Set up the aquarium as if setting up for a mini-reef tank. And be patient for THREE MONTHS! An octopus aquarium requires a longer cycle period than a typical fish tank does because they are more sensitive to water quality.
Feb 19, 2014 - octopus in aquarium
Ms. Harvey recalled one octopus at a British aquarium that escaped nightly from his tank, slithered to a nearby tank to snack on fish for dinner, and went home.
Photo: Jorge Guerrero/Getty Images
In a feat that would make the dentist office fish in proud, Inky the octopus escaped from his tank at the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
Octopuses can make appealing pets
Octopuses can adapt to new situations and solve problems; they appear to be curious about their surroundings ('hmmm, I wonder if I could get out of this tank' or 'hmmm, where does that tube go?') They have the intelligence and ability to get into and out of fishermen's crab and fish traps, and certainly to get beneath an undergravel filter plate. Octopuses have very little hard material in their bodies, only a beak and a radula in most, enabling them to squeeze into or through amazingly small spaces.One important factor that will help ease ol' eight legs' nerves is to provide plenty of hiding places in the tank. This can easily be accomplished with any or all of the following: limestone or other aquarium safe rocks, shells, pvc pipe, and glass jars. I have seen octopuses in tanks with little cover 'so that they wouldn't hide all the time and could be seen,' and I personally view this as cruel. Despite their aggressive reputation, octopuses are somewhat shy and retiring. If you wish to see something out and moving all of the time, an octopus is not a good choice; perhaps goldfish and/or those annoying little airpowered toys would be better.For the most part, octopuses need a tank to themselves. They will view most fish, crustaceans, and mollusks (possibly including smaller octopi) as food. Echinoderms such as sea stars, brittlestars, and sea urchins seem to be safe tankmates (Haywood). Those of you with reef tanks shouldn't have to worry about corals, sponges, tunicates, etc. unless you don't approve of your octopuses interior design tastes (the larger heavy rocks should be safest).Octopuses are carnivorous and primarily eat crustaceans, fish, and mollusks in the wild (Boyle, 1987). In my home aquarium, I have had success feeding them live fish (including the damsel that was in the tank to cycle it, which Houdina ate the first night! whoops), live crabs, and live shrimp. In addition, I have had success occasionally feeding thawed out frozen crustaceans. However, I have been told that some octopuses will not accept any thing but live food (McHenery). Others have had success rearing some species of adult octopuses exclusively on frozen marine shrimp for over two months (DeRusha). Once acclimated an octopus eats a surprising amount of food. Mine was fed at least every other day and definitely preferred live food, especially crustaceans.