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Zilch - Nautilus Pompilius

DWhatley

Kraken
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I am not sure how to start this journal. I have always wanted to keep a nautilus and even visited one twice at a local pet store (fortunately no longer in business) that was kept in a shallow frag tank at 78 degrees but could not bring myself to try to save it and have them profit. Recently, one of my shrimp suppliers mentioned he could get one for me quite reasonably but I explained why I would not acquire one through purchase. Shortly after that discussion (which my supplier and I both found ironic) @ngdo contacted me with the news that I could rescue one (I had mentioned I had a cycled deep tank and chiller in Doggy's thread) from a university that was left holding 4 after the student researcher left. I am still in a daze at the opportunity :rainbow:. @ngdo kept the animal until I prepared the tank and reduced the temperature. It dawned on me when he/she came that with this animal I have now kept (squids are cheating a bit since the hatchlings only lived a day) at least one of each of the four cephalopod types.

@ngdo wanted to be SURE the package did not get lost :biggrin2:. Opening the box was a bit like the Xmas presents that contain smaller and smaller packages.

shippingBigBox.JPG shippingNormalBox.JPG
shippingOpenBox_01.JPG shippingNautInBag.JPG
 
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DWhatley

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I was a bit paniced when I opened the outer bag and saw water. It appears that the nautilus may have bitten into the bag. The inner most bag (first hole) had a rough tear, the next outward bag a full hole and the outer most bag a stretched area. Fortunately he appears to have stayed fully submersed thanks to the extra water. I am a little worried he may have eaten some of the plastic from the middle bag though.

Edit: I found an older article co-written by @gjbarord (Aquarium Science: Husbandry of the Nautilus: Aspects of its Biology, Behavior, and Care )that suggests the biting thought has merit:

There should be no plastic décor, as nautiluses have a habit of trying to bite/eat everything.

shippingBagHole_02.JPG shippingBagHoles.JPG

To avoid fouling the shipping water, @ngdo sent my new ward on an empty stomach. He ate both salmon and shrimp during acclimation and a couple more pieces of each after being released to the tank. The large piece of salmon in the first picture below was ultimately rejected. Reducing the size (something I have noticed with octopuses) resulted in it being eaten. With the thin tentacles, nauts are so gentle taking food! Very different from cuttles and octopuses.

acclimationEatingSalmon.JPG acclimationEatingShrimp.JPG
 
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DWhatley

Kraken
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Initial observations:
Some time in the past the shell received a long hairline fracture the full width of one side of the shell. There is only a small amount of black visible so I suspect it hit something and was not attacked.

acclimationInTankCrackedShell.JPG

There is ring around the opening of what appears to be brown fleshy material. This shows a leading edge of black, visible looking up at the animal but not looking down. It appears some of this around the leading edge of the shell has started to peel away (a bit worrisome).

acclimationInTankBlackLine_01.JPG

He/she can jet around and go up and down but cannot neutralize buoyancy. At @ngdo's recommendation, I have turned off the powerheads (leaving one small Koralia at the top - now with a net because he started putting his tentacles in the holes) until he learns the tank and hopfully regains his ability to neutralize (something he could do before shipping). Tonight I found and tried a suggestion by @cuttlegirl to tip the nautilus to one side, to the other side, back to the first side and then upside down to try to release any trapped air (a good possibility given the bag situation). I think I saw one bubble on the first try but none on the second. I will try this for a couple of days to see if it has any effect. It did seem he could stay about 1/2" lower (the top of the shell fully submerged where it was slightly above the water line earlier). I will check tomorrow when the lighting is better to validate it had an effect.

Tonight he has found a corner near the Koralia and appears to be resting. Breathing is much more relaxed than during acclimation and tank introduction so I will take this and the fact that he ate (hand fed and observed that the food was eaten) as a good sign and keep :fingerscrossed: I will be a Nervous Nellie for the next two weeks!

The tank had a moonlight set on the new lights. I turned it off and set up a red light and he wandered about the tank (only after I woke him up by trying to release air though :roll:)

I had planned to name him Naughty but Neal wants something more like Zero, Nada, etc. We may go with Zilch or Zip.
Edit: Zilch it is :biggrin2:
 
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DWhatley

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I use red on the octopus tanks (I don't use any night lighting with the cuttles) with success and am rather pleased with the way this red led is working out for the tank. I may buy a couple more to replace my others. It is by Marineland and is designed to go inside the tank and be used with an airline. I did not like it inside the tank for lighting or as an airline so I am not using the airline feature but it is the best red light I have found yet.
 

DWhatley

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Zilch is coming to the front of the tank with the red light on and starts being active when he spots movement. He may have already (or from past housing) learned about the food slave.

Looking at his cracked shell line in the tank and then in the photos, I think this may have happened when he was much smaller (initially was thinking it came from collection and wholesale handling) because the brown striping does not cross the cracked area.
 

ngdo

O. bimaculoides
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I removed all the powerheads from the nautilus tank as Doggy had a habit of hitching to them (they seem to like being in the current). He never hurt himself, but wasn't going to take the chance. My tank has good enough circulation off the return that I have no concerns.

@DWhatley and I have been communicating more frequently over email - as I explained to her, I'm rarely free when I'm at my computer, and the forum behaves poorly for me on my phone.

First I was really surprised at the damage done to the bags as they were high-impact polypropylene bags. I'm extremely happy he made it and is in a good home though.

Second, I'm really looking forward to following this journal and comparing notes. I've come to the opinion that the nautiluses don't seem to overeat - they discard food remainders when given larger pieces, and refuse any additional food from me for days. @DWhatley said has observed a higher appetite when eating smaller pieces of food, although in my early days with Doggy he seemed to have a more voracious appetite and now enjoys food 1-2 times a week.

Maybe we need to start another thread for generalized discussions so as to not pollute each others journals? :wink:
 
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