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Old 03/27/2015, 04:22 PM   #1
MaccaPopEye
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URGENT Anyone know how to catch an occy

I got home from night shift at 06:30 this morning and it's still a bit dark so I decide to shine a torch into my tank and see if I can find anything cool. Well I guess you should be careful what you wish for.

I found this sneaky guy crawling across the back piece of glass. (sorry about the terrible photo, he's really fast)


While he must have been in there for at least a month now and not caused any harm my tank is no where near occy proof and I am petrified that it is a blue ring (quite common here and I collected all LR myself at low tide), anyone know of any way to identify it? As it wasn't threatened it's blue rings may not have been showing up.

Does anyone have any ideas how I could safely catch him? I am really worried having a possible blue ring in an unsecured tank with my 1 year old running around.

Any help is appreciated.


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Old 03/27/2015, 04:23 PM   #2
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It's about the size of a 5c piece when curled up and a 20c piece stretched out.




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Old 03/28/2015, 03:36 AM   #3
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Get a flashlight with a red lens, or put red cellophane over the lens. They can't see red light.
Build a bottle trap, put something tasty in it, and tie a string to it. Sit there quietly with the lights out and the red flashlight on, then yank the trap out the second you see it.
If it's a blue-ring, somebody might buy it. If not, somebody will almost definitely buy it. Either way, don't just auto-kill it, place the bottle trap in a container of water and scare it a bit to see if the rings show. Also, look into how to keep a tiny octo in a container. I know the big ones don't like crawling across that astro-turf stuff, so maybe the little ones wouldn't like crawling on the sharper side of velcro?


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Old 03/28/2015, 09:21 AM   #4
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Thanks for the red light tip, that should come in handy. I will do what you suggest with the bottle trap and string but dont worry killing it didnt even cross my mind. I already have a container set up with a seal-able lid that I can put it in for the time being (I have to catch it first).

I have a friend who works in parks and wildlife and she is going to contact their marine biologists first thing Monday for me, if I can get it out and they want it then great otheriwse I will try the local aquarium. I can't sell it due to local laws as it was collected and I dont have a commercial collectors licence, there also are not many reefers in my area so finding someone may be difficult. Hopefully parks and wildlife will take it.


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Old 03/28/2015, 04:27 PM   #5
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That is so cool, yet very scary. Hope you catch it soon without issue.

Please come back with some good pictures of it when you do.


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Old 03/28/2015, 11:38 PM   #6
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Definatly will. Tried again to see it when I finished work this morning before the sun came up but no luck. I'll get a red torch, bottle trap and shrimp this arvo and try again tonight. Then tomorrow night I'll try some crab meat on a long stick. Rinse and repeat till I find him and can identify him!


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Old 03/29/2015, 01:43 AM   #7
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red light thing is BS. My Occy still freaked out even with red light. Most likely it would be nearly impossible to bottle trap him. They can pretty much squeeze through any tiny hole, so if he can get in, he can for sure get out. The meat should help get him to come out. Mine would pretty much come out an play with me when I fed it.


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Old 03/29/2015, 09:06 PM   #8
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The red light thing may not work but at the very least its constructive. And if you read Betta's comment properly they said to tie a string around the trap and monitor it so that when he climbs in pull it out, not just to leave a trap in there and it will for sure work.

I certainly don't plan on playing with it until I can get a positive ID. Blue rings are aparently very shy anyway so I will see how I go trying to lure it out.


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Old 04/01/2015, 04:34 AM   #9
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Any updates?


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Old 04/01/2015, 07:53 PM   #10
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Unfortunately not Dukhlmann. I made a bottle trap and tied some string to it and put it in the tank with some shrimp. I stayed up for as long as I could and checked it every 10-30min. In the morning the shrimp wasnt even touched which I thought was weird as I have heaps of crabs in my tank.

I also got a red filter for my torch incase that does work and have been checking late at night and early morning with it and no sightings since the first. I lined the rim of the tank with velcro hooks so hopefully that will discourage walks, hopefully its still in there. Does anyone know how long they can survive for outside of water?

