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View Full Version : Tap water, copper and Octopuses


JingoFresh
04/06/2014, 03:29 PM
So I have been wanting an octopus for almost the last year. having no previous aquarium experience and realizing I was a bit in over my head in trying to set it up, I paid a renowned aquarium store to set it up for me.

However, when they set it up they ended up using tap water....which I have been told is basically a no go for octopuses or cephalopods in general because of their copper sensitivity, as well as other issues.

The people who set it up are telling me there is no issue, and that they have cuttlefish in their store which are running fine.

I am unsure what to do at the moment. NYC tap water seems to have copper .025 - .003 mg/l as compared to the .00038mg/l found in seawater.

I'm looking at a copper test but none of them seem to be fine enough to test for levels at that point.

Polypads don't seem strong enough to remove all the copper or minerals in a system, which is what the store suggested.

I would just like to get peoples opinions on this matter and see what their own experiences suggest.

Thanks.

neontreefrog5
04/06/2014, 03:48 PM
any info on the tank? size, equipment, etc? and i dont trust that the cuttlefish and such would be doing fine, copper can be especially deadly. what kind of octopus were you planning on getting? just need more info to see how to help!

JingoFresh
04/06/2014, 03:50 PM
Sure, thanks :)

It's a 56 gallon marine land tank and stand.

Setup with an overflow filter, return pump and sump.

Thinking of getting a bimac because they seem to be a good starter octopus.

neontreefrog5
04/06/2014, 03:54 PM
well if youre going to get a cephalopod youre going to need a high quality skimmer, they have a pretty high bioload. as for a bimac, they have a fairly short lifespan.. also you need to be extremely prepared for octo's because of their high intelligence level and their ability to escape. have you done a lot of research on owning one? its extremely involved, even down to keeping them entertained. many many things to consider. you have to pretty much octo-proof your tank so it does not get out, be prepared to do water changes if it inks, and so many other things. is the tank even cycled? if not, the copper is the least of your worries because of the sensitivity...

JingoFresh
04/06/2014, 03:57 PM
Yes, I've been researching them sinec at least October last year.

Prepared for their intelligence. I have a filtersock but will get a skimmer if I need one. Not to worried about that at the moment.

Also not too worried about lifespan as they are all fairly short anyway. Tank is close to being cycled.....but with tap water...hence my concern.

neontreefrog5
04/06/2014, 04:01 PM
definitely go for a skimmer just to be careful because they can be so sensitive and create a lot of waste. and with bimacs you have to take into consideration their habitat in the wild, because adhering to their wild temperatures and such can affect their lifespan as well. you may very well need a chiller, and search the forums on here for other bimac keepers. as far as the copper, if youre that concerned, i would recommend this
http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/CupriSorb.html

itll remove copper and other heavy metals you would find in tap water. also make sure the tank is set up well enough that you have the option for fish later down the line just in case you dont like having an octopus anymore :)

JingoFresh
04/06/2014, 04:08 PM
Did a post just go missing?

bluecoyote79
04/06/2014, 04:21 PM
I'd be EXTREMELY skeptical of anyone who sets up any SW tank using tap water. You may want to rethink taking any advice from them. Cephalopods are not beginner fish for some one who has no experience with aquariums. I'd suggest you rethink the whole thing, do more research on what you need for a successful SW aquarium. A filter sock may do more harm than good and certainly is not considered filtration by itself. If the "renowned" fish store told you that you can have an aquarium with tap water and a filter sock and you're good to go, then they're flat out lying.

neontreefrog5
04/06/2014, 04:45 PM
im not sure if a post went missing

neontreefrog5
04/06/2014, 04:46 PM
but yeah i agree with the filter sock not being sufficient filtration. what kind of filter do you have and how big is your sump? whats the setup like?

Lsufiregal
04/06/2014, 04:52 PM
I would assume they treated the tap water. I wouldn't use tap but to each his own. Some people do use treated tap to cycle. If you are worried about copper just run some carbon, chemipure, or purigen. A filter sock doesn't compare to skimming at all. I would not house an animal as sensitive as an octopus without a skimmer.

JingoFresh
04/06/2014, 08:28 PM
I'd be EXTREMELY skeptical of anyone who sets up any SW tank using tap water. You may want to rethink taking any advice from them. Cephalopods are not beginner fish for some one who has no experience with aquariums. I'd suggest you rethink the whole thing, do more research on what you need for a successful SW aquarium. A filter sock may do more harm than good and certainly is not considered filtration by itself. If the "renowned" fish store told you that you can have an aquarium with tap water and a filter sock and you're good to go, then they're flat out lying.

They are pretty much the most renowned and expert level aquarium shop in NYC, so I am not so quick to dismiss them.

Certainly not rethinking having an octopus. If my setup has a problem, then there is a solution.

im not sure if a post went missing

I got an email where you suggested Cuprisorb but it didn't seem to make it to the board.

I would assume they treated the tap water. I wouldn't use tap but to each his own. Some people do use treated tap to cycle. If you are worried about copper just run some carbon, chemipure, or purigen. A filter sock doesn't compare to skimming at all. I would not house an animal as sensitive as an octopus without a skimmer.

