The Once-ler

past the 4 week mark!

The Once-ler has been with us for a month now! Even though my family was so against moving the fish out of the 55 gal. tank this summer, everyone is glad I made the change. She has enough room and swims a little everyday, my girls love to watch. My husband agrees that an octopus is the best thing I've ever kept in that tank. I don't care if she is the only inhabitant, it's worth it to know she is safe and happy all by herself in there. It's really satisfying to go to the LFS and not want anything but another cool piece of live rock for her to play on!

As the Once-ler is only my second octo, I don't want to dispute the I.D. of aculeatus. I have to point out some differences I've seen between her and my last octo, though, I don't know if they are significant or not. The Once-ler has more webbing on her arms without a doubt, and she uses it more. By that I mean, she can extend her arms and webbing to make herself appear larger in a way Al never did. When she does this, she assumes a dark color with light dots, and rolls up her arms like cinnamon buns (very scientific description, I know...), she can even do it with the little growing back arm now. Al never did the polka dot thing, and didn't have nearly as much webbing.

Her mantle is also larger in diameter in comparison to the rest of her body. This is one of the first things my husband noticed about her. It's not that she is just bigger than the last guy, but that ratio of mantle diameter to body size is different. D, it is "serendipitous" that you posted mantle observations because I was taking pics last night of that same thing. Al did not have the little tassle on the end of his mantle like the Once-ler. When she is smooth, the "tassle" appears as a darkened spot on her skin, check out the photo. A totally different observation, it seems to me that her mantle has gotten a bit "lumpy" looking. Just a slightly bumpy look when she exhales sometimes, and I'd swear it's grown. Does this mean, "Just DARN?" Or is it just that she could still be growing and I'm over-reacting to appearances?

I posted the other photo so someone can tell me what "parts" we can see through her skin. There are two dark purplish spots that pulse, are these hearts? What is the red spot in the middle?

She re-organizes the shells rubble around her den nightly, but she's done that from day one, so I'm not sure that's brooding behavior. Yesterday, she excavated a tunnel under a large rock. She's never made a tunnel before, but again she's always played in the sand, it seems to give her an excuse to show off her webbing. Admittedly, I felt down after Roy's post on Saturday, but I decided to enjoy what time I've got!


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We never saw it coming with Serendipty. She was out and about when we were home and I was so sure she was very young (admittedly, I also was pretty sure she was female). The sand den is typical of many octos but the pink lump has me thinking ... Just DARN. I have not seen webbing or spots like that on any of the aculeatus photos but Roy has seen them not only in the lab but also in situ a lot. There are a number of adopus octos so the features you mention may be common to one or more of them. We expected to lose Octane within the first month and he was with us for 7 and probably would have made it to 8 if I had not left the tank open :cry:. We are still not over his absence but OhToo is helping. Giving the small eggs a race is a mixed emotion but a challenge I wanted to try it ... someday.

When you start noticing Once-ler dragging small rocks back to her den, it's time to prep for the babies.

Grover's behavior never really seemed to change until one day the den was complete. Every last piece of movable debris was collected and stacked or stuck in holes during the last few days I saw her.
And so begins the end...

On Saturday, we woke up and the Once-ler had dragged all of the shells in the tank around her den. My husband said, "That's an octopus nest!" She was out and about like normal all that day and Sunday, too. Yesterday she was actively pulling all of he shells in the tank into every opening of her live rock den. It was really a lot of fun to watch, she tried all day to pull a too big shell into a small hole. This morning at 4 am I couldn't sleep so I peeked in the tank with a flashlight. I barely needed it because the full moon was so bright on the tank (coincidence?). She had actually managed to wedge that giant shell into the hole! I figured that was the last I'd see of her. She was out again this morning, then again this afternoon. Both times she made a couple of rounds about the tank, then pooped and went back in. Each time I was certain it was the last time I'd see her. Tonight, while we were eating dinner she made her regular appearance, albeit short. She was trying to pull a fairly large piece of rock across the tank, and doing it! If she has designs on that for her nest it's going to be a few more days! I've gotten a little video of her working, I'll try to get it up.
I've been rereading all of the posts about egg attempts. I agree that it would be great to keep "egg and hatchling journals" in a different place. Even after reading all of the info here I still have so many Q's. I wish there were a "list of things tried" and a "list of next best guesses" for newbies like me. I've gathered my old tank and accumulated equipment and I just don't know where to start! I feel like I don't have nearly enough experience or expertise, but I also know I'll have to try. My husband is excited, even though he knows how hopeless it is and that it means the Once-ler will be gone soon. "Yeah, but what a great experiment! We'll get to see baby octos, and you'll get to say you tried!" I'm gong with that sentiment!


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Aren't they amazingly talented architects? The one kept at the clinic packed so many tiny pieces together in such small spaces, like building a brick wall. And it was a solid structure. Watching them pull the rocks around is so fun too. So determined to put everything in just the right place.

I haven't seen the Once-ler out of her den since Wednesday. She is still taking food, at least. I "chum" the tank first with defrost water from her shrimp and her arms flail out from holes in the rock den- the rock looks like it's going to fly away. She pulls the shrimp in and I haven't gotten left- overs yet.

I had been hoping that I might be able to get the eggs out to send to someone more qualified/ experienced than me. Now I see that I won't get even a glimpse of the eggs. In fact, I'm not sure I'll even know it if she dies in there... Anyway, D said I have about 3 weeks. A.M., how long (days) did it take for Grover's eggs to hatch? I know they came sooner than you expected- how soon should I set things up?

I have a ton of Q's, I've looked at past journals and if I've overlooked answers, sorry- but I'm grateful for any info! Does the shape of container make a difference (I've seen that mentioned in journals)? Am I right in thinking these pelagic little guys mostly just need to keep moving and not get stuck in corners? Do they need to be moving in the H2O column? A.M., you have suggested to others that the containers be shallow w/ lots of surface area, why? Is it an O2 thing?

I was serious when I asked in the last post if there is a connection between brooding and moon phases. Does the H2O turbidity or the reproduction cycle of prey for octo babies (coral spawn and such) have anything to do with it?

One local LFS has a supply of Reef Nutrition products, any recommendations (not to plug brands, but it's what it available) on what to get? Everyone has brine shrimp and baby brine, but I read they're not high in nutrition- can you "gut load" them like I do to crickets for my lizards? One of my LFS guys wondered if peppermint shrimp spawn would work?

Thanks in advance for any information you all have to offer!:notworth:
Very good that she's still taking food.

3-4 weeks most likely ~78 degrees. You should set it up and make sure it's all easy to clean whatever you use. The suggestion of the shallow container was passed on to me. The last 2 survivors made it 24 hours longer than the others after I switched to this idea if that means anything. I floated it in the tank. I thought about ordering some of these for the next time... I don't know how I would sustain temperature though. Perhaps in 2 dimensions it will be easier for the babies to capture prey. Food is going to be the toughest part. sells live copepods and mysis if you dare to spend the money to keep a supply.
still brooding...

I'm still doing all of my regular tank upkeep, which is weird when the tank seems so empty. I'm still having arms accept food, but there is left- over shrimp now so I'm not sure how much she's eating.

I took the power head out of the tank and set up an air bubble curtain instead to O2 the water. BUT- what is the deal with octos and bubbles? I know they need lots of O2, especially the babies. But I've seen posts where people worry about bubbles, can someone explain?
Air can get trapped in their mantle apparently. If she's not active I don't think it will cause a problem. I would think the babies would be too small for it to cause a problem but I could be wrong. In that large of a space it shouldn't be.
Once-ler sighting!

First of all, I'd like to apologize for how clumsy I've been in the other forums on the site!:oops: I seem to have posted in the completely wrong place, then some how posted a thread twice:bonk: SORRY!

I feel so lucky to have seen the Once-ler today! Unfortunately, my over zealous air bubble experiment dislodged one of the shells from her den. She didn't bother to take care of it until this evening though, as I sat next to the tank blogging Tonmo! I took the opportunity to feed her a giant piece of shrimp, she took it and disappeared. I guess she'll finish her home improvement later!
STILL brooding...

Wow, this is a really boring part of octo keeping. The Once-ler continues to keep her den shut up tight. My mom was here all last week and did get to see some arms here and there, but other than that you'd never guess anything is in that tank.

I occupy the time I was watching her with reading info and thinking up ideas. I've got all of materials gathered and cleaned. Tomorrow marks 2 weeks of "shut up tight" brooding. I was hoping to wait until this weekend to set up my brood tank as it will disrupt the living room a bit. Does that sound too late?
I looked up Trapper's brood time and was surprised to see I was pacing at 8 weeks so I don't think there is any hurry. Serendipity has been underground for 3 weeks and I am just starting to set up food tanks.
three weeks and counting...

It's been 3 weeks now since the Once-ler was last out and active. It's been about a week now that I've seen so much as an arm tip. She hasn't seemed to have taken any food for at least a week. About a week and a half ago, a very tiny hermit crab made it up to the top of her den, and she grabbed it and pulled it in. Since she'd always pass up shrimp on a stick for a live hermit before brooding, I went and got a few tiny ones to try again. We'll see...

I got nervous after not seeing anything of her at all, even though I've seen that commonly posted before. So I moved just a couple of small shells out of one hole in her den. I watched all day and never saw a thing, but sure enough it was repaired before lights out! I decided to leave well enough alone, for now.

At least I finally have Nancy's and Colin's book to read as I wait!:read:

My husband was just finishing up the last of the work on the "frankentank" when I noticed teeny little octopuses swimming in the big tank! There aren't very many right now, which is good because the aquarium sealant isn't supposed to be cured for 24 hrs, so I'm running behind. I was hoping for a few more days- it's exactly 3 weeks from the day she shut herself for good. Also, it's been very warm the last few days (70F in MI after the time change! Holy global warming, Cephman!) so maybe that sped things up a bit.

The big tank is loaded with little 'pods of some sort, I've been encouraging the population with phytoplanktons for the last few weeks. I started some brine shrimp eggs that D sent me tonight, and today I bought some "rotifeast" at the LFS. They also have "arctipods" (Reef Nutrition) if anyone thinks it's worth the $$.

As mentioned, there are only a few babies right now. I've turned off the filter, and have one of those flexible "bubble ropes" in a circle around the inside of the tank for now. I have 3 in a floating breeder box with some macroalgae that is crawling with the critters I've been farming. Maybe they'll get a bite... There are a couple more riding the current made by the bubbles, the corner bow front shape is giving a nice circular flow. I'm hoping there will be more!

I can't wait to fill up the grow out tank my husband designed to see how it works. I am wondering how long I have to wait for the sealant to set before filling it, the pieces aren't under pressure, just directing flow... I'll never sleep tonight!!

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