A pet dog or cat sounds too boring and common to most, so they apt to get an exotic pet to really liven up their home. Amongst the many exotic pets on the list, an octopus is something even the most adventurous exotic pet lover would have second thoughts of taking care of.
Keeping an octopus is definitely fun and interesting, but it’s not the easiest pet to care for. It’s important that you have a good understanding of saltwater aquariums, as well as knowledge on cephalopods to be a good octopus owner.
Below is a short guide to help you get ready before getting a pet octo.
Know what species you want to get
There are a number of octopus species available and sold as pets. Keep in mind that different species grow to different sizes once they mature and they have different tank requirements. Also, how cold or warm the water in the talk also varies from specie to specie. One of the more popular species in the U.S. is the Octopus bimaculoides (bimac) or two-spot octopus. In fact they’re now commonly being bred in captivity and sold in local fish stores and pet stores. They’re diurnal, so they’re awake during most of the day, and don't grow too big. They’ll also interact with you, so you can form some sort of bond with them.
Get your new pet from a reputable place
Some pet shops sell octopuses without even informing you where they came from and even what type of octopus it is. They’ll claim that it’s a “dwarf” or “common” or “brown” octopus that comes from places in the Pacific or Bali, but don’t be fooled. You might end up buying one that will grow into a huge octo in weeks. When buying a pet octo, make sure you get it from a place that actually knows what they’re talking about. Do your research on local fish stores in your area and ask questions like where the octo came from and the conditions they need to be kept in. if they give you a shady answer, you might want to look for another shop.
Stay far away from some species
Ok, so having a blue ring octopus as a pet might sound cool, but really, don’t do it. Although you might see these in shops, shipping success is usually very small, meaning many of these octopuses might have died just to get a few of them alive. Also, they don’t do well in captivity. Other than being very tedious to take care of, did we mention that these things are one of the most poisonous animals on the planet, and that they could actually kill you if you don’t handle them properly? So if you’re not an expert and experienced cephalopod keeper, don’t attempt to care for a blue ring octopus.
Tank size and equipment
As mentioned, different breeds call for different tank sizes. There’s no way for you to care for an octopus in a small fish bowl, so don’t even get that idea. The most common sized tanks for octos are that ones that can store 50 gallons, and the larger the better. But again, different breeds have different tank needs, so it’s best to figure this out first before getting an octo. Also octopus can produce nearly 3 times as much waste compared to fishes, so go for something bigger than recommended for a fish-only setup. A big protein skimmer is strongly recommended.
Keeping two octos in a single tank is a no-no. Keeping fish in the same tank is also a no-no. Octopuses prefer to stay alone in their tanks, and keeping fishes might just turn them into dinner. You can place starfishes and pencil type sea urchins in the same tank as your octo, but that’s about it for company. Other octopuses and cuttlefishes should never be kept together, one octopus will eventually kill and eat the other one.
Octos live to have places where they can hide. You need to create a good environment for them to live in by placing live rocks, PVC pipes, and other materials that they can use as hiding places, caves, and hidden passages. Never place your octopus in an empty tank because they’ll end up being unhappy. The more caves and hiding places the tank has, the better and the more likely you are to see your octopus behave normally.
Keep your talk closed
Many horror stories from octo owners have been told about how their pets would climb out and escape from their tanks and appear in random places in the house. Octopuses are very intelligent animals, and they can escape through holes that are about the same size as their beaks. After all, they don’t have bones so it must be really easy for them to escape. Some octo owners would go as far as using duct tape to seal their tanks. Pay particular attention to where the wires and pipes enter the tank since this is where your pet octo would most likely escape.
As mentioned before, you’re going to need a good amount of research before you should get a pet octo. Go online and read forums and sites that have information on keeping captive octopuses. Talk to octo owners and ask questions about any issues they came across while caring for their octo. Ready up on cephalopods to understand these animals better and to get yourself ready to care for one.
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