Octopus as a Pet – Incredible Fun

octopus as a petUsually the pet animals we see around are dogs, cats, colorful fish in an aquarium and birds in cages. By and large people know about these creatures enough to get a bit over-acquainted with them and so, have no curiosity for them. However, if I say that would you like to see an octopus as a pet, you would certainly listen attentively. Some of you may say, what is the use of keeping an octopus, which has no face, which will express no emotions like cats and dogs, won’t sing or talk sweetly like birds or won’t flaunt its colors to please our eyes like fish? If those are your conceptions about an octopus, you are wrong! Octopuses on the other hand are surprisingly intelligent, display intriguing behavior and have incredible shapes and color-changing abilities.

An octopus is one of the most interesting and rewarding creatures you can keep as a pet in your home aquarium. It entices you with its behavior, ability to learn, interactions with you added with various colors and shapes. If you are ready to spare some time and efforts and can afford crabs and shrimp as its food, an octopus is certainly a worth-keeping pet.

How Do Octopuses Behave and Interact?

Two species of octopuses are available now, a dwarf one and the other a medium one. The dwarf species is not very interactive, but can be fun to watch under a red light, which it cannot see. The medium-size octopus is diurnal and is often interactive. It can be fun to play with. Many of them even can be taught to open simple jars if there is a tasty-looking crab inside. You may also get pleasant surprises with some of their incredible activities. Often they accept food from your hand or the feeding stick and also, they come out to watch you.

Where to Get Them?

You can get them from numerous sources. Local fish shops sometimes keep them or can order them. Sometimes owners raise hatchlings and sell them, which is best option to get tank-raised animals. Sometimes wild-caught octopuses are available online. And if you are adventurous enough, you can even acquire them as hitchhikers on live rock.


Usually fish stores offer octopuses with no species recognition. They offer their specimens some vague names like “assorted octopus” or “brown octopus”. Some give faulty identification; e.g. a dwarf species is sold as Octopus vulgaris, which is in fact a much larger species.

Per se, Octopus bimaculoides (bimac) is the most popular species, being easy to maintain, reasonably sized and sociable. It lays big eggs, which give chances to raise hatchlings. A bimac needs at least a 50-gallon tank. It is found along the Californian coast and comes from cooler water. It can be kept at as low as 59°F. But many owners have succeeded in keeping it at room temperature. It is preferable to keep the tank temperature in the lower 70s and use a fan on the sump.

If you have a smaller 30-gallon tank, the dwarf species, Octopus mecatons is the best for you. This can live in a shell or a tiny den and can be watched in red light at night. Keep this species at 74° to 76°F.

Currently Abdopus aculeatusis has arrived in the market, particularly in Californian fish stores. It is known as walking or bipedal octopus and is sociable and interactive. It belongs to tropical water and likes a tank temperature of 78°F. A 50-gallon or bigger tank is perfect for this one.

Species to Avoid

The blue-ringed Hapalochlaena lunulata should be avoided because it is strongly poisonous. It is a small octopus and shows bright blue rings when threatened, as a warning that it is about to bite. Another species to avoid is zebra or striped octopus, which are endangered. They are expensive and hard to maintain.


There are some shortcomings in keeping an octopus as a pet. First and foremost is its short lifespan (almost less than a year). High cost of food is another one. In rare cases, high cost of the pet itself can also be a disadvantage! Remember the $150,000 octo of Nicolas Cage? One more is its tendency to keep itself hidden and camouflaged when you are in a desperate mood to watch it. And another major one is a very limited list of tank-mates. You possibly cannot keep most of your favorite fish and corals in the same tank as that of your octo.

Nicolas Cage with his pet octo

Nicolas Cage with his pet octo


However there are some advantages too. Octos are easy to keep as they need simple wet-dry filtration, not much light and no many precise conditions which sessile reef invertebrates demand.

If you are serious about keeping an octopus, don’t forget to visit these websites: