Introduction A guide to caring for your Moon Jellyfish
This guide is built upon several years of observation and care for many moon jellyfish bought from a variety of sources. Initially this guide was intended for owners of the Jellyfish Art desktop tank, but it has expanded into a general care guide regardless of tank type. It has been supplemented with reading material in several other books and websites. I hope my experiences can provide a starting point to reduce the difficulty for anyone else. Feedback, corrections, or general correspondance is welcome and appreciated. This guide was last updated on May 29th, 2015.
Environment How to determine if your water is appropriate for Moon jellyfish
API Saltwater Testing Kit on Amazon
For comparison, an ammonia level that high would kill a fish within hours. If the aquarium water climbs above 2.0 ppm total ammonia (NH3/NH4+), change the water more frequently until the bacteria in the tank catch up and reduce the ammonia to acceptable levels. For more information, read about the nitrogen cycle for marine life on the internet and read about the ammonia (NH3) -> nitrite (NO2-) -> nitrate (NO2-) transformation.
|Parameter||Ideal Range2, 3, 7|
|pH||8.0 - 8.3|
|Salinity||32 - 35 ppt|
|Ammonia (NH3)||0.0 ppm|
|Nitrite (NO2-)||0.0 ppm|
|Nitrate (NO3-)||0.0 - 20.0 ppm|
BRS Refractometer on Bulk Reef Supply
Water Maintenance Tips and tricks to safely change tank water
8.45oz Instant Ocean BIO-Spira on Amazon
Feeding How to ensure your jellyfish get the necessary nutrition
The nematocysts are part of how the jellyfish stimulates itself into movement; feeding properly is an important part of making sure the jelly is cared for in the long-term.2
If the food is bunching up at the mouth but not traveling into the four stomachs, check the pH of your tank. A pH that is on the high side of the acceptable range (e.g. 8.4) may cause the cilia that move the food into the stomachs to not function as effectively.
If that does not solve the issue, check your food source. You may have rotten food or inappropriate food material. Try a different source; many retailers that sell jellies also sell their own food packages (or have recommendations).
CaribSea AragAlive 20lbs reef sand, Fiji Pink
Health and Exercise How to prevent your delicate jellyfish from coming to harm
If harm does come to your jellyfish, do not panic. While they are easy to damage, jellyfish are difficult to kill. With care, your jellyfish can make an incredible recovery.2 Holes and large tears in the bell are recoverable so long as your jellyfish has not reached advanced age.4 Even if your jellyfish cannot eat or swim, it can still heal. Jellyfish can survive weeks without food, they will shrink and use up their bell mass to heal.
- Turn off your air pump to avoid having the jellyfish sucked through the air channel while you rescue them.
- Gently swirl your feeding pipette three times in a horizontal circle above the jellyfish to create a vortex current that will lift the jellyfish up out of the substrate. Go slowly, and be patient, it will take several seconds before the vortex occurs. If nothing happens, try again slightly faster. (Via Brian Rogers)
- If that does not work, try gently squirting water into the substrate next to the jellyfish to lift it up. Again, be gentle, your jellyfish may be "glued" to some rock, and being gentle will save its oral arms from being torn off by the force the water.
