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Wonderpus journal - Scott


Jul 15, 2019
Lakeland, Florida
Hello everyone. I recently posted in the introduction section. I’d like to start off by saying I plan to keep a journal of my experiences with the wonderpus species. I’ll try to give as much information as possible each day I make a post. Please ask questions, or give advice, whenever you can, I check here daily.

Next I’d like to point some things out. I had originally cancelled this order due to the fact that the first email I received from blue zoo aquatics states that “your order has been placed in quarantine, or is not able to ship at this time.” A day later I received a call that said the curator has given him to green light to ship my wonderpus. I just received him today. When I got to my apartment it was in a small box, inside was a styrofoam box, inside of that was coolant pads, and paper wrapped around the bag wth the octo inside. There was also a drip line with an acclimation guide and a blue “stress reliever” liquid stating 4 drops per animal during acclimation period (which I didn’t see until after I was done acclimating).

The first thing I did was float the bag in my tank for 25 minutes for temp acclimation. He did not ink during shipment and actually looks very healthy, alive and well. I then opened the bag and poured out half of the water (there was a ton of water in the octo bag) and placed the bag in an empty 5 gallon bucket and started drip acclimating at one drop per second. I did this for 1 and a half hours.

This is when I saw the octo up close for the first time, he was breathing a bit heavy, and was a solid black and white stripes. I’m pretty sure he was stressed. During the acclimation time he changed in color variation, going from a lighter brown back to black, and vice versa. Multiple times over the acclimation period.

I was on a time limit during my acclimation. I received an extended lunch period from work for a 2 hour lunch, this was the only way I could get home to acclimate him without him sitting an extra 4 hours in the box.

Once acclimation was complete (1 and a half hours) I then poured the bag over my fish net with the octopus being caught in it, I then transferred him to my tank (on the right side). He displayed very dark black and white striped colors as I’m sure he is stressed from moving around. I live in Florida, he was shipped from California. He immediately suctioned onto the glass in an area of moderate flow, basically the first part of the tank he touched.

I was told in my introduction post to definitely remove the 5 damsels I have in the tank. They are all juveniles, the size of a quarter, 3 dominos, 2 with 4 black stripes. Unfortunately I was not able to do so, with 4 hours of attempt after attempt the night before. I even tried using a hook and line to fish them out, did not work, they are just too small to bite the smallest hook you can buy.

Immediately once the octo was introduced, the damsels were alarmed, not going near the octo, but looking from a distance before darting back to their rocks on the other side of the tank. It is 10:32 pm here, the octo has been in the tank since noon, it has been roughly 10 and a half hours since first introduction and the damsels have not swam in the right side of the tank where the octo is, not once. At this point, I’m assuming they are afraid, they immediately turn around once they near the middle of the tank.

Back to the wonderpus. After putting him in the tank I actually had to go back to work, I was not around to see what was happening. I got home 3 hours later.
10 and a half hours later, he is still in the same spot he suctioned to at first introduction to the tank. He’s not hiding in any rocks or anywhere, just on the glass. I’ve kept all aquarium lights off all day. I’d also like to note that he has not displayed any dark colorations since first being introduced. I’ve attached pictures to this post. He currently has extremely light brown stripes, along with the white stripes. Which I am hoping means he is not stressed out. I’ve seen him slightly move and suction/re-suction his legs, there is moderate flow where he is currently at. The pics you see of him in the bags, were directly out of the box within minutes, the pictures of him on the glass, were 3 hours later when I got back home.

I’ve been told to try and feed him possibly tomorrow, I will buy a small crab and put him in the tank, hoping he will eat. The curator was able to feed him before he was shipped.

I work tomorrow so I will post more on this thread when I get off work. His mantle is roughly 2 inches. He is definitely bigger then the damsels that are in there.


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Thanks for posting this in such great detail. I think you will want to keep trying to remove those damsels. I have read NOTHING but bad things. Certainly they would have been startled at first, but once they get used to your octo and understand how to attack, they will likely do so. I don't want you to have that kind of an unhappy ending here!

As for being stuck to glass, you'll probably feel better once s/he has gotten comfortable with the substrate. Sorry if you mentioned it in your intro post, but can you re-share your tank specs? Thanks again for sharing this valuable insight!
Day # 2

At 5 am this morning when I woke up for work I looked in the tank and saw him on the live rock next to the glass he was attached to the first day. Looks like he was either exploring or getting more comfy while the damsels slept overnight. I don’t know for sure how much he explored. I spent the next 8 hours at work.

