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Who has kept a mimic?


Dec 17, 2002

I'm compiling records of longevity and husbandry information for mimic octopus in captivity. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has first hand experience with this species or the wunderpus. Please, no second-hand or anecdotal information from those you have seen in pet stores. I don't need just "good news", I'm also interested in learning about "husbandry failures".
After years of hearing how delicate these are,and researching what I could, I acquired one and have found their husbandry to be pretty straightforward with just a couple of twists. The longevity records that I've compiled so far (all for adult octos acquired from the pet trade, except one from a dealer in Japan) shows a range of 2 days to nine months. Although the data set is still small, except for two records where one animal lived two days and one lived about nine days, all the other notes have shown a range of 4 to nine months (except ours at 5 weeks, but it is still alive). This is pretty respectable for a tropical species acquired at adult size. Most of these records are from public aquariums, so I'm interested to learn if home aquarists are seeing similar results.
I've attached a pic of our little guy. Lots of what I've heard about them has been wrong. I think people who haven't actually have kept one are extrapolating from what the species does in the wild - they don't require sand (ours actually prefers to hang out in the coral rather than in the sand). When its well fed and content, it curls up in a ball and blends in to the gravel or a rock - having no stripes at all. Ours has refused all live food (Uca, Lysmata, Gambusia) but began taking Euphasia off a broomstraw from the second day. We have it in a 40 gallon tank with an undergravel filter - no simpler aquarium than that. They don't require huge amounts of room (although I think the jury is still out on the wonderpus - they are apprently more active, and may need more space).

Jay Hemdal


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What sort of longevity are you seeing with that species? Are they in a public aquarium setting or a home?


From what I've seen (In the wild), these guys like to bury themselves in sand. That's a nice specimen you have there, I hope he does good for you.

:tentacle2: :biggrin2:
Very cool jhemdal, I seen that on the discovery channel a little bit ago and its cool to see you actually have one. Just curious if its still around and if you have other posted pictures?

I have been keeping a wunderpus at my home in my ceph system for roughly 7 weeks and he is still going strong. I'm documenting him in this thread: Wonderpus - Fontanelle
He had some digging activity in the first few weeks, but never really got into it seeming content to live behind the intake to the external overflow. I have only fed him live shrimp, but I suspect that he would happily accept dead shrimp. I give him live because the live bait shrimp I use are actually cheaper than anything I can get frozen - although I did freeze a bunch for a shrimpless day.

I have always been a little concerned about calling 'hard to keep' species hard to keep, when they haven't really been kept. :biggrin2: I think a lot of the 'hard to keep' label comes from poor getting animals at the end of the custody chain when they have had the most chance for abuse.

I haven't found the wunderpus particularly difficult, and I didn't find the flamboyant I was lucky to keep particularly difficult, but as my wife sitting next to me points out, that isn't really telling the whole story. I have had oodles of reef keeping/saltwater animal experience, so system design and upkeep is something I take for granted. I also have a 150 gallon plus dedicated ceph system that usually has an empty space in it so when the flamboyant and the wunderpus were available I had a place ready for them. I also got healthy animals. So, are they difficult or have I been lucky with them or are they not so difficult one you have a saltwater thumb...I don't know.
Having "available space" is something I'm planning in my setup.
I think I'm leaning towards about a 90g main tank, and several other tanks, etc linked to it, for breeding, etc. Having something like a devided 20-30g tank ready for "emergency" additions or visitors (we all go on vacation, right?) is something I'm going to design in. Better safe than sorry. :smile:

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