Thursday, March 29, 2012

Catching Wild Jellyfish and the Risks Associated.

There are some jellyfish you just cant find anywhere online to buy. Well, the alternative is to catch your own. Catching jellyfish isn't like catching ordinary fish. 

Generally you cannot use nets. Jellyfish being delicate, and mostly composed of water, they will often fall apart in nets. They may get cut on the net and form a hatch like look or crush under their own weight. To catch a jellyfish I recommend doing one of two things. You can either scoop they jelly up in a bucket or let it swim into a bag underwater. The idea is to keep the jellyfish suspended in water at all times. Remember to record the salinity, water quality, temperature etc. This will help increase the survival rate of your jellyfish massively. 

Now you know how to properly catch a jellyfish, but where does one find jellyfish? Good places for catching jellyfish are calm waters and eddies. Jellyfish are completely hopeless against the tides and currents. They can easily be pushed into calm waters. Once there, they cant easily leave. Long, low lying docks, drop offs into deep water, very calm beaches etc are good jelly spots  Jellyfish can also often be found in tides and waves on the beaches. This isn't a good place to find healthy samples. The jellyfish sound here, if alive, will often have injuries and may die very shortly. 

Even if you check all of the good spots in a location you may still end up with zero jellyfish. This is because jellies tend to travel in huge clouds or "smacks". They can be very random and hard to find but once you do, you may be faced with literally millions of jellyfish. Cannonball jellies have been seen in smacks of thousands and even millions. 

Once you have your jellyfish, your going to need to get it home. for people who live on or close to beaches, there is no problem. But many people live a good distance from the ocean. To maximize their chances of survival I recommend bagging the jellies in large bags with a