The below is an interesting story in itself and fun to read. But I wanted to share it for a particular reason. Octopuses (yes, not octopi) are becoming more and more available in the hobby. It’s an animal I’ve wanted to keep since I was a boy but had to settle for a rubber toy my aunt bought me on a visit to Santa Barbara instead. It’s always stuck in my mind.
When I got older and really was able to get into the hobby in a much bigger way (literally with a 210 gallon tank) than when I was young my thoughts immediately went back to the octopus and my desire. Why I wanted one was a mix of wonder and fascination coupled with science and, admittedly, the cool factor. Because I do like science, because I understand the scientific method, I don’t generally just jump into something. I study it out. That’s what I did with the octopus. I learned that I certainly could keep one alive. If you can keep a reef, you can keep an octopus. But that’s wasn’t he problem.
As the below story highlights, these guys are escape artists. They are known to go from one tank to another to hunt and then back to their own tank traversing tile or carpet on the way. If not for the wet trail they leave you might not know what’s been eating your fish. So the issue I have, the one that has kept me from keeping my eight-legged friend, is just how to keep him locked up. They can remove fittings, climb down pipes, open lids, and squeeze into anything their beak will fit into. I’ve read recently that AstroTurf around the edges keeps them in. But I think probably it needs to be wider than your average tank lip and, let’s face it, that’s pretty ugly. Lids do work, but they have their own issues in terms of heat retention, visibility, and plumbing. Someday I am still determined to keep an octopus and to have a tank he won’t escape from. Jellyfish tanks are now popular and specifically made for the needs of that soft-bodied animal. Perhaps some company (Fluval!) will make an octopus tank that’s self contained and at least somewhat affordable. Until then I’ll just have to enjoy watching them where ever else I can.
Inky had resided at the aquarium since 2014, when he was taken in after being caught in a crayfish pot, his body scarred and his arms injured. The octopus’s name was chosen from nominations submitted to a contest run by the Napier City Council.