A guide to caring for your octopus

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Octopuses are highly intelligent creatures and this, along with their exotic movements, makes them very interesting animals to watch. As long as pet owners are willing to do their research, they can make fantastic pets. If you’re thinking about adding one of these 8-legged, underwater friends to your family, check out the guide below to ensure you give your octopus a warm welcome and a happy home.

Be sure to research your species

The most popular choice of octopus kept as a pet in the UK and US is the bimaculoides, also known as the bimac. This species is more sociable than other octopuses, which may in part be down to the fact that it’s diurnal, which means it is active in the day. Whether you end up purchasing a bimac or another type of octopus, you’ll want to research your species to discover their exact requirements, including tank set-up, size and temperature, as this can vary widely depending on the species.

Setting up the tank

The first important thing to note when it comes to setting up your octopus tank is that you’ll need to do it at least 3 months in advance of your octopus’ arrival. This is because your octopus has a high metabolism, which requires a quality filtration system and good water movement. You’ll need to ensure that the octopus is kept in a room with low lighting, as this is what they prefer. Avoid putting stinging cnidarians in the tank. For a bimac, you’ll want a tank that is a minimum of 50 gallons in size, but bigger is always better. You’ll need to house your octopus alone, as they are solitary animals and will likely try to eat any other creature you put in their tank.

Feeding your new friend

A young bimac octopus will need smaller food like hermit crabs, small shrimp, little fiddler crabs and small bits of seafood. As a treat, you could also try feeding your octopus pieces of fresh scallop. Avoid Artemia, also known as brine shrimp, for young octopuses, as they lack the protein that your pet requires.

Octopuses are included in our list of 5 unusual pets you might not have considered owning

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