How Much Does an Octopus Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

An octopus inhabits many parts of the ocean and parts of the coral reef.  While some people tend to treat an octopus as a delicacy, others want them as a pet.  With over 300 octopus species in existence, all of them are venomous, besides one group that includes the blue-ringed.

The cost of an octopus is going to depend on the species, where you live, age, quality and breeder you purchase the octopus from.

Octopus by Elias Levy, on Flickr
Octopus” (CC BY 2.0) by  Elias Levy

How much does an octopus cost?

An octopus, designed for an aquarium are generally smaller than those you would find in the ocean, and on average, a pet octopus can range from a few inches to a few feet.  The larger they get, the more you are likely to pay.  The average price for an octopus can range anywhere from $20 to as much as $1,000.  Most purchases are going to fall in the $30 and $100 price range, however.  The popular Atlantic pygmy octopus, for instance, retails for about $50 to $80.

A blue-ringed octopus, which are believed to be illegal to own; however, it’s debated as commercial importers are allowed to bring them to the United States if they have the proper collecting permits.  If found, this species can cost a few hundred.  This isn’t a choice for owners, though, since it carries a venom known to be very dangerous.  With no antidote available, it could be a deadly situation.

For example, a farm-raised octopus Bimaculoide can cost anywhere from $25 to $50, while the eggs can cost $10 to $100.

Types of octopus

Atlantic Pygmy

This is the smallest species, weighing only an ounce and measuring as long as five inches.  Compared to other species, a larger tank won’t be necessary due to its size, and it’s known to be very playful, intelligent and even able to solve problems.  Able to change its color in any environment, some owners have claimed they tend to hide most of the day and are extremely picky eaters.  If you were to choose this species, just make sure you have enough hiding spots in the aquarium to meet the need for privacy.

Californian Two-Spot

Often referred to as a “bimac,” this octopus can be as long as seven inches and its arms can extend close to 25 inches long.  Due to its size, a larger tank — at least 50 gallons at a minimum — is highly recommended.  This friendly species love to eat shrimp, crabs and scallops and is even known to play around with toy Lego blocks.

Caribbean Reef:

Found in the Florida Keys, this brownish, red or green octopus can grow up to 22 inches tall and will eat early in the morning, usually on crustaceans.

Common

The Octopus vulgaris, which is known as the “common octopus,” is commonly found in shallower tropical waters.  This octopus can range anywhere from 25 to 36 inches in size and can use its specialized pigmented cells to match the colors of its surroundings, almost becoming invisible in a tank.

Red

This duller red octopus is home to the eastern Pacific Ocean.  Known as one of the most common pet octopuses kept in an aquarium, it won’t require a heated tank like most other species as it prefers cooler water around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

What are the extra costs?

Octopus require a lot of care when compared to most aquatic creatures that are raised at home.  Many experts state that a bigger aquarium is required in order for the octopus to survive.  It is suggested that the tank should be bigger than 70 gallons, which can start at $300 and go up from there.  For most species, this water must be kept at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  These tanks must be “octopus-proof” because many can crawl out and must contain salt water, which will be costlier to maintain when compared to a freshwater tank.  Other accessories that should be included in the tank include sand, a pump, rocks, lighting, and filters.

The diet of an octopus relies on fresh food such as fresh fish, chopped seafood, crustaceans and shrimp.  They tend to eat at least every other day, and octopus owners say it is wise to budget at least $100 per month for food alone as shrimp, crabs and scallops can get pretty expensive.

An octopus will need to be entertained and will love to play tug of war, sort through shells or even baby toys.  Some owners are able to place a loosely closed jar in the tank and watch their octopus open it to access the items inside.

Since many local pet stores do not sell octopus, it is going to be in your best interest to find a breeder online.  Because of this, most are going to charge a shipping fee, and this fee will greatly vary depending on the size and breeder.  Most shipping fees will be between $30 to $50.

Tank testing equipment such as a hydrometer and test kits are highly recommended to test the salt concentration in the take to make the proper adjustments.

Tips to know

Octopus have a lifespan of anywhere from five months to as long as six years, depending on the species.  Bimacs, for instance, have been found to live two years if their aquarium is set up properly.  Dwarfs can live up to eight months, while larger common octopuses, as stated above, can live the longest, about three to five years.

If an octopus doesn’t like his or her environment, they can become stressed, leading to a refusal to eat or even eating their own arms.

As noted above in the aquarium tip, an octopus is known to be able to escape a tank if not secure.  If able to escape, an octopus can survive for hours and even find other aquariums, if available, to hunt prey.  Also, if the aquarium isn’t set up properly, an octopus may become ill, becoming white or lighter in color.

An octopus can bite; however, it will be done to see if you’re edible.  Most people who have been bitten have compared it to a bee sting.

How can I save money?

Talk with a few breeders as well as check with some online via various forums such as Tonmo.com.  This is a great place to get a jump start on everything you need to know about these pets.


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