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.

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