The tap water wasn't treated when he set it up. live sand, live rock, salt, etc all added in and set to go.

Do chemipure and purigen work similar to curpisorb?

bluecoyote79
04/07/2014, 12:18 AM
If this is how they set up a tank after you paid them to do it, then their reputation is not well deserved.

HVAC Guy
04/07/2014, 12:48 AM
Just a thought, since you have no prior aquarium experience, you may want to try and keep a handful of fish alive for awhile to get the hang of things. You can always start over. Many saltwater lifeforms are not for the novice. I don't care what all you add to the tank at this point, Using tapwater from the start just added a whole load of crap that doesn't belong in the tank and will cause problems down the road.

Lsufiregal
04/07/2014, 01:47 PM
Untreated tap water would be no where near my tanks. Hell, treated tap isn't even going near my 14g biocube and there is only a pair of clowns in there.

neontreefrog5
04/07/2014, 02:10 PM
i just suggested cuprisorb because of the fact that you were worried about all of the things in your local tap water. itll remove copper and other heavy metals which would be your main concern with tap water. that and a water conditioner to help with the ammonia and chlorine and what not. other than that i dont know what to say, i would dump it out and replace it with good water... and like they all said, if you havent kept a reef aquarium before i highly suggest keeping some hardy fish to get the hang of it and let your tank continue cycling. youll need a mature system for a cephalopod anyway. im all for trying new things but this ones a bit of a doozy

criticalencore
04/07/2014, 02:14 PM
Another consideration besides needing a lower water temp, good filtration, and a inescapable tank would be a food source. My Bimac only seems to want live feeders like crayfish and fiddler crabs so far and will grab some mysis but doesn't care much for frozen so far. Luckily I'm 10 min from the beach and can catch live food in the warm months for him but it will get costly fast if you we have to buy a couple dollars worth of food every day or 2

JingoFresh
04/07/2014, 06:03 PM
Thanks for the replies.

I will see how I go with the cuprisorb and trying to "purify" the water.

If it doesn't work out or isn't possible then small claims will be my last resort.

Hoping for the best though.

dante411x
04/08/2014, 08:39 PM
This is an interesting thread. I'll follow it up to see how it turns out.
I do have to add the same thing about tap water. NYC has good water, but not nearly good enough to pass as ro/di. I'd dose the seachem stuff to get rid of it, get a rodi ASAP and replace all water since it's still cycling. In fact, I'd replace it twice.
And no matter how "renowned" something is, doesn't mean that they know anything. They probably were just banking on you being clueless, getting the squid, having it die within months and then getting more and more of them. Or hiring them to "fix" your system.

neontreefrog5
04/08/2014, 08:53 PM
this is an interesting thread. I'll follow it up to see how it turns out.
I do have to add the same thing about tap water. Nyc has good water, but not nearly good enough to pass as ro/di. I'd dose the seachem stuff to get rid of it, get a rodi asap and replace all water since it's still cycling. In fact, i'd replace it twice.
And no matter how "renowned" something is, doesn't mean that they know anything. They probably were just banking on you being clueless, getting the squid, having it die within months and then getting more and more of them. Or hiring them to "fix" your system.


+1

JingoFresh
04/10/2014, 06:25 PM
This is an interesting thread. I'll follow it up to see how it turns out.
I do have to add the same thing about tap water. NYC has good water, but not nearly good enough to pass as ro/di. I'd dose the seachem stuff to get rid of it, get a rodi ASAP and replace all water since it's still cycling. In fact, I'd replace it twice.


So after testing for copper it came up negative....which can't be right.

The cuprisorb has not turned blue at all.

I bought a 7 stage RO/DI so will be topping off with that.

Just a quick question about cycling....I understand cycling is getting the levels right. If I do a water change while cycling, won't that set it back and kind of defeat the purpose?

Lsufiregal
04/12/2014, 08:55 AM
So after testing for copper it came up negative....which can't be right.

The cuprisorb has not turned blue at all.

I bought a 7 stage RO/DI so will be topping off with that.

Just a quick question about cycling....I understand cycling is getting the levels right. If I do a water change while cycling, won't that set it back and kind of defeat the purpose?

No. Water change won't mess things up. The bacteria live in the sand and rock, not the water column.

hndalphonso
07/18/2014, 08:38 PM
I don't know what to do all corals have died. Any new snails or crabs die in less than 24 hrs. Fish are fine what is the issue someone please help

dante411x
07/24/2014, 12:16 AM
I honestly don't know what to think.. If you're not testing any copper, perhaps it's a different heavy metal in the water?

It's also possible that previous exposure to heavy metals soaked them into the silicone in the tank seams and rock or sand or everything. If that's the case, you're kind of out of luck. Unless you're willing to buy a new tank and sand and rock and start a new system. I'd only use rodi water in it... Perhaps there's a local forum where you could find something cheap? That's definitely a last resort option, but I don't really see any other way.

dante411x
07/24/2014, 12:23 AM
Also, here's why I even consider this option. And it highly depends on this. If you live in a standard old nyc highrise/skyscraper, they are all set up with their own water tower on the roof to keep up with the water pressure for the building. Most of those cisterns are very old, use copper pipes to pump water, require high pressure pumps to get water up to them to begin with and have been exposed to whatever nyc toxins there are for decades. So using tapwater from those may deliver things into your system you'd never imagine and certainly couldn't test for.

