DIY: Build Your Own Extension Scrub Brush for the EON 2ube and 3ON

Jellyfish Tank

If you have the Eon 20 gallon Jellyfish System, you may have had difficulty cleaning the bottom of the tank.  It’s easy to clean the sides of the tank with an aquarium cleaning magnet, but how to clean the bottom & back?  There are some extension scrubber brushes out there (the black unit on the left in the picture), but in our experience these tend to be in adequate. They do extend nicely but…..

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The cleaning heads are minimal and after only 2 uses tends to fall apart.scrubrush2

You can easily and cheaply build your own scrub brush using a standard acrylic aquarium scrub brush purchased at any fish store & a couple 1/2″ PVC fittings, 1/2″ PVC pipe & electrical tape found at Home Depot, Lowes or any home improvement store.

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What you will need:

8″ long piece of  1/2″ diameter threaded grey rod

4″ long piece of 1/2″ diameter PVC pipe

1 PVC fitting: 1/2″ coupling Slip x Slip

1 PVC fitting: 1/2″ coupling Thread x Thread

electrical tape

First thing you want to do is secure the 1/2″ PVC Thread x Thread fitting to the scrub brush handle using electrical tape.  Place the PVC fitting just below the hook on the scrub brush & using the electrical tape (about a 9″ long piece) secure the fitting to the scrub brush.  Electrical tape stretches nicely, so stretch and then pull on the tape to join the two together & then continue wrapping the tape around the fitting and the scrub brush handle like the picture. Make it snug and tight!

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Now you can attach the  extension handles.  First, the threaded grey rod & then the white PVC pipe.

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Lickety Split! Easy! And cheap!

DIY: Stop Your Turkey Baster from Dripping

 

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If you have the Eon 10 gallon Jellyfish System, you may have been using a turkey baster to either feed your jellies or quickly pick up any detritus or uneaten food at the bottom of the tank, or both.  Most turkey basters drip terribly unless you seal the bulb to the pipette.  Once sealed properly the baster creates better suction and you can quickly and easily pick up any unwanted algae or uneaten food and deposit right away into the filter box–no dripping!  This makes for a quick tidying of the tank without having to pull out the siphon tube and do an entire water change.

Using a 5″ piece of electrical tape you can easily solve this problem.  Electrical tape comes in many lovely colors and has the unique characteristic of uniformly stretching and creating a nice watertight seal around the bulb and the pipette.

Step 1.

Cut a 5″ long piece of electrical tape.

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Step 2.

Place the 5″ long piece of electrical tape half on the bulb and half on the pipetteturkeybaster2

Step 3.

Place your thumb on the electrical tape and hold it firmly while firmly pulling on the tape to stretch it.turkeybaster3jpg

Step 4.

Continue pulling the electrical tape tightly all the way around to create a nice seal like this!turkeybaster4This is easily removed & repeated when you need to clean the turkey baster once a month or so.

Tip: Use a Swivel Base to Turn the Eon Around

Here’s a wonderful tip from veterinarian Jennifer Pullium from New York City.
Using a Lapworks turntable she is able to turn her 10 gallon Eon Jellyfish Aquarium around with ease!  The rotating base holds up to 150 pounds and glides nicely giving you access to the back side of the aquarium for LED adjustment or to check the water level in the sump reservoir. It’s also nice to be able to change the angle of the tank for added viewing options. I purchased one and tested it– and she’s 100% correct!  It’s fantastic! The swivel base comes in 10″, 12″ and 15″ diameter and smoothly turns the aquarium.  The picture below shows the 15″ diameter swivel supporting the Eon 10 gallon jellyfish tank.  It extends a bit beyond the base so the 12″ diameter swivel will be better for this tank.

This is the 15" Lapworks Swivel base.  It holds up to 200 pounds.  I think the 12" is the best bet for the 10 gallon Eon Jellyfish Aquarium!
This is the 15″ Lapworks Swivel base. It holds up to 200 pounds. I think the 12″ diameter swivel will work better for the 10 gallon Eon Jellyfish Aquarium.

