My Octopus: Davy Jones, O. hummelincki

chipmunkofdoom2

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In my work at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, I've had the experience of working with a lot of really cool creatures. One such creature is our Giant Pacific Octopus. The personality and intelligence of these animals is just breathtaking. Ever since I first interacted with her, I've wanted to get one of my own. A few weeks ago, KP Aquatics got a few octopuses in stock, so I took the plunge and ordered one.

I've named him Davy Jones. He's small, probably about a 2" mantle at the largest. He's been identified as O. hummelincki, but I can't find much information about these animals. I'm not sure how large he's going to get. I didn't know what specie I was going to receive when I placed my order, so I'm glad he's at least smaller for now. He's got a 40g breeder all to himself, and he has a ton of room to explore.

Setup details:

- 40g breeder
- AI Sol Blue for light (set to 5%/10%/10%)
- 16 lbs coarse/fine substrate
- Lots of pounds of cured dry rock, not sure how much
- 200w (I think?) heater
- Jebao PP4 for flow
- Air pump to help with aeration because of the tight-fitting lid.

It's hard to get good pictures of him because he moves around pretty quickly and is a bit shy. Thankfully, he seems to be diurnal, so he's out during the day, camouflaged on the rocks. I'll share more as my journey with Davy progresses.

The setup:
IMG_20180728_195754.jpg

Him in the corner to give you a relative idea of total size:
IMG_20180718_171833.jpg

Here's a good transition of him going from "camo" to "I'm annoyed you're so close and that you're taking my picture":

IMG_20180723_171655.jpg IMG_20180723_171659.jpg IMG_20180723_171702.jpg

This transition happened over the course of a few seconds, it was pretty remarkable.
 

Palyzoa

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Sweet! I don't know much about these creatures but they are magnificent creatures! How big do you think it'll get, Or how fast do they grow?
 

Flippers4pups

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Are They escape artists like other octopus?
 
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chipmunkofdoom2

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Sweet! I don't know much about these creatures but they are magnificent creatures! How big do you think it'll get, Or how fast do they grow?
I don't know how fast it will grow, no. I'm not sure on the size either. I can't find a whole lot of information about O. Hummelincki. There doesn't appear to be much scientific literature or hobbyist info about them. Some posts on other aquarium forums suggest they'll get to about 3" mantle size, 9" arms. So he might be about 2/3 his final size now.
 
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Are They escape artists like other octopus?
I'm not sure, I've decided to call him guilty until proven innocent :) I have a heavy glass top and have duct taped any hole that's bigger than his eye. So he's stuck there.

At feeding times, he doesn't seem very eager to have his arms out of the water. So he might not be. But still, I'd rather be safe than sorry.
 
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Let's play "spot the ceph:"

IMG_20180727_120113.jpg


I must apologize to Davy Jones for this picture. The picture being washed out and blue really makes his camouflage look lamer than it really is.
 
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When I started feeding Davy, I started by skewering a piece of shrimp on a plastic fork. This method worked okay because he's a savage eater and it keeps my fingers away from his beak (and venom), but it wasn't perfect. First, he tended not to let go of the fork. Not sure if it tasted like shrimp or what, but he would often take the fork and take it back to his cave.

I recently started feeding him using a plastic vial from a Salifert test kit. I washed it out well, stuff the shrimp at the bottom of the vial, and put some rock rubble on top. He seems to enjoy digging the shrimp out from the bottom of the vial. I've taken a short video of him eating:


This should also give you a rough idea of how big he is. The vial is a standard Salifert vial that comes with the nitrate or pH test kits, and it's about as long as his mantle.
 

NY_Caveman

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When I started feeding Davy, I started by skewering a piece of shrimp on a plastic fork. This method worked okay because he's a savage eater and it keeps my fingers away from his beak (and venom), but it wasn't perfect. First, he tended not to let go of the fork. Not sure if it tasted like shrimp or what, but he would often take the fork and take it back to his cave.

I recently started feeding him using a plastic vial from a Salifert test kit. I washed it out well, stuff the shrimp at the bottom of the vial, and put some rock rubble on top. He seems to enjoy digging the shrimp out from the bottom of the vial. I've taken a short video of him eating:


This should also give you a rough idea of how big he is. The vial is a standard Salifert vial that comes with the nitrate or pH test kits, and it's about as long as his mantle.

That is awesome!

 
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chipmunkofdoom2

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Super cool!! Any updates??
Thanks :) no, no major updates. Davy has settled into a comfort zone. I've been feeding him 2 - 3 pieces of shrimp per day and that seems to be his sweet spot. I'm thinking about ordering some saltwater feeder shrimp to see how he would like stalking and hunting live prey. I'll hopefully do that in the next few weeks.

