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Doggy - the Chambered Nautilus

Under freeze dried I see the red freeze dried Arctic pods but none that are marked Cyclops. Am I missing something or is this what you are using? I am not crazy about the frozen we got from Drs. Foster and Smith. The freeze dried from Argent is plentiful but I would not mind trying an alternate.

I was lucky to get the last block that Jemco had of the frozen last year and hoped it would last until the harvest this year and that there would BE a harvest. It does make me wonder if these cold water animals reproduce more slowly than they thought but the rumor I got was that ice melt had altered the PH and the shrimp are not spawning and may have died off entirely.

That thought does make me wonder if changing the PH of my Hawaiian shrimp (Opae) would encourage reproduction. The shrimp survive and eat well but I never see eggs and they do not multiply. I had my first group for over a year but finally fed them out and have started with a new young batch.
They are marked in the description as "Apocyclops royi" which is the same species that Argent was using. I think that Argent just had a different enrichment process.

I never had luck breeding Opae as my need for feeder shrimp seemed to be greater than their slow reproductive rates. I have a setup somewhere I used for breeding peppermints (multiple chambers, meshed overflow in center of each chamber with LED above) that worked pretty well and I was just able to feed out larvae and smaller shrimp as needed.

Ultimately I just got lazy. I've been looking at a couple store style tank systems to attempt building a self sustaining ecosystem by housing different species in each chamber/tank but realize I will never really have the time to do so.

I am going to be building a series of plankton reactors soon (phyto feeds rotifiers, brine) with autodosing of different feeds and Prime - and auto feeding the tank off the accumulation of the reactors. I have very simple setups growing brine shrimp in the dump of the crinoid tank (dosing small amounts of prime prior to pumping water into tank is hugely important; lower part of brine reactor has a mesh compartment with Purigen and Phosguard that the air bubbles work through forcing chamber water to cycle through, with mesh too fine for BBS to get through).

Reactors overflow into a secondary enrichment chamber that it autofed some higher concentrations of powdered foods, which after 2 hours has another power head pump a much larger amount of water completely clearing the chamber out and dumping the contents into the return chamber and saturating the display with the fauna.

It works great and my tank chemistry stays stable. Like I said I would love to put better preparation and design into it and grow out more than brine shrimp, I think it would be much easier to rear some of the harder species with such continuous supplies of live food.

We actually have an enormous (and continuously growing) population of dwarf seahorses in the crinoid tank, which I mostly did to prove a point about brleing able to keep the dwarfs in a large display tank. Common theory is the only way to keep them alive is in smaller tanks with higher populations.

But I love a challenge and just find the right preparation is really all that matters. Doggy was my only impulse buy and I am pretty happy with my ability to care for him.

As another random side note, I've considered keeping H. Erectus in with my cuttlefish eggs to keep them clean of amphipods. I'm not sure what protects the eggs in nature. :-)
Promised a video of feeding. unfortunately Doggy was not cooperative and did not end up finding his shrimp, so the video is pretty boring. :-)


The shrimp was a fresh gulf shrimp of some sort, soaked overnight in Selcon then frozen for later use. The shell becomes discolored during the soak but it is still raw despite possibly looking cooked from the reddish coloring.

Next time I post a video he will behave, I suspect he just wasn't that hungry (especially seeing how little he ended up eating) and just didn't try.
Suggested experiment (but I am not sure what it would mean on failure). It might be interesting to try attaching something visible to the buried shrimp (like a bamboo skewer) to see if he learns a visual clue. Their eyesight is nothing like an octopus or squids but recent studies suggest they do have long term memory capabilities.
He usually does find it, and usually within 5 minutes of it being added to the tank. I always leave a bit of the shrimp uncovered as well.

Had I not been standing there with a cell phone filming him, I would have let him have a lot longer before actually presenting him with the food. We'll see how he is feeling on Monday or Tuesday and repeat. It is pretty neat watching him blow debris around as he searches for his food.