I have noticed all of my fish (all 4 haha) have been staying well and truly on the left hand side of the tank. Some will occasionaly venture to the right but come back fairly soon. When I last saw the octopus it was heading for the right hand side of the tank. My mantis shrimp has also disapeared from his hole on the right hand side of the tank (but I still hear the occasional click so hes not dead - or there is more than one).

The marine biologists at parks and wildlife couldn't offer any more help than to "net it next time you see it". But to be honest I wasnt expecting too much more - there just really isn't anything more you can do.

Tonight I will try the bottle trap again and see if the shrimp gets taken this time. If that fails I will be placing a bit of shrimp near where I think it is and continue to place the shrimp there every night. Hopefully the little guy learns the pattern and I can spot him again. If he is still in there that is. The tank is full of little crabs so he cant be going hungry and hopefully has no reason to take a walk.

If I get another sighting, an ID or even am able to catch it I will certainly report back. With photos if possible.

Cheers,

Macca


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Old 04/01/2015, 10:45 PM   #11
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Most likely he's full if you have many crabs for him to prey on and won't go for the dead stuff unless it's his last resort. Pretty cool though


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Old 04/01/2015, 11:57 PM   #12
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Jon, I was hoping that at the least some of the crabs would climb in there to get the prawn and get stuck and so the occy would try and get them haha. And it is very cool. Since I haven't seen it since and I have only seen it the once in almost 2 months I am not freaking out as much that it will take a dry walk but the possibility is still there so I am always a little on edge when my son is around the tank (pretty much all the time).

Does anyone know how fast these things grow? Hopefully it will be easier to find the bigger it is so if I am still looking in a month or two it would be nice to know if it will have grown much.


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Old 04/02/2015, 04:30 AM   #13
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Don't know anything about how fast they grow but they don't get very large "this is a very good thing"

The fish remaining on the left side of the tank along with the mantis shrimp moving to a different housing district is a positive sign that your hitch hiker is still in your tank. Hopefully the velcro fence will keep him from going walkabout in your LR.

I can see how two months later you are less stressed over this but it would still very much freak me out.

Good luck in getting this little bugger moved to a new home. Looking forward to the pictures when you finally do catch it.


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Old 04/03/2015, 01:33 AM   #14
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My bad on the red light thing, I was under the impression that most marine creatures can't see red light due to the lack of red light underwater.

Hmm... can you set up a bucket or small tank to store critters in? Perhaps capture your crabs and other octo-food things, then bait a trap with a crab or two? Do NOT remove the rockwork, though, you might end up moving the octo if it's hiding on the rock.
Maybe just get some long tongs (like for planted tanks) and use those to grab all your crabs out, if they won't go into the trap? Long tongs in general might be a good idea for in-tank work, since you don't know if that's a bluering in there. "A baby octopus was hiding in my tank, and it bit me" is a rather absurd thing to have to tell the people at the ER. As a general rule, I try to avoid things that lead to explaining absurd things at the ER.


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Old 04/03/2015, 03:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betta132 View Post
My bad on the red light thing, I was under the impression that most marine creatures can't see red light due to the lack of red light underwater.

Hmm... can you set up a bucket or small tank to store critters in? Perhaps capture your crabs and other octo-food things, then bait a trap with a crab or two? Do NOT remove the rockwork, though, you might end up moving the octo if it's hiding on the rock.
Maybe just get some long tongs (like for planted tanks) and use those to grab all your crabs out, if they won't go into the trap? Long tongs in general might be a good idea for in-tank work, since you don't know if that's a bluering in there. "A baby octopus was hiding in my tank, and it bit me" is a rather absurd thing to have to tell the people at the ER. As a general rule, I try to avoid things that lead to explaining absurd things at the ER.
If THAT is a blue ring octopus and it bit him, he would't make it to the ER.



Last edited by Dkuhlmann; 04/03/2015 at 03:52 AM.
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Old 04/03/2015, 08:55 PM   #16
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I know they don't get big but a 5-10cm octopus is alot easier to see than a 1cm octopus haha if it grows to adult size in 2-3 months then if I still haven't found it in a month at least I know it will be alot bigger.

