Nautilus Radiograph


Sepia elegans
Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Feb 1, 2007
Des Moines, Iowa
Here is a picture of a nautilus we took to our vet to radiograph.

Thought you all would enjoy it.



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This is the one that is neagatively buoyant. I have drawn up a procedure to treat it and we are in the final stages of it. I will hopefully know more in about a week.

If your Nautilus becomes neagatively buoyant

When you have a Nautilus that was neagatively buoyant when you received it (very important because if you wait to long this will only work about 10% of the time) and has lost that ability (if it had the ability when you received it them it works 80%+ of the time). All you need to do is attach just enough weight to pull it down not to the bottom just down (to the underside NOT the top as it cause it to roll backward) use a rubber band. Turn the light up just a bit. If you do not have light on the tank you should 6 hours a day. Feed it chicken (let the chick set out a few hours first). It will become neagatively buoyant in 2 to 3 days. Besure to feed it all the chicken it will eat do NOT leave the uneaten chicken in the tank for more than an hour. You can also use crab meat and shrimp (shrimp heads work very well for this)
The nautilus is negatively buoyant; it is unable to regulate its buoyancy and just sinks to the bottom. This is not something that occurred after receiving it. The nautilus has been in the aquarium collection for about 2 years now. I do know that if you do experience buoyancy issues upon arrival, the best thing to do is to wait it out and the issues usually resolve themselves.

While some people do feed chicken to their nautilus, I will never feed that out to captive nautiluses. Not very natural at all and I would much rather feed out animals thought to be its prey such as crab and shrimp, like you suggest.

Thanks for the info.

Maybe I did not explain myself. I have been working with Nautilus for 20 years. There is a lot I do not know but I do know that if the Nautilus no longer can move down ward due to the lack of fluid in the chambers the best thing is to add weight as soon as you see there is a problem. As for chicken in an aquarium that is why I said do not leave it in the tank very long. But again if you can get them to eat the chicken it will help generate the fluid.
I think Greg is saying that this animal was having trouble with not being able to get off the bottom of the tank (ie. it was permanently sunk, not permanently floating).

I have tried weighting animals that floated due to shipping and handling problems, but I found that once the weights were removed the animals floated again. Sometimes they regained neutral buoyancy over several months, sometimes not.

How does feeding chicken help to generate cameral fluid? Like Greg, I prefer to feed nautiluses marine fish and shrimp. I have heard of chicken being used as bait for cage traps, but I don't see how it would help here, except maybe to weigh the animal down temporarily with a full crop of food.

if the Nautilus no longer can move down ward due to the lack of fluid in the chambers
. Wouldn't this make the animal float? Perhaps I am just confused by what you mean. Can you explain in more detail how this all fits together. I encounter animals that float quite often, and I am curious to how the suggestions you make would work.


:welcome: to TONMO, Steve (or at least welcome to posting, since it looks like you've been a reader for a while...) I'm curious where you work with Nautilus in Arizona, since that's, er, a bit afield of their normal habitat... do you work at an aquarium?
Cameral fluid is not generated. The fluid (surrounding seawater) in the chambers is pumped in and out via the siphuncle. How does the chicken elicit the effect you are explaining?

It sounds like we are all on a different page so perhaps you could give a bit more explanation of what exactly you are talking about.


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