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why do my new octo's keep dying?


Feb 14, 2004
just last week, i recieved my first octo. he was quite healthy and moving about in the bag but when i put the bag in the water, a few minutes later, it completely calmed down and barely moved. i didn't even open the bag yet, i just let it float on top. the water is about 72-75 deg. after about an hour of slowly putting some tank water in the bag, i released it in the tank and it wasn't doing very well and a few hours later it died. this week i got another one and the exact same thing happened. does anyone know why my octo's keep dying?
Have you checked your water parameters? Nitrites, Nitrates, Ammonia. What about pH and salinity? Are you sure you have no copper?

Are you using RO/DI water?

I think you should also check with where you purchased the octopus and tell them your experience. It's very sad to lose two little octopuses.

everything in the water is good. there's a little bit of nitrate in the water but it shouldn't make this much of an impact. i have owned this tank for a long time and never once have used copper in it so there shouldn't be any copper in it. i am using ro/di water and the salinity is good. so i have no idea y this is happening. i did contact the dealer so they gave me the second octo free of charge, but i have no idea what could've caused this.
it's happened twice, but i think i know wut happened. i just tested my water again and the nitrate was a little high so im gonna wait a while before tryin again. does anyone know the quickest way to lower a tank's nitrate?
High how were your nitrates? Octopuses can tolerate some nitrates, but maybe it's harder on the little ones.

Usually you do water changes to reduce nitrates. A few things on the market claim to do it, too.

There's a lot we still don't know. Perhaps very young octos are more senstive to higher percentages of nitrates in the water.

Please list your other water parameters, too.


What about checking the water quality of the bag they travel in. If your water is perfect and the shop water isn't then that could have repocussions. We have problems when transporting sharks out, they massively lower the pH (down to about 4 sometimes) and a lot of people forget to check it, see that the temp and other parameters are fine and put them in and then they keel over!

Maybe check the water they were in before or come in...

Did they use a solution to calm them down as well? We use Magnesium Chloride when moving cuttles, not sure abouyt Octos tho.

Sorry I can't really help more though

i didn't check the water that they had, but i didn't think it would be that much different since octo's are really picky about their water, so i thought it would be about the same as mine. i know for a fact that they didn't put any of that drowsy stuff in the water cuz i watched him bag it himself. i am almost positive that it was the nitrates cuz i didn't expect it to be soo high and they were little octo's so it was probably too much for them
I'm sorry but there are just so many things that it could have been... too many variables to consider.

Perhaps ask the store to check their water?
How long was the octo in stock before you bought it?
Perhaps they have used copper in their tanks?

hard to say for sure... sorry
A little late on this, but I think something that you should consider (and EVERYBODY should consider) is to drip acclimate your octos when you get them. I am actually kind of shocked, it seems that many people just dump some water into the bag. For a sensitive creature like an octopus, running a drip acclimation is very easy and very safe for them.

Here is a link describing the technique for anybody that is interested and doesn't know about it, if anyone has any questions I would be happy to give a better description or take photographs to clarify. It is worth the 50 cents of airline tubing to save your aquatic friends!!


Robert :cyclops:
it sounds like a great way to do it but i dont quite understand it... How do you get the bag far enough under your water to start a gravity siphon without letting water into the bag. In other words the bag is at the same level as the tank water...
Drips work great if you can figure out a way to keep the octos in the bag...they have a way of finagling around the airline, and commencing to crawl around on the floor...have had that happen before!
I just pinprick the arrival bag, and plop it in the tank...takes several hours, but have never had any issues with travel shock, etc...
Seems to me that an intertidal animal would be somewhat used to different strains of water...I think it is more the ;light and activity exposure factor that kills them...I always acclimate in a dark room...seems to make them calmer.
Step by step, this is exactly what I do to drip acclimate --

#1 Gather the tools I need, which are --

- Any size bucket
- Several pieces of any kind of tape (duct works great)
- A long piece of airline tubing
- Scissors

Place the livestock bag into the bucket.

Rip several 2-3 inch pieces of the tape and set these aside, you will need them soon.

Cut the top of the livestock bag open and using the tape, tape the bag to the bucket so that the bag can 'stand up' like a paper grocery bag, keeping the opening at the top. To do this, I generally press the side of the bag against the bucket, and tape from the INSIDE of the livestock bag, to the bucket.

Now that the bag is secured in your bucket (ON THE FLOOR) go ahead and put one end of the airline tubing into your tank, making sure it stays submerged (this is the hardest part for me... you maybe can use a lettuce clip to keep it down). Start the siphon, and then make a loose/somewhat tight knot in it, so that it drips only a few drips a second. Then, place this inside of the livestock bag.

Here are some pictures I happen to have of me acclimating some plecos.


Note, this second picture is pretty bad, but I figured I might as well include it. ..


How long I let things drip depends on what I am doing. If I am just sitting around, I will let it go for quite a while sometimes. If you are anxious, then around 30 minutes or so feel free to increase the drip speed. My technical reasoning behind this is that initially there is low water volume, so each new drop changes the water the livestock is in more than the same drop will later, when the water volume is greater. So, if you increase the drip speed after the bag is more full, you probably aren't actually raising the speed at which the water CHANGES. In fact, you're really just keeping it more stable.

I normally squeeze the bag to make water overflow from the top when it is almost full, to lower the water volume to about half the bag.. and after some more drip, I usually untie the knot and let the bag fill up again. The more you do, the less shock it will be when the fish actually goes into the tank.

Don't worry, this acclimation was confusing to me at first too.. but now it seems easier to do logistically than floating the bag/making sure it doesn't sink/spill/etc.. what a mess!! Also, if I am acclimating things like snails or crabs or very small fish (like my tiger goby), I will typically just empty the entire livestock bag into my 3 us gal bucket and drip directly into that. Saves some work and is just as effective --- but it can be harder to net the livestock if you do this!

Good luck and feel free to reply with any questions or tips to make this even easier! I think it is a great method and we should all use it and share it with our friends, saltwater and freshwater alike.

Robert :cyclops:

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