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Octopus as Aquarium Pets

 

Keeping an Octopus in a Home Saltwater Aquarium.

By Carl Strohmeyer

Updated 1/22/16

Aquarium Octopus, A aculeatus

I have kept o. rubescens (pictured), brown, and even poisonous blue ring octopi, however I generally do not recommend Blue Ring Octopii (which I will go into further later in this article).

In fact a brown A. aculeatus was one of my first saltwater “creatures” back in the mid 1970s. They make great pets and are highly intelligent.
My pet octopus would recognize me and come to the top and stick its tentacles out to take food directly from me.

Here are a few points to keep in mind though:

*An Octopus will squirt ink when frightened, but that is rare.
Try and keep a peaceful environment and this will not become a problem.





Blue Ring Octopus *The Blue Ring Octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata & Hapalochlaena maculosa which is more common and smaller; 5 inches- 1 oz.) from the Great Barrier Reef of Australia is are among the most toxic animals on earth with its neurotoxin (Tetrodotoxin).

A bite can kill in under an hour (although they very rarely bite).
Their bites are very small and often painless.
The Tetrodotoxin poison found in the Blue Ring Octopus can result in the victim being fully aware of their surroundings but unable to breathe. Because of the paralysis that occurs the victim has no way of signaling for help or any way of indicating distress. Respiratory support until medical assistance arrives may mean the difference between death and recovery.
Being bitten while alone is often a death sentence.

See this reference: Blue Ring Octopus Bite).

To prevent a rare, but potentially lethal bite, wearing thick rubbers gloves should be adequate protection for the small beak on the Blue ring Octopus.

This said, as I already noted bites are rare. In fact these are very inquisitive animals and with simple cautions such as rubber gloves and a child proof aquarium, these can make an interesting pet that will thrive more easily in the common warm water marine aquarium than most brown octopii.
I would compare a Blue Ring Octopus personality to that of a friendly, neutered male cat I have; he is very playful and curious, but every once in while he gets carried away and over aggressive in his play. With this in mind I find Blue Ring Octopii this way, so protect yourself accordingly.

*These Octopus prefer the warmer waters that most home aquariums provide and generally the Blue Ring Octopus thrives much better than the Brown Octopus; however the poison problem in my opinion often over rides this “plus” (even though I have kept them).


Here are some important resources for success in keeping a Brown & Blue Ring Octopus:

*Octopus Vulgaris
*Giant Octopus; bimaculoides:


A few key points about Octopus Care:


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