My New Jellyfish Arrived Damaged… Is It Dead? What Do I Do?

Although it’s quite rare, sometimes our jellyfish can have a rough transit experience resulting in them arriving in less-than-perfect condition. We take every precaution to prevent this from happening by making sure our shipping methods are as safe and protective as possible,  but there still remains a bit of risk when shipping any live animals. Once they leave our doorstep, we unfortunately can’t control how they are handled by the shipping carriers.

They can arrive with holes or tears in the bell, as shown in the picture below…

Picture submitted from one of our customers.

…which is not what you want to see when opening up your bag of jellies! You want to be joyous and excited to get them acclimated into your jellyfish tank!

Gif courtesy of our EON Instructional Video Series.

Most of the time, damage during the transit process is caused by the jellyfish becoming suctioned to a side of the bag once the package is at rest. When the package is picked up and begins to move again, the jellyfish becomes forcibly un-suctioned, resulting in them being torn away from the bag. It happens, but the good news is jellyfish are very good at repairing themselves!

How do I know if my jellyfish is dead?” Good question. 99% of the time a jellyfish arrives in less-than-perfect condition, it’s not dead. Unless the jellyfish in question is completely mangled, balled up, or disintegrated to pieces, it’s not dead and there’s a very good chance it will get better once acclimated with good saltwater and good food.

Here’s what to do after your jellyfish are delivered:

  1. Inspect the box and inside styrofoam for any damage. Take the bag of jellies out of the styrofoam box and read the Acclimation Instructions and Return Policy label on the lid.
  2. Before opening the bag, observe your jellies by slowly turning the bag around to get them moving. Observe the overall condition of their bodies. If you find a jellyfish with a hole or tear in the bell, don’t freak out. Instead, take a picture of the jellyfish in question (following the instructions on the label) and email us to see if it’s a serious issue. It’s easiest to grab a photo if you hold the bag up in front of a light.
  3. Observe their activity level. Most of the time, new jellyfish will arrive belling and ready to come out of the bag. Sometimes they can arrive sluggish, exhibit slow belling, or with retracted tentacles from the rare case of being excessively tossed around during transit.  There’s nothing to worry about. Once acclimated to clean, fresh saltwater, they should perk up quickly!

***Please note: After proper acclimation, happy and healthy jellyfish do not need more than a few hours to become fully comfortable with their new environment. If your jellyfish is not belling or slow-moving for longer than 24 hours, there is potentially an issue with the jellyfish or water chemistry of the aquarium.  It does not take 1-2 weeks for jellyfish to get used to the new tank water; this is a misconception.***

The video below shows the condition moon jellyfish should arrive in. Round, open bells. Untangled tentacles. These are definitely happy and healthy jellies!




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