[Octopus]: Zeke


Dec 22, 2008
Woodstock, GA
Well, my package from saltwaterfish.com came about an hour and a half ago. Snapchat-1467804996673114260.jpg
And zeke is acclimating as I'm typing this. I am a bit concerned, I woke up to my tank being pretty cloudy this morning. I did a water change last night in preparation for the new octo, hoping it settles. I think it was a rough trip for Zeke, the coloration is pretty dulled out. Have seen him go from a very pale brown to a deeper brown/red color. Guessing O. mercatoris but his arms are longer than my last merc. We'll see how Zeke adjusts and I'll update later.
First update is a pretty good one. Although I don't have any pictures, Zeke has been a few times today/tonight. He ate shredded frozen krill from a turkey baster and then tried to steal the baster from me. I'm having second thoughts on the ID. A few minutes ago (around 11pm EST) he was out and about with the lights in the room off and TV on. I indirectly shined a flashlight in his direction and he had a lot green and blue coloration speckled in. Again, no pics yet. Hopefully I'll be able to get some tomorrow.
I can't tell much from the image but the general shape along with your noted fluroescence (assuming green/blue speckles - particularly blue around the eyes) could easily be O. briareus. They don't show the same red-brown color as a merc but DO show a peach and a deeper brown at times (generally not over the entire body) though white is the most common coloration. A bright blue (turning more green as they get older) ring around the eyes would likely guarantee it as some of the Indonesian species will show the fluroescent green speckling and have similarly long arms but the brown color is more red/merc like.

I am leaning toward O. briareus. For comparison, here is a link to Puddles journal and another to Tatanka as a young briareus. As you will note they have looks that are often similar but with a little observation, they can be relatively easy to distinguish. As adults, O. briareus will be much larger, more robust and almost always white.
I was thinking briarues too, but didn't want to get my own hopes up. Last October I got an adult female briarues and she was my favorite octopus I've kept for the short time I had her. She ended up laying fertile eggs. Unfortunately, I didn't have luck feeding the hatchlings. I'd be elated if I received a young briarues.
If Saltwater.com had listed them as Caribbean, I would have more confidence in the thought but this would be a good time for a juvenile briareus. More pictures (yeah, right - they don't get very visible until about 5 months and if this is briareus, my guess would be Zeke is 2-3 months old) will be helpful.
Well, after a few nights I'm pretty confident that Zeke is a briarues and very excited about this! I haven't gotten any decent pictures, and honestly I thought I had lost him(?) today, but he was just out hunting this evening. I can't wait until Zeke starts becoming social as my last briarues was very social. Zeke still hasn't eaten a full meal (not positive he ate the shredded krill or just grabbed it). There are a few hermits in there and I added some ghost shrimp tonight.
I have only had one octopus that ate hermits or snails (LittleBit - vulgaris - at ANY and EVERY thing). Shore shrimp, table shrimp (starting with pieces about eye size) and fiddler or other small live crabs for when they are small then blue crab claws (again starting small - I get these from my local H-Mart when they have live crabs and scrounge the bin for unattached claws then take them home and freeze them) and occasional clams (on the half shell for dinner, live for when they choose) have been my mainstays.

Assuming the "ghost" shrimp are saltwater (what I know as shore shrimp, ghost shrimp being freshwater - these can be fed but won't survive long in saltwater), they may be too fast to become dinner. If you don't see them disappearing, you may want to offer a freshly killed one on a stick (tricky to impale) once you locate its den.
Not much of an update as I haven't seen much of Zeke. He was out a little bit last night but hides as soon as an light comes on. He's been eating ghost shrimp pretty well I think. Haven't gotten anymore pictures. Hopefully he'll start coming out more. Pretty sure it's a briarues still.
It will be a few months yet I fear. I am not sure if it is size (going from prey to predator) or sexual maturity or a combination but 5 months (fitting with sexual maturity in males) seems to be about the time you should start seeing Zeke. DO keep letting him see you and I suggest trying to feed him with a feeding stick to encourage trust.
Until he reaches the point where you know where he will be (or he always comes out to greet you), THAT fear is always there, now matter how many times you keep them. He is still at a vulnerable age but every week increases his chances of growing to old age.

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