I got home and immediately went to the tank to see him on the glass again, but this time he wasn’t curled up in a ball, he was spread eagle, legs across the glass. Not a light brown coloration anymore, he was dark brown and white stripes. I assume he was flashing his colors to the damsels. I don’t know for sure, it might be his typical coloration. He was Just hanging out. 10 minutes later, I came to check on him and he was gone. Looks like he is now in the cave I made for him on the right side of the tank.

I then went to my lfs and bought 3 peppermint shrimp and put them in The tank. This was 10 minutes ago so not Much has happened. The octo is still in the cave. I imagine he will be in there until later tonight. But hopefully he eats.

As for the damsels, they still do not dare venture to the right side of the tank. There has been no contact with the octo and the damsels. I’m buying 2 xtra large nets tomorrow and going to try to scoop them out while they feed. Instead of the small net I have. The octo has not explored the left side of the tank (where the damsels are) unless he did so in the middle of the night while I slept. I have tomorrow off work so I will be observing them all day.

Note to self, I have turned the sump light on today. But not the display tank light yet. Tomorrow will be day 3 with the octo, I imagine I will turn on the moonlights unless advised not to. I did not get a pic of the octo today as he has disappeared into the cave.

@tonmo i attached tank pics , but have plans to add more live rocks, probably next week. The build of rocks on the right is the cave with the octo.


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Day # 3

It’s been an eventful day in the tank lol. I woke up around 6AM to find the Wunderpus in his usual spot on the glass. Curled up in a ball. I came back to check on him as the sun started rising to find that he was gone once again. He went to sleep for the next 11 hours.

Around 5:45PM he emerged (not sure from where I have yet to find his den). But this time, he was out and about, scouring each corner of the tank and climbing over rocks. He explored the entire tank except the damsel den. During his adventures around the tank the damsels didn’t mess with him at all, avoiding him as he went. At one point he was checking out the return pipe, I’m sure he won’t try going into it again. He didn’t get blown off the glass or anything but he definitely got a push. It’s currently 7 PM and he is at his usual spot with tentacles stretched out.

I went to the store today and bought 50$ worth of clean up crew which I’m hoping he snacks on if he gets hungry. Mostly snails and 3 hermit crabs. The lfs didn’t have any emerald crabs in stock. As for the 3 shrimp I put into the tank last night, I found one dead this morning, but fully intact, not eaten. I have not seen the other two. Dead or alive. Tomorrow I will drive to a lfs a bit away and see if he likes emerald crabs.

Of the 3 hermit crabs, I kept one in a bag until the octo came out, so I could try to hand feed. I ended up getting nervous and used tongs but my hand was still submerged in water. The octo did not run away, but instead came to me. He was not interested in the hermit crab. Even after feeling it with his tentacles he tried to touch my hand. I didn’t let him. I feel so bad, I really like the he wants to feel me. But I’m very nervous. I tried looking up a toxicology report of the wunderpus species unable to find any information at all. I even read on some forum that there has not been one conducted? But that was a post in 2007 I believe. Until I know for sure he is not toxic I won’t take any chances.

As for the damsel removal, I bought two 10 inch nets today, their time is coming boys. I planned on feeding and trying to snag them, unfortunately the octo came out of hiding during the time I was going to do it. I enjoy when the octopus is out and about so I didn’t want to scare him. I took a lot of pictures today.

There were times today that I had my finger on the outside of the glass, it almost seemed as though the octopus was following my finger as I dragged it. My finger was the opposite side of the glass where the octo was. He could definitely see me, I’m pretty sure he was looking right at me, as he changed to darker colorations when I first attempted to place my finger on the glass.

I’m conclusion I can’t say for sure if he has even eaten at all since being in the tank. I can only guess. My first attempt at hand feeding was not successful. As he did not seem interested in the food. But my hand lol. I attached some pictures below.


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Such a cool octo. Looks young and healthy. It's still VERY early and I expect s/he's still getting used to everything... As you note, not much is known about keeping this species, which is why we have these threads in the Exotics forum. Your journal and observations (and pics!) are super-helpful!
Day # 4

Today was a pain in the butt.
I woke up normal time at 5AM and did not see him out this morning. I spent the next 8 hours at work.

As soon as I got home he was out and about lol. I had stopped at the lfs and bought more shrimp and after feeding with the tongs it was a success! I was actually so excited that he ate one that I fed him another 😆 I also bought frozen clam strips that I will try tomorrow. He has been exploring all day today since I got home. And that’s when I saw something that ruined my night.

All 5 of the damsels went after him, luckily I scared them off in time but 2 of them nipped the end of his tentacles. That’s when I decided they have to go tonight. I will say, currently, I have gotten all the damsels out of the tank. But boy oh boy....I will never buy another damsel. I had to take out all the live rock, in order to trap them with the net I was using. While avoiding the octo. But after a couple hours I was able to get them all out. The tank is a little bit cloudy and I had to re-scape the rocks. I’d say it looks a bit better then before.

