Chambered Nautilus Experiences

J.Unit

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There is a Nautilus over at 6th Ave. Aquarium for sale at $65. I have never seen these outside of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I am very curious as to how these animals behave. Please share your Nautilus experiences here.

Thanks, Justin :twisted:
 

Jean

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I have to agree with Nick, I haven't kept them myself but the Townsville aquarium had some a couple of years ago and they were just hanging around in the gloom at the top of the tank (it was a VERY dimly lit tank) doing a great deal of nothing! The giant clam they had did more :lol:

J
 

J.Unit

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I'm not sure how accurate the "chiller" statement is.

At 6th Ave. they have their tanks setup in a manner where each tank overflows into the next. The Nautilus is kept in the same water as the jellyfish, brittlestars, Lionfish and Naso Tangs!

Still curious. :x
 

James Danger

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Iv'e found a shop in my area that sells chambered nautilus for around $90. they were kept in a shallow tank (less than 20") at ambient temp. (72-78_). nautilus live in very deep water and come up to the shallows to feed. but even the shallows are very deep and very cold. if you keep them in water above 65. you'll probalby end up shortening their life span considerably. I read on the net about some scientists that kept nautilus for over a year and got them to breed by keeping them in a tank that allowed them to move from low 50s to low 70s. I was considering one myself but they seem to just bob in the water like pingpong balls, and most likely are unhealthy when you buy them due to the warmer temp.
 
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I worked at the Waikiki Aquarium and with a researcher on Chambered Nautilus - while they can be alive at warmer temperatures, they must be kept cold in order to survive for any length of time. They will take food out of your hand, but other than that, they spend much time just bobbing around the aquarium. The Waikiki Aquarium keeps their Nautilus at 57-72 F. They cycle the water temperature - cold during the day and warm at night to correspond with the vertical migration Nautilus have in the wild. They have had Nautilus since 1985 and have had baby Nautilus hatch from eggs.

http://www.waquarium.org/research/cephalopod_biology.html
 
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I'm writing an article with a friend for a magazine on the biology, behaviour, and how to successfully keep nautilus in an aquarium. A version of it will probably be put up on the Tonmo website.
 

robyn

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Hi Justin.

I work with Nautiluses in NY. We keep between 6 and 12 in a 280 gallon tank. They are hard to keep, but not impossible. They do need to stay cool - we keep ours at 17 degrees C. In my experience they can last in warmer water (23 maximum), but not for long. we have a recirculating system and our max lifespan is about a year. I think they do a lot better in open systems.

I wouldn't recommend them for a home aquarium for a couple of reasons - 1. they are not terribly active, so are not that entertaining. 2. they drop dead without any warning. 3. by the time they get to the commercial vendors they are often so moribund that your investment goes south within days. 4. they smell appalling once this happens!

Personally I think their behaviour is kind of cool, but I will admit that they're normally dead boring to look at. They are mostly active at night, so they're not a whole lot of fun in a lit aquarium. I have heard reports that animals kept in bright lights all day go blind frequently.

They're also kind of dopey and will find a way to get stuck in outlet pipes or otherwise bash themselves up on very innocuous-looking things. We have a UV scrubber running 24 hours a day on our tank and we still treat any minor scrapes aggressively, because infections seem to be a problem with captive animals.

On the plus side: They will eat from your hand (very cool!), and are not as shy as octopuses. They don't ink, they're not toxic and you could probably house them with other fish and inverts relatively easily.

Are you going to buy the one in the store? $65 is a pretty good price, generally speaking.
 

DWhatley

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Robyn (Jean please chime in if you are here),

Do you know of any reason they could NOT be kept with abdominalis (pot/big bellied seahorses). My pots are tank bred but live in a semi-reef environmet (semi because not much wants to live in the cool water :>(. I would love to add a nautilus IF I can keep it properly and IF it would not harm my horses.

Do you QT new ones? If so do you use anti-bacterial/anti-parasitic treatments in QT and for how long?

Thanks,
 

robyn

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They might be ok together - I've never seen active predation by captive Nautiluses, but seahorses are kind of slow, so maybe if they swam past at just the right distance, it might grab them... if you have plenty of little nooks where the seahorses could hide, it seems like it would be a good arrangement.

