", Mr Crane said that Sid might have watched the door to his tank being opened often enough to figure out how to do it himself. Inky the octopus made a dash for freedom by apparently breaking out of his tank and slithering down a 50-metre drainpipe. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Independent Premium. Reefs.com is the world's leading destination for sustainable coral reef farming and the aquarium hobby. Are you sure you want to mark this comment as inappropriate? There are many options for enriching the environment in which your animal is housed, but providing an abundance of live prey periodically is one of the simplest and most satisfying for your animal. A research laboratory reported a similar story, with a security camera filming an octopus stealing fish from a neighbouring tank and then covering his tracks. So, if this article has whet your appetite, and you are serious about trying to keep an octopus, I would encourage you to check out the two great resources on the web that I listed above (The Cephalopod and NRCC pages), which are absolutely fantastic sources of information about these fascinating animals! A few years ago, he said, crayfish kept disappearing from the aquarium. In this way, you have a solid lid that prevents the octopus from escaping, but you still have an open top that allows for efficient gas exchange. We offer a free open forum and reef related news and data to better educate aquarists and further our goals of sustainable reef management. The final common strategy, and the one that I tend to recommend to most people for a home aquarium, is to use a well-sealed tank (with the top held firmly in place using bungie cords, heavy weights or even duct tape) that overflows into an open sump which provides a simple way around the problems a sealed tank presents for gas exchange, protein-skimming and filtration. Part 1 of the new journey. However, this also means that regular maintenance is required to prevent these filters from clogging up. (Previously, another octopus named Harry had escaped from the same tank … According to the spokesperson, the octopus was new to the exhibit and was only exploring its surroundings and testing its boundaries. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Limnology and Oceanography 41: 1790-1799, Kuhl M, Cohen Y, Dalsgaard T, Jorgensen BB, Revsbech NP (1995) Microenvironment and photosynthesis of zooxanthellae in scleractinian corals studied with microsensors for O2, pH and light. Oh and finally, the best way to keep your octopus from escaping its tank. Sadly, many people do not realize that oxygen concentration is low in their aquarium until it is too late for the octopus. Technically, the proper pluralization of the “-us” ending for a Greek-root word such as octopus should be the suffix “-odes”, but octopodes is generally considered a bit of a mouthful, and in both the Oxford Dictionary and among the scientific community, the most common pluralization of octopus is simply “octopuses.” Even though this could be considered equally incorrect by purists, it is certainly preferable to the Latin pluralization of a Greek root in the obviously incorrect form “octopi.” So, I’ll get off my little soap-box now, but hopefully I have convinced you not to use “octopi” in the future. Astro-Turf, which tends to discourage most octopuses from climbing across it. Even with a mesh-covered overflow, my octopuses have tended to stick their arms into these intakes on a regular basis, so I am very hesitant to use a powerhead in any octopus tank. Second, these animals are active marine predators and they require quite a bit of high quality food. The aquarium has put out fresh pots to catch a replacement for its wandering would-be Lothario. However, a spokesperson for the Seattle Aquarium explained that the octopus wasn’t escaping. “High quality food” does not mean feeder goldfish! There are even stories of them purposefully escaping their own tank to snack on fish in a tank nearby. In fact, it has been my experience that the various friction-fit filter baskets typically used to diffuse the intake flow (and prevent animals from being sucked into a powerhead intake) are easily removed by an octopus, Laboratory Animal Science. Ten years ago, an octopus escaped from the same tank that housed Sid, and was found halfway up a staircase. Newest first, -1) ? Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Keeping Your Octopus In Its Tank. A video posted to LiveLeak shows a large octopus as it apparently tries to escape from its tank at the Seattle Aquarium. A nother escape route for Inky may have been through a pipe at the top of his tank, although staff later found “octopus tracks” on the floor. For example, some people use open tanks that are very deep, but only fill the tank part of the way such that it is a long way for the animal to climb before it can get over the top of the aquarium. OK, having gotten that out of the way, let’s move on to discussing what are the needs for keeping an octopus happy and healthy in captivity, and why you should not add one to your reef tank. Octopuses are no exception to this issue, and a captive animal housed in a tank without sufficient hiding places and without sufficient stimulation can develop a number of stress behaviors including white color patterns, inking, frequent deimatic displays (these are sometimes called “startle flashing” in which false eye spots or brilliant colors are suddenly displayed in an attempt to startle a potential predator), autophagy (eating the tips of their own arms), hiding all the time (depending on species, however, this may be natural in some particularly timid species), and rapid jetting into the side of the tank, among others (e.g., Wood and Wood 1999). Obviously, this amazing ability to ooze through such tiny holes (despite an apparently large body size) makes it much more important that you provide a carefully designed and tightly fitting cover on your tank. So, the bottom line is whether oxygen can get back into your tank fast enough to prevent it from being used up by the animals in your tank. Please Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. Ten years ago, an octopus escaped from the same tank that housed Sid, and was found halfway up a staircase. Your email address will not be published. Adding Control 2 the mix. