I Finally Have My New EON Jellyfish Aquarium… Now What?

Here’s a quick list of things to do or check for once you have your new EON in your hands to ensure your jellies live a happy and healthy life!

Before Adding Jellyfish


Cycle Your Aquarium

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We can’t say this enough: cycling is the most important step in setting up a new aquarium and keeping animals healthy. This isn’t a jellyfish-specific task and is required for all new saltwater aquariums. New aquariums need to be “seasoned” with beneficial bacteria that handle the organic waste created from daily feedings. An aquarium can quickly become toxic once animals and food are introduced without cycling it.

Everything you need to know about cycling can be found in this previous blog post.

Position The Drip Tray Correctly

The drip tray is the top layer of the filter box that collects drain water and evenly disperses it across the filters. This even dispersment of water is essential to achieve optimal filtration and to keep your EON in a biologically stable state (i.e. properly cycled). If the drip tray is unevenly collecting water and moving it through only a small area of the filters, the rest of the filter box will be dry and beneficial bacteria won’t grow there during cycling. This has now created a weak biological filter because there aren’t as many beneficial bacteria established as possible—meaning, there’s a higher chance of an ammonia spike and the entire aquarium cycling all over again.

 To prevent this from happening, make sure your drip tray is pushed all the way towards the drain, flush underneath it. Then watch to see how more evenly it collects water.

Bleed Air From The Spray Bar Lines

When first filling your EON with water, air is going to be stuck throughout the plumbing lines (the clear tubing) and spray bars. After it’s filled and the pump is turned on, you will see some air being pushed out, creating bubbles, but it won’t all exit the lines. So, you have to manually do it using the two green spray bar valves in the sump. “Bleeding the air” refers to repeatedly opening and closing these valves to force the air outward. 

ezgif-5-c9881b1eaa58When looking into the sump, the furthest valve moves water to the bottom spray bar and the valve closest to you moves it to the top spray bar. Close one valve 100% and open the other 100%. You will see more air coming out of the open spray bar. Then do the opposite to get air moving out of the other valve. Do this repeatedly, back and forth, until there are no more bubbles flying out of the spray bars. This helps ensure that air bubbles won’t exit into the main exhibit area while you have jellyfish in there — PSA: jellyfish + bubbles = no fun! 

Double Checking Your Water Quality

Before introducing your first jellyfish, you should double check that the water quality is optimal after cycling has finished. Here’s what we recommend your water quality be for moon jellyfish: 

  • Temperature = 62-78°F 
  • Salinity = 31-33 ppt (1.022-1.024 Specific Gravity)
  • Ammonia = 0 ppm
  • Nitrite = 0 ppm
  • Nitrate = <40 ppm

After Adding Jellyfish


Watch Your Jellyfish

After you’ve acclimated your new jellyfish, watch and observe them for a bit as they move about their new home. They should be belling evenly with their tentacles out and untangled. Check out the video below to see how open and active your jellies should be after proper acclimation. 

Fine Tune The Flow

Now that your jellies are in their new home, you need to fine tune the flow rate to accommodate their needs. Your EON will most likely be at 100% open when it’s done cycling, but depending on the quantity and size of your jellies, you may need to turn it slightly up or down to keep them happy. 

Your jellies shouldn’t be moving around like a washing machine, but they also shouldn’t be floating in the same spot for too long. You want the flow to gently sweep them from spray bar to spray bar, as you can see in the video above.

If the flow is too low, the jellies won’t be motivated to bell causing irregularities in their body shape and how they eat, ultimately leading to weak and shrinking jellies. This can also lead to other issues like tentacle balls on the jellies and slow filtration, affecting water quality. If the flow is too high, they won’t be able to properly capture food and will also lead to weak and thin jellies. 

Keep An Eye On Water Quality

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It’s always good practice to keep an eye on ammonia and nitrite for a few days after adding the first jellyfish. Your biological filters are still fresh from cycling, so the newly established beneficial bacteria in those filters can be sensitive — meaning if the introductory bio load (the combination of anything that creates waste: food + animals) is too much from the get-go, the beneficial bacteria can go into shock. The bacteria can no longer handle the ammonia produced from the excess bio load and this causes an ammonia spike

Feeding your new jellyfish on the lighter side for 1-2 days after cycling can help prevent an ammonia spike. This allows your beneficial bacteria to slowly ease into the new bio load. Once comfortable (when there hasn’t been an ammonia spike for 2-3 days after), then you can bump the feeding up to regular doses. 

Everything in Moderation—Especially Water Changes!