We don't really quarantine - we have two separate tanks on the same system, we always put new guys in one tank and old guys in the other, but this is mostly to avoid stressing the animals too much. Since the water recirculates its not really a proper quarantine. Most of the illnesses we see don't appear transmissible so QT is not something we worry too much about.
 

pipsquek

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I saw a couple in an LFS in Marina few years back. Ben, the owner, might be able to tell you a little more about it, he is a pretty nice guy.
 

DWhatley

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Being impatient for MarineBio_Guy's article, I PMed him to see if he was writing anything that would provide consideration. He replied that they will "eat anything" which would preclude safety to the horses since they will "hitch anything" and seem to have no self-preservation concepts about anything that doesn't move or doesn't move quickly(like stinging corals) Mine will hitch to my pencil urchin. Fortunately, the "mouth" is on the underside but my oldest female has actually been "trapped" for a short time. Mine have no exposure to need of self preservation since there are several generations of tank raising in their history.

I am thinking about modifying my set-up (next year at the earliest) to do some kind of shared water, visible fuge kind of thing. I will continue to collect info to be sure I can support the critter but I am liking the idea more and more. It may be that by then I will have to get a taller tank for the pots (my one female is over 2 years old now and could mate easily in the current 2' tall tank but the new guys are larger than she is). If that looks necessary, my current tank might work for the nautilus if I can make room to stack it above a new tank (I see the coming need of yet another decorative ladder). This would allow me to lower the temperature on the chiller and pump first to the nautilus tank and then allow a refugium type overflow of slightly warmer water to the seahorse tank with return from there to the sump. It should add a lot of interest to the setup, have great water volume and would give Neal a new project to plumb ;>).
 

Jean

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We don't get Nautilus here so I don't have any experience with them, but I have seen video footage of them chowing down on a reasonably fast moving shrimp (this was in Townsville), so your horses may end up as dinner as they are not known for their speed!!!!

Personally I wouldn't keep Nautilus at home (even if you're an experienced salt water/ceph keeper) it just encourages shops to get them and the majority of home aquarists haven't got a clue about how to keep them nor are they particularly keen on learning, sorry to be so sour, I've just spent 3/4 of an hour on the phone trying to explain to an idiot why he can't keep our common octopus (which is 1.5 - 3 m armspread) in with his GOLDFISH!!!!!! :mad: :mad: I don't think I even managed to convince him that freshwater and marine animals can't live together :roll: (He actually asked me what was the difference and I don't think he was joking!). Fortunately, none of the petshops here in Dunedin sell octopus and so he'll have to go catch his own and I don't think he's capable of that!!!!

I need :coffee: :beer: :wine: :glass:

J
 

DWhatley

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Jean,
Please preface this with a BIG IMO.

When we started our first saltwater aquarium (30 + years ago), one could make the same argument for seahorses, cuttlefish and octopuses in addition to all the commonly kept corals. Some will still make that argument and say no one should be allowed to keep an aquarium.

The student who studies and learns should not be ruled by the inept and uncaring. Personally, if I find that I can't keep something, I won't go looking. If I go looking, it will be for the kind of vendor that has a clue. Yes, I have met the guy you were talking to (perhaps his twin given the distance) but I spend time explaining (more than some want) the specific needs and habitats of my critters to anyone (this includes the electrician, internet provider, HVAC guy, mailman, FedEx women, neighbor as well as the grandchildren - true list) who visits the house. The most easily available reading books for the grandkids (either for them to read to us or visa versa) are all stories or how to care books about our specific critters. I can guarantee my eight year old granddaughter can tell you more about saltwater critters than the guy you were talking to and probably more than most of her teachers in school.

My point in this ramble is, saying that there are idots in the world just doesn't win my allegiance to not do something. I CAN be dissuaded because of lack of resources (financial or knowledge) or a large laundry list of other reasons.

If we're still talking, I'll join you in your choice of beverage - it must be 5:00 somewhere.
 

