[Octopus]: Wink - Octopus Digueti


Jan 9, 2010
Looking for an ID on this little guy. I know it has been a quite while since my last adventure and I'm ready to jump in and try again.

Adding multiple pics and a video. I'm sorry for the quality stupid iPhone and bad lighting.

Seems really active with lights on or off. Mantle is about 1-1 1/2" long. Has not inked at the sight of me or with me taking photos or video (weird right) and I was right up on the glass as close and clear as I could to get a few decent shots to ID it. Moved it to a different tank to try and get better shots. It has a greenish blue hue all over the body like a glow even when brown. I don't see the Bimac dot, but I'm nowhere near qualified to specify what specie it is.

Trying to do some of my own research and try to ID it myself, but I would feel much more at ease and would probably get done faster with a more experienced opinion.

Could someone please post me a link to the forum list to the different species and tank size requirements? I stumbled on it by accident a few years ago, and can't seem to find it again.

Thanks so much

WELCOME BACK. Yet another member that I quickly looked at the date to be sure the post was new :wink:

Do you know the origination body of water? I feel very confident in saying this is a dwarf species but not totally confident in going with my immediate first guess of O. mercatoris, particularly with the amount of activity (mercs are not very active) and the arm:mantle proportion is a little long. Here is an image @Neogonodactylus posted the bears a strong argument for the markings and papillae. There is another, however, that I don't believe I would ever be able to distinguish from a merc but have never seen. Octopus digueti is a Pacific animal, appears to have slightly longer arms and a blueish cast in Roy's photo . Additionally, Mark Norman notes the two heavy eye flaps and scattered light spots and bumps on the mantle. Viewing the photos of the two, it appears the eye stalks have a squarer look in your photos, the photos by Roy and one by John Forsythe (Cephalopods A World Guide Mark Norman pg 283). Both females lay benthic young.

This aged but informative discussion might be helpful in deciding if it is digueti. you might hope it is O. mercatoris though as O. digueti is shorter lived and I am guessing what you have is an adult. My mercs lived 8 to 13 months and it appears that Digueti's octos only live 6 to 8.
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Thanks so much DWhatley for getting back to me so fast. Your wealth of knowledge, speed in posting, and accuracy amazes me!

So definitely a Dwarf specie? That makes me feel more relieved.

Going through some Forum posts and photo comparisons trying to find more about the O. Digueti. This is one I have not read or seen anything about. I need to know tank requirements, food favorites even if it's lobster I don't mind in the least. :biggrin2:

Indeed it does look like a O. Mercatoris with the starry eyes, which is my favorite part. They look almost starstruck. :lol: But his original activity really threw me off a bit. Do you think it could have been since it has a new environment? Like exploring before finding a place to hide? My last one did the same when the tank lights were off but didn't mind the room lights, then when I put the red covered lid on she would come out to explore a bit but mainly at night.

I think it's definitely a tad big for Cyclop Eeze. That's just for tiny Babies right? Wish I lived closer to the shore to get fresh crabs. :snorkel: You think some blue legs & fresh frozen shrimp would be ok chopped up to small beak size bites? Wondering what kinds of crab I can get my hands on for food as well. (buffet table opening up grab a plate!)
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O. mercatoris is a name assigned to a large egg Caribbean dwarf. For years it was called O. joubini but a review of the holotype showed that O. joubini is a small egg laying animal and "the other Caribbean dwarf" produces large egg, benthic hatchlings. The assignment of the name mercatoris is generally considered arbitrary and there is not enough study on the animals to qualify the species (may be a nice masters thesis if anyone takes it up :biggrin2:). I would not be at all surprised if O. digueti and O. mercatoris are synonymous or at least tightly related with minor changes evolving after years of geologic separation. The one paper I read on O. digueti found slight differences in arm length and a few unremembered characteristics depending upon its environment.

