Keeping Jellyfish in aquariums is one of those things that many hobbyists would like to do, but not a lot of people really know how. In this Q&A I have interviewed the Jellyfish expert, Travis Brandwood on how to take care of them in captivity. Hopefully with this guide, many can see the steps needed to house Jellyfish, along with the essentials needed to sustain them.
Q&A with Travis
Keeping Jellyfish has been a fairly new hobby in regard to the aquarium trade. How far has technology come with keeping them in captivity?
“Technology really has come leaps and bounds since Jellyfish were first kept in captivity. The first Jellyfish tanks were very large, complicated and expensive. We’ve since found ways to make great Jellyfish tanks that are simple, inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing.”
What are some of the more popular species of Jellyfish to keep in aquariums?
“The age old classic is the Moon Jellyfish. They’re easy to keep, and captive bred specimens are readily available. Flame Jellyfish, Lagoon Jellyfish and Atlantic Sea Nettles are very popular as well.”
What do Jellyfish typically eat?
“In the wild, Jellyfish consume plankton, like copepods, fish larva, etc. There are many dry, powdered and pellet foods available for Jellyfish now. These foods have made it very easy to keep healthy, well fed Jellyfish. Some other great foods include live baby Brine Shrimp, frozen rotifers, and frozen Mysis shrimp.”
What are the common tank sizes (in gallons) for keeping Jellyfish?
“There are a lot of desktop sized Jellyfish tanks on the market these days. They typically range from 2-20 gallons. And there are a few ready made Jellyfish tanks in the 40 gallon range. Often times, tanks larger than 40 gallons are custom made.”
About how many Jellyfish can be kept in a single aquarium at the size mentioned above?
“You can generally keep (3-4) 2″ Moon Jellyfish in a 6 gallon aquarium and (10-12) 2″ jellyfish in a 20 gallon aquarium. Jellyfish with longer tentacles, like Atlantic Sea Nettles should be kept in smaller numbers as they can tangle.”
For somebody who is just starting a Jellyfish tank, what are some important factors the hobbyist must keep in mind with keeping Jellyfish and setting up the aquarium?
“My number one recommendation to someone wanting to start keeping jellyfish is this: Buy a good, high quality Jellyfish tank. The aquarium itself provides all of the life support for these animals. If you pick a good Jellyfish tank, their care is easy.”
Jellyfish require a decent amount of motion in the water to sustain themselves. How are we able to replicate this with an aquarium in regards to filters, wave makers, power heads, etc?
“In Jellyfish tanks, you generally have a spray bar that creates a gentle sheet of flow. The tanks themselves are often round, or rounded to help achieve a circular motion of flow. Filtration and pumps are all kept behind screens to prevent the jellies from being sucked in.”
How difficult are Jellyfish to keep in comparison to other oceanic species?
“Jellyfish are actually pretty easy to keep! I often compare them to soft corals in terms of care. Again, the aquarium takes care of all the specialty husbandry. They’re not very sensitive to less than perfect water quality, but they don’t like quick change.”
Are there ways to tell if a Jellyfish is healthy, or in any type of distress?
“Unfortunately Jellyfish can’t talk, but they do show signs of disease or distress. A Jellyfish should have a saucer shaped body, free of any holes and should pulse once every 1-3 seconds. When Jellyfish flatten out, turn inside out or ball up, this is a sign that something is wrong. If Jellyfish are kept in decent water quality, and the temperature is stable, they will very rarely have problems.”
There have been multiple reports stating that Jellyfish do not do well in captivity, much like other oceanic species. Have there been measures taken to ensure that Jellyfish can meet a higher longevity compared to when the hobby first started out?
“A lot of myths about Jellyfish have come from wholesalers and local fish stores that were unequipped to keep Jellyfish. Their specialized aquariums and diet are often misunderstood, leading to short life spans. Well kept Jellyfish can live very long. One public aquarium was able to keep Moon Jellyfish for 13 years. Many home aquarists have succeeded in keeping Jellyfish for 2-4 years or longer. I’m hoping to educate potential Jellyfish aquarists, so they will have great success with these fascinating creatures.”
Are there any brands of tanks that you recommend specifically for Jellyfish?
“I’ve personally tried almost every tank on the market. I highly recommend the Cubic line of Jellyfish aquariums. They’re built incredibly well, and I have had success with keeping a wide range of Jellyfish in them. That’s why I chose to offer them through my company, the Jellyfish Warehouse.”
Is there any other information that you would like to provide about Cnidarians that the reader should know?
“Overall, Jellyfish are not very difficult to keep in captivity. They come from all climates and environments. If you purchase a good quality tank, and keep there water within good water parameters, you will have success with them.”
You may find Travis Brandwood’s store and further information on his website: http://www.jellyfishwarehouse.com/
Everyone please check him out for Jellyfish aquariums, FAQs and more!
Images taken from http://www.jellyfishwarehouse.com/. All rights reserved.