Here's the most recent pic of him. He's settled on top of a rock:

IMG_20180814_125806.jpg
 
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I showed the video a few posts up to my sister and she asked how big he was, saying "He's about the size of a fist right?" He's actually much smaller. So, I took a picture of the Salifert vial next to a tape measure and a AA battery to give an idea of scale. I took a screenshot from the video, layered the two images, made the vial about the same size as it is in the video, and imposed the one picture on top of the other. Hopefully this gives a better idea of relative size:

octo_size.jpg
 

Greybeard

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Just wanting to say Hi. Saw your thread over on Tonmo, too. Looks like Davy is doing well.

I've done a good deal of research into ceph keeping over the years, and always backed away in the end. Just too high a chance of killing them, and even if you don't... getting attached to an intelligent creature as short lived as octopus are, well... it bothers me.

I may still go with a Cuttlefish system at some point. Sepia eggs are starting to become more available these days, and there's some real good information available on keeping them now. The MACNA video from a few years back with Laura Birenbaum on keeping and breeding dwarf cuttles was very interesting to me.
 
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I miss keeping Octopi. Enjoy him while you can, their lives go by so fast.
Yeah this is one of the biggest downsides to keeping a ceph I think :( short lives. I'm definitely going to enjoy having him while I can :)
 
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Just wanting to say Hi. Saw your thread over on Tonmo, too. Looks like Davy is doing well.

I've done a good deal of research into ceph keeping over the years, and always backed away in the end. Just too high a chance of killing them, and even if you don't... getting attached to an intelligent creature as short lived as octopus are, well... it bothers me.

I may still go with a Cuttlefish system at some point. Sepia eggs are starting to become more available these days, and there's some real good information available on keeping them now. The MACNA video from a few years back with Laura Birenbaum on keeping and breeding dwarf cuttles was very interesting to me.
Hey Greybeard :) yep, I'm running a thread over on TONMO as well. They were very useful in helping identify his species. I wouldn't have had a clue without their input.

Yeah I was hesitant when I first considered an octopus. The lead aquarist in my section at the National Aquarium used to breed cuttlefish though, and he mentioned how easy they were to take care of. He said the same thing about our Giant Pacific Octopus, and that octopuses in general are easy to take care of if you can do the basics. After that and interacting with our GPO more, I felt a lot more confident that I could take care of one.

I think you can keep an octopus easily if you can master 2 pretty important things. First, the water quality has to be good, though not in the same ways it does for a reef. Octopuses really need solid biological filtration so ammonia is always zero. Keeping nitrates in check is important too since these guys can be messy. Secondary water quality concerns are salinity, which should be kept stable as possible, and handling inking events. Keeping salinity stable is easy. I have a lid on my octopus tank and taped up all the seams so he can't escape, so I have almost no evaporation. I don't top off at all actually, I just adjust the water change water down in salinity if the tank is a little high. Inking events can usually be handled by a good skimmer, but it's a good idea to have water on hand to do emergency changes if needed.

Second major concern is food. Some octopuses don't eat frozen foods right away. Some don't eat it ever. You need to be prepared to at least buy live saltwater feeder shrimp for a while, if not indefinitely. This is a pretty big resource and time commitment. It's not exceptionally difficult, it's just a hassle. I will say that Davy ate frozen shrimp immediately, so I really lucked out on that front. But I was prepared to order live shrimp if he wasn't eating frozen. I was ready to order the feeder shrimp the second day I had him if he wasn't eating frozen. I even had a shrimp holding bucket set up with an air stone and heater.

There are some other ancillary concerns that are more "good to know" than "gotchas." One such concern is tankmates. You obviously don't want to keep the octopus with anything that will hurt it. You also don't want to keep an octopus with anything that it could eat (basically any invert or fish smaller than it). Species specific is usually best for cephs. You also want to make sure you keep light pollution to a minimum. Some octopuses keep a day/night lifecycle, and whether they're active during the day or at night, they like it to be dark at night, and don't love sudden changes in lighting. Another concern is temperature. Davy was collected in FL, so he's fine in reef tank temperatures. But, some octopuses really need colder temperatures. This will mean a chiller. But, if you order from a place like Tampa Bay Saltwater or KP Aquatics, you know you're getting something from the Caribbean, so you know it's warmer water.

I've seen pictures of your reef tank, Greybeard, and it's exemplary. I have no doubt you have the ability to keep a ceph, be it a cuttlefish or an octopus :) now if you don't have the extra time or resources to do it, that's a different story. But I'm sure you have the ability.
 

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