Nautilus Source

nohpd521

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Alright guys......I finally put together all the equipment, 125 gallon tall aquarium, chiller, etc. for my proposed Nautilus species tank. Before I get it going does anyone know of any sources that stock Nautilus regularly? Or at the very least the season that vendors usually stock them. I just don't want to get everything going if I won't be able to find one for a long time......An empty 125 gallon for a year wouldn't be too fun!:sad:


Thanks
Sean
 

monty

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:welcome: to TONMO, Sean!

I've moved this to the "exotics" forum with a temporary redirect, I apologize for any confusion.

As far as I know, there is no reliable source for Nautilus for the hobbyist, although they do show up occasionally in local fish stores.

Many of us consider the low availability to be a good thing: it's not really clear what the survivability of the species in the wild is (it hasn't really been studied) but there is a great deal of evidence that they are under a lot of collection pressure by people who want to sell their shells.

Our usual advice is that they don't make good pets anyway, so we don't really recommend them. Since you seem to have a handle on the needs (chiller, etc) I assume you know fairly well what to expect, and I don't mean to say that they are completely inappropriate for everyone (in fact, gjbarord and marinebio_guy wrote an article in TFH about keeping them, which you should probably take a look at if you haven't already.) We feel pretty strongly that many people who show interest aren't willing to provide a healthy environment for them, and, more importantly, that the collectors that send them to local fish stores make no effort to send them to people who are prepared to take care of them... and we also get questions here from people who want them as their "novelty fish of the week," and we're very concerned that increases in that trend could lead to them being overcollected and dying in fish stores or the hands of unprepared hobbyists (although whether that would be significant compared to the obscene number collected and killed for their shells to be sold as objets d'art is probably a fair question.)

Read here for some information on this: http://www.thecephalopodpage.org/nautcon.php

Since you seem to know all this, I think it's a fair to try to answer your question in light of all that. If someone is wanting to keep Nautilus, and is responsible enough to provide a safe environment, what is the most reasonable way to obtain one? I know that many sources (e.g. the NRCC) don't provide animals to anyone except researchers and public aquariums. I'm pretty sure it's a bad idea to order from regular hobby suppliers and the like, because we've seen from experience that if collectors perceive a demand, they'll aggressively collect animals and ship them to local fish stores, where they'll either die because they don't know or have the resources to provide for them, or be sold to rich idiots as an expensive exotic, where they'll meet the same fate. (In case it seems harsh, I think the fact that you're describing responsibly setting up an appropriate tank in advance makes you quite different, so I don't mean to lump you in to the same category.) There are some collectors who are aware of the concerns, and collect for academic institutions. I know some have a blanket policy of never collecting for anything other than research or education, but maybe there are some who are willing to sell to qualified and prepared hobbyists in order to avoid the horrors of the mainstream ornamental fish pipeline. If there are, I imagine some of our members who have kept them professionally might be able to help you find a source, but I don't know for sure.

This raises an interesting moral question, since clearly at least Adam and Greg B think it's OK for advanced and prepared home aquarists to keep Nautilus as a pet, but I don't remember their article suggesting how to obtain one without contributing to many of its cousins being killed by indiscriminate collectors shipping to unprepared LFSes. I'm not sure how Robyn, who works with them professionally, feels about obtaining them by asking, as you have, how to get one when properly prepared: I know she discouraged someone from trying to quickly set up a tank to rescue one from an LFS, since she felt that buying it from the LFS would encourage them to order more. Certainly, Dr. Monks, in his article above, would say that the only answer is "don't."

I try to be a realist, and think that people who are passionate enough about trying to meet their needs shouldn't be slapped down, and the primary villains are the shell collectors... this forum is something of a compromise there: to read the "Exotics and Rare Species" you have to register, so it's not indexed in google, and at least provides some requirement that only people serious about caring for these animals participate, so please keep discussion of Nautilus in the home aquarium here.

