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.
to TONMO, Justin!
Nautilus are very difficult and expensive to keep in an aquarium, since they need a chiller and other stuff. They aren't very exciting either, and from what I've heard they have the personality of a wet dish cloth.
Here's the only one I've heard of at TONMO, http://www.tonmo.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=484&highlight=nautilus
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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