By now we all should know that the true key to keeping your jellies happy and healthy is maintaining stability in your tank. Stability is achieved after fully cycling your tank for 4-6 weeks. Once cycled, water changes are a good weekly maintenance practice because pH will gradually decrease and harmful chemicals like phosphates and nitrates can build up naturally over time, even in healthy systems. Beneficial bacteria and carbon filters in your filter box take care of a good portion of keeping your tank stable, but it’s important for you to assist in maintaining the water quality by performing water changes on a weekly basis. Be aware though, changing water is not a fix-all and when done in excess can actually harmful.

You should NEVER change more than 20% of your tank’s water volume at one time… here is why:

The ammonia level will spike after a large water change due to the beneficial bacteria dying off. This can leave you with hurt and shredded jellies. The bacteria die off because they are marine organisms, too, and when you change a large portion of their aquatic environment with that big water change, they get shocked and die. Therefore, no bacteria = ammonia spike = shredded jellies.

We recommend you change only 10% – 20% of your water once a week—no more!

It’s also good to check the parameters of your new water so you are aware of exactly what you are adding to your tank.  

The point we’re making here is that water changes, although helpful, can be harmful if done in excess… like most things! 🙂

Everything in moderation.

Jellyfish Bell Inversion

What is Jellyfish Inversion?

Technically called “eversion,” it’s defined as the process of turning inside-out. In jellyfish, eversion is when the outer perimeter of the bell has flipped up and over the top of the bell, creating a saucer or cup-like body shape. The oral arms of the jellyfish also hang down and are not tucked up under the bell, as per a healthy jellyfish.

[Note: “eversion” is when the bell is flipped inward; “inversion” is when the bell is flipped outward. “Inversion” is commonly used instead to describe this process in jellyfish.]

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Common Causes

Here are things that can cause jellyfish bell eversion:

  • Malnutrition leads to thin and weak jellyfish that are prone to flip
  • Flow rate is too high causing the jellyfish to spin like socks in a dryer
    • This prevents jellyfish from belling or swimming naturally, which means they also are not eating properly, ultimately leading to malnutrition
  • Flow rate is too low and the jellyfish are unable to bell properly due to the lack of “support” they get from the water movement
    • Belling problems always lead to eating problems—if they can’t bell properly, they can’t eat well, causing malnutrition (again) and creating thin, everted jellyfish
  • Physical damage that occurs when a jellyfish becomes stuck to the bottom or side of the tank for over an hour, damaging their bell

Luckily, these are all fixable issues!

Solutions

Happy and healthy jellyfish should have rounded bells

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Here’s how you can prevent eversion from happening:

  • Feed only nutritious, neutrally-buoyant foods on a daily basis to maintain proper cell growth and function
  • Adjust the flow rate just enough to keep the jellies off the bottom of the tank, but not so much that they are being propelled around the tank.
    • When trying to find the perfect flow, adjust your flow control valves and wait 20 mins between each adjustment to watch for a difference
    • Want to see an example of what proper flow looks like? Check out a few of our jellyfish aquarium videos on YouTube.
  • Maintain the proper flow rate and the jellies will not have the opportunity to get stuck for long periods of time

Read more about the physical differences between HAPPY (healthy) and SAD (unhealthy) moon jellyfish on our Jellyfish Troubleshooting page.

My EON Jellyfish Tank Isn’t Level. So What?

 

Your jelly friends are in danger, that’s what!

Let me start by saying this video and post were inspired by a real customer of ours, and the tank pictured is his real system. He was doing everything right to cycle his tank before he ordered his jellies, but for some reason the bacteria just weren’t doing what they were supposed to and his tank’s ammonia levels wouldn’t go down.

As we can see in the video, his tank was not quite level on its stand, and that was forcing the water to trickle unevenly over one side of the drip tray and bypass the other side. While that might not sound like such a big deal, it’s actually a recipe for disaster.

When your tank is leaning to one side, most of the water will obviously tend to flow that way, which means that all of your system water is flowing through only a very small part of your filter media. So not only will that water not be filtered properly, but the bacteria on the dry side of the filter media won’t be able to survive well enough to cycle your system and keep it healthy. Beyond that, keeping your tank on uneven surfaces can create uneven flow from the spray bars, cause a full sump to overflow and create troublesome air bubbles.

So what happens if you notice your tank isn’t quite level? Don’t panic! Just do what this customer did: wedge something underneath the low side of your system and adjust it until the drip tray gets proper flow! A simple fix like this can be the difference between a healthy system and toxic water, so keep an eye out!

