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Zebra Octopus For Sale In The Bay Area (a good thing?)

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Neogonodactylus;82204 said:
That pretty much is in line with what I see in the Bay Area, although the price lists out of Bali vary quite a bit with availability. I had been told by friends in Indonesia that collectors were getting up to $20. If you are seeing price lists at $18.50, it is probably a quarter that - but still a day's wages.

Just about all the LFS's from concord to sac pay a flat $75 for "Zebra Octopus". The LFS I used to work @ had one for 2 months, it began eating in the 3rd week and continued. I know the wrap on these guys but it was pretty active and gained whieght in our care, did better than a bimac that came in with it. To my knowledge it lived for about 8 months, in the owners 125.
Just to add about pricing - the price list is only the price of the animal, not the shipping. A single box costs the importer roughly 100 bucks, and a good packer will only put 2 or 3 octos in a box because they get packed in big bags with lots of water, the importer can end up having to add 50 bucks to the cost of the animal. Shipping is the killer when importing marine ornamentals.

That said, I think there will always be stores that will buy any octo regardless of being able to keep it or sell it.

Since I am kinda connected to the wholesale scene in my area, I was thinking of starting online sales for the cephs that come into the area instead of letting them vanish into LFS. Don't know though, do you guys think it makes any sense to try to get the animals that are coming in anyway to people who can care for them instead of LFS?
Would you be able to advertise these octopuses and see whether anyone needed one at the momenent? Or would you look for a particular species to come in, a kind of advance order? It's a fine idea, as long as you don't have to buy the octopuses as they come in and then try to find a buyer on TONMO.com. I notice that we may have many people looking for octos at one time, then in a few weeks the demand is satisfied and you might not be able to sell one that week.

It would certainly be a lot better for the octopuses!

What do the rest of you think?

Thales;87838 said:
Don't know though, do you guys think it makes any sense to try to get the animals that are coming in anyway to people who can care for them instead of LFS?

But how many people are there out there who can care for them? I like the idea, but I'm worried most of them would sit unsold.
Neogonodactylus;82190 said:

You probably just told several LFS managers that there is real profit to be made trafficing in Mimics and Wunderpus. I don't know what this store paid for a "zebra" that went for $400, but from what I have seen of wholesale prices in the past, the selling price was probably 4-5 times what they paid for it and probably 20 times what the Indonesian collector received. To put this into perspective, $300 dollars profit is a drop in the aquarium for a large shop like Atlantis, but $20 to an Indonesian marine collector could be a weeks wages. With the pipeline open in the U.S. and Europe, you can be sure that the collector will be actively searching for more.


This world makes me sick...
Would you take delivery and care for the Octos until they are sold? Ohhh, I am bad :pohlsepia! THAT would be a Big plus but I wonder how feasible. You could request buyers to join TONMO (you CAN lead a horse to water ...) which would give the critters a better chance at survival.

Keeping a running inventory here would be exceptional even if we had to gag and tie Tony.
I don't know how viable the idea is at all. People are often interested in cephs, they will even send many excited emails, but all to often, they back out (or don't even bother to reply anymore). Its quite frustrating. :smile:
DHyslop;87844 said:
But how many people are there out there who can care for them? I like the idea, but I'm worried most of them would sit unsold.

I am beginning to think you are right. Perhaps, I will try to intercept animals that show up on the wholesale local scene and post about them here.
Thales;88209 said:
I am beginning to think you are right. Perhaps, I will try to intercept animals that show up on the wholesale local scene and post about them here.

I think that sounds like a better idea - speaking from the experience of finding homes for 200+ babies :bonk: I think Baby A has pretty much saturated the market, at least on Tonmo...
And you are giving them away. :smile:
When I was getting wc eggs I had pain of a time trying to sell them off, even just at my cost. The market just doesn't seem to be there. (BTW, I am so glad you are having luck that I haven't been able to achieve with baby a's eggs - I might break down my whole system and start from scratch when my current cuttle batch goes to big lagoon in the sky)
Sadly, I think that means that there really is no way to control the market, and exporters will keep exporting whatever they think will make them money. Why should the wholesalers let me intercept the cephs when they know they can make more money by selling them to LFS?
I got a wunderpus last week from a wholesaler, so I have been thinking about this thread a whole lot recently. I happened to be there doing some plumbing work when they came in, so I was able to get one of the two. Do I post my pics and experience, or do I hide it all in the hope that it won't generate more interest in these animals?

I think any MO store knows that there is profit to be made in any 'rare' animal - the markup of regular fish is unbelievable as is the small amount of money that the collector gets for collecting that fish.

IMO, any 'zebra' octo is going to be sold regardless of anything posted anywhere because not only are cephs pretty cool, but a striped one is cool to just about anyone. The barn is already open.

