Many people make the mistake of assuming that jellyfish are just like regular fish, and they put them in fish tanks. Jellyfish cannot survive in the fish tank environment. Here are the design essentials of a jellyfish tank that you will will need to consider when you’re creating their habitat.
1. The tank must have a gentle current or flow.
Jellyfish depend on the natural currents of the ocean for mobility. Without the gentle ebb of water, they would be unable to exercise or get the food they need, and they will lose their shape and begin to suffer. The same remains true in the tank environment. When choosing your tank, you need to be sure to establish the right kind of flow. Follow these guidelines when choosing your tank set up:
- the flow should be adjustable. Some cheaper jellyfish tanks have one or two flow settings. However, the needs of your jellyfish can be variable, and it’s best if you can tinker with the flow to perfect it for your jellyfish. Adjustable valves are the best for flow settings.
- the flow should not produce air bubbles. Air bubbles in the tank, even small ones, are harmful to jellyfish. The flow must be maintained without aerating the water.
- the flow must not be too strong. Jellyfish use water currents as a tool and still need the autonomy to move where they need to go. The current should not batter or swirl your jellyfish.
2. The tank should maintain excellent water quality.
Jellyfish need very particular conditions for survival. Salt water testing kits are essential for making sure the water is the right pH, temperature, and salinity. Use only distilled water in your tank, because tap water chlorination can hinder the nitrogen cycle that is essential for the survival of sea life. A gentle air filter helps to maintain healthy ammonia levels, but frequent water changes are necessary for the longevity of your jellyfish. Salt mixes with added calcium can help to keep maintain a good pH, while mimicking the ocean environment.
3. Make sure the tank and accessories are safe for jellyfish.
If your take requires substrate for the bottom of the tank make sure to use it, similar to the rocks at the bottom of a regular fish tank. Avoid using sand or tiny rocks, as these can be harmful to the jellies. Large, round glass beads are safer. Round tanks are preferable, as they help maintain the current and they prevent jellyfish from getting stuck in the corners of the tank.
Again if you choose a tank or build your own be sure to keep substrate away from the air channel to prevent any uneven suction points — these can cause the jellies to be sucked down into the substrate or even into the air tube, causing injury. Only choose filters and channels designed for jellyfish; regular fish tank filters can easily damage delicate jellyfish.