DOs & DON’Ts of Setting Up and Cycling A New Jellyfish Aquarium

Here’s some quick tips about how to properly set up a new aquarium specifically for jellyfish and things to look out for when your tank is cycling.

dos&amp;donts

  • 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
    • These are the optimal water quality parameters for keeping moon jellyfish happy and healthy
  • DON’T add any buffers, conditioners, or additives to your aquarium water before, during, or after 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”
    • These tends to have extra minerals, vitamins, and higher levels of pH specific for corals, anemones, etc. in reef tanks, that jellyfish do not need
  • DO make sure your pump is plugged in, turned on, and working properly before starting the cycling process
  • DON’T keep your tank near windows and/or in direct sunlight to keep algal growth at a minimum
  • 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 and away from any direct contact with jellyfish
  • DO keep a record of weekly water quality readings, especially when cycling
  • 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 beneficial bacteria and disrupt the cycle
  • DO keep an eye on the piece of shrimp in your tank when cycling (when using the “fish-less” cycling method)
    • 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 until after your tank has completely cycled
    • Since the pH naturally lowers during the cycling process, aeration can inhibit the cycle from starting

Fish-less Cycling Program: Everything You Need to Know About Cycling New Jellyfish Aquariums

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***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.

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Graph estimating how the nitrogen cycle progresses over time. Taken from “The Nitrogen Cycle” by Centreville Aquarium Centre.

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!


Let’s move onto the

Fish-less Cycling Program!

 Here’s what you’ll need to start:

  • Freshly mixed or store bought saltwater
  • Bacteria source – we recommend using BioSpira [Purchase from Amazon here]
  • Ammonia source – a nickel-sized piece (¾” x ¾”) of a raw shrimp for every 10g saltwater
    • Single shrimp can be bought from the fresh seafood section of your local grocery store
  • API Saltwater Master Test Kit – includes pH, NH3, NO2, NO3 [Purchase from Amazon here]
  • 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]

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Screenshot taken from our EON Instructional Video Series video about cycling. Watch the video here.


Let’s start cycling!

  1. 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.
  2. Take your baseline water quality readings – this includes temperature, salinity, pH, ammonia, and nitrite.
  3. 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).
  4. 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).

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Click to download the Fish-less Cycling Program Guidelines PDF.


DO’s & DON’T’s of Cycling

  • DO read this entire blog post and the Fish-less Cycling Program Guidelines 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.

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? 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.

Keep Your Training Wheels on During Cycling of Your Jellyfish Aquarium!

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All hobbies start with overwhelming enthusiasm! We are so eager to learn all that we can about whatever it is, then buy all the necessary gear and equipment (most hobbies have the coolest gear and accessories to go along with them!) and dive right in with all the excitement of a 6 year old on Christmas morning!  These are the things that make hobbies so much fun!  They are generally new to us and open us up to all kinds of new ideas and people, places and things.  Your budding hobby has you jumping out of your shorts and you just don’t want to wait another minute to get it completely mastered.

Some hobbies, however, do require some patience – at least at the beginning stages.  Gardening is one of those hobbies.  You can’t plant your seeds or seedlings one day and then go out the next day or following week and dig them up to replant them because you think they are not growing fast enough.  This will surely inhibit their growth, if not kill them in the process.  Plants have roots that need to establish themselves in the soil before they can send nourishment to the plant for growth. The soil & roots need time to go through a nitrogen-fixing cycle, or nitrification cycle.  It is a natural activity in which nitrogen is processed by bacteria in the soil in order to make it available to the plant for nourishment. This cycling process is also necessary in marine environments in order to create a safe and non-toxic environment for your fish and /or invertebrates.  Without the nitrification process completed in your system, you will not be successful at keeping anything alive—it’s a fact.

Patience is needed to allow the beneficial bacteria to populate your biological filters.  Generally biological filters are a darkened area like a filter box where no light enters. Bacteria are inhibited by light so a filter box is best for housing the biological filter.  It is also an area that will not be disturbed during maintenance because we don’t want cause a bacterial bloom in the aquarium.  Once they are established, your biological filters are the foundation in which your hobby can begin.

So, remember these bacteria populations need a lot of food energy to grow so you don’t want to take away any of the ammonia producing elements in your system.  The dirty filters, the detritus on the bottom, the slightly cloudy water—these are food producing (ammonia producing) and are just what you want to get those bacteria populations growing!  Don’t do any water or filter changes (mechanical or chemical) during the cycling process. You will only be prolonging the cycle by diluting the food source for the bacteria.

This is not a jellyfish specific task.  This is what every aquarist—hobbyist or professional, has to deal with all the time.  But, once completed properly you can feel confident you have taken the necessary measures creating a safe and healthy home for your new pet jellyfish.

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!!!