Regarding memory - you'll notice after he fails to find the shrimp, he returns to the same spot in the tank he started out from. He has a couple specific places in the tank he likes to rest at. His favorite spot is in the corner with the green brittle...
My "experiment" idea was hatched to see if he recognized a marker, not because he did not want to give away his food finding technique on film :grin:. I really enjoyed the videos and it was clear that he knew something was in the sand.
Nautiluses can definitely remember visual cues and they can definitely find things buried with their great olfactory organs. More stuff on this soon... but @robyn and my adviser Dr. Jennifer Basil have shown some work on their memory.

@ngdo keeping any notes???

Cool stuff!

Sorry for the lack of updates - have had a very chaotic last couple months and feel like I'm never at my desk for more than a few minutes at a time.

First and most importantly - Doggy continues to do well.

Tank changes - chiller is set to 55F, but on a 12 hour timer and runs during the day. Tank warms up to about 63 overnight, then makes it back down to 57 or so. Just doing this because obviously the nautiluses deal with a temperature fluctuation in the wild - no idea if it actually matters or not.

Feeding - it turns out the favorite food of now is salmon. Friday in the office is always sushi day, and I gave Doggy a slice of fresh salmon sashimi - never saw him eat anything that quickly or thoroughly. So what I started doing is soaking fresh salmon in Selcon overnight, and stuffing it in a shrimp shell at feeding time (hey, he needs his calcium)!

Feeding is generally Monday and Thursday now. I think I'm going to start feeding him various different fishes for a variety of nutrition, but keep the shrimp shells. I was actually considering experimenting with making gelatin-based foods to help force a bigger variety of food sources, but we'll wait on that one.

In other news - @DWhatley suggested I start a second thread already, but due to my chaotic schedule and how poorly I've done updating this one we'll just stick to one - we actually went from a Doggy-only tank to a having four additional nautiluses (will get to it in a second). Now we have a total of 4, as @DWhatley has adopted one and she just picked him up this morning. I expect much more detailed information and journals from her.

My sister did her undergrad work at a local university, and had commented to me on some of the neat animals in their biology department. Recently they had a student doing some work with nautiluses (no clarifications on the work, I doubt it was very heavy though) and that student had gotten expelled recently. One of the staff members I had talked to a couple times was aware I was interested and enthusiastic, and while they had an interest in keeping the animals at the school thought that maybe they'd be better off with someone with the time (ha!) and more active interest.

So... things to look forward to from me.

1. More frequent updates about Doggy. I actually superglued a small piece of green plastic to his shell out of concern that we might not recognize him from the others, which is silly looking at them all now!

2. Updates about the three currently unnamed nautiluses in the tank

3. Updates about the interactions of the nautiluses in the tank.

... and so on and so forth.

Now, unfortunately, back to work for me.
Why are you making the temperature warmer at night? In the wild, it would be warmer during the day. Temperature cycles are critical for getting Nautilus to lay eggs. I know there is a paper somewhere, will try and dig it up.

Oh, and so jealous that D has a Nautilus... may have to go on an extended visit to the south...
MiniTCon Invitations always extended. We have lots of room, 1 octopus, 4 cuttlefish and 1 nautilus who enjoy company (then there is Neal and me thrown in the mix of course).

Sooo excited (and scared) about keeping a nautilus! I never expected circumstances (star alignments?) to come about where I felt I could comfortably keep one. I will start a journal sometime tonight after I sort through the acclimation photos.
@cuttlegirl - in the ocean, nautilus live in deep cold waters during the day, and emerge at night to scavange the reefs for food. The nighttime reef temperatures are higher than the daytime temperatures at depth.
Oh, you're right, just wasn't thinking. The Nautilus they had at the Waikiki Aquarium were in the dark all the time, but they cycled the temperature. I started searching for the paper, but didn't find it yet - will keep searching tonight.

Well, I found this youtube video. Baby Nautiluses are about the cutest thing I have ever seen. So perfect, so tiny.

I found one article about the original hatching.

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@cuttlegirl - the smaller nautiluses are definitely the cutest! The smallest in the tank now is about the diameter of a baseball (obviously not newborn) and is absolutely adorable swimming around and flaring his tentacles.

Next feeding is Thursday, will video the process and upload. ;-)
I'll counter with Zilch being the cutest nautilus I have ever kept :wink2:.

I am really hoping you see mating and eggs at some point during this venture.

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