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The were typically a redish brownish but keep in mind this was under red lighting since they were not out during the day until the last week of their lives. I have a few photos of both where they appeared quite white with green fluorescent dots (I think these were flash photos) and you would swear they were O. briareus.
Here is a short video of Wayne getting acquainted to one end of the tank (a couple days ago).
I have since bought him a red led light. He seems to prefer this more, but it doesn't show pictures up too well. In my first pictures (with white light) his eyes were narrow and squinted, whereas under the read light, his eyes are open wide, taking everything in! Will post some more videos as soon as they have uploaded.
The video on facebook seems to be marked private. You will need to make it public for members to view. I am not sure if you can see the warning as it may not show to the owner if signed in to face book so I am repeating it here:
This video has either been removed from Facebook or is not visible due to privacy settings.
Unfortunately, the best octopus species reference book (the Mark Norman book cited) has not been updated since 2003 (and is out of print and hard to come by) and there is not a current replacement. The sp 8 animal is a good match from your descriptions and photos but octos can take on many looks and are hard even for the experts to confirm from external appearances only. I do believe that the Macropus complex is a good call but further id is not likely to be possible.
I usually remark that red lighting is great for night viewing but totally miserable for photography . As you noted with your eye observation, it does seem to be much better for the animals' comfort and often for the ability to see it active.
Looking forward to seeing this vid. I have always used red lights but i also try to get them to come out during the day with food. With tranny it took a few months of trying but I did get him to come out during the day for about an hour most everyday. No one knows if you will be able to get yours to come out during the day since we dont even know the species. Even though the pics dont come out well. Post them Might at least be able to see male or female
My observations on nocturnals and daylight activity is all conjecture based upon a few animals. I have only kept two in the complex and expect they were the same species but different from this one (any name yet?). If my two were typical (not a good number for generalizations) daylight will not be an option. I think it is their eye sensitivity but their sight declines with age and the light ultimately is not a problem/pain. Sadly, this did not happen with my two until their last week and even then they only tolerated early morning light. O. briareus will sometimes hunt during the day or early evening in the shallow waters so I suspect their eyes become less sensitive to light earlier in life. O. vulgaris is also said to be nocturnal but have been found hunting during full daylight.
I have changed the privacy settings; can you view the video now? Wayne usually wakes up (or sticks a couple of legs out) around 11pm. He still seems to be sussing things out, and isn't really interacting with me or things in his tank (apart from food). I don't want to pester him so I'll give him some time to get comfortable.
A stupid question... since its dark, and only using a red light that he can't see, can he still see me? Is he able to see things in the dark or does he use other senses to find food?
I was also wondering if anyone had a good link to an octopuses' anatomy? I would like to know what the different part of his body are doing. For example, he seems to have a tube at the side of his eyes which pulses, like a fish's gill.
And another question (sorry)... do they rely heavily on air? I have increased surface agitation and air into the aquarium, and tested for dissolved oxygen, which all seems fine. He likes to go to the surface of the water and peek his eyes out. I first thought he was trying to get air (like a fish being affected by ammonia) but it seems more of a psychological thing.