The Eon 2ube sits nicely on the 15″ base and it holds up to 200 pounds. Perfect!

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Problem with Your Jellyfish? Undissolved Salts Could Be the Culprit

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Another common problem concerning salt levels in your jellyfish aquarium, besides inaccurate hydrometers giving a false reading, is how the saltwater is made.  Undissolved salts can also give you an inaccurate reading which is a problem since jellies are very sensitive to salinity changes & high salinity levels can also impede their movement, eating and overall cellular activity. It is important to know what your salinity is and how it changes over time.

 

The point I need to make here is about how you make up your saltwater with distilled or RO water.

Always prepare the saltwater at least 24 hours ahead of time.  Adding undissolved salts to your jellyfish aquarium will damage the jellies tissue and can cause them to be very still and not bell or pulse much…their bell can curl under and they will fully retract their tentacles and not eat because of the tentacle retraction. They will look and be sad….sad jellies.  Also a dusty film of white on the interior of your tank will form, which can make the tank look cloudy.

Properly aerating saltwater involves a small submersible pump called a powerhead,  and a bucket.  A simple “bubble wand” or “bubbler” will not degauss and dissolve the salts completely.  I know the words “aeration” and “bubbler” tend to go hand in hand, but in this case it’s just not the right tool for the job.  You need more mixing power in the water which a powerhead can give you.  Once you add the desired amount of salt, vigorously mix for a minute or two with your hand or 2 foot length of PVC pipe as a stir stick.  After that, you can let the powerhead pump ( in this scenario a Lifegard 800 is perfect!) do the rest.  See diagram above to see how to set this up in a 5 gallon bucket.  It could be any size bucket as long as you position the powerhead pump at the water level allowing it to pull in air as it mixes.  You want the water and air to be churning vigorously.

If you have some residual stuff still swirling around the bottom of the bucket after 24 hours don’t worry about it.  Just leave it there and don’t try and mix it into the water you will be using for a water change.  You can rinse that out and get rid of it before making another batch of saltwater.  It’s just undissolved minerals and is totally normal.

Important Side Note!! 

Never use tap water to make up your saltwater–not even if you use some sort of water conditioner that removes chlorine.  There are heavy metals, pesticides and ever more increasing levels of pharmaceuticals in city tap water supplies.  No sort of chemical conditioner will eliminate these things from the water. You must use distilled or RO (reverse osmosis) water.  Do not use “spring water” or “mineral water” or “drinking water” — it must say “Distilled” or if you are purchasing from a water store, it must be RO or RO/DI.

Problem with Your Jellyfish? First Order of Business… Salinity!

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I recently had the opportunity to meet and speak at length with some new local customers who came in to learn how to keep jellyfish as pets.  Payam, Lauren and their little dog Ted came down to the lab to see just what is involved with keeping jellyfish and maintaining a jellyfish aquarium.  It was super to spend time with them and show them the ropes!  It was then that I realized that most of the questions they had are the same questions a lot of folks send my way via email. So, I will start to shoot quick blog posts every week that cover these questions– most of which are not jellyfish specific questions, but standard aquatics questions that can be answered fairly easily and quickly.  And, I will certainly get to the more specific jellyfish inquiries which will help you, as a jellyfish owner, begin to recognize and identify certain issues that can arise while caring for these beautiful animals and how to correct the problem right away.

Don’t bog your jellies down with high salinity levels in your jellyfish aquarium!