I’m hoping this did not stress the octo out too much. I’m just glad he ate today. I had bought 8 shrimp in total today. Peppermint shrimp. He ate 2 and the damsels killed the rest. I was hoping it would encourage the octo to hunt if he did get hungry. I was told two opinions concerning live food actually. One, just put them all in the tank and let him eat when he’s hungry. Or two, use the acclimation container I have that sits inside the tank.

I’m hoping to get him on a specific diet, 4 frozen meals a week and 3 live meals a week. I will tweak this at some point. Tomorrow will be first attempt at a frozen meal after being thawed.

Oh yeah and something to note. I have no powerheads in my tank, only the return line for water flow. It seems like to much flow for him. He likes climbing on the glass, but sometimes too much flow will knock a tentacle loose. Seems he has trouble in certain areas of the tank when climbing, not sure if anyone else has experienced this.

Anyways. I’ve attached some pictures below, when the damsels nipped at him it wasn’t very hard. I think he had gotten too close to their den. Well, we won’t be having that problem anymore. I will be doing a water test tomorrow to check parameters after moving all the rocks around. Salinity is a tad high, been topping off with RO water.

Oh yeah one last thing. According to this graph, that small arm in the picture indicates that it is male. Labeled “HC” in the picture. Good to know.


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Yes, the hectocotylus is basically an octopenis :mrgreen: ...good to have that ID!

And that sound you hear is a collective sigh of relief from the TONMO community that the damsels are out. Went as predicted and foretold! Glad you were able to get to it before it was too late. Will be sure to point other members to this thread when they propose cohabiting these guys.... it just doesn't work.

Looking forward to the next report; hope your guy maintains his confidence!
Day # 5

After the whole tank situation yesterday I hadn’t seen the octo in quite a while I had started to get worried. I last saw him at 11pm last night, when I woke up at 5AM he was not out exploring anywhere, I couldn’t find him. I got home from work around 3:30 pm, he was not anywhere to be seen then either.

I had stopped at the lfs (again) and bought 3 peppermint shrimp and 3 emerald crabs after work. I acclimated and dumped the shrimp in and 10 minutes later he finally came out! I’m not sure if he knew it was dinner time or not. After not seeing him after 11 last night (I went to bed), he emerged at 9pm tonight. If he wasn’t out exploring after I went to bed last night that would mean he slept 22 hours. But most likely less due to the fact he is nocturnal and probably did come out after I left to bed.

Of the 3 shrimp I put in here, he hunted down one (medium size) and continued to climb the glass after digestion . He also ran back to his den during feeding (after he caught shrimp). There are still 2 shrimp in the tank. As far as the crabs go I’m leaving them in the bucket, it’ll be okay if they pass, I don’t want them to pinch the octo. Oh yeah I forgot to mention, he formed some kind of umbrella shape after first catching the shrimp, must be a hunting technique.

It seems he is back on normal schedule since the fish have been removed. I didn’t get too many pictures today


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Day # 6

Sorry about the short reply last night! I actually ended up falling asleep twice typing that lol.

So far today I have not seen the octo. I’m going to wait until around 9PM to see if he comes out. That’s when he emerged last night. It seems as though the way he was acting, activity wise, was not usual of him when there were fish in the tank. He was always out. It could be two possible scenarios, either it was because he was new to the tank and exploring, or the fish had something to do with it. Either way I’m glad he is comfortable.

I noticed today that there are still 2 shrimp alive out of the 3 I had put in last night. It looks like the octo ate one, and became full lol. He did eat the biggest of the 3 though. I bought 3 more today so I think we may be onto a meal plan here. He may eat one a day because it fills him up but it looks like I can just add them to the tank for him to hunt when he wants to. As for the crabs I bought they died in the baggy (from last night), I may possibly freeze them for later (can you do that?).

I finally spotted where his den is at. I witnessed him waking up when he emerged last night. I’ll attach a picture but it looks like he is digging holes under the rocks. That’s not the exact spot he came out of in the pic,but that is the rock he is under currently. He typically emerges from the opposite side of that hole. Wasn’t there before. Also, sorry for the dried water stains on the outside of the glass, I work in the tank basically daily lol.

I just did a weekly water parameter check. Ammonia nitrite nitrate all 0. We’re in good shape 😁 I am still using my moon lights in my tank, I haven’t put on the full tank lights since I got him. With this kind of octo is it okay to put my tanks full lighting on?


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I actually ended up falling asleep twice typing that lol.
😆 😴
I noticed today that there are still 2 shrimp alive out of the 3 I had put in last night. It looks like the octo ate one, and became full lol.
As for the crabs I bought they died in the baggy (from last night), I may possibly freeze them for later (can you do that?).
I'm not an expert / never kept an octo (always have to say that), but I think you may be providing a lot more food than is necessary. Can anyone weigh in on this? @DWhatley / @sedna / @Nancy?
Day # 7

@tonmo yes please get back to me on that. I’m almost making daily trips to the lfs! Buying 3+ shrimp and releasing into tank, there are currently 2 live shrimp in the tank. The octo was out and about all day but rejected frozen clam and crab. I heard when first getting an octo getting it to feed was crucial the first few days so I supplied a lot of it. Let me know what you guys think I should do. Wait until all live shrimp in the tank are gone, then feed 2 days after? So I’d skip a day of feeding (feed 6 days a week). Also buying all these peppermint shrimp is expensive. Any other choice of live food? Freshwater shrimp?

He’s been active all day today, he went into his den an hour ago, 9PM. Also if anyone has any info on whether or not this species is toxic to where I could be in trouble, or not, let me know. I’d like to start playing with him.
Day # 8

I’ve just figured out how to tell when he is hungry. He disappeared for a day or so when I had fed him those two shrimp, a few days ago. I noticed he was out exploring all day yesterday, I did not feed him. I came home today and same thing, he’s out exploring. I’ve just fed him one shrimp, and he has gone back to his den. It seems as though he comes out to search for food. Not 100% sure on this, just seems that way.

Anyways I have some good news as far as feeding goes. I have an acrylic acclimation box that suction cups and sits inside of the tank. With holes for water flow. I bought a magnet today and I will be setting it up. I’ll send pictures tomorrow. But basically it has a sliding acrylic door, so I can close and open, it’ll be about half an inch above the water line, as well as a piece of live rock in there. I’ve searched up saltwater ghost shrimp and found a site that sells for 0.20$ a shrimp, dirt cheap !! I can get 5 for a buck lol. I’m going to start ordering in bulk and store them inside the tank, but inside the acclimation box so there not running around everywhere. That way I can control feeding time for the octo.

I may do more research as far as toxicology goes, I’d really like to play with him. Anyways, I’ll see y’all tomorrow with pictures of the box in the tank.
Day # 9

I have good news !!! I got the acclimation box all set up and ready to go. I’ll attach pictures below, this will work with a wonderpus octo because the arms of the wonderpus are not strong compared to other species of short armed octopus. I imagine a common octo will easily pull the box off the glass. Another interesting fact is that, the wonderpus does not lift any of his arms, or body out of the water, I’ve read in other wonderpus journals that their octo has never tried to escape, and it is the same with mine, he has never tried escaping. It must have something to do with them disliking the feeling of air above the water line. I’m not 100% sure but I have watched him crawl up to the top of the glass multiple times, only to stop as soon as he hit the water line, and crawl back down. I’ve also witnessed him moving over the small slits in the overflow, he has been curious sometimes by sticking tentacles in the holes but has never tried going in them.

Anyways. Today I have my aquarium lights on, full lights not just moon lights. The octo has not been seen today but he normally does this after he eats, I won’t see him for a good day or so, then he’ll come out again, I stated this in a previous post, but when he re emerges he will be hungry. Most likely coming out to look for food.

I’m going to go ahead and order bulk saltwater ghost shrimp online, I imagine I can keep around 30 or so in that box, I’m expecting a few to die off, so that’s why I’m ordering 30. Even at an order of 30 shrimp it’s only 6 dollars lol.

I’m heading out of town only for the day so I will catch you guys tomorrow! Let me know if I should move the box, or just keep it there. The top of the box actually lifts up, the 3 sliding doors are not the only entrance.


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Day # 11

Hey guys! Sorry I missed yesterday I was extremely busy.
Good news though I managed to get around 25 saltwater ghost shrimp for a couple dollars but had to drive to tampa.

The octo has been out and about a few times today, I witnessed him digging more holes under the rocks. He must have a network of tunnels by now lol. Literally, there are holes coming out from underneath multiple rocks lol. So for any future caregiver I would suggest making sure your rocks are sturdy. As this octo will dig holes under them.

I fed him today and he went under a rock for a few hours. Now he is back out wandering around. I still have yet to make any skin to skin contact, no information as to whether or not he is toxic.

As of right now I’m having some problems cleaning wise. I need to clean the sponge filter in the sump, I’ll do it tomorrow. The water level in the return section is becoming lower every day which tells me the sponge is full of gunk. I also need to clean the protein skimmer. Here’s the problem. I’ve tugged, I’ve pulled, I’ve tried to turn, I cannot get the collection cup off. It is removable, but I do not know how. It’s the Aquatop xyclone protein skimmer.

Other then that things are going good. I’ll post some pics below.


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