Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hmmm

My polyps don't seem to grow well. I found one polyp that had exceeded others in growth and then it just fell apart the other day. I left him in the tank, hanging upside down where he had started. but for some reason he is now dead. I'm not quite sure why this happened but I hope I can figure out why my polyps don't last. My tank is getting kind of disgusting and I need to clean it but I'm afraid I will wipe out some polyps. So I think what I will do is,
  • Move the jellies into another container for a while
  • Clean and siphon all the debris out of the rocks and on the walls of the aquarium
  • Add more clean salt water to the tank.
I feel that if I clean the aquarium I will remove most of the fouling organisms and materials from the tank. Then the jellyfish can breed some more and hopefully I will get healthy polyps. However I cant decide whether I should move the gravel and marbles out of the tank and bleach them or just change the water.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Busy making more jellies!

Ive been getting into trying to culture my moon jellies to make more. I have a ephyra and polyp tank that I built a while ago. This should do a pretty good job at breeding. The reason that Iwant to culture my jellyfish is because apparently the warm water species dont breed very well in containment. Not to say that they dont breed, its just that its slow, and unpredictable. There are several reasons why.
  • You don't always score a male and female jellyfish couple when you have only a few jellyfish in a home system.
  • Life in captivity isn't perfect, the ocean is better. You set up a strange mini ecosystem which may have different affects on your jellies. Obviously you cant wait a billion years for them to evolve and breed fluently.
  • If you do manage to score some polyps, they don't do a whole lot in your tank. your tank stays at a pretty precise temperature and water quality. Polyps like to strobilate when there is change. IE winter to spring.
So I just settled with breeding and raising the various life stages of jellyfish by hand. So for a long time it seemed like there was only planulae in the tank. polyps never came to be, and the planulae came and died in random waves. One day there would be hundreds of planulae, the next just fouling organisms. I believe the reason for this unbalance was that the tank needed time to form and ecosystem.
I had to inoculate live rock into the tank which took a while to grow. Plus I added some hermit crabs (they eat left over food) to the tank, which likely brought in nasty creatures. but after a while an ecosystem was set up and each creature living in the tank has its own rank and duties. For example there are two types of micro organisms living in my tank besides jellyfish. some sort of crustacean and a type of worm. At first these guys seemed to be the planulae killers. However now that the mini ecosystem has been set up, I realize that their job is spare food clean up. They dig around in decomposing food and eat it.
So the planulae retuned after a while and came to stay. Small polyps started appearing in the substrate layer on the bottom of my tank. Then they found a place of the plastic suction cups next to my heater ( polyps really like heaters ). This shows they are happy and can function as a colony.
So I took this excellent chance to try and culture some polyps. To do this I made a procedure.
  1. I sucked up some polyps with a plastic transfer pipet.
  2. I got a medium sized beaker ready. This includes filling a clean beaker with new, fresh saltwater.
  3. I dropped the polyps into the beaker, from the pipette.
  4. After that I put a few frosted microscope slides inside the beaker so they can grow on something besides the slippery beaker wall
  5. Now depending on the temperature range that your jellyfish lives in, set up a controlled environment. I have warm water moon jellyfish so I got a large plastic storage bin and filled it with clean salt water. I put a heater inside and turned it to 75 degrees F. Putting the lid on top loosely helps prevent evaporation. If you have cold water jellyfish then putting them in a mini fridge works just fine. Make sure its the proper temperature.
  6. If neccisary cover the dish or beaker to prevent evaporation.
So I have been checking them daily, for signs of development and new polyps. I noticed there were a lot of planulae at the bottom of my beaker. I also noticed what looks like a small colony of polyps forming. More news on this when I find it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mangrove or "Upside Down" Jellyfish
Lagoon Jellyfish
Black Sea nettle

Future jellyfish projects.


I plan to bring in a few new species of jellyfish. Im not quite sure which ones yet. I don't want any jellyfish that requires a chiller. I cant afford a chiller ($600 +) and they are big noisy and bulky. So I will stick with warm water species. My current nominees are the following, Upside down jellyfish, Lagoon jellyfish, Or the black sea nettle. The black sea nettle is my favorite option so far but it will take a ton of work to set up a proper system. Its temp. range is 59-77 degrees Fahrenheit. (room temp. water is generally 68 degrees F) This means that a heater wouldn't be needed burt neither would a chiller. So thats excellent! But it has some other problems.
First off those things get huge, larger than divers sometimes. But thats assuming it has an infinite amount of food and a tank the size of an ocean. So i would just have to build a kreisel aquarium to suit it. I planned to build one anyways.
The second problem is its diet. It needs moon jellyfish in its diet, of which at the moment I cannot provide. However I should be able to obtain some moon jellyfish polyps soon, and I have that polyp and Ephyra tank. So really it would just take time to set up a system for that jellyfish.
I would love to set up a tank with upside down jellyfish and lagoon jellies (they can live together) but I cant find lagoon jellyfish available to the public anywhere. So I may set up a small tank for just upside downs. It all depends on my funding and whether or not I do that nettle tank.

Video of the development in days.

The first video is the day after the injury and the second is the day after that. Extremely quick flesh recovery!

Jellyfish injury ; torn bits of pulsing jelly!

So I was siphoning water out of my aquarium to clean up fouling debris at the bottom. Then my smallest jelly popped out of no where and got stuck to the siphon tube. I freaked out and tried to jerk it off, which was a terrible idea. I was left with a jelly torn up, and pulsing slowly. I looked in the siphon bucket and found another piece of him pulsing. It was truly terrible and disgusting. So I set up a quarantine tank. I examined both carefully. The biggest chunk of jelly was missing all of his oral arms which is fatally dangerous. He also was reduce to one stomach. (moon jellies have four). The smaller piece had three stomachs but they fell off later. So I added copious amounts of stress zyme to the tank and turned on the heater. The bigger jelly progressed and the smaller one went down hill, eventually to the point where I flushed him down the sink. Feeding was very complicated. I have to put both pieces in a petri dish with clean saltwater. I then added thawed out food and let them soak. It worked reasonably well, but its no substitute to the jellyfish's original method of eating. So I put him back in the main tank and hopped for the best.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Nothing new....

Sadly, not a whole lot has happened today. I've been feeding my jellies ground shrimp and tilapia. I've also culture a small stock of artemia naplii for the smaller jelly since he has a hard time eating larger foods. There was a large population of planulae swimming on the surface of the tank walls but they either moved away or was taken out by a small worm like fouling organism. I guess I should have tried to culture the planulae sooner...
I also had to dissect a bubble out of the largest jelly. I think it got there when I fed him. So I just held him in my palm underwater and cut a small slit in his under- bell with some dissection scissors. Then I added some stress coat to help him regenerate new tissue for that cut.