"Wha, me attitude?" Not Ossie, the Octo

Akyu said:

I got us a red led on Monday evening AND put in an order for a red UV light with nm of 350 which should be totally dark for Ossie to see.

I'm glad that helped! I'm a little confused about what "red UV" means-- I thought UV stood for ultraviolet, but ultraviolet is "bluer than blue," so it can't be red... 350 nm sounds pretty ultraviolet to me, though... I'm wondering if "red UV" is a marketing gimic for reef tanks, in that it's UV "black light" that makes some corals flouresce red or something like that... Unless I'm misunderstanding, I think you may have been misled, though-- a 350nm light will be so far shifted to the blue direction that humans can't see it, but many cephalopods, quite likely including Ossie, can see UV... It's possible 350nm is far enough "blue" that it's outside ossie's visual range, but you won't be able to see it, either.

In general, UV lighting is interesting to humans because there are pigments, including some in a lot of reef tank flora and fauna, that absorb the invisible UV light and re-emit it as visual light, so you're making the stuff in the tank glow like a black-light poster. I guess it's possible that the "red UV" would make stuff glow red in a way that will provide indirect light to see Ossie with, but that Ossie wouldn't see, but it seems likely that even though some stuff will glow red, some other stuff will glow in the blues and greens that Ossie hides from, or that she'll be able to see the UV from the light itself...

Since the red LED flashlight seemed to work, I think you're best bet would be to get tank lighting that also uses red LEDs -- just using google, it looks like there are two main types of red LEDs, that emit at 660nm and 625nm... the 660nm will be more likely to be invisible to Ossie, but is also harder for humans to see... nevertheless, if you can, it's probably better Ossie-viewing for humans to get brighter 660nm than the 625nm.

If you feel ambitious, it's probably not too tough to buy a bunch of red LEDs at somewhere like Fry's or Radio Shack and make your own lighting... just make sure that you get the right size resistor(s) to go in series with them so they don't fry... and maybe use a transformer so they're running on 12 volt DC or something like that instead of directly on wall current.

I'm skeptical enough about this "Red UV" stuff that I'll be very surprised if it works, but it's possible I'm just not correctly understanding what it is.
Akyu said:

ok... I had thought you meant a light for the whole tank; I didn't realize it was a flashlight. I'm still not sure where the "red" came from-- UV is even more blue than blue!

I still suspect it will be visible to Ossie, but it'll be curious to find out... in any case, it's a cool thing to take to stores that sell blacklight posters, or on disneyland rides like the haunted mansion! Or for doing "junior CSI" forensics... not bad for $26.

I think geologists can use UV lights for something, too... perhaps some of the fossil folks would care to comment...


- M
You're half right, Tony. I've only witnessed tentacles but W. has managed to catch Ossie out and about.

So far what we've been able to determine. Ossie is DEFINETELY nocturnal and secretive. She can also see the red LED light I had gotten, and given what Monty said about the UV light, I'm saving that one for Disneyland's Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean. :smile:

Proof that she can see the red LED light? W. uses that to search for her after all the lights are off in the room. If we wait 20 min. to 45 min after the lights are off, W. can usually catch Ossie somewhere outside the den. As soon as the light finds Ossie, she's off! and back to her den.

Last week, I took the opportunity to go to a LFS where I'd been getting ghost shrimp. They had a cuttlefish expert who worked there once a week and I went to talk to him just to reassure some stuff in my mind because there's a slight part of me that still thinks Ossie's not faring well simply because all I see are tentacles that when I blink to make sure they're really there, they're gone. *sigh*

He basically said that since Ossie's eating and we're doing frequent (2-3 times a week) water changes, she should be fine. I'm really wishing I could see more of her though. Part of my problem is, I have bifocals and therefore, I need to be totally pressed up against the glass without my glasses, or I need to stand in this awkward storklike position with my back hunched over to see into the tank and my head arched back so I can see out of the reading part. Probably should break out the contacts and reading glasses to see her better.

