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Flaky Nautilus Shell?

Joined
Feb 28, 2015
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11
Does anyone have experience with their nautilus having their shell "flake?" The "flakes" are very thin, translucent pieces that peel off on the lateral sides of the shell. I've scrubbed it lightly with a baby toothbrush once but it has started to flake again. Is this normal or something I should worry about?
 

DWhatley

Kraken
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I am a novice with nautilus and am not qualified to give advice but I will mention what I experienced with my sole animal.

I saw the flakes with some of the new shell extension when Zilch first arrives. At that time the edge had the famous black lines at the edge. I stopped seeing it as the shell grew with no more black lines. Unfortunately, I don't know if this is normal or part of the issues with keeping them in captivity. The black lines appear on photos of both shells and in situ animals. They are reported to be an expected event on captive animals, occuring in varying places as the shell grows (some thoughts, without confirmation suggest overfeeding may result in the shell having difficulty keeping up with the animal's growth). The black is not a good sign and may be some kind of healing property as it is also on damaged areas of wild animal (perhaps like a waterproof clue or caulk) but does not seem to be a major life threatening issue. I also noticed that the new growth was more pearly than the existing shell and don't know if this is significant.
 

gjbarord

Sepia elegans
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@DWhatley , did you say that your nautilus did not have black shell growth in captivity?

@iammegangreen , can you post any photos? Depending on age, juveniles have a thin film on the periostracum that flakes off in captivity. It may appear clear to yellow on the shell.

Speaking to the black shell. The "black lines" seen in captive animals are never seen in wild animals. Black marks or scars are common in wild animals and simply a part of their efficient immune system. Similar to when we cut ourselves, the black scabbing is similar to our scabs. The injury then heals itself and the nautilus shell returns to near normal, leaving a black scar of the initial point of injury... Black lines in captivity have not been associated with poor health or the like in captive nautiluses to my knowledge.

Greg
 

DWhatley

Kraken
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Greg, when Zilch arrived there was a black line near the edge of his shell but the new shell growth (about 2") did not have any. The new shell growth in captivity was, however, easily identified because of a hazy coating (?) that I assumed to be the periostracum. I was not aware that there were two forms of black lines so now I am confused. In my uneducated observation the black line on the shell looks like the black lines I see in photos that I assume to be a scaring. Interestingly, his shell had a crack (on arrival) about midway around the diameter. This did not show the black scaring and was not easily found.

It is very hard to make good guesses at what is going on with the lack of keeper information. Even unofficial notes would be highly appreciated.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2015
Messages
11
@gjbarord I attempted to take photos but they didn't turn out with the blue light I have over the tank. It is a thin layer that is very pearly in appearance. Light & thin flakes. Doesn't appear to be harmful, I'd just like make sure in order to keep these guys healthy & happy (since they are so cryptic). They are small in comparison to previous nautilus pompilius I've kept, so I'm assuming they are still young.
When you say black growth lines that only occur in captivity are you referring to the black lines formed in the new growth of the shell?
 

gjbarord

Sepia elegans
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@iammegangreen , how far do the orange stripes go along the shell? If they go the the aperture (edge) then it is definitely a juvenile. Adults will not have stripes on the ventral portion of their shell and be fairly large.

Yeah, the black lines i am referring to are the black lines along the new shell growth.

Greg
 

DWhatley

Kraken
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I noticed with Zilch that I could not see the brown stripes until there was over an inch of new shell growth but this was probably just timing.
 
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