In addition to Robyn, Adam, and Greg, I believe Cuttlegirl has worked with Nautilus at the Waikiki Aquarium, so I'd encourage you to ask any or all of them for advice on the details of your setup.
 

nohpd521

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Monty,

Thanks for the HONEST answer, I appreciate the time it took on your part for the lengthy response.....I have certainly read all that I can on the subject and feel that I can provide a healthy specimen a quality enviroment in captivity. This was not an "overnight dream pet" as I have researched and planned this project out for a long time. I did not pursue this until I had all the necessary equipment which was purchased in pieces.....ie, tank, chiller, dimmed actinic lighting, etc. due to the cost involved. And also not until I had gathered all the necessary information, both good AND bad!

I'm just in a delimema....Do I get the tank going with the hope of one day coming across one or wait till I find one first?? Since it will be a species tank, I run the possibility of having an empty tank running for a LONG time!

Well.......I DON'T want to bother or "panhandle" anyone for a Nautilus source, however, I will leave it out there if anyone could help a "prepared" hoybyist out, PLEASE PM me! I think that's fair!! We can talk at length first.......

Thanks
Sean
 

monty

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Thank you back for not taking that as an attack... it was pretty clear from your first message that your intentions are pretty sound, and I think having you as an example here is a good thing for the discussion here, but I've noticed a lot of people are pretty sensitive to any suggestions that they shouldn't have an exotic pet.

I'd actually encourage the discussion to be in the open, too, just in the "Exotics" section so that we don't increase the google hits for "pet nautilus" and drive up perceived demand.

My general view for your particular situation is that it would be preferable to have the tank solidly set up, because it's unlikely anyone will know months in advance whether they'll have Nautilus on hand. Of course, that does lead to the situation you're worried about, where you have the tank but can't find the animal, but that's actually less frustrating than having a lead on an animal when your tank isn't ready.
 

robyn

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I agree with Monty, have you're tank cycled and ready so if you find a Nautilus you can be prepared for it. Nautiluses are pretty grotty (do you have a protein skimmer?)so if you cycle your tank with some cold-water crabs or lobsters and feed them on plenty of dead fish or something similar you should have a decent cycle going.

You seem like you have the equipment you need to give one a decent home. I only know wholesale vendors for Nautiluses and they are typically very strict about supplying research and businesses only. Retail availability seems fairly random so you might be waiting a while, or yo could get lucky pretty quickly. In my experience the summer is a bad time for supply, fall and winter seem a bit better.

Good luck with the set-up.
 

cthulhu77

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Of course, here in the Southwest, we only see Nautilus pop up in the winter on the for sale sheets. Christian, a friend of mine, managed to keep on for quite a while, but it did pass on eventually.

Personally, having worked with them in public aquariums, they are not the most fascinating cephs, they always seemed rather dunce-y, if you will. Give me a bimac any day of the week for sheer interaction and fun.

I do know vendors that carry them, but as Robyn so perfectly stated, this is the wrong season to buy.

Greg
 

gjbarord

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When I thought about writing that article I wondered whether or not it would be a good thing or a bad thing. I finally considered it to be good in light of the fact that people will try to keep whatever they want, so I wanted the correct information out there. I thought the article that Adam and I wrote portayed the nautilus as a very fascinating animals that need excellent husbandry, from the right equipment to the proper knowledge of water chemistry. I thought that the article hit this point hard so that in may cause some people, who were not up to the task of investing so much time and money, to pass over the nautilus as a pet.

I would not recommend nautilus as a pet to anyone unless they have a firm grasp of what they are doing. Considering the apparent decline in populations recently, the nautilus may not be suitable for hobbyist or aquarist. If I could make one recommendation to anyone who keeps nautilus, whether it be a hobbyist, an aquarium, or a research lab, it would be to try and try and reproduce nautilus in captivity as a part of the husbandry practices. While populations of these creatures are not clearly known and with the anecdotal evidence that we do have, perhaps we owe it to the nautilus to try and culture them in captivity.

Hope I did not ramble too much...

Greg:nautilus::twocents:
 
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