Here's an idea. It's possible to send a sample of your water to a lab to be tested for a whole range of things that you wouldn't be able to in a home environment. I wouldn't do any water changes for at least a week and then send a sample to a lab. That may answer something...

MassiveDynamic
07/29/2014, 11:33 AM
ill be honest, when i was like 17 and first got into the hobby i set up a 50 gallon with tap water. got a common octo and it lived perfectly fine for a year, then laid eggs and died. I didnt even know how to test water back then.. i just had the LFS test it for me. Irresponsible on my part (i realize as an adult), but they're more hardy then youd think i guess.

zach jay
07/29/2014, 02:27 PM
I've been using tap water for most of my tanks out of sheer laziness. I'm not sure about copper in NYC tap, but I've always had success with my corals and fish (just more algae then I care to admit haha). I've never read about tap water containing copper, just that copper is typically introduced to systems trying to relieve fish from ick.

Boom
07/30/2014, 07:46 AM
ill be honest, when i was like 17 and first got into the hobby i set up a 50 gallon with tap water. got a common octo and it lived perfectly fine for a year, then laid eggs and died. I didnt even know how to test water back then.. i just had the LFS test it for me. Irresponsible on my part (i realize as an adult), but they're more hardy then youd think i guess.
+1! although at 17 I was still doing fresh water tanks... the bimac my ex-bf had survive his supreme laziness to do water changes and a modified skimmer that never quite worked properly. Buyer beware... octopuses Eat A LOT. He ate live crabs and clams from the fish market, huge snails and crawdads I collected from the Salt River, and the occasional feeder goldfish. I stopped feeding the fish tankmates altogether because they ate octopus scraps and ate his nutrient-rich droppings with relish.
I do admit, maybe part of our success was that we always mixed our salt water and topped off with ro/di.

sirrealism
08/02/2014, 12:47 AM
I have kept Octo for many years and when I read this I just shack my head. This LFS "one of the best in NY" sets up a tank for an octo with untreated tap water and says it will be fine and does not tell you that you need a skimmer for keeping an octo. This is crazy. I am not saying that the octo will not survive but if survive is all you want then you have picked the wrong hobby. Sell everything and get a cat!. You say you have been researching since october and you will add A skimmer if you need it? I would guess you have done almost no research if you think you dont need a skimmer. Not because they make a mess"They do make a big mess" but for the FACT they will deplete the oxygen in the tank. Will they die from this Maybe, maybe not, Its one of the first thing you read about when you RESEARCH keeping an octo.
You might think I am just being mean to you but the way you have replied to others advice just gets under my skin.
Since this place in NY is so great and knows what they are doing then why are you here. You must be questioning what they did for you to be here asking questions.
Ok so my rant is over. If this was my tank I would empty it and make new water. The salt is cheap and you have an RODI system so no big deal. If it sets your cycle back a little so be it. I hope your concerned more about the health and well being of the octo your going to get and can wait just a little longer. If you are in a rush there are a couple products out there that are pretty good. I used one called turbo start because I had no choice and I will admit it worked very well. Next you need A skimmer. I dont care what who when. If you want your octo to be happy and healthy you need to a lot of oxygen saturation and with out a skimmer over time saturation will deplete.
Have you found a place that can get you a Bimac? I bet you end up having a hard time finding one. They tend to be seasonal Most likely you will end up with O,Briareus which is fine accept they get bigger and will use up the oxygen faster and your tank is really not big enough for one but i have seen them live in smaller. If you really want to know about Octos then join Tonmo and read then read some more. They are incredible creatures. I am on my 9th one and 5 species. and everyone is different

dante411x
08/02/2014, 12:59 AM
Sorry bud, but I completely agree with sirrealism here. If this store is one of the best.. Just have them do everything. And when the bimac dies (hope not, but who knows), hope they replace him.
Honestly, I really want to know what the name of the store is. I've been to a bunch of stores in manhattan and they aren't the greatest. And there are only 3-4 good stores there anyhow.
There's nothing in the rules preventing you from telling us the name of the store.

Boom
08/02/2014, 04:12 AM
I agree with surrealism also that it's sheer folly to even start an octopus tank system without a skimmer that is rated for a larger tank to boot! A refugium with lots of macro and on a reverse light cycle might help with the nighttime co2/pH fluctuations and nutrients.. we kept our power heads, but had to put sponge guards on them to keep the octo from injuring herself.

criticalencore
08/02/2014, 07:09 AM
I wouldn't trust my bimac around a power head even with a cover. He opens jars to get mysis out so I'm sure he would figure out how to get the cover off. You will define try need a skimmer... again, I would say your biggest issue will be keeping it well fed. Would cost me a fortune if it wasn't for living near the beach to catch live food for sure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTgpYebgK1k