Jean

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Darren I'm not that easy to offend! I actually agree with you. But IMO there are some critters that at this stage should not be generally available. In this I include, Nautilus, Wunderpus, Mimic Octopus, and the blue ring family. There are several reasons, some we simply can't keep in the home environment yet (and they are rare/vulnerable species), students, researchers....whatever need to learn more about them and then get the care info out there! Others I feel are simply too dangerous (BR'S!) small kids will get their fingers in the tank (I reckon they're as good as octis at circumventing lids locks etc) and they often will "forget" instructions to look but don't touch! especially if they'e enthuisiastic and excited by the animal!

I do talk to people about animal care....all the time, I work in a public aquarium ( off until June tho!) and we teach aquarium technology and animal health classes (the latter primarily to vets and vet nurses).

The problem yesterday (apart from me having a REALLY bad day, dog with hemorrhagic enteritis, Mum nearly in hospital, brother in hospital{different reasons} and a lab manual to put together for this semester [all doing well.....except the manual] :biggrin2:) was that this chap rung up for info and what he really wanted was for me to OK his plan. He most certainly DID NOT want to learn anything. Maybe I should have told him to go drink a few glasses of sea water to learn how it differed from FW :lol:!!!

Anyway went home had a few wee :glass: and felt much better!

J
 

DWhatley

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Jean,

I sort of like this taste test idea. My grandson (5) is the experimental kind (i.e. a little :sagrin: that gets into everything) and likes to help make the "fish" water. I will have to think on this really hard though as Spencer is likely to sample the aquarium water just for fun if I don't present it right :wink: . The safety of the fish does concern him about what he can and can't do with the freshwater aquarium in their room at home (Xmas present from guess who) but I am never quite sure I make my points clearly. Definitely have to think on this though because, in spite of your intentional sarcasam toward the caller, I think it would really clarify this for the kids.
 

Jean

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I love the idea of kids having animals and some responsibility, I had fish as a kid too........my main problem was that every time Dad came home on leave all my fish died cos he couldn't walk past the tank without feeding them :roll: I just feel kids should experiment on hardy, common, non dangerous animals and as they get more experience and knowledge move up the scale in terms of difficulty (also tends to be related to how good they are a wheedling money out of Mum, Dad, Granddad......:biggrin2:)

I was totally an experimenter..........still am!

J
 
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i am/was a experimenter too, and if it involved animals i haaad to be involved. one thing different about kids like me: we understand that animals need respect and gentleness. i was never a tail grabber or back smacker of cats or dogs. my first reptile was an iguana when i was 5, that i had main responsibility for. the only thing i didnt do was cut the salads up (experimenters are never good when there are sharp objects available, i know that for sure). nowadays iggies are a big NONO as a first herp in the reptile world, but i had a blast and he was well cared for, prolly still alive today. i actually gave him away because of fear of him dying in a fire, because our representative fireman, Fireman Jim, visited my class and mentioned that he wouldnt rescue reptiles, another fireman would have to. scared to death that something might happen to my precious iggy, i gave him to one of the teachers. she ended up becoming obsessed and had 3 or 4 (including mine) when she died, and they are still alive today im sure b/c her son took them.

there is a lfs owner in ocala that has a nautilus. i think its cool that he has one, and it would be nice to look at on occasion, like decoration, but i would be bored by them. they had a few at the fl aquarium when i went and i was disappointed by how boring they were. i'll stick with my octopus, thanks. XD

they had what had to have been a bimac at another lfs the other day, i just about died in pain from not being able to get it! it was being sold as a dwarf for $38 and it was total bimac, the most curious octo ive ever seen and 3 times bigger than the dwarf in the critter keeper next to him! oh, such sweet sorrow.... he was coming over to look at me and would follow my hand and stick his arms through the vents on the keeper to try and grab my finger!
 

Finno

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Nautilus would probably eat sygnathids. I know on the trappings I have seen (smaller barrier reef varietie - N. pompullius) they bait with chicken of all things so eating a seahorse wouldn't be beyond them.

To reinterate what others have said, a chiller is essential for longer term survival. They inhabit depths of between 150m to 600m (150M being the "shallows" they go to to feed).
 
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