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How to Set Up for a Pet Octopus

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An octopus can make a very interesting pet. Their high level of intelligence allows them to display a huge variety of fascinating behaviors. However, an octopus makes for a challenging pet, and you should certainly do your homework before trying to take care of one.


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Octopuses' requirements have a lot in common with a reef tank, though there are several key differences that would keep them out of most reef tanks. Their high metabolisms require an efficient filtration system. Additionally, they require good water movement. However, they require a tank with a low level of lighting and an environment free of stinging cnidarians. In other words, they need the filtration and water movement of a reef tank, but not the actual corals or anemones and bright lighting.


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Feeding your octopus is a great chance to interact with your pet. Each octopus has favorite foods, but all are carnivores. Some will only accept live food. Most will eat live fish, live crabs and live shrimp. Some octopuses can be trained to accept dead foods, such as various frozen varieties. Because of their intelligence, each octopus has a distinct personality, and food preferences are a part of it.


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Unfortunately, you are pretty much limited to keeping an octopus by itself. Octopuses are often very antisocial toward their own kind. Additionally, they are known to eat most fish. Crustaceans like crabs and shrimp are a delicacy to octopuses. Their high level of intelligence allows them to effectively outsmart most prey. However, some animals do pose a threat to octopuses. Certain predators love to eat octopus, and many sessile invertebrates possess defenses like stinging cells and spines that can threaten octopuses.

Special Considerations

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You have to take certain precautions when keeping an octopus. They are nature's perfect escape artists. Their bodies are extremely flexible; an octopus can fit through an opening the size of their eye. Additionally, their tentacles are extremely dexterous, allowing them to open and even unscrew lids. Most keepers resort to putting heavy weights on top of aquarium lids to keep octopuses in. You should also make sure that all filter inlets are covered with mesh and all heaters are protected by a plastic sleeve. Octopuses have an unfortunate tendency to get into places they shouldn't.