Information about Keeping a Pet Octopus
While they are fascinating, intelligent creatures, a great deal of thought should be given before considering keeping a pet octopus. This hobby will require immense research, equipment and investment to keep them successfully, and considering their average life span of 1 to 2 years, may not be worth the input.
Just finding a pet octopus may prove to be quite a challenge. Few pet stores will carry such exotic creatures, and when they do, it will be difficult to determine the type of octopus they have. You will likely need to shop online to locate one, and when you do, you’ll have to figure out how to get it. Octopuses are not good travelers.
The common octopus grows to a size of about 36 inches wide and up to 22 pounds. Depending on the type of octopus kept and the size it acquires as an adult will dictate the size of the aquarium you choose. An aquarium to provide a natural habitat would need to be a salt water tank that is devoted to keeping one pet octopus. A sturdy aquarium with a very tight fitting lid is necessary to keep the octopus from escaping. Yes, they can escape. A great example is the situation that workers found when entering the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium at the end of February, 2009. The small, two-spotted octopus living at the aquarium had disassembled the recycling system valve at the top of the aquarium and flooded the site with about 200 gallons of seawater. The same situation occurred in 1994 at the San Pedro Cabrillo Marine Aquarium with a Giant Pacific octopus.
Once an appropriate aquarium and lid have been secured, you will need to try and replicate its natural habitat, which is the bottom of the ocean. The water must be matured, and kept at precise quality for oxygen, pH and temperature. Fine sand, artificial corals and clean rocks must be added; the pet octopus will need to have plenty of hiding places just as they would in their natural habitat. Take care that none of the items have sharp edges that can harm the octopus.
Then there is the feeding of your new pet octopus. In their natural environment, octopus feed on crabs, snails, fish, scallops and even other octopus. In an aquarium, they are going to expect the same diet which you will need to supply. In this same vein of thought, certain snails and fish are added to aquariums for the purpose of keeping the tank clean. In an octopus habitat, these tank cleaners will be considered as food, and will disappear quickly.
Those who are serious about wanting to keep a pet octopus should consider the work, equipment and expense involved in the process. While they are fascinating creatures, octopus may be best left in their natural habitat.