6 Reasons an Octopus is an Underwater Ninja

OctopusIf you’re in the market for a very unique marine creature for home aquaria, an octopus could be a great option. While they certainly have drawbacks, if you’re willing to accommodate their special needs, it allows you the right to observe these fascinating, eight-armed, covert cephalopods in your tank.

For the following reasons, I deem octopuses true underwater ninjas:

1. High Intelligence

These aren’t your run-of-the-mill aquarium inhabitant. Octopuses are very smart; in fact, it’s speculated they’re more intelligent than any other invertebrate.

2. Superior Camouflage

Their ability to hide in plain view and mimic their surroundings is uncanny.

3. Escape Ability

Octopuses are known as escape artists, and it’s a rightly deserved designation.

4. Distraction

As with their land-based counterpart, it’s always good to have a backup plan when you’ve been spotted.

5. “Flight”

Octopuses are capable of moving about in and out of water, helping them bridge the gap between bodies of water (and their soon-to-be victims).

6. Surprise Attack!

You just never know, do you? Cue the dramatic music.

Have you ever kept one of these underwater ninjas? We’d love to hear about your experience! Tell us more in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Erik Charlton

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About "Caribbean Chris" Aldrich

"Caribbean Chris" Aldrich is co-founder and Director of Saltwater Smarts, an avid SCUBA diver, and contributor to a live rock mariculture project in the Florida Keys. He has been an aquarium hobbyist for 20 years and his current aquarium is a 127-gallon Carib reef biotope.


  1. I had an octopus back in the mid 80s. He was by far the most interesting pet I’ve ever kept in an aquarium. At the time there were five people living in my house. He would hide behind the live rock from everyone except me. When I entered the room he would frequently squirt water through the small hole in the glass lid where cables and filter tubes entered and exited the tank. When I approached the tank he’d meet me at the top waiting to play. On many occasions he was more interested in interacting with me, (gripping my hand, climbing my arm, etc) than in the food that I was about to give him. I missed him like I would miss any pet when he died about six months after he entered my life….

    • Chris Aldrich says:

      What a great experience that must have been, Rob! Thanks for sharing.

      With that type of “personality”, it’s easy to see how you could quickly become attached, which is always a bummer with their short life spans. But it sounds like you really enjoyed the time you had!

      Do you recall what species of octopus it was?

  2. I believe “King Tut” was an Octopus bimaculatus.

    • Chris Aldrich says:

      Ah, a Bimac, those appear to be reasonably popular in the hobby and they certainly have a larger visual impact than the much smaller Pygmy’s.

      I’d love to keep an octo someday. They just seem too cool to not experience at least once.

      • Larger may mean more personality, eh? He lived in a 45 gallon tank. I did weekly 5 gallon water changes. He ate just about anything, from live goldfish and clams to cooked crawdads. He learned very quickly to take his food out of my hand.

        One time while doing a water change he climbed out of the tank, walked across the floor and climbed into a tennis shoe. Lol! He was great fun!

        • Chris Aldrich says:

          Not sure about the size to personality ratio. I was more so referring to keeping the larger species.

          Such funny and interesting stories and that’s only from 6 months of keeping! Too cool.

  3. Paul Baldassano says:

    Unfortunately octopi are not intelligent enough to give themselves a longer lifespan as they die right after spawning. These little guys hatched out in my tank and the Mother died that day. The babies would wrestle a live brine shrimp that was about the same size as them and they would ink diring the struggle.

    • Chris Aldrich says:

      As I mentioned, Paul, I love this picture. Very cool! Thanks for sharing with everyone here in the comments.

  4. A great photo, Paul. Were you able to raise the baby octopi?

  5. Paul Baldassano says:

    At that time I was not able to raise the babies, I think that was about 20 years ago but I feel confident that I could raise them today especially if I did it in the summer when I could collect food for them.

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