The other most common problem concerning salt levels in your jellyfish aquarium, besides inaccurate hydrometers giving a false reading, is how the saltwater is made. Undissolved salts can also give you an inaccurate reading which is a problem since jellies are very sensitive to salinity changes & high salinity levels can also impede their movement, eating and overall cellular activity. It is important to know what your salinity is and how it changes over time.
The point I need to make here is about how you make up your saltwater distilled or RO water.
Always prepare the saltwater at least 24 hours ahead of time. Adding undissolved salts to your jellyfish aquarium will damage the jellies tissue and can cause them to be very still and not bell or pulse much…their bell can curl under and they will fully retract their tentacles and not eat because of the tentacle retraction. They will look and be sad….sad jellies. Also a dusty film of white on the interior of your tank will form, which can make the tank look cloudy.
Properly aerating saltwater involves a small submersible pump called a powerhead, and a bucket. A simple "bubble wand" or "bubbler" will not degauss and dissolve the salts completely. I know the words "aeration" and "bubbler" tend to go hand in hand, but in this case it's just not the right tool for the job. You need more mixing power in the water which a powerhead can give you. Once you add the desired amount of salt, vigorously mix for a minute or two with your hand or 2 foot length of PVC pipe as a stir stick. After that, you can let the powerhead pump ( in this scenario a Lifegard 800 is perfect!) do the rest. See diagram above to see how to set this up in a 5 gallon bucket. It could be any size bucket as long as you position the powerhead pump at the water level allowing it to pull in air as it mixes. You want the water and air to be churning vigorously.
If you have some residual stuff still swirling around the bottom of the bucket after 24 hours don't worry about it. Just leave it there and don't try and mix it into the water you will be using for a water change. You can rinse that out and get rid of it before making another batch of saltwater. It's just undissolved minerals and is totally normal.
Important Side Note!!
Never use tap water to make up your saltwater--not even if you use some sort of water conditioner that removes chlorine. There are heavy metals, pesticides and ever more increasing levels of pharmaceuticals in city tap water supplies. No sort of chemical conditioner will eliminate these things from the water. You must use distilled or RO (reverse osmosis) water. Do not use "spring water" or "mineral water" or "drinking water" --- it must say "Distilled" or if you are purchasing from a water store, it must be RO or RO/DI.
I recently had the opportunity to meet and speak at length with some new local customers who came in to learn how to keep jellyfish as pets. Payam, Lauren and their little dog Ted came down to the lab to see just what is involved with keeping jellyfish and maintaining a jellyfish aquarium. It was super to spend time with them and show them the ropes! It was then that I realized that most of the questions they had are the same questions a lot of folks send my way via email. So, I will start to shoot quick blog posts every week that cover these questions-- most of which are not jellyfish specific questions, but standard aquatics questions that can be answered fairly easily and quickly. And, I will certainly get to the more specific jellyfish inquiries which will help you, as a jellyfish owner, begin to recognize and identify certain issues that can arise while caring for these beautiful animals and how to correct the problem right away.
Don't bog your jellies down with high salinity levels in your jellyfish aquarium!
The first and biggest problem I see is maintaining water quality--specifically salinity. The problem seems to be in the hydrometers that are generally purchased to measure the salinity. The plastic hydrometers that are on the market, and even the more costly refractometers need calibration. Using either one of these instruments right out of the box will yield a variety of readings which is not good when you are trying to establish the salinity level of your aquarium. Payam left with 20 gallons of my natural ocean water, salinity 33ppt, and when he got home and tested the water with his newly purchased Deep Six Hydrometer, it was reading over 40ppt!! I knew this was incorrect. Payam returned it to the store and bought another one. Same problem. Then he purchased yet another one! Finally--Getting closer! Third time's a charm!