The extent of my stories about Ossie is, I clean behind her den every day. Three days ago, there was a shell back there and I was having a hard time getting to it. It seemed every time I batted it toward me with the chopstick, the water flow in the tank seemed to make it go back to the den! I asked W. to help figure out how to get the shell and when she looked inside the tank, she started to laugh. Ossie had her tentacle inside the shell and was playing with me!

W. had been able to witness her swimming about, and even lurking inside the hollow plastic skull we had gotten for her, probably lying in wait for the ghost shrimp. (It's one of those tank decorations, a pirate skull) But again, as soon as W. finds Ossie, Ossie heads back to the den to outwait the pesky human servants.

For only living with you for the past couple of weeks, it sounds like Ossie is acclimitizing (is that a word???) really well. As she gets to know you (and terrorize/tease you), she will come out more often.

At 1 am, I decided to take a peak into the tank. I covered up the red LED with my fingers, just letting enough light come through for me to make out outlines in the tank. I looked around her den, nothing. Scan across the tank, nothing. Tried to look inside the skull and realized I had to look in from the side, so I swept the light across the side glass when tentacles flicked in muted beam of light. I jumped, she jumped.

Ossie was under the pump next to crabs ripe for the pickin'. I quickly moved the light away, and stayed still. Holding my breath, I brought the light slowly up and there Ossie was. I think she was holding her breath too trying to figure out my next move. She was spread out on the glass and she has definitely grown lots since she's been under our care. I would estimate her arm length to be about 3 inches now and her mantle about an inch and a half.

Okay, I have a question for you all. Since Ossie is noctornul and secretive, when the new tank is ready, how do we move her? Do we just pick up the den and move it into the new tank? What would stress her out the least?

Thanks! Beamingly yours,

Man, what a weekend this has been - not good.

No, it's not Ossie. She is doing remarkably well. We both got to see her for a while tonight after we got back and she is still growing.

I just have to share... so sorry for spilling guts here, k?

First, my best friend's mother who had basically adopted me as hers, died on Tuesday. Then on Saturday, en route to L.A. our rental car breaks down 120 miles outside of L.A. We get to our destination 4 hours later than we had planned.

Then W. suffers a relapse of her chest cold and I finally catch it, so our excursion to the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific was scantily skimmed, because neither of us had the energy to really enjoy each exhibit. We did get to see their new Giant Pacific Octopus though, and poor thing hid in a corner the entire time we were there.

Then I wake up in the middle of the night, spewing my guts due to the chest cold.

And then, after the funeral, we come home to an empty 40 gallon tank; it had sprung a leak while we were gone and our investment of pumps, live rock, live sand, and hermit crabs went down the drain literally. Not only that, we have to pay for our neighbor's replacement carpet padding.

The bright side is, Ossie is getting less shy with us. She came out of her den soon after we had turned down the lights, far earlier than before (we had only been able to see her after midnight and this was 9:45 pm) and stayed out even after we turned on the lights. Only when I dumped 3 ghost shrimp into her tank, did she finally slink back into her den but even so, it was very very very slowly. As I was trying to capture the elusive shrimp, W. was calling out, "She's got three tentacles still out... her mantle is still out... ooh look! she's got one tentacle still out and she can't fit her mantle in the hole... Oh! She finally squeezed her eyeball through the hole!"

Soon after we had resealed the tank and turned off the lights, Ossie came out of the back of her den and probably already caught a ghost shrimp.

I am heartbroken about my crabs but it seems Ossie is finally getting used to us. She is now out of her den and I've turned on the light. So far so good. She is staying out of her den. We'll try to get a picture for you all.

W. managed to get a very nice still photo of Ossie tonight as well.
Very nice to finally see a photo of Ossie? Yes, is that an eyespot?
Coould it be that she's a young octo rather than a dwarf?

Very sorry about your tank and the terrible trip. I could only think that you were so fortunate that Ossie wasn't in the tank that failed.

Here's the same photo big...


I don't know, is that an eyespot?... Thanks Nancy, yeah both W. and I were so thankful that it wasn't Ossie's tank and that we hadn't moved her yet into the larger tank.

W. is working on a longer movie of Ossie. She will probably have it ready by the end of the day.

Yeah, OB, W. and I both think Ossie's simply beautiful, but then we're prejudiced lol

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