There are various sources around the internet advising fellow jellykeepers that it’s okay to use their hands to remove jellyfish from their tanks… Please don’t do this. Use a ladle or small plastic cup.
Jellyfish must be completely submerged in water at all times. No matter what.
You shouldn’t do this for a couple of reasons:
When scooping jellyfish out of water with your hands, you can’t stop the water from escaping through your fingers. This leaves your jellyfish completely exposed to air. Exposing jellyfish to air will allow air bubbles to become trapped inside their mouths and stomachs. Yes, moon jellyfish are considered “hardier” than most jellyfish species, but air bubbles are trouble to all jellyfish. Yes, you can surely burp these bubbles out of them, but again, this causes more trouble to your jellyfish doing this over and over. If a bubble travels too far into a jellyfish’s stomach, it can cause them to float towards the top and will eventually make it’s way out even if it means breaking through the jelly’s bell.
You will also cause damage to their body shape immediately. Since jellyfish are 96% water and have no bones or internal structure, they rely on the water around them to support their body. Once they are taken out of water, their mesoglea (a.k.a. the “jelly” to jellyfish) becomes heavy water weight with gravity pulling their bodies down. This will cause small tears and rips internally to their nerves and tissue while also be detrimental to their bell shape.
When moving jellyfish from out of your tank or from one body of water to another, please always use a ladle, cup, or bowl to keep your jellies submerged under water the entire time. Although their sting is not strong enough to penetrate through human skin, it’s simply not wise to use your hands as a transportation device and to take any marine animal out of the water.
There are a number of different sized ladles and cups available online today, so finding one to perfectly fit the opening of your tank or the size of your jellies should be easy!
TIP: We recommend the use of small 6-8 oz yogurt cups. We have a small collection that we use here in the lab and find them very helpful for small situations!
Watch our video below to see how you can move your jellies (while keeping them fully submerged) using a ladle or a small cup/bowl.
Introducing our EON Instructional Video Series – a new and improved video series to show you how to set up, maintain, and care for jellies in your new EON Jellyfish System from start to finish.
We made this series last year as a better way to actually show new and prospective EON owners what it takes to get one up and running with moon jellyfish (and how simple it is to do so!). We’ll be posting each video from the five-part series every week.
Below you’ll find the video and a follow-along script.
Part 1: Your EON & You Opening sequence.
“So, the day has finally come, your very own Sunset Marine Labs EON jellyfish tank has arrived at your door! Now what are you going to do?”
“Well, take it out!”
“But wait, do you have a proper surface in mind?”
“Well, is that surface level?”
“Can it hold more than 85 lbs.?”
“Excellent! Your EON jellyfish system should also be situated away from direct sunlight and nearby an available power source!”
“NOW would you like to see what’s inside?”
“In addition to your EON jellyfish tank, you’ll find:
shelves for the filter box,
power supply and instructions for your tank lights,
carbon filters, and
“Now, let’s add your premixed salt water, plug in the pump and put it all together!”
“First, place a shelf at the bottom of your filter box and add in the bio balls in an even layer…”
“…Then add a shelf…”
***please note: the micron pad is no longer included with EONs***
“…And place the three carbon bags on top, adjusting them so they completely fill the space for optimum filtration…”
“…Then add the thick mechanical filter pad…”
“…And place the drip tray flush to the inside just below the drain.”
You might have noticed that no matter how many times you clean the sides of your tank with those magnetic algae scrubbers, there are just some parts of the internal anatomy of your tank that you’ll never be able to clean. Now some algae growth is normal and perfectly okay to have in any tank, but certain kinds in certain places can start to become a problem over time. Gunk from uneaten jellyfish food, bits of algae beyond the reach of scrubbing tools, and all sorts of unidentifiable crud can start to build up in your system and gum up the works in ways you may not notice until it’s too late.
But never fear! There’s a solution to these invisible clogs, and you only need to do it about once a year! Bleaching and Dechlorination.
The first thing you need to know about this process: It is absolutely lethal to anything and everything that lives in your tank. That means anything you want to survive this cleaning needs to be kept separate from your system the entire time. That means not just your jellies, but anything that has helpful bacteria on it. Filter pads, carbon bags, bio balls, all of it needs to go in a separate container with some saltwater until the system is ready to start up again.
The next important aspect of the deep clean is that it takes some time. About three hours to be specific. Now, this isn’t all hands-on, can’t-step-away-to-check-your-email time, but you don’t want to rush the process too much and have it all be for nothing.