- If that does not work, you may have to stick your hand into the tank and gently remove some pieces of substrate before trying again. Try not touch the jellyfish directly with your hands or the feeding pipette
- Dramatic salinity change
- Dramatic temperature change
- Poor water quality (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates)
- Lack of proper nutrition (diet is lacking nutrients, or food not getting into stomachs)
If your jellyfish is a brownish color, it means the jellyfish is of advanced age and is approaching the end of its natural lifespan.1
8lbs CaribSea ARM coarse on Marine Depot
Retailers Where you can buy jellyfish tanks and animals
|Moon Jellyfish / Sunset Marine Labs||Small (2"), Large (3")||Sunset Marine Labs has 16 years of exprience captive breeding moon jellies down in the Los Angeles area. The owner, Nancy Sowinski, has supplied jellies to aquariums, and commercial establishments world-wide. This experience allows Sunset Marine Labs to give exact directions on how to care for them. In addition to the standard arrive alive guarantee, the company has (for now) an unofficial policy of shipping one extra animal in case something dies in transit. Although it is always possible to receive a damaged animal due to the shock of shipping, I have had a full recovery every time.|
|PB'N'Jellies||Small (1"), Medium (2"-3"), Large (3+")||PB'N'Jellies is owned by Wyatt Patry, a senior aquarist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium responsible for the jellyfish exhibits. Wyatt Patry recently made a breakthrough at breeding Crown jellyfish in captivity. PB'N'Jellies is Wyatt's business selling moon jellies, in addition to an aquarist blog that he maintains.|
|Exotic Aquaculture||Inquire for availability||Exotic Aquacuture is the jellyfish breeding and supply branch of Cubic Aquariums and has been supplying commercial aquariums up until now. With the creation of home jellyfish tanks, Exotic Aquaculture is trying to move into the retail market and sell its jellies directly to tank owners.|
|Pet Jellyfish||Small (2.5cm/1")||Pet Jellyfish is a UK supplier of moon jellies and is the most appropriate supplier on this list for any UK or European tank owners. Jellyfish availability is only on the small side, but moon jellies grow quickly when they are fed often and the tanks likewise cleaned often.|
|Jellyfish Art||Small (1.5"), Large (3")||Jellyfish Art was founded in 2009 and is based in Florida. Initially their specimens were wild caught, which led to issues with temperature acclimation and care. My initial purchase included at least two different species of moon jelly. They are currently working on a captive breeding program, but for now are acquiring their jellies from others. Jellies bought from Jellyfish Art are generally "wild cards", size may differ from advertised, and it is unknown what their true origin is and whether they are suited for the warmer household temperatures.|
References Additional information and where I found it
- How to Keep Jellyfish in Aquariums: An Introductory Guide for Maintaining Healthy Jellies by Chad L Widmer
Chad was the head curator of the jellyfish exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and his book is intended to help owners raise and breed their own jellyfish. Includes a few useful practical tips on what to do and what not to do, as well as a troubleshooting guide.
- Nancy Sowinski
Nancy is the owner of Sunset Marine Labs, and their retail division Moon Jellyfish. With 16 years of experience, she has provided moon jellyfish to a variety of aquariums, restaurants, and clubs world wide.
- Cubic Aquarium Forums
This European company has a resident jellyfish expert dubbed Dr. T who also has contacts at a Japanese university. Their forums are full of detailed information and advice on keeping jellyfish.
Wyatt Patry is a senior aquarist at the Monteray Bay Aquarium, and was responsible for the breakthrough that allowed Crown jellies to be bred in captivity. He owns PB'N'Jellies, a Moon jelly supply site.
- Tank Raised Moon Jellyfish by Jim Stime, Jr.
This article is written by Jim Stime, the designer of the Jelliquarium, an early home aquarium for jellyfish. The article contains a great detailed overview of what raising a large number of Moon jellyfish is like.
- Aurelia Aurita
Wikipedia article on Aurelia aurita, also commonly known as the Moon jellyfish.
- Sunset Marine Labs Video: Acclimating Your Jellyfish Properly
This video by Moonjellyfish.com (the retail arm of Sunset Marine Labs) shows how to acclimate their jellyfish. It includes information about what water parameters the jellyfish should have.
- Nitrifying Bacteria Facts
Bio-Con Labs keeps a detailed explanation of how nitrifying bacteria function. Some of the information within is specific to a particular brand of cultured bacteria from FritzZyme 9 by Fritz Aquatics.
- Chemistry and the Aquarium: Specific Gravity: Oh How Complicated!
This article by Randy Holmes-Farley gives an excellent and lengthy explanation of the relationship between salinity, specific gravity, and temperature, as well as some tips on how to gauge the accuracy and precision of your hydrometer.
- Low pH: Cause and Cures
This article by Randy Holmes-Farley gives an overview of pH in saltwater aquariums as well as how to diagnose and treat problems that cause out of range pH values.
- What is that precipitate in my reef aquarium?
This article by Randy Holmes-Farley explains what the precipitate in aquariums commonly is and how it forms.
Contact Information How to contact the author(s)
Jonathan has no prior experience with jellyfish, saltwater aquariums, or marine life in general. As an engineer, Jonathan is just happy to have a chance to figure things out, experiment, write down the results, and admire just how pretty animals can be. Jonathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.