the pet shop and picked up the smallest opae they had and a container for seperating the little ones. i'll try this tonight and if they still don't eat we'll let them go tomorrow. on a different note, i tried taking some pictures last night, and didn't have much luck. i have an underwater camera and just couldn't get any clear shots. i'll try messing around with the settings and see if i can get some really cute pics. any tips? thanks a bunch!
p.s. we still have 3 "bobs" without names. we're looking for famous people named bob. so far we have Mr. Marley, little marley, the builder, and robert. any one have any ideas? mahalo nui!

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