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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:

Other Recommended Reference & Product Sites

Saltwater Aquarium Information; Basic to Advanced

Aquarium Lighting Facts & Information

NPX BioPlastics; from Two Little Fishies

Nitrate & Phosphate Reducing Polymer Media

Hydor Smart Wave Controller

• Promotes a healthy reef aquarium or similar aquarium environment where wave action is desired by recreating natural currents found in nature
• Synchronous program for currents typical of barrier reefs and alternate for tides

*Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

*Marine Fish Oodinium; Identification & Treatment

TMC V² Bio Fluidized Sand Bed Filters

Premium, second to NONE Aquarium Bio Filters, that with Oolitic Sand also maintain essential marine aquarium calcium levels, alkalinity, & electrolytes that are important to ALL marine life, including Octopii

San Francisco Bay Brand Seaweed Salad

"Seaweed Salad" is much more nutritious than spinach and lettuce. This product is recommended for all freshwater Algae Eaters, African Cichlids, Silver Dollars, Sharks, all saltwater Damsels, Clownfish, and especially Marine Angels and Tangs

API/Rena Filstar High Performance Canister Filters & Parts

Premium Canister Aquarium Filters

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In Chronological order of writing with the newest at the top
  1. Use of RO, DI, Softwater in Aquariums
  2. Lighting Theory of a Planted Aquarium- RQE, PFY, PAS, & PUR
  3. Aquarium or Pond Bio Load
  4. Tuberculosis in Fish
  5. PUR vs PAR in Aquarium Lighting
  6. Head Pressure in Aquarium and Pond Water Pumps
  7. Betta Fin Rot
  8. Angelfish Virus/Aids
  9. Activated Carbon
  10. Fish Baths/Dips as an aid to treatment
  11. Streptococcus gram positive bacterium in aquariums, Eye Infections
  12. Hydrogen Sulfide
    production in anaerobic De-Nitrification for Aquarium/Ponds
  13. Fish Shipping
  14. Aquarium Size, Fish Stunting
  15. Aquarium Algae,
    BBA & Brown Algae in particular
  16. Aquarium Salt (Sodium chloride) in Freshwater Aquariums
  17. Betta Habitat; Wild Bettas to Domestic Betta environment parameters
  18. HITH; Hole in the Head Disease
  19. Aquarium Protein Skimmers, Ozonizers
  20. Power Head/ Water Pump Review
  21. Molly Disease/ Mollies in an Aquarium
  22. Basic Fish Anatomy, Fin Identification
  23. Aquarium Moving/ Power Failures
  24. Octopus as Aquarium Pets
  25. Aquarium Nitrates
  26. Ichthyophonus protists, fungus in fish
  27. Aquarium and Pond Filter Media
    Types; Mechanical, Bio, Chemical
  28. Aquarium Water Conditioners (also Pond)
  29. Fish Parasites; Trematodes & Monogeneans; Annelids and Nematodes;
    Flukes, internal worms, Detritus Worms (often confused with Planaria), Micro Worms
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  31. Pond Veggie Filters; DIY Bog Filter
  32. The difference between Plaster of Paris and Aquarium Products such a Wonder Shells:
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  34. AQUARIUM TEST KITS; Use & Importance
  35. SEXING FISH; Basics
  36. Chocolate Chip, Knobby and Fromia Starfish
  37. Freshwater Velvet & Costia
  38. Usnic Acid as a Fish Remedy
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  43. Bio Wheel Review; Do Bio-Wheels really work?
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