Now, I know from personal experience because I have 2 of them myself and each one reads differently. The trick is to calibrate it with a known water source and then simply account for the difference each time you use it. It's no big problem to do. The third one Payam purchased was a bit closer to an actual read and we agreed that he will bring it in for me to calibrate properly soon. The point is, if you are continually having problems with your jellyfish eating, belling or pulsing, or just not thriving, you should first look to your salinity level. Moon jellies perform better with a salinity level between 32-33ppt. Don't worry if you go a bit below that because lower is better than higher. Just don't alter the salinity level too much at one time but do it gradually over a few days. And, never add distilled or RO water to your filter box as it will kill your beneficial bacteria, which are a marine (saltwater) species of bacteria and are also affected by salinity & pH. Also, keep in mind: depending on your geographic location and evaporation rate, you may need to check your salinity twice a week. Here in Los Angeles we have very dry air and experience quite a lot of evaporation. But, again, it's hard to know that if you have an instrument that is inaccurately reading your water. Try taking your hydrometer to your local hi-end reef / fish store and see if they will calibrate it for you. What you want to know is how many points off your hydrometer is - either too high or too low-- and then just account for that each time you take a salinity reading. For example, when using my plastic Deep Six hydrometer in a pinch, I know it reads 3 points too low, so I just add 3 points to whatever it is reading. When I do have a chance to test it against my pricey refractometer, it is consistent with my adjusted plastic hydrometer read.
All hobbies start with overwhelming enthusiasm! We are so eager to learn all that we can about whatever it is, then buy all the necessary gear and equipment (most hobbies have the coolest gear and accessories to go along with them!) and dive right in with all the excitement of a 6 year old on Christmas morning! These are the things that make hobbies so much fun! They are generally new to us and open us up to all kinds of new ideas and people, places and things. Your budding hobby has you jumping out of your shorts and you just don’t want to wait another minute to get it completely mastered.
Some hobbies, however, do require some patience – at least at the beginning stages. Gardening is one of those hobbies. You can’t plant your seeds or seedlings one day and then go out the next day or following week and dig them up to replant them because you think they are not growing fast enough. This will surely inhibit their growth, if not kill them in the process. Plants have roots that need to establish themselves in the soil before they can send nourishment to the plant for growth. The soil & roots need time to go through a nitrogen-fixing cycle, or nitrification cycle. It is a natural activity in which nitrogen is processed by bacteria in the soil in order to make it available to the plant for nourishment. This cycling process is also necessary in marine environments in order to create a safe and non-toxic environment for your fish and /or invertebrates. Without the nitrification process completed in your system, you will not be successful at keeping anything alive---it’s a fact.
Patience is needed to allow the beneficial bacteria to populate your biological filters. Generally biological filters are a darkened area like a filter box where no light enters. Bacteria are inhibited by light so a filter box is best for housing the biological filter. It is also an area that will not be disturbed during maintenance because we don’t want cause a bacterial bloom in the aquarium. Once they are established, your biological filters are the foundation in which your hobby can begin.
So, remember these bacteria populations need a lot of food energy to grow so you don’t want to take away any of the ammonia producing elements in your system. The dirty filters, the detritus on the bottom, the slightly cloudy water---these are food producing (ammonia producing) and are just what you want to get those bacteria populations growing! Don’t do any water or filter changes (mechanical or chemical) during the cycling process. You will only be prolonging the cycle by diluting the food source for the bacteria.
This is not a jellyfish specific task. This is what every aquarist—hobbyist or professional, has to deal with all the time. But, once completed properly you can feel confident you have taken the necessary measures creating a safe and healthy home for your new pet jellyfish.
As you populate your eon jellyfish tank with jellies, you may sometimes notice a jelly acting differently; belling oddly or sometimes infrequently. Is that jelly sick? Should you take some action to make it better? Not necessarily. First of all, jellies don’t get sick, per say; however, they can plateau in their development.
Take a look at your other jellies. Are they behaving in the same fashion as the jelly in question? Take some water quality readings and see if they are in range or not. Correct any levels that are off and wait a day or two. Since the jellies are 96% water and if your water quality is checks out good, then your jelly in question could be taking a personal day---having personal issues. This does not mean you need to take action on your whole system. If your system is in range, be patient and keeping observing.
We have noticed over the years that sometimes a jelly will sort of plateau and change behaviors for up to two weeks and then get back to normal. Some jellies grow quick and fast and are always in action, but then their growth rate slows down. Some don’t grow at first and then take off later in life. Be patient with your jellies as they settle into your system and with your maintenance practices. It’s good to be on the ball observing their health and wellbeing; however, think about your tank as a system--an aquatic system. Don’t be quick to judge one or two “off” days with a jelly here or there. And do not go the route of forcing more food into the equation thinking that is the answer. Let nature do its thing and just maintain good water quality and maintenance practices. These guys are resilient and given the chance, they can rebound nicely in a well-kept environment.