The first and biggest problem I see is maintaining water quality–specifically salinity.  The problem seems to be in the hydrometers that are generally purchased to measure the salinity. The plastic hydrometers that are on the market, and even the more costly refractometers need calibration.  Using either one of these instruments right out of the box will yield a variety of readings which is not good when you are trying to establish the salinity level of your aquarium.  Payam left with 20 gallons of my natural ocean water, salinity 33ppt, and when he got home and tested the water with his newly purchased Deep Six Hydrometer, it was reading over 40ppt!!  I knew this was incorrect.  Payam returned it to the store and bought another one.  Same problem.  Then he purchased yet another one! Finally–Getting closer! Third time’s a charm!

                         

Now, I know from personal experience because I have 2 of them myself and each one reads differently. The trick is to calibrate it with a known water source and then simply account for the difference each time you use it.  It’s no big problem to do.  The third one Payam purchased was a bit closer to an actual read and we agreed that he will bring it in for me to calibrate properly soon.  The point is, if you are continually having problems with your jellyfish eating, belling or pulsing, or just not thriving, you should first look to your salinity level.

Moon jellies perform better with a salinity level between 32-33ppt. Don’t worry if you go a bit below that because lower is better than higher. Just don’t alter the salinity level too much at one time but do it gradually over a few days.  And, never add distilled or RO water to your filter box as it will kill your beneficial bacteria, which are a marine (saltwater) species of bacteria and are also affected by salinity & pH.  Also, keep in mind:  depending on your geographic location and evaporation rate, you may need to check your salinity twice a week.

Here in Los Angeles we have very dry air and experience quite a lot of evaporation. But, again, it’s hard to know that if you have an instrument that is inaccurately reading your water.  Try taking your hydrometer to your local hi-end reef / fish store and see if they will calibrate it for you.  What you want to know is how many points off your hydrometer is – either too high or too low– and then just account for that each time you take a salinity reading.  For example, when using my plastic Deep Six hydrometer in a pinch, I know it reads 3 points too low, so I just add 3 points to whatever it is reading.  When I do have a chance to test it against my pricey refractometer, it is consistent with my adjusted plastic hydrometer read.

When Your Jellyfish Takes a “Personal Day”

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As you populate your eon jellyfish tank with jellies, you may sometimes notice a jelly acting differently; belling oddly or sometimes infrequently.  Is that jelly sick?  Should you take some action to make it better?  Not necessarily.  First of all, jellies don’t get sick, per say; however, they can plateau in their development.

Take a look at your other jellies.  Are they behaving in the same fashion as the jelly in question?  Take some water quality readings and see if they are in range or not.  Correct any levels that are off and wait a day or two. The jellies are 96% water. So, if your water quality checks out A-OK, then your jelly in question could be taking a personal day—having personal issues.  This does not mean you need to take action on your whole system.  If your water parameters are in range, be patient and keeping observing.

We have noticed over the years that sometimes a jelly will sort of plateau and change behaviors for up to two weeks and then get back to normal.  Some jellies grow quick and fast and are always in action, but then their growth rate slows down and they can plateau.  Some don’t grow at first and then take off later in life. Be patient with your jellies as they settle into your system and with your maintenance practices.  It’s good to be on the ball observing their health and wellbeing; however, think about your tank as a system–an aquatic system. Don’t be quick to judge one or two “off” days with a jelly here or there.  And do not go the route of forcing more food into the equation thinking that is the answer.  Let nature do its thing and just maintain good water quality and maintenance practices.  These guys are resilient and given the chance, they can rebound nicely in a well-kept environment.

Another thing to consider is that you are observing animals in a closed system and natural selection is taking place in front of your eyes!   The stronger jellyfish will bell more, eat more food and grow faster and bigger.  While, at the same time,  the weaker jellies will grow more slowly and the very weak jellies will stay the same size as when you first introduced them, or will shrink.  This is completely normal.  We liken it to the “varsity”, “junior varsity”, and “bench warmers” of the jellyfish world. It is to be expected. In very rare cases will all the jellyfish remain the same size in a closed system.

P.s.

…in some cases they take a personal day for the rest of their lives and there isn’t anything to be done.  They can still eat and live and be just fine.  Embrace the existentialists!!!