Science in Progress: Making an Octopus Puzzle, Part 3

While we wait for the California Academy of Science’s Giant Pacific Octopus to learn Adam’s puzzle, Kishore and Indre visit biologist and cephalopod expert Rich Ross’ home aquarium and lab where Rich breeds and raises octopuses and other amazing critters. It’s one of the most fascinating home laboratories we’ve visited!

Comments (23)

23 thoughts on “Science in Progress: Making an Octopus Puzzle, Part 3

  1. Holy hell. That is a man who has embraced his love of a thing. Great to see. I get the feeling that Rich could have talked for days on about this.

    Great deep dive (pun intended) into one mans aquarium setup.

    , if he ever builds the bigger tank that he was talking about at the end, the process would be a great series.

  2. Rich talks about adding Vinegar to the system to control PH levels. I’ve seen some documents online about using a 1/2 cup per 1000lt to drop the level, but have been hesitant.
    Seeing as commercial PH lower products exist does household white vinegar work, or does it need to be more specific?

    Does it lead to other issues or will it poison the fish plants?

  3. What a fantastic episode. That guy is amazing, such a good speaker/teacher. I could listen to him for a long time! Kudos on letting him just talk uninterrupted!

  4. He was just using household vinegar. Rich definitely wanted to use off the shelf reagents where possible. He didn’t mention any issue with vinegar causing any issues with poisoning as he was using it. We talked more about the phosphate experiments.

  5. Amazing stuff. Would love to hear about your battles with algae. I’m guessing that constant water changing and phosphate management did the trick, but tell me more!

    Also would love to have heard a few words from your long-suffering wife! 🙂

  6. Thanks for the reply.
    I’ve set up an elaborate Shubunkin fish pond in the backyard with biological and hydroponic filtering. With the onset of winter (and coinciding with a Lilly a friend gave me) I’ve suddenly had a massive string algae bloom.
    While combating it as much as I can with adding sucker fish and various other aquatic plants, the PH level also rose (8.2). One solution to combating string algae is to lower the PH to around 7.4, which lead me to a few articles on the net about white vinegar helping to lower PH.

    I don’t usually trust advice like that on the net, especially when “household item X fixes Y” is involved. Seeing a hobbyist like Rich actually use it in his setup means I can be confident that I’m not just causing a whole new set of issues, or spending more money on a commercial product that is essentially the same thing.

  7. Who’d have thought there was such a thing as an Octopus fluffer!

    Great video, but the music was a little intrusive from time to time.

  8. Rich is a nut in the best possible way. He’s been on Penn Jillette’s Sunday School Podcast and he was great on there, too. It’s so fun to see someone so obsessed with such an awesomely bizarre hobby.

  9. So cool to see someone with such passion, and knowledge, for what they do and such a willingness to share it all with the world! As Terry English is to armor, Rich is to octopuses.
    Such a joy to watch!
    P.S. my three year old daughter LOVED the “bounty hunter symbol” (mandalorian skull) on Rich’s shirt 🙂

  10. Not finished watching all the episodes, but this series has been awesome so far. I love how enthusiastic Rich is, and the way he communicates his passion of the subject is super-engaging.
    Really been liking the use of music in this series, too.

  11. This episode was fascinating! I notice that some of the old Bits to Atoms episodes are being made available on YouTube, if you ever plan on releasing some Science in Progress episodes the same way I think this one might be the perfect candidate. I mean, I loved the drifting Delorean, but this series is outstanding!

  12. Hi – Just saw that these were up! I guess I’ll have to subscribe! LOL
    The vinegar isn’t for pH – there isn’t really much chemically you can do to saltwater to impact pH and keep it stable, except to bubble in air from the outside if high CO2 inside is depressing pH (low pH in saltwater tanks is almost always caused by inability to off gas CO2. Vinegar and other stuff can impact pH but it doesn’t last long and you end up chasing a number and having the pH bounce all over the place.
    The vinegar, grocery store bought, is a carbon source to feed bacteria to aid nutrient export; as the bacteria reproduce using the vinegar (vodka also works), they also incorporate other stuff you that you generally want to remove from the water like nitrate, and then the protein skimmer removes the bacteria.

  13. Thanks for this, your explanation has made allot of sense from other articles I’ve read that don’t delve too deeply into the science behind it.

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