The Jelly Jig, A Dance of Nerve Damage

You may notice your jellies starting to curl up and move their bells in an erratic, clockwise or counter-clockwise rippling fashion instead of a normal pulse. We like to call this symptom “the Jellyfish Jig” and it indicates trouble in your tank.

 

The cause is linked to nerve damage in your jelly, which can arise is several ways.

-Your tank pH spiked suddenly: If you’re having pH problems in your tank, you have to adjust the chemistry slowly. If you add a ton of buffer or change too much carbon all at once, it may bring your pH up too quickly. Jellies always need to be acclimated to new conditions, even within the same system, so even though your goal is a pH of 8.0-8.2, you don’t want to get it there in a few minutes.

-Your jellies experienced sudden temperature change: If you took your jellies out of your tank for a major cleaning and dumped them right back in, or if you did your weekly change with some water from your refrigerator, that can have serious consequences for your jellies. Again, they require stable conditions to be happy and healthy. Always be mindful of temperature when your jellies are going to experience changes in their water.

-Your jellies’ food is too acidic: If you use shelf-stable jellyfish food, or you allow your frozen or refrigerated food to spoil, it can be highly toxic to your jellies. Live food is always best, frozen enriched food is a close second, but using anything below that in quality poses the risk of poisoning your system.

-Your jellies were stuck to the bottom or side of your tank for too long: If your tank flow is dialed down too low or your jellies are getting too big for their system, you may see them start to get stuck to the walls of their space like a suction cup. When this happens, they can no longer exchange nutrients and gases with their environment, so they will start to degrade. Not to mention, they will continue attempting to bell, which can lead to them pulling out their own oral arms. If you see them stuck to the sides or bottom, gently squirt some water at them with a clean turkey baster from a diagonal position to try and lift them off (be sure not to squirt all the water out because that can create problematic air bubbles). If that won’t work, gently nudge the edge of their bell with the end of the baster or another clean, rounded object.

In most cases, your jellies won’t be able to recover from this condition, but you can at least prevent it from happening to future jellies or any survivors.

 

Moving? Here’s how to safely get your jellies relocated

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Relocating? Need some help figuring out how & when to move the jellyfish?

First, there’s a couple things to keep in mind.

  1. Time is of the essence. As you know, your jellies need a constant current of water, so it’s not good to keep them out of their tank for more than a day. For the same reason, it’s crucial that your tank has access to electricity to keep the pump running, so you can’t leave it in your new place before the utilities are sorted out. This process needs to happen as quickly as possible to ensure the safety of your jellies, so it’s probably a good idea to save the jellyfish tank for the last day of your move.
  2. Your filter media needs to remain submerged and in the dark the entire time. You spent a whole month cycling your tank’s bacteria, but it only takes a couple hours to kill them off again if you let your filter media dry out or expose it to sunlight for too long. Make sure you have something to accommodate your bio balls and carbon filters, for example a large, sealable ziploc bag or watertight tupperware container, and something to keep them shaded, like a drawstring bag or even just a towel to wrap them in.
  3. Once you set the tank up, it’s hard to move. Make sure you already have the location picked out for your tank in the new house so you only have to set it up once. You may want to review this guide to choose the right place for your tank.

And here’s a list of the supplies you’ll need:

  1. Buckets or tubs, one or two big enough to hold the water in your tank, plus another bucket for a few gallons of extra new saltwater
  2. 2-3 gallons of newly mixed/purchased saltwater to add to your system while you’re setting it back up
  3. Large trash bags to line the bucket(s)
  4. Zip ties to cinch the trash bags closed so the water doesn’t spill
  5. Large ziploc bag or tupperware to store your bio filter media
  6. Towels to keep you from ruining your new or old floors
  7. Small cup for transferring jellies in and out of your tank
  8. Level to make sure your tank is level in your new home

Alright, you’ve gathered your supplies, now you’re ready for the breakdown.

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Breakdown

Step 1: Prepare the jellyfish transition container. Line a bucket or plastic tub with a trash bag, and begin to fill the bag with a few gallons of water from your tank.

Step 2: Transfer your jellies out of the tank. Unplug your tank, and gently move the jellies from your tank to your bucket using a small cup.

Step 3: Take the filter media out of the tank. Take the bio balls and carbon filters (and micron pad if you have one) out of your filter box and place them in a large ziploc bag or tupperware container. Fill the container with tank water and seal it for transportation, then wrap it in a towel or put it in a drawstring bag to keep it out of the sunlight.

Step 4: Get the rest of the water out of your tank. Fill the jellyfish bucket the rest of the way up with water, then fill another bag-lined bucket with the remaining water until your tank is empty. Now cinch your bags closed with zip ties, making sure to get ALL the air out of the bags. This way they don’t slosh around or spill in your vehicle, and your jellies won’t be harmed by air bubbles.

Step 5: Dry the inside of your tank. Give the interior a good wipe down with a towel to make sure it won’t get the inside of your vehicle wet. You may want to leave a towel in the display area and a towel in the sump just to soak up any extra water on the drive.

Step 6: Pack it up. Keep the drip tray, soffet, and lid separate from the tank so they don’t rattle around and scratch the acrylic. You may want to wrap the tank in a moving blanket to prevent scratching or other damage.

Now you’re at the new place, so it’s time to set it all back up.

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Set Up

Step 1: Place your tank in its new spot. Make sure it’s level before you add water, but keep in mind it may shift with the added weight of the water. If it’s not level, wedge a shim underneath it in the right places until it is. Keeping your tank level is essential.