Not having kept the Pacific animal (again, if you can push your supplier into finding out its origin will go a long way in deciding which species but I suspect it is not important for care) I can only suggest foods based on the mercs. To start, I highly recommend picking up live fiddlers (and will recommend using Paul Sachs as a reliable source). Mercs also easily took impaled shore shrimp (young animals could catch them live but the older ones needed stick feeding). For years I swore they would not eat frozen shrimp but Sleazy proved me wrong when we ran out of live food one day. The "trick" (I think since this is the only merc to have accepted it and I have not had another to confirm) is to make the food SIZE about the size of the animal's eye. Too large or too small is rejected (another case of size matters :sly:). One thing I had not tried but have been very successful with for all other animals (did not discover trying this until after Sleazy died) is the meat from blue crab claws. We scrounge the Asian market for loose claws and then freeze them. Whole crabs cannot be frozen without cooking but the claws do not contain the organs that poison the meat and freeze well. The full sized animals have no problem with the whole claw but to try feeding a dwarf, you will have to extract the meat and offer it on a stick. Once an animal is accustomed to being hand/stick fed, size is much less important and they easily accept larger pieces.

I have found that all newly "tanked" animals will exhibit a different behavior (usually more active and "friendly") during their first 2-3 weeks of captivity than what you will see after it accepts its new home. More normal, shy behavior, follows once the animal is fully acclimated to its new environment. After that, patience and a lot of time in front of the tank usually produces something in between. Keep in mind, this guy if fully grown so I am not sure how much time you will have with it.

Cyclop-eeze is only a hatchling main food and a supplemental food for adults. Sadly, the environment where Cyclop-eeze is raised has all but collapsed over the last two years and the continued availability of the product is in serious question. I am not a fan of the freezed dried but it is still available.
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Just placed an order for the Shore shrimp and the Fiddlers. He has been hiding in one of the small pieces of LR I bought years ago specifically for an Octopus. It has the neatest little hiding holes and caves for them. I need to finally get a couple of nice size pieces of barnacle.

Could you give me details on how exactly to feed the fiddlers. :confused2: I take off the claws right? I have a few small spare small tanks in the basement to use for both. Not sure how to keep the shore shrimp well, but I did find this.

The only thing I dread about having any kind of saltwater aquarium is Aquascaping. No matter how many times I try I just completely stink at it. Case in point the following photos of the new LR I ordered. Some wonderful pieces but so hard to actually make the cave I want that has an open back. I made one of the 3 large pieces, but I wasn't sure if it wasn't enough. 1.lb per gallon was what I was going by. Although the weight of them made them very stable I was still unsure how strong a dwarf might be or a brooding mother. I wiggled them pretty good and they are very big heavy pieces. The 3 pieces weigh 45.lb but I'm not sure on the last piece I put in that came from one of my other tanks. So I just layered them down on top of each other until I can think of how to do a stable cave. I may rearrange my other tanks until I get them all looking the way I wanted. (My husband is going to kill me):troll:

This is a 38 Gallon Innovative Marine tank. I'm preparing early for him to outgrow the one he is in now. The sand is new though. I like to change it out at least once a year to every other year depending on the inhabitants (messy Clownfish and Gobies). I wanted a black tank like this, but they only had it in white and no longer carry the brand. It's a bugger when it's covered in Coraline Algae because I don't think it is aesthetically pleasing to my eye. So when it gets bad I tear the tank completely down and scour it pretty good. It looks like someone went crazy with a Bingo Dauber. :rolleyes: The pump in there is to circulate for a bit, it's much to strong to leave in there, and I'm thinking on modifying a Koralia pump so he can't slip in the front.

Also few photos of his new hiding spot. I'm still pretty crappy at photos, and not sure how to set up my Olympus E-600 to take tank photos. It was the whole reason I bought it years ago. Sometimes my iPhone takes better photos. I may have to sign up for some classes at the Community College.:read:

Waiting on new Media Baskets & the new Innovative Marine Midsize Skimmer. I had a question on the normal filtration media I put in it. I normally use Filter Floss pads, Chemi Pure Elite, SeaChem Purigen, Phosgard & Carbon. I want to make sure I don't put anything in there that could eventually harm him, but yet want to keep as clean of a tank as possible. Do you think RedSea Max Coral Pro Salt is ok?

