Octopus is an intelligent saltwater animal that can as well be kept as pet in a tank a home. There are hobbyists who keep pet octopus in their aquariums at homes or even in their offices. It must be understood however that keeping an octopus in the aquarium is not quite easy and it is something that can be easily done by a novice. Keeping octopus in the aquarium requires lots of care and observation that only experienced people can successfully do it. For instance, you may need to provide a home that is dim lit for the octopus for it to be able to enjoy its stay in captivity. Octopuses also need to live in well maintained water that is clean all the time.
Appearance of Pet Octopus
Octopuses belong to the mollusk family and are usually closely related to squids, snails, and clams but it is quite interesting that they don’t have an outer shell like its counterparts. The animal has got up to eight tentacles all of which that are attached to a body. The animal has got two eyes placed on the head and much of its movement is done by way of the tentacles. Most of the octopuses kept in captivity will not exceed 15 inches in width but it not uncommon for those in the wild to grow as big over 30 feet wide! For those who are specialized with octopuses, will tell you that they come in a wide variety of colors with some appearing dull grayish with others showing elegant stripped patterns.
There are various many different varieties of octopuses found in the seas and oceans in their natural habitats. Most of these have successfully been captured and kept as pets in aquariums at homes. It is amazing to note that most of these octopuses have the ability to change their body color when they want to by use of their pigment sacs. You will find most octopus having special yellow, red, orange, black and brown pigment sacs. They will use this special ability to attract a mate when they want to mate, scare away potential predators or simply as a way to tell their moods. Mostly, when the octopus appears white it means that is scared or thoroughly frightened. When the octopus is agitated it will show a deep red color on the outer skin
Octopuses are naturally salt water dwelling creatures most commonly found in oceans and other tropical seas. Octopuses like to live along coral reefs near the bottom part of the oceans where they easily created dens to hide and remain undetected by predators. Octopuses also like to hide in small crevices or rocks that they will find in oceans. Basically, octopuses like to live just on the bottom most part of the ocean, on oceans floor hidden amongst the coral refs. Only experienced people who are well trained in capturing them will be able to get from their hiding places in the ocean floor.
Tank requirements of Pet Octopus
Keeping an octopus in the aquarium is not an easy task because it takes more care for the keeper for the animal to survive in captivity. Because the animal is a saltwater dweller, the water placed in the tank must be salty.
Below are some tank requirements that can be followed to successfully keep pet octopus in the aquarium:
- salinity between 1.022 – 1.023
- pH value of 8.2 with lots of oxygen
- temperature around 76 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit
Octopuses are generally delicate to keep in a captive enclosure and therefore require a safe and pristine environment to survive. It is therefore imperative for the keeper to ensure water quality at all times.
Because octopuses are highly intelligent and will easily craft ways to escape, a lid needs to be placed on the tank. Also ensure that holes and filter tubes are not so big enough for it to use as an escape route from the tank. If it is one octopus being kept in a tank, it may need at least 55 gallons. You will also need to adapt the animal to the water that is the same of that in the tank to prevent it from releasing ink.
The room should be dimly lit, pristine and quiet. The octopus takes time to adjust to new environments and therefore, lots of hiding places should be made available in the tank for it. Large shells and rocks could be provided to the octopus to use as mini-caves in the tank.
Octopuses like to live in shadows, therefore the aquarium need to be dimly lit preferably with a low wattage fluorescent tube at day time and during nighttime it should be turned off. Direct sunlight should not be allowed to the tank.
The tank also needs to have sufficient oxygen flow as the animal needs lots of this resource for its survival and any deprivation could lead to its early demise.
Feeding of Pet Octopus
Octopuses are avid hunters and therefore should not be kept in the same tank with other aquarium animals or else it will feed on them. Octopuses eat crustaceans, small crabs, small fish, mollusks and live shrimps. They are basically carnivorous creatures who will prefer being fed live food. Feeding the animal at least once a day will help keep it healthy and strong. You can occasionally feed the octopus frozen food but live food is best for it. Because the animal is quite messy with food, you may need to remove any food left in the tank quickly. This will help to ensure the tank remains tidy and clean.
Breeding Pet Octopus
Basically the female octopus lays eggs which she guards and cares for until they get hatched in a special den. When the eggs get hatched, it is interesting to note that the female animal will soon die leaving the newly hatched young ones to fend for themselves. It should not be difficult for an experienced keep to breed pet octopus at home.