Now essentially what you’re doing is running the bleach solution through your system to eat away all the unwanted algae and gunk, then using the dechlorinating solution to neutralize the bleach so your system will be safe enough for your jellies once it’s clean, and finally, sucking out all the dechlorinated gunk water until your tank is good as new.
For a detailed description of the process, check out page 7 of your EON instruction manual, or email our customer support team at firstname.lastname@example.org if your manual seems to have misplaced itself.
***At this time, we are suspending the “program” part of our Fish-less Cycling Program due to reduced staff availability. Signups will not be accepted until further notice. If you are setting up a new jellyfish aquarium, we still strongly recommend you still cycle it using the fish-less method before introducing your first jellyfish.***
Thanks for your interest in our Fish-less Cycling Program! This program was set up back in 2016 for two reasons: 1) to help new jellyfish owners have a successful start with their new aquariums, and 2) clear up misinformation floating around the internet about the cycling process and how long it takes to successfully cycle a new aquarium. Cycling a new aquarium takes time, patience, and attention to detail but it ensures your new aquarium is biologically stable and habitable for any saltwater animal; this is not jellyfish-specific issue! This blog post provides the essential information you need to know about what cycling is and how to cycle your new aquarium. At the bottom of this post (after you’ve read every bit of information and become a cycling expert, of course!), you’ll find the sign up form to participate in our Fish-less Cycling Program.
A “fish-less cycle” is the best and safest way to cycle an aquarium, as it doesn’t harm any fish or jellyfish. The goal of cycling a new tank is to establish a healthy and strong colony of beneficial bacteria in the filters to take care of waste that is created by feeding the animals (in this case, jellyfish!). The process of cycling a new aquarium is often overlooked and can create problem right from the get-go. New jellyfish owners who do not allow their tank to completely cycle before adding their first jellyfish sadly end up with unhealthy & deformed jellyfish and become confused about why they are not well. Since jellyfish are 96% water, they rely heavily on water chemistry (a.k.a. water quality) and therefore, need a biologically stable and “chemically clean” environment in order to thrive.
Cycling takes no less than 4 weeks. There is misinformation going around the Internet about how long cycling takes. Some websites claim “it only takes 10-14 days” or “two weeks.” This is wrong. The nitrogen cycle is straight forward biology and you can’t speed up biology. Even with the use of “bio-starters,” you must still cycle the aquarium and it will still take 4 weeks minimum.
Now, let’s get to what it actually means to cycle your new aquarium!
Cycling is turning a static, non-living environment (i.e. brand new tank/filters) into a biologically stable environment that’s safe for live animals.
What do we mean when we keep saying, “biologically stable environment”? Well, the filters (i.e. bioballs, rock media, etc.) of an aquarium need to have strong, healthy colonies of beneficial bacteria established within them. Beneficial bacteria = good bacteria! They take care of the waste created from daily feedings. Cycling allows these bacteria to establish themselves by multiplying and creating large colonies able to handle the waste created within your aquarium by the fish and the food being fed daily.
The Nitrogen Cycle: This is a three-step process converting ammonia (NH₃) into nitrite (NO₂) and finally into nitrate (NO₃)– all done through the bacteria. The “cycling process” is essentially the “nitrogen cycle”! All three of these compounds will be present at some point during cycling and since ammonia and nitrite are toxic to all saltwater animals (not just jellyfish), this is why cycling should be done “fish-less” and before introducing the first animals. Nitrate is a by-product of the nitrogen cycle that will always be present in your aquarium and is not toxic to moon jellyfish under 100 ppm; so, no need to worry about nitrate while cycling! It is always maintained through weekly water changes once cycling is done.
Fish-less cycling involves placing a nickel-sized (approx. ¾” x ¾”) piece of raw shrimp (add one nickel-sized shrimp piece for every 10g of water volume your aquarium can hold) into the filter box or compartment of your aquarium. The raw shrimp will begin to decompose and create ammonia to start the cycling process. At the same time, a starter bacteria culture is added to begin the colonization in the filters. After about two weeks, the ammonia level will rise to a peak (also known as “spiking”) and then start to decrease to zero. Once the ammonia is finished spiking, the nitrite level will begin to rise. After another two weeks, the ammonia will return to zero and the nitrite won’t be far behind. Once the ammonia and nitrite levels both return to zero, the aquarium is cycled!
Thermometer and hydrometer or refractometer – to test for temperature and salinity
Fish-less Cycling Program Guidelines – this is your weekly guide to see what the *expected* week-by-week changes in water quality (also a.k.a. the nitrogen cycle) for your tank [download the PDF below]
Let’s start cycling!
