Aquarium Livestock Pet Care Guides

Cuttlefish and Octopus


Varies with species

Average Size

Varies with species


1 - 3+ years


Octopus and Cuttlefish are primarily carnivorous (meat eaters) Ghost shrimp, guppies, small marine fish, crabs. Frozen krill, shrimp, mussels. Octopus and Cuttlefish are nocturnal hunters, feeding at a regular time late in the day will assure that you will see them at least once a day.


Octopus and Cuttlefish are territorial, somewhat shy and retiring, preferring to hide during the day, and hunting at night. If you wish to see something active and moving all the time an octopus or cuttlefish is not a good choice. An Octopus stressed by its environment may begin to cannibalize its legs. Though usually peaceful, Octopus and Cuttlefish may bite if stressed and some - particularly the Blue Ring Octopus - can have a very painful and even venomous bite.

Tank Environment

For octopus, the tank must be escape proof. (READ: WELDED SHUT woth absolutely NO cracks or openings) Octopus are quite capable of escaping through even the smallest holes. Cover filter intakes with fine mesh bags (whisper bio bags work well) and secure loose lids with duct tape or/and heavy weights. It may not be pretty but is absolutely necessary. Lining the top few inches of the inside of the tank with a material like plastic carpeting may also help provide a boundary over which the animal cannot climb. Provide lots of cover with rocks/caves, terra cotta pots, pvc tubes, jars or shells. Good water quality is required, with emphasis on oxygenation. Octopus/Cuttlefish are very sensitive to low dissolved oxygen concentrations. The water does not need to be blasting around but it should be noticeably circulating. Substrate should be small and not sharp. Avoid undergravel filters, as octopi can slip under the grates. This is not harmful but will greatly reduce the already low visibility of your pet. Lighting should be minimal, these creatures become stressed in bright environments.

Tank Mates

Cuttlefish and Octopus are solitary and are best kept alone. Cuttlefish have been known to cannibalize one another, so use caution if keeping them together.

Interesting Facts:

  • --Octopus and Cuttlefish produce a sticky ink that they use in self-defense. The ink is not directly toxic but if released into small quantities of water it can coat the gill surfaces causing asphyxiation. If your animal inks in its tank, perform a normal water change, and add extra carbon to your filter.
  • --Octopus and Cuttlefish can change color and texture to match their environment or even to reflect their mood! Their remarkable nervous system controls various pigment cells that can change in a fraction of a second.
  • Related