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Urgent - Her tentacle is hanging off by a thread

big red

Apr 4, 2005
One of the tentacles on my wonderpus is hanging on by a thread. :sad: Ive no idea how this has happened as shes on her own in there :confused: Is this going to kill her or is there something I can do? I do have access to some antibiotics such as triple sulfa - would this help?

Please help.

First off I would have a good look about the tank and see if anything in there could have trapped the octopus? Fallen rock maybe?

Octopuses can survive quite well after losing an arm. In fact in some species it is a defence mechanism allowing them to escape if grabbed by an arm.

I have seen an Octopus briareus chewing off its own arms. Its called autophagy and seems to be caused by bacteria or virus, I never really got to the bottom of that one. Does it seem to be a clean cut or ragged? is the octopus showing normal colors and behaving as usual?

Lost arms can regrow, first octo i got only had 7 arms and regrew number 8
Colin ....the last I heard about autophagy is that the cause is maybe a prion (like mad cow disease) . We've had it twice in the aquarium a real*(&#*%$* cos the only thing you can do is euthanise, then strip (& I mean STRIP) the aquarium, chuck out anything you can replace and sterilise the rest. We sterilise by bleaching for a week, then counteracting the bleach for a week, then freshwater (milliQ) in the tank for a week, then reseasoning the tank then rebuilding the rock work, plumbing etc It's a major job but in our experience essential. The one time we didn't go through this procedure we lost a second octi to the disease...it is highly contagious.

Big Red, I wouldn't panic yet. If she has autophagy she'll eat her other arms very quickly. Our 1st one only lasted a couple of days after the initial symptoms appeared. So keep an eye on her, chances are she's caught it on a rock or something.

It looked like a relatively clean cut to me. Shes seems relatively normal apart from her arm - i.e. normal colouration etc. I cant see any fallen rocks though so its still a bit of a mystery.

The last thread it was hanging on by has now come away so at least shes not dragging the dead arm around anymore.

Im a bit worried about infection though - are u sure theres northing I should be adding to the water?
When I checked in on her again it looks like theres another arm with a bit missing off it - this time more at the end rather than high up. Couldnt tell properly as she was all bunched up.

Is it possible for octopuss to get a disease which deteriorates there limbs??? - Just another thought if theres more than one damaged.
Does she have access to any powerheads? I had one years ago that had shortened legs from sticking them in the powerhead. At the time I didn't catch it until the damage was already done. How old is she?

She doesnt have access to powerheads. Theres just a pipe going down into the sump which has a grill over it (sorry not very good at the technical stuff).

Dont know exactly how old she is but was advised she is fully grown. Ive had her 2 months now.
any chance there is a mantis shrimp or crab that may be getting the octopuses arms? Live rock?

Is the octo still eating?
Sadly she deteriorated rapidly. Came home 2nite to find her dead - almost ripped apart :sad: she was covered in bristleworms - i dont know whether they killed her or whether they just took advantage when she had died :confused: Im very upset now - she was doing so well & I was so pleased with myself for being able to keep her - she was really lively unlike what i have read about wonderpuses and loveld frozen food. It would have been nice to have gotton to the bottom of why this happened - cant see any other liverock hitchhickers other than the worms and a very small hermit crab.
I'm so sorry to hear...Wonder what happened? I have seen octos deteriate towards the end of their lives, but did you by chance check your water parameters?

Wunderpus is able to autotomize arms (drop them off the way a lizard does its tail). It makes a clean cut high up on the arm and sometimes, at least in some other arm dropping octos, the muscle breaks off comletely but some skin remains attached. This is probably what happened to the first arm your Wunderpus lost. This is a defense mechanism- somthing must've spooked her. The other arm injury was probably a result of autophagy of some sort. They eat them starting from the tip, then work up the arm.

Wunderous are notoriously difficult to keep in aquaria. They stress easily and don't usually last long. I can only imagine how many must die in transit on the way to pet shops. It might be worth calling your shop and asking them not to sell them in the future both because they are so difficult to keep, and because they're rare in the wild (see other threads about them).
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