The red light thing might not work but I am still giving it a go (haven't seen the octo to see if it works though). Definitely haven't stuck my hands in the tank since I saw it. If it is a blue ring then they can also poison the water around them. If you get bitten paralysis can start in under a minute and you stop breathing. Your only hope is to be given CPR until you can be put on a mechanical ventilator and heart massager and ride it out for 24-48hrs until the toxin is out of your body. There is no anti-toxin. My partner will be the one explaining it to the ER haha.

I am thinking that I'll have to go and catch some live bait to lure it out. Catching my crabs would be too hard, way to many places for them to hide and they are too skittish to catch with tongs. Plenty of crabs down at the beach though. I'll go down on my days off and get some.


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Old 04/05/2015, 01:13 AM   #17
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Tiny update. Still no more sightings though so not too exciting. Got home from work at 2am last night and there was a crab in the bottle trap picking at the shrimp

I was super tired so I figured I would get him out in the morning and sump it so that on my days off I can use it as live bait to lure the occy out while I pull and all nighter and can keep an eye on the bottle trap. Well the occy obviously is smarter than that and wont leave easy food out in the open. Woke up this morning to no crab in the bottle trap. He must have gone in after I went to bed, eaten the crab and left the bit of dead shrimp. Unless there is some way that I dont know about for a crab to get out of a bottle trap?

Looks like live bait is a go. I will go crab collecting before my night shifts start and then I will pull an all nighter (or two if needed) on my days off.

Cheers,

Macca


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Old 04/05/2015, 07:04 PM   #18
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We'll be careful!! I would be a nervous wreck. Where do you live to worry about a blue ring?


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Old 04/06/2015, 12:48 AM   #19
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Haha yeah I am pretty nervous but only because my toddler loves sitting next to the tank and watching it. I used to keep snakes and hand a venomous one, you just have to be super alert. I live in Darwin, Australia.


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Old 04/06/2015, 08:07 AM   #20
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I figured you were out that way somewhere. Do you have a secure lid on the tank?


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Old 04/06/2015, 08:14 AM   #21
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Nope, open topped tank. All I have been able to do is line the rim with velcro hooks. Hopefully it wont feel the need to go looking for food, there are heaps of crabs in there.


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Old 04/06/2015, 08:34 AM   #22
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Oh ok


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Old 04/06/2015, 10:03 AM   #23
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This thing sounds badass. Do you have any pictures?


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Old 04/06/2015, 10:29 AM   #24
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Yeah sorry I posted the pics in the OP but I moved them in my photobucket gallery and I cant figure out how to eddit the post to put the correct links in. Here are the terrible quality pics. Obviously if I can catch him I will post better pictures, blue ring or not.





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Old 04/15/2015, 03:12 AM   #25
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Unfortunately not much to update

It's been a week and a half since my last post and I still haven't had time to get down to the beach and collect some crabs for live bait (I am going to try again to get out there tomorrow).

I have been staying up as late as possible most nights and even pulled 2 all nighters last week where I left the tank in darkness and came out and turned a torch on every hour or so to scan around. That combined with checking the tank first thing after finishing work at 0130am and 0630am most days and I still have not had another sighting. Not even a possible sighting.

If I hadn't of snapped a photo I would think I was going mad. Even with the photo I think I may still be going mad

Part of me thinks that the poor little guy could have died either in the tank or crawled out and over the back where I cant see and died there, even if it is a blue ring I hope not as there will be no way to find out and I will forever wonder and have to be super cautious reaching into the tank. But then I remind myself that it was in there for a month without being seen to begin with. An octopus the size 5c piece has a lot of hiding places in a 400L tank.

There are still lots of crabs in the tank and I am still seeing some small ones so if it is still there it wont be going hungry. Hopefully I get out soon to get some live bait and try the bottle trap again. On recomendation of a friend I am also going to add a couple of "Octopus traps" aka a small terracotta pot and an empty stubby. Still hoping to catch it so I can get an ID. Or even sight it again just to keep a grip on my sanity.

Cheers,

Macca


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