Just walked to the kitchen and it was out exploring out of the hiding spot he's been in. So I put a piece of raw thawed shrimp I bought earlier on a toothpick, stuck it in the tank, and BAM it grabbed that piece and back in the hole. So happy he's at least trying to eat. :biggrin2: I'm a happy mamma right now!

Forgot to post I'm also having a piece of glass or thick plexiglas cut specifically for the top of this tank so as not to have an escape inmates. :wink:

Still wondering how to protect the vent area on this specific model so I get the filtration I need, yet they can't slip through.

This is the Spec Sheet.

I don't want to steal any photos, and I'm not trying to troll anyone to another site. I don't know the rules on what can be posted or how yet. But this is the best ones I could find on my actual tank, so you can see the sump filtration compartment. (partway down the page) I always run into this dilemma, but anyone with an Octopus goes through the same things I am. So chime in if you have an idea I'm all ears!
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Links to any relevant topic are fine (as you probably noted from my link to Sachs). Direct photos can be awkward and need, as a minimum, a reference (@tonmo correct any missteps here please). Most manufacturers are fine with this as it gives free advertising but we want to avoid any copyright infringements. As far as site rules, as long as a member is not commercially selling something and the links are topic relevant they are encouraged for clarity of discussion.

As for your other questions :biggrin2::

Feeding fiddler crabs to an octopus
Females (two small same sized claws) can be dropped into the tank without modification. With the males (the ones with the "fiddler" oversized claw), I break off one tip of the large claw which stops the crab from pinching. Unfortunately, they can voluntarily shed their claws so be sure to do this over a bowl or the fish tank. The only reason to try to deactivate vs remove the claw is to provide the little extra food so removing the claw works equally as well.

Keeping Live Shore Shrimp
The article you found is for table (bait) sized shrimp. Shore shrimp are 1/2" to 1" long and about as thick as a USB cable :wink:. They survive well in a bare (no rocks or other substrate) 10 gallon marine tank with a cascade filter and with netting placed over the intake. I have found the zippered media bags to work very well for this but any netting will do, you just want to keep them from being sucked up into the filter. Depending on how long you keep them, the water will need a couple of gallons exchanged with fresh saltwater. Because the tank is bare, they are relatively easy to catch with a net.

As active as yours is right now, try putting a couple in live. They can live in the tank but if they disappear in a day, this is a great way to feed and keep the animal active. If they are not eaten, you will need to either damage them so they don't swim well or kill them outright and feed on a stick (IME, they will not be eaten if dead and left in the tank to be found - true of most dead foods). If a toothpick is working (more on this later) this is ideal as the shrimp are very hard to feed with a thicker, more typical feeding stick. I am a bit surprised that the octopus accepted food from a toothpick but I have never tried it. My usual stick is a bamboo skewer or a fiberglass commercial stick. However, it is a great idea for very small foods if your hand does not scare the octo away. Once they are accustomed to your hand it is usually possible to just offer it directly but you do take the chance of a bite. Mercs are not known to bite but digueti appear to have a nasty poison and anyone with allergies could be affected by any octopus poison.

Rock Stability
As long as the rock stacking does not tilt when pushed, it should be fine for a dwarf. This is not, however, the case with the larger octos.

Grow Out Tank
Unfortunately, I believe your little guy is fully grown. Assuming the size of a mercatoris, anything 15 (20 is better) to 30 is all you really want to provide. Changing tanks is disorienting for an adult but I have moved mine on occasion and they do readjust after a week or so but I don't recommend it for a newly acclimated adult. You may have a fertile female that will lay eggs soon so be very sure there are no eggs in her den if you do move her.

Camera Photos
Unlike many of our members I am not confident with a camera and have never been able to manually focus one (maybe partially because of my vision :roll:), HOWEVER, I have found my shots improved 300% with the use of a tripod and I keep my camera on the tripod, adjusted to the tank height in the room with the tanks at all times. The shots are not stellar but the focus is usually good and I can shoot multiples without getting a blurred subject (and can shoot at faster speeds, reducing the animal's movements). Depending upon how much you want to play with it, your camera will have one, two or three user settings that you can save. Once you determine a shutter speed and lighting for your lower light tank shots you can save them and turn your dial to that setting when wanted. My new Nikon's automatic setting does a good job under most conditions but my Canon needed user settings for a similar result.

