After weekend update: W. decided she didn't like our seascape and if she didn't like it, why would Ossie? So, she rearranged our live rock to create paths and caverns and I'll be darned if she didn't entice Ossie into gracing us with her presence.
We turned off the lights and after about 1/2 hour, she goes to see with a small flashlight and startled both herself AND Ossie! Earlier that day, prior to the rearranging of the live rock, we had bought Ossie 5 new red-legged hermit crabs as a change in diet. Compared to the blue-legged variety, these were HUGE! (okay, okay, I'm a little prone to exaggeration, it's only about 1/3 bigger - but I digress).
Well, Ossie apparently came out of her den to check out the new landscape AND to sample the new menu. She was perched atop her den, having just caught one of the new crabs and was in the process of eating when the flashlight found her. Apparently, she didn't enjoy the interruption, and she took her dinner down into the den, to be indulged privately. Also apparently, Ossie has grown quite a bit since she's been in our care - W. claims that her tentacles are about 3 inches long now, compared to the 1-1/2" that she was when she first entered our lives.
I do have a question for you all. I suspect that there is a huge harvest of decaying shells under her den. The fact that bristle worms are swarming near the base gives off a strong indication as well. The ammonia levels have zeroed out (YAY!), so have the nitrites and the nitrates have been pretty steady between 2.5 and 5 even with frequent 20% water changes. Also the fact that I've only found about 5 shrimp shells and 5 crab shells (despite a diet of approx. 2 shrimp and 1 crab every 2 days) tells me there's more decaying things in the tank.
Should I try and move her den to get at the shells underneath? She seemed rather unperturbed by all the shifting rocks this past weekend.
Octopuses usually don't keep decaying food in their den. They're tidy housekeepers and throw out shells and leftovers for you to pick up - like the piece of shrimp she got rid of. Could the shells be somewhere else? Octos are messy eaters, so maybe the bristleworms are just enjoying the scraps left behind.
I read about midden mounds (is that the name?) and that's how some people find octopi in the wild. Hmm, then what could account for the swarming bristle worms near the base of her den? The den is about 4-1/2 inches tall with a base of about 3-1/2 inches. She resides near the middle section and the swarming bristle worms are near the base at one end? Could she have chucked the shells there? Just worried about decaying things in the tank and those darned bristle worms. (accidentally stabbed two in half and now there's 4!)
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.
After waiting around for about half an hour peering into the aquarium with the red led, W. saw Ossie.
I think instead of calling her the princess, we're going to be calling her Ossie the Sneak. Apparently Ossie is VERY shy. W. caught her coming out of the back entrance, then swimming along the path of rocks that W. had rearranged for her. At the end of the path in one corner, is a little skull sculpture where the shrimp like to hide, and the other corner is where the crabs like to converge to sleep. I've now decided that the crabs just like that corner because that is where the most amphipods and copapods scurry around; not because Ossie was stacking them.
The first hint we had of her being in that corner was yesterday morning, the pump had been tilted down (the two top suction cups had come off). W. thinks she'd been trying to squeeze behind there for hunting purposes. I think she was just seeing what it was and pulled it down, then it scared her.
Anyway, W. saw her swimming along the path, and then Ossie perched herself on the top of a rock near both the shrimp (which was atop the pump) and the crabs in the corner. At this point, she woke me up to see, but all I got to see was a tentacle behind the rock because Ossie figured out she was getting attention and decided to lurk behind the rock instead of on top of it.
After about 5 min. of not seeing her but an occasional tentacle around the rock, I went back to sleep. The next thing I knew, W. had called out, "The sneak! She swam back to her den along the back and slipped back into her den!" Also, the previous report of her legs being 3 inches was wrong. Ossie's more like 2" long, but still has visibly grown since we first got her.
Hopefully, with the UV light, we'll be able to see more.
Ossie seems to be doing well and she seems to LOVE the red legged hermit crabs more than the blue legged variety. As for ghost shrimp, they're all gone and I'll have to get more for them. Now if only she'd be less shy like your pets.
We can't be food goddesses because she hates the frozen shrimp (having been spoiled on a smorgasbord in her house). Any suggestions as to how we might get to see her instead of staying up to all hours so that we end up missing work cause of oversleeping?
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.
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...
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.
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.