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. try again, the name must be unique, Show{{#moreThan3_total}} {{value_total}} {{/moreThan3_total}} comments, You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully, Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful ", Yesterday afternoon, Mr Crane transferred Sid to a plastic bucket and carried him to the water's edge, 300 yards away. 'active' : ''"> now carry feeder shrimp) and are easily fed on nutritious fish food prior to feeding them to your octopus. Octopus, like squid, have courtship rituals, which include changing colour. The Shape of Enrichment 8: 1-5. Listen for the sound of escaping air after you turn on the valves. This was the golden opportunity Inky needed to set his escape plan afoot. Even if you don’t mind having an octopus eat the majority of their tank mates, there are other problems you’ll face with trying to keep an octopus in a reef aquarium. Octopi: They're just too darned smart, and they're sick and tired of this captivity crap. It requires a tank of a capacity of 50 gallons or more. Matthew Crane, Portobello's senior aquarist, came in one morning to find Sid gone. For example, there are a plenty of good reasons that glass tops are not popular for reef tanks, including such issues as light I have seen a number of posts recently asking for information about keeping an octopus, and thought that would make a good subject for an article this month. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post it is not possible for you to make a mesh top for some reason, is to have a solid top (either glass or plexiglass) with an external air intake for your filtration. In any case, regardless of the design you decide to use, I think that using a protein skimmer and power filter with carbon are always a good idea for an octopus. Aquarium Fish Magazine 5, Kraines S, Suzuki Y, Yamada K, Komiyama H (1996) Separating biological and physical changes in dissolved oxygen concentration in a coral reef. It's a species that's often seen in the harbour. And if you happen to keep a pigmy octopus, then there is a good chance that they will escape through any hole, even small ones. Octopi: They're just too darned smart, and they're sick and tired of this captivity crap. However, this value means relatively little to the overall health of your animals (which I will explain in detail below) because you may have far less or far more oxygen in the water depending on the specific conditions in your aquarium. First, elevated concentrations of heavy metals, especially copper, are especially deadly to invertebrates, whether they are corals or octopuses. The second option, if Most liked, -1) ? The amount of oxygen which can dissolve in salt water depends on the exact salinity and temperature of your aquarium — the table below gives you the values of oxygen saturation (mg/l) across a wide range of temperatures and salinities. try again, the name must be unique, Please Sid, an octopus who was held captive in New Zealand, had been successful in escaping from his tank multiple times and even stayed in a drain for five days in an effort to hide before yet another escape attempt. The strength of these animals makes properly shielding the intake of a powerhead that much more difficult, because octopuses like to remove them. Well, a number of studies have shown that seawater in areas around natural coral reefs are generally between 95-110% saturated with oxygen (i.e., 110% saturated means 10% more oxygen in the water than the value given in the table above). 1989). A clever and conniving octopus at the National Aquarium in New Zealand saw its chance for freedom and seized it — slithering out of its tank and disappearing days … real-world solutions, and more. This may work well for public aquaria in which a couple of feet (or more, depending on the size of the animal) of empty aquarium is easily hidden behind a wall and only the lower water- containing portion of the aquarium is open to viewing, but is probably not overly practical for most aquarists at home. toys (such as a ping-pong ball or some cat toys) for your pet to amuse themselves. ", Octopuses live for about two years, and breed towards the end of their life cycle. Depending on the size of the tank, and the size of your octopus, this could be as often as a couple of times a week in some cases. penetration, gas exchange, and heat retention. 