Step 2: Add water and filter media to the tank. Take the water out of your no-jelly bucket and put it back in the tank, then keep filling it as close to the top as you can while keeping at least a couple gallons of water in the jelly bucket. Add your filter media back to the filter box, preferably using a clean mechanical filter to catch any gunk that may come out of your spray bars when you turn the pump on. Now fill the remainder of the tank with the few gallons of new saltwater you brought, keeping an eye on the sump level so as not to cause an overflow.

Step 3: Turn the pump on and wait. Now your tank is ready to be up and running again, so plug the pump back in and let the water cycle through for at least an hour before you add your jellies back. There will probably be some loose gunk from the plumbing or the biological filters floating in the system, which you can simply allow the mechanical filters to catch over time, or remove yourself with a turkey baster.

Step 4: “Burp” the air out of your tubing. As you add water back, air bubbles will start to form in your tubing and in your spray bars, which can harm your jellies if they make their way into the display area of your tank later. Give your tubing a gentle shake to loosen some bubbles, then give it a gentle squeeze to help push the bubbles out. Now move your finger under the top spray bar and push the bubbles out from underneath, and repeat the process until they’re gone.

Step 4: Acclimate your jellies. Even though your tank has mostly the same water as before, the new salt water you added may create a slight change in water temperature and/or chemistry that could potentially harm your jellies if you just dump them straight in. So just to be safe, perform 3-4 small water changes [roughly a cup (8oz)] over the course of half an hour once the water in your tank starts to clear up. Then you can gently add them back to your tank one by one with the cup you used earlier.

Step 5: Welcome your jellies to their new home! Sharing cake and balloons with loved ones is encouraged, but not necessary.

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EON Instructional Video Series! “Part 3: Acclimating Your New Jellyfish”

Now that your EON Jellyfish System is completely cycled, it’s ready for jellyfish! Watch Part 3 in our EON Instructional Video Series to learn about optimal water quality parameters for moon jellyfish and how to properly acclimate your new jellyfish once they’ve arrived at your doorstep.

SCRIPT.

Part 3: Acclimating Your New Jellyfish Opening sequence.

“It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! Your tank is cycled and you’ve placed your very first order for jellyfish! Now wait one business day for delivery…”

“In the meantime, why don’t you double check to be sure your system water is suitable for new friends?”

“Your pH checks out.”

“Oh no, looks like your salinity is a little too high. You’ll need to bring it down by adding reverse osmosis or distilled water.”

“You can add freshwater to two places in your tank: the main viewing area or the sump.”

“NEVER add freshwater into your filter box.”

“This can kill all of the tiny bacteria you’ve worked so hard to grow!”

“Excellent, it looks like your tank is ready for jellies.”

“Well what are you waiting for? Let’s get them into their new home!”

“Don’t forget to take a look in the bag first to make sure they arrived safely.”

“Cut the bag below the metal bracket, then pull the tab to release the rubber band—No, no, no! Didn’t you read the sticker on the box?”

“You have to acclimate them first.”

“Take out a little water and slowly place the bag in your tank to float for 15 minutes to acclimate them to the water temperature.”

“Gently transfer your jellies with a ladle into a small cup full of water from the bag.”

“Carefully perform small water changes in the cup every 20 minutes for one hour to acclimate them to your tank’s water chemistry.”

“Now your jellies are ready to be released into your tank. Just look at those little guys go.”

Closing sequence.

Acclimating Your Jellyfish in 4 Easy Steps

 

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Temperature Acclimation

Step 1.

Float the bagged jellies in your jellyfish tank until the temperature inside the bag matches your jellyfish tank water. This will take about 15-20 minutes, more or less.  Rotate and turn the bag occasionally to keep the jellies stimulated and belling. This helps mix the water inside the bag and expedite the process.

Step 2.

Take the temperature of the bagged water and compare it with that of your tank water. They should match before moving on to the next step.

 

Water Chemistry Acclimation

Once the temperature has equalized between the bagged jellies and the tank water, you can begin to conduct small water changes inside the bag. This is called water chemistry acclimation.

Step 3.

Exchange water between the bag and your tank water. Open the bag and pour out (or scoop out using a small plastic cup) about 20% of the water in the bag. Then gently allow about 20% of your tank water into the bag, secure with the rubber band and allow it to float once again. You can leave some air in the bag as you band it up so it floats well. Still rotate and turn the bag to gently stimulate the jellies to bell and therefore move the newly introduced saltwater through their system. They must be actively moving the water through their system in order to properly acclimate and they need you to help them do it. Gently spin, turn & rotate the bag with each water change.

You will do 4 or 5 of these small water changes over an hour. Pour a little water out of the bag and then introduce a little water back into the bag—you are slowly and gently getting your jellies comfortable with their new watery environment. Do not rush this step. It is crucial to your jellies survival and development. Please complete it within 1-2  hours total time from temperature acclimation until introducing them into your tank.  (i.e. don’t spend all day getting them acclimated… they do need to get out of the bag in a timely fashion).

 

Step 4.

Releasing the Jellies into your Tank

• Now that you have properly acclimated the jellies, you should see nice and even belling inside the bag.  Now you can release them into the tank.

• Leave the bag sitting in the water.

• Gently open the bag.

• Allow the jellies to exit the bag.

• Do not spill the jellies into the tank.