…in some cases they take a personal day for the rest of their lives and there isn’t anything to be done. They can still eat and live and be just fine. Embrace the existentialists!!!
As with any pet, having a pet jellyfish takes some time, dedication and care on your part, the pet owner. Taking care of jellyfish means taking care of their watery environment & feeding them something nutritious--- given you have a proper jellyfish tank for them to survive.
What is expected of you now that you have a pet jellyfish or two or three in the house? Well, you will have to feed them daily and conduct a few simple water tests each week. You will also change out some filters & some water and clean the interior of the tank. Of course, the size of your jellyfish tank will determine just how much time these tasks will take—the bigger the tank, the more time & water is needed. Below is the maintenance schedule for the 10gallon Eon Jellyfish System, just to give you an idea of the maintenance required.
•Once a week you test the water quality & will change 1 gallon of saltwater, change the mechanical filter & clean the interior surfaces of the tank (30 minutes time).
•Every other week you will also change 1 of the 3 carbon filters (an additional 5 minutes).
•Every three months you will clean out the spray bar holes and the drain screen, along with the pump and check valve (an additional 20 minutes).
•Every year you will remove the jellies & filters and bleach & dechlorinate the system.
Because moon jellies are 96% water, most of your attention will be on the quality of the water your jellies are living in—they literally are what they swim in---so keep it nice! On a daily basis, the Eon’s built in wet/dry filter will maintain your biological & chemical filtration and therefore, water quality and clarity, only requiring a 1 gallon water change each week.
It is a simple routine that is easily followed. And in doing so, you can certainly expect to see happy, growing jellies in your home! Enjoy!
This is a question we get all the time! Especially when folks see a jellyfish Tumbler Tank. It looks like a traditional square or rectangular aquarium, but it has some specific modifications inside it that make it safe for jellyfish.
Back in the 1960’s the plankton kreisel (German word meaning, "to spin") was crafted to hold all sorts of planktonic animals because it was evident they could not survive in a normal aquarium. They needed a current inside the tank to assist them to swim or bell, otherwise they just laid on the bottom of the tank. A piece of acrylic was formed into a circle and placed inside a square aquarium. Then a small stream of water by way of spray bars was introduced along the interior of the circle. This created what is termed, laminar flow. The spray bars created a false current by spinning the water around the interior of the circle. Think of a whirlpool effect—the water movement going around and around kept the planktonic animals up in the water column and not resting on the bottom of the tank. It was revolutionary!
That was over 40 years ago! Since that time many new jellyfish tank designs have emerged and each one has its benefits. There are true kreisels, like originally mentioned, a true circle inside of a square aquarium and there are pseudo kreisels. Pseudo kreisels include those plankton kreisels that are modifications of the original and include Stretch kreisels where the tank is longer than it is tall and these can be either Horizontal Stretch kreisels or Vertical Stretch kreisels, and there are Cylinder and Half Cylinder tanks, as well as, Modified Tumbler Boxes.
The important thing to know are the key features that make a jellyfish tank safe for jelly keeping. The flow needs to be consistent and even and the drain or overflow needs to be protected.
Because jellyfish move with the flow of water, wherever the water flows, so will the jellies. So, if the water flows into the tank, it must flow out by way of a drain. This drain must be protected or guarded otherwise the jellies will go down the drain. You need a tank that can properly create a nice even flow for the jellies to swim or bell, and a safe guarded drain so they don’t go down it. Two very simple, but important requirements for a jellyfish tank.
So, what is up with the Jellyfish Tumbler Tank? It isn't round or cylindrical?
No, it isn’t, but it doesn’t have to be as long as all the bases are covered—even and consistent flow and a protected drain. It may look simple, but the inner workings of a Tumbler style jellyfish tank are just as intricate and defined as with a standard kreisel tank. The spray bars are well defined in two places. The drain is protected by a screen and a spray bar that gently moves the jellies away if they get near. The Tumbler tank creates a gentle turnover of the water column so the jellies can bell freely without being forced around and around like on a merry go round.
Enough reading! Watch the videos and see for yourself how the Tumbler Box works! A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth even more!