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Matt WheatonMatt Wheaton How cool would it be to have a pet that acted like a puppy, had eight legs, swam around all day, stayed in a tank, and had hundreds of suction cups. Well an octopus is just thatIt’s a very unique pet to have and the things you can do are beyond what most may think.I keep saltwater fish and am currently setting up my own octo tank. I talked to a few saltwater shop owner and fellow saltwater keepers who have had them.The keeping of an odd and mysteriouse creature can be rewarding if kept right.The three keys to keeping the octopus is first have the right setup. Second know what it eats and where to get it, and how to keep it healthy . Third is know what you’re getting and where from.Before getting your octopus you first need the tank you wish to keep him in, in other words his setupFirst thing you’ll need in a tank; the hard part is what size tank to go with. Tanks range from 2 gallon to ungodly huge 500 plus gallons. According to Marine Invertebrates by Ph.D Ronald L. Shimek published in2004 in the Introduction to Octopuses on page 359 the “minimum Aquarium size is 20 gallon (76 L), or larger.” For my Octopus Tank I’m using a 30 gallon bowfront. Octopuses aren’t super clean when it comes to their home. The ideal saltwater filteration would bea sump system where water overflows from the tank that has all your fish to a tank below that cleans are airrates the water. Due to having the struggle on them being very clever and always trying to escape a canisterfilter is highly recommended for keeping octopus. I will be using a Zoo Med Turtle Clean 75 Canister filterfor my octopus tank. This Filter has three chambers just like a sump would, making this in essence a sealed sump system. To keep good water flow and to stimulate the motion waves would a power head is recommended as well to help avoid any dead spots or place water doesn’t get much movement. I will be using a Zoo Med Power Sweep 160 because it moves water in an unpredictable way and has a prefilter overthe intake to grab any large pieces of leftover food making tank clean up much easier. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Due to them being great escape artists a sealed tank is required unless you plan to stare at the tank every minute of every hour of everyday. The Best way to do this is buy a glass top fitted to your your tank and take it to your local glass shop. Have the cut two holes in the back for your canister filter intake and out1take hoses, and one in the front to put a keyed lock. A machine shop could also do this for you in you have a friend in that industry. I will be machining a top for my tank. The Cheaper faster way to do this is duct tape every hole and gap on a lid that fits your tank. This is a very popular cheap fix that can lead to problems if the tape gets wet, and well there is water in the tank. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________They do not like high lighting like T5 or high output bulbs. These bulbs can burn them. Simple 10000k bulbs do great for the day and blue or red moon lights for night. I will be using Zoo Med Ocean Sun T8 bulb for my day time bulb and GloFish 8” blue LED strip for night. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________After setting up your tank and You’ll need to know to keep your octopus not only alive but happy. Feeding your octopus can be extremely rewarding and interesting to watch. The main reason many have them as pets is the way they eat and ways you can feed them. They need a variety of shrimp, clams, and fish. Steve the owner of Reefs Plus, a local saltwater shop in north aurora spoke to me on June 21st of 2014 about feeding octopus. He said “the best food for them is shrimp and fish.” The reason many don’t keep octopuses as pets is saltwater fish and shrimp are expensive. Steve explained to me that the loop hole is not to buy super expensive shrimp and fish all the time, but use freshwater mollies and guppies and crawfish as their main diet. Crawfish are freshwater lobster and are found all over IL. They can be bought at any bait shop or pet store, or caught in just about any creek or river. Mollies and guppies are a brackish water fish meaning they can live in freshwater or saltwater and easily breed making them readily available all the time and extremely cheap. They are practically given away at times. The worry of many is almost free and much easier than many think when itcomes to feeding these unique eaters. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Have you ever struggled to open up a jar of salsa or pickles. Im sure we all have struggled with this at least once. Next time you finish some good salsa clean out the jar and put a tasty crawfish in it and see if your octopus strugglesas much as you do. You’ll be amazed at how strong and smart these little things are. This is not only awesome to watch but needed. They get bored with just being in a tank and they like to be challenged. If you don’t stimulate the mind of your octopus they begin to wonder what it’s like outside their tank and they try to escape. Mix it up and don’t always use the same jar. One day use a salsa jar, the next use a baby food jar, the day after that use a beer bottle. Become creative and challenge him to work for his food. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Don’t just have fun with him while he is eating. Fill the tank with plastic baby toys like rings and balls and different shells. Don’t be shy with your your hand because many get use to their owners hand and it becomes a favorite toy for many. Most octopus don’t bite but if they do in to see what you are and they only do it once. Make sure they have many different holes and caves to hind in and feel free to redecorate the tank often.


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