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why did my octopus die?

Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
42
i scored a free octopus (light brown, big eyes) from a chinese restaurant 2 weeks ago that they claim they had for a month. they had to move and didn't want it, so i took it, and built my tank around the parameters necessary for octo-keeping (read on this site). i had the perfect 1.025/26 salinity, pH buffer, no ammonia, did frequent water changes due to his waste-producing, and he was doing fine, dancing around, seemed happy then the other night he turned whitish/yellowish and died.

if anyone can tell me why....one of my white snails was attached to his tentacle, not sure if that would have anything to do with it or what. i do have a small tube anenome that i read just today you shouldn't have with an octopus, but i doubt he went near it much. sorry to be so morbid, but i think the restaurant was just gonna pitch him anyway....thanks!
 

monty

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Mar 8, 2004
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sorry to hear about your octo, but at least you saved it and gave it a good home for a while... I can't think of anything worrisome in what you've described, so it may have been unrelated to anything you did, but you should wait for the octo-keeping experts to chime in for a more educated and experienced view. It's often impossible to tell why there is an unexpected ceph fatality, unfortunately, though.
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
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42
i hope they did chime in. i just don't get it. i kept my ammonia to a minimum, to the point where i was changing 25% twice a week! Octos do produce a lot of waste, so i dont think it's unreasonable.

i was thinking....i have the long-spined urchin, and for a month they got along fine but maybe the shorter, venemous spines that are close to the urchin's body were touched by the tentacle of the octopus? i can't imagine the anenome killing it, but i do know the shorter spines on a long-spined urchin are venemous to animals and even give a bee sting-equivalent to humans.

this was him in the setting:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=dHwpPiN0q2s&mode=related&search=
 

jc45

GPO
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Dec 4, 2005
Messages
105
What were your other water paramenters? I see that you were worried about ammonia, but did you check on nitrite or nitrate, and was your tank cycled?

Joey
 
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Jan 10, 2007
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interesting thing was....nitrate was registering high on my test kit, but i took a sample into a LFS, where they tested it twice with a more professional kit, and found NO nitrate. at home i found about .25 ammonia and no nitrite.

yes the tank was cycled, but it's only about 2 months old. the cycling finished because i added cheap fin fish to increase the ammonia level to get that started, and i went thru the diatoms phase (brownish algae on rocks). after the diatoms pass, usually a tank is done cylcing. maybe not in this case?
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
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After watching the videos you have posted on YouTube, it seemed to me the octopus was quite restless, like it was possibly very stressed out. I'm just saying that because I know that's how most fish react to poor water quality.

What was the temperature of the tank?
 

corw314

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Nov 20, 2002
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One day I noticed one of my octopuses was resting by the top of the waterline. When he noticed I was in the room he became frantic, like trying to climb out of the water. Turns out I had a clogged Eheim and the ammonia level had risen from 0 to .50. After a major waterchange, and unclogging of the filter, he returned to normal. I have noticed with all the octopuses I have had over the years, they have zero tolerance to even the slightest trace of ammonia. I am sorry for your loss, but it is imperative to let a tank fully cycle as their skin is extremely delicate and any trace of ammonia, I believe burns or stings their skin.

I hope you will "rescue" another at some point, but when you are sure your tank is stable.
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
42
I totally agree Octos have sensitive skin, however...i've talked to quite a few experienced LFSs here in the LA area, and all say it's impossible to have a totally 0 level of ammonia. if the octopus is creating 3x as much waste as a fish its same size, you'd have to literally change the water every day in order to keep a 0 level.

i think a larger tank is the best because there's more room (literally) for error. an octopus creating waste on a daily basis will be more absorbed in a 70 gallon tank as opposed to a 24 gallon. but, i've been told repeatedly a nano cube/aquapod is a great tank for them because you can rig the full lids, or in the case with mine the glass sliding lid can be rigged with professional strength velcro, and the sticky part is re-useable so you can remove it for feeding and stick it right back on.

another interesting point i learned at a LFS here in Studio City, CA, a fellow who has been servicing tanks for 9 years told me he's seen 2 nanos with octos where velcro was placed all along the perimeter of the tank at the top because apparently the octopus won't escape once he feels it. he said they might try but due to the sensitivity of their tentacles, once they touch it they return right back into the water. sounds odd, but he wasn't trying to sell me on an octopus (which are so cheap anyway). anyone ever heard of this? FYI Home Depot has some killer pro-strength velcro for those who are looking for it..
 

DrBatty

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Aug 2, 2006
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148
It has been noted that both velcro and astroturf will irritate an octo enough to stop them from escaping. I used velcro to secure the lids on my tanks and it worked wonders....never had an escape.

Nanos may be easier to seal, but they are smaller tanks and are sometimes not always so easy to modify if you need to, and as you continue to keep cephs, you'll find a lot of little mods you'll want to do. With the exception of pygmy species, most cephs require a minimum 50 gallon tank to be happy and healthy....some require a great deal more space. If I remember correctly, Vulgaris requires 150 gallons [I think Colin mentioned this in one of his articles].....and under no circumstances should a ceph be placed in a tank that has not finished cycling - that goes for any scale-less marine animal.

A bit of info I got at my LFS the other day about ammonia levels in home aquariums: I was told that a lot of the most commonly used test kits for the home aquarist will never register a 0 ppm for ammonia - not because it's impossible, but rather the supplies given to us are not finely calibrated for an accurate reading below .25. Of course, you can purchase a high end kit to get a more accurate reading. My LFS has tested my water lower than .25 ppm on a few occasions - it is definitely possible, with a strong skimmer, of course. :smile:
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Messages
90
i also have velcro on my tank, its along the inside at the top of the glass. i also have a weighted (fishing weights at the end hanging off) peice of screening on the top that it cut at the corners so it has an overhang. im in the process of making a hinged wood/screen lid at the moment.

one thing to check would be your alkalinity at the lfs, my teacher had been adding baking soda to lower the pH because he said it did that for freshwater, but he didnt know about saltwater and it raised the alkalinity really high, off the charts the store had! so when we got the first octo it died in about 3 days, and that was the only thing wrong with the tank. now weve done 2 complete water changes and the new octo is doing great. also, do you have a protein skimmer? you're mentioning a LOT of water changes in a short period of time, makes it sound like you're skimmer-less. we have a protein skimmer for a 65g and also a regular filter made for a 60g on our 50g tank and its doing great.
 

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