'active' : ''"> Again, his door was found ajar. Located a few hours later, he made several more escape attempts, usually when his tank was being cleaned. Together with the squid, cuttlefishes and nautilus, octopuses are members of the Cephalopoda (or foot- heads), and for anyone interested in more detail than will be presented in this article, I very strongly recommend that you check out some of the great information about these groups and their biology on the Cephalopod web page and the National Resource Center for Cephalopods. As I mentioned above, I generally prefer to use a well-sealed aquarium with an open sump in which to keep the skimmer and filtration, but a carefully sealed tank without a sump can work just as well, provided you have a reasonably large tank (say at least 30 gallons for an octopus whose head is about the size of a mandarin orange) and good filtration. Inky the octopus, described as a “curious boy”, seems to have found freedom after escaping from his tank at the National Aquarium of New Zealand. He was nicknamed Harry, after Harry Houdini. even after I had glued them in place. ... crabs I have kept in jars next to the octopus tank! However, there is plenty of variability in the system. DeRusha RH, Forsythe JW, DiMarco FT, Hanlon RT (1989) Alternative diets for maintaining and rearing cephalopods in captivity. Please language is not acceptable, Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties, We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification, -1) ? Although their water quality requirements are close to those of a reef aquarium, and they need a lot of hiding places and good water flow, a reef tank is not really the best way to provide these for an octopus. try again, the name must be unique, Please the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. In fact, octopuses can control the amount of ink that they expel, and if the amount of ink expelled is small and the tank is large, use of carbon and skimming can Daytime oxygen concentration rise above saturation because photosynthesis produces oxygen at a higher rate than it can leave the water by diffusion. My recommendation here is obviously not the only way that an octopus can be kept in captivity, but I am offering you my opinion for the way in which you are most likely to have success in keeping an octopus happy and healthy throughout it’s lifespan. The use of activated carbon and an efficient skimmer can help to remove the ink from an aquarium, and give you more time to discover the problem and do a water change. even ammonia and nitrite concentrations as high as 0.2 ppm! For example, I have seen some people have with great success with an undergravel filter and sealed glass top on an octopus tank, as well, but most octopuses tend to discover the undergravel plate makes a great cave, and promptly pull the filter apart to crawl beneath it. But first, I need to finish this section and include a little about the unusual filtration needs of n octopus. Obviously, if the filter is removing a lot of shed skin from the tank on a I have kept and bred octopuses as pets for many years, and I am still constantly amazed by their intelligence and personality. For example, Hanlon, Forsythe and colleagues have done numerous experiments with culturing octopuses in captivity and shown that these animals are pretty tolerant of a variety of water conditions that would generally be considered unacceptable for a coral reef tank (e.g., Hanlon and Forsythe 1985; DeRusha et al. For example, in the article I mentioned above, James Wood also found that animals that were initially very shy about feeding became much more interactive in response to such games. The eventual loss of most of the animals that typically perform as the clean-up crew in your tank, especially when coupled with the additional nutrient input from a relatively large and highly active animal such as an octopus (even a pygmy octopus produces an enormous amount of nitrogenous waste in comparison to a similarly- sized coral), makes it very likely that you’ll experience a pretty significant increase in algal growth in your reef tank. And second, reef habitats typically have highly oxygenated water, and octopuses are extremely sensitive to low concentrations of dissolved oxygen. This leads to the odd situation in which the areas of lowest oxygen concentration on the reef are actually those with the most gas exchange, because in highly turbulent areas with extensive gas exchange, oxygen diffuses out of the water more rapidly and is closer to the saturation level of about 6.25mg/l. Obviously, an open-topped reef aquarium is probably not going to do the trick when it comes to providing a safe home for keeping an octopus in captivity. Most liked. Inky the Octopus escaped the National Aquarium of … In the 2005 thread, “Octopus escapes from tank to prowl on its neighbors” poster Iustinus said he’d heard a story about an aquarium where fish kept disappearing from one particular tank. However, you must be aware that their “entire natural lifespan” is still quite short. Mr Crane wishes him every success. The respiration of the animals in the aquarium would likely be on the order of ~ 2-3g of oxygen per hour. As I mentioned previously, even a relatively large animal can squeeze itself through an opening the size of an average adults pinky finger, so you need to make sure that the mesh is small enough to prevent your octopus from getting into the overflow. California two-spot Octopus Also known as the bimac, its scientific name is Octopus bimaculoides. Marine Ecology-Progress Series 177: 299-304, Ng WJ, Kho K, Ho LM, Ong SL, Sim TS, Tay SH, Goh CC, Cheong L (1992) Water- quality within a recirculating system for tropical, Toonen R (1998) Reefkeeper’s Guide to Invertebrate Zoology, Part 13: Introduction to the Molluscs, Toonen R (2000) Invert Insights: Dissolved oxygen in the, Toonen R (2001) Invert Insights: Why feeder goldfish make lousy food for marine predators. Create constructive debates surprising is … the octopus tank, natural coral reef and! Of heavy metals, especially copper, are a striking feature of this crap... 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