Keeping Arms out of the Koralia
Of all the water moving powerhead/wave makers, this design seem to be the most successful for minimizing damage but we have seen a few arm amputations. You can completely avoid the problem by placing the entire unit in a zippered media bag (can you tell I love these for numerous uses?). The 8 x 5 size works well for most applications (I also use them for charcoal in my filter sock) and they are very inexpensive on eBay (NOTE, link is for material and style reference, not a vendor recommendation). I strongly recommend the nylon zippered over velcro or tie openings.

Additives, Salt and Skimmers
I am an opponent of adding any kind of "cleaning" chemicals to an aquarium. I use live rock, carbon and a filter sock (floss media will also filter if your design does not accept a sock) and nothing else. I do add a small amount of vitamin once every 2 months (more frequently with non-octo tanks) for the few corals I keep in the octo tanks and use buffer with a new aquarium (mine no longer need it) to keep PH in range. I am not fond of maintenance but the octo tanks get weekly water changes as a minimum. Purigen is not likely to cause a problem since it does not add anything to the water (not sure it does anything but add maintenance though as you do need to keep it clean). I have tried Chemi-Pure on a non-octo tank and can't say that it reduced maintenance. Most of the stuff it is supposed to remove should not be in the tank to begin with and ammonia should be handled by your biological filter (live rock) and follow the ammonia -> nitrite -> nitrate cycle. I have not used Phosguard but have used other phosphate removers with the same, no obvious positive effect.
I have not read recent reviews on salt but the unbiased reviews I have read have all suggested that most of the commercial brands are acceptable. The primary differences I have seen in writing tend to be in consistent mix salinity and dissolvability. I will try a bucket (160 gallon sized so several water changes) of a different brand every couple of years but always end up going go back to Instant Ocean.

My dwarf tank did not include a skimmer but I would not run a tank for a larger animal without one. I no longer have a dwarf tank set up and the tank I would use should I get another does have a skimmer that I would leave in place.

When you say "vent" area are you referring to the grids where the water flows to the filter or the entire back section? If the grid openings are wider than the octopuses eye (actually the beak is the resisting factor but the sizing is roughly the same and you can see the eye) then you will want to place something behind it that the octopus will not like touching. Since you need water to flow well, my best suggestion is a very coarse sponge (the coarsest and roughest you can find plastic is a good material or astro turf) placed behind but not blocking the grid.
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Thanks Tony & CuttleGirl!

I ordered 6 of those bags to start with for the pumps and even to use in the back for the carbon I LOVE to use. I love how crystal clear the water gets, and I'm a huge stickler when it comes to clean glass even on my car. :lol: (Obsession really) I was using the tie bags you can get in the LFS. I couldn't find anything else that was porous enough for water to pass through without losing any tiny pieces.

As far as a filter sock fitting back there, with the design I don't think it would work. I'm not very creative at modifying to be able to use something like a filter sock back there, and I love the filter sock idea. So I just ordered new media baskets. The stock ones are VERY flimsy, not much room for filtration media, and are a pain to put back together once the media is actually changed out. MediaBaskets.com make some really great mods for tanks and some factory parts for specific tanks that most LFS don't sell anymore.
Just come back from buying some coarse sponges of various sizes, another air pump with a fine mist stone, & Bamboo skewers for feeding time. Husband wanted to go for dinner but I wanted to come back and watch my new little friend and hope they come back out of their cave. He just laughed and said he's fine with take out as long as I give him uninterrupted Xbox 360 time on the living room TV. :lol:

Was on the phone with my Seller, and he said the specific shipment for this one was Florida. So do you think maybe O. Mercatoris even with the blue hue? I agree with the O. Digueti because of the blue hue but was unsure if they would be in Florida. (still scratching my head) I haven't been able to find a lot on the specie, but from what I read I thought they were Native to the southern California Mexico waters. :read:

I thawed another small tiny piece (pencil eraser size) and put it on a skewer. But this time he/she stayed in her little cave. So I put it near the entrance to it, and they stuck her arm out and touched it but pulled their arm back inside. I wedged the skewer so I could sit and watch and hope it would eat it, but after 5 min of watching nothing. :frown: I was out most of the day Octopus shopping, so I figured I'd run to the basement to throw a load of laundry in, and came back up with the skewer moved with no shrimp on it. I searched the tank and didn't see the piece of shrimp anywhere, and the 2 small blue leg crabs were still running around on the bottom searching for the shrimp I think because they were like tiny Turbo Crab speed racers. :lol: For the past day all I could see was an eyeball and one arm. Now I look in the hole and he moved and re positioned himself from what I could see it looked to be eating.

I took a video and it looks like it's eating but I'd like some others to chime in. The body color was changing until I pulled my phone out to video and then it stayed pretty much white, but you can see some suckers moving. I know it's hard for them to take food this early, be that active (at first), and eat shrimp off a skewer. I can't be that lucky right? I'm just knocking on wood and praying to the Octopus Goddess that I get a few months and the activity continues.

When I fed from the tooth pick the other night the Octopus was stuck to the back corner of the tank where the return water comes in, and the algae scrapper. I didn't have my hand in just 2 fingers and a thumb holding the toothpick. It was probably 4 inches from the top of the water hiding behind the algae scrapper. I made sure to wash my hands well without soap to get off the shrimp juice. I don't want a mistaken ID on my fingers for food or poison the little guy with soaps. I'm gonna grab a pair of small rubber gloves to handle any food stuffs.
If it is Caribbean (FL) then the top of the choice list will be O. mercatoris. There is another dwarf species in the Caribbean (O. joubini) but they are rare to come across and we have only guessed that a couple of animals (not looking like this) are true joubini. Sedna's was likely a good guess as it laid small eggs that developed into pelagic hatchings. Unfortunately she did not have opportunity to get clear closeups of Pandora. The little eye tabs help to and mantle marbling point to O. mercatoris.

Studying your first photos, I am guessing this one to be female. I don't see any enlargement of the suckers and the one photo with arms stretched out does not show the third arm rolled and protected. I believe she is old enough to have mated so you may have an opportunity to try to raise hatchlings.
I tried to feed her around 8pm again to make sure she is eating. But she grabbed it and spit it out & the 2 live crabs are still alive in there. I sat and watched her for a few hours with only the stove light on in the kitchen. She just peers out her little cave and says "Nope no more pictures of my cuteness" I was hoping to really get some shots of her underside. I didn't see any enlarged suckers either when I examined her when I first picked her up. I was looking for that and the curled up arm.

I just tried again with a smaller piece of shrimp and Bingo she took it. (2Am) She might not have been hungry earlier when I tried but she grabbed it now and pulled it in her cave and started munching on it like in that video. I wish I could see her eating it. It's one of my favorite things to watch them eating, stalking their prey, the body colors changing, their body enveloping the food, and then the feeling of "Thank heavens she's eating." That has got to be the worst part them not eating. They get so stressed out easily and they don't want food. I sit across the kitchen from her and read on my iPad and wait for a glimpse.

I'm going to do a small water change tomorrow. Still no Inking yet, but I want to be safe.The water parameters have been holding up, but its only been a few days. (nervous nelly) I know the Bio load of an Octopus is 3 x's that of a fish of similar size right? Waiting 24hours before I put in fresh mixed Instant Ocean saltwater. Yea I went and bought her her own bucket of salt. I figured if you've been using it this long with no problems I should give it a go.

Should I stay with the jumbo shrimp I get and keep chopping it or should I try some small popcorn size pieces with the shell still on it? I don't want to jinx myself, or change her food up anytime soon. It was just a thought of her taking off the shell. Can't wait to try a fiddler crab or some shore shrimp. That should be very interesting to watch.
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