So, does posting or not posting about them really have any effect? I am sure it does, but not sure how much. It could be argued that TOMNO itself promotes the sale of wild caught cephs, or that the posting of any ceph pics on any forum or in any magazine does the same. Perhaps the posting of experience with these animals with 'educational' caviats would actually be the best solution.

Over the years I have seen 'boycotts' of hard to keep animals in MO fail miserably mostly because anyone who cares enough to boycott an animal is probably one of the most qualified people to keep that animal. The people who care most watch as people who don't know what they are doing kill the animals, or worse, watch healthy animals waste away in the LFS only to be replaced by another soon after. It also seems to me that if one shops at an LFS that carries an animal that one feels should be boycotted, one is actually supporting the collection of that animal. For the boycott to even begin to feel like it has any kind of effect, IMO the entire store (and in reality, perhaps the entire hobby) should be boycotted until they change their practices. Some LFS do listen, however that only keeps their nose clean, and the hard to keep animals go to another store that cares less or knows less. Boycotting purchasing an animal does keep your own nose clean and that does seem to count for something, but at the same time it denies the community of your experience that could lead to captive breeding of the animal.

Thanks for reading my ramble. What do you guys think?
It's a dilemma, and I don't know the answer. For starters, though, if you decide to post pics and experiences, why not keep them limited to the supporters forum?
My observations show that if an exotic animal like a zebra octopus or ANY octopus shows up at a store, it WILL be sold. In most cases, the purchase was one of impulse without much knowledge of the care requirements. A local store here always has cephs during the right season, including exotic ones and I see people buy them and judging from their conversations and the questions they ask the employees, they probably are thrown into random tanks not made for cephs.

Unfortunately, I do not believe that the dismally small percentage of people that will boycott them will make even the slightest difference compared to the masses that goto fish stores and buy things impulsively. (My first octopus I admit was just that..an Impulse buy many yrs ago) I believe the only thing that can stop the import of these animals is something on a much higher level such as the creation of some law are legislation that prevents it. These stores/wholeseller are of course businesses and motivated by profit. For every 1 person that would refuse to buy a ceph, theres probably another 100 that would.
I have to agree with you, Paradox, until there are laws in place to deal with this kind of crap, we'll continue to deal with it. Lucky (in this case), that Thales got the specimens and is trying to take care of them - more lucky that it was through a wholesaler - which means more yuppies won't see one (while casually wandering through an aquarist store of the lowest-level) and tell his mate, "Sure, Muffy, oh, the stripes match that pair of stockings you just bought, of COURSE I'll by them for you, sweetie."

For the record, however, we don't even know how common these species are out there. The home aquarist industry could conceivably do what close-to-shore mining, construction, sewage-disposal, and other industries might do to diminish these evolutionary shooting stars even when it's been just twenty-odd years since "discovering" them. Normally I'd be against Thales' "rescue" of this animal, just based upon a terror that this will spread, but if any of my colleagues here can do some good in this situation for the invertebrate individual, it's probably Richard. I would advise any amateurs, however, to remember that Richard has zero guarantee of success. The scientists across the Bay in Berkeley haven't had much luck with these guys, and therefore you probably won't either. Best to not purchase them, to fight their importation, and to try to shut this down entirely. Let these amazing fellow-citizens of our planet live where they were bred. Simple as that. Save up your cash, fly there, and go scuba diving with them. Carry that joyous memory with you later. Don't bring them here. They don't belong here. They're so-far impossible to keep alive in captivity. Plus, there's zero-guarantee of how widespread they are in the first place. How would somebody like to feel - "Hey I got this real cool octopus that died within two months of me buying it" - if they contributed to the extinction of a truly amazing species? Jeez, buy a bimac. They're just as cool. They're still an octopus.
Thales and Paradox,

You have both voiced what I have been thinking as this topic continues to be discussed.

I have to both agree and disagree with Sorseress' immediate solution. I agree that having to become a paying member to read material that might be used inappropriately has merit BUT I recently have become frustrated trying to locate information because so much of what is presented with the search engines is locked into subscriptions. If someone is TRYING to do research on a topic, how many subscriptions do you have to try just to obtain a page worth of relevant material? I feel that locking information away takes us back to the dark ages where only the clergy had the right to read (so, OK, building a nuclear bomb should not be in the public library). The internet started as scientific library for idea and research exchange but the new directions are disconcerting.

I know Roy felt that publishing the price of one of the rare octos encouraged more capture but one could make the opposite point that the only people reading these notes are people interested in the success of the animals. Case and point is my new LSF (that won't be in business long - nickel bet). They DON'T look for how to care for even the common corals that are dying in their tanks. They are the kind that would likely buy an octopus (the actual case is a nautilus) and not find out something as simple as the water temperature requirements. I just can't agree that keeping care and observations away from information seekers does more good than harm. Perhaps I am naive.
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