Once your new aquarium is set up and running with new saltwater (salinity should be 1.022-1.024 Specific Gravity or 31-33ppt), add the bacteria source and two nickel-sized pieces of shrimp at the same time.
Take your baseline water quality readings – this includes temperature, salinity, pH, ammonia, and nitrite.
Test for pH, ammonia, and nitrite every week to keep track of the fluctuations in levels that indicate where you are in the cycle. Record these on the PDF guideline water quality sheet (download below).
Once both ammonia and nitrite have returned to zero after subsequent spikes, your aquarium is ready for jellyfish! (Keep the piece of shrimp in your aquarium until the jellyfish arrive. It will continue to feed the newly established beneficial bacteria until you begin a daily feeding routine with jellyfish).
DO read this entire blog post and the Fish-less Cycling ProgramGuidelines to fully understand the cycling process and how to cycle your new jellyfish aquarium
DON’T skip any part of this blog as it contains all of the essential information you need to know about cycling!
DO use new saltwater with the following baseline water quality parameters:
Temperature = 65-78°F
Salinity = 31-33 ppt or 1.023-24 SG
pH = 8.0-8.1
DON’T add any buffers, conditioners, or additives to your aquarium water before or during the cycle – these can throw off the water quality and disrupt or inhibit the cycle from starting
DO use Instant Ocean Sea Salt mix for your saltwater as it has no buffers, conditioners, or additives [Purchase from Amazon here]
DON’T use any salt mix labeled as “reef salt,” “pH balanced,” “probiotic,” or “enriched” as these tends to have extra minerals, vitamins, and higher levels of pH specific for corals, anemones, etc. in reef tanks
DO make sure your pump is plugged in, turned on, and working properly
DON’T keep your tank near windows and/or in direct sunlight to keep algal growth at a minimum
DO use freshwater labeled only as “Distilled Water”
DON’T use freshwater jugs labeled “Spring Water,” “Purified Water,” or anything else to mix your saltwater or for topping off
DO add distilled/RO water to compensate for evaporation (evaporation causes salinity to rise; adding freshwater helps to bring it back down)
Evaporation is noticeable when the water level is lower than where it started
DON’T add distilled/RO water near the filters – this can completely wipe out your growing bacteria colonies
Only add freshwater to the main viewing area
DO record your weekly test vial readings via pictures with the color chart
DON’T use test strips as they often give unreliable readings
DO start the cycling process with a newly setup aquarium.
If your aquarium has been running with saltwater & the bio starter bacteria for longer than a week, you will need to dump the water and start over with all new saltwater & new bacteria.
DON’T perform any water or filter changes during cycling – this can disturb the growing bacteria and disrupt the cycle
DO keep an eye on the piece of shrimp in your tank – sometimes it can completely disintegrate before the cycle is over and will need to be replaced to keep the ammonia production up
DON’T freak out if your cycle isn’t exactly on track – every cycle is different and sometimes an aquarium needs an extra week to catch up
DON’T add a bubbler if you own a Cubic Orbit 20 jellyfish aquarium before or during the cycle – aeration can inhibit the cycle from starting
Things that can delay or disrupt the cycling process
Starting with a pH higher than 8.2 can inhibit the cycling process from starting by disturbing the bacteria. The pH of an aquarium will naturally drop during the cycle – which is normal! – and needs to be left alone to do its thing until the cycle is done.
Starting with salinity too high or too low can also inhibit the cycling process from starting by disturbing the bacteria. The optimal salinity range for moon jellyfish is 31-33 ppt or 1.023-24 SG, which is perfect for cycling.
If you’re thinking about bringing home a new pet, the first question that probably comes to mind is
“What does it eat?”
Since most grocery stores don’t carry big bags of dry jellyfish food in the pet section, and pet store selections are usually limited to dry fish flakes and pellets, you might be scratching your head trying to figure out just what the heck a jellyfish might eat.
Well, put down that jar of peanut butter… You’re gonna need something a little less chewy — baby brine shrimp!
In the wild, most jellies eat all sorts of small planktonic larvae (free-floating baby sea critters), but baby brine shrimp are their all-time favorite dish. If you have the ability to cultivate your own live brine shrimp, that would be the best option. But for the casual jellyfish owner, there are simpler options available that will make your little jellyfriends very happy.
Pet jellyfish love to eat our specially enriched frozen brine shrimp we prepare each and every day. We’ve spent over 20 years perfecting our formula, and the jellies really seem to appreciate it! They only need a small amount of it (about ¼ inch of a stick per 3 small jellies) floating freely in the water with them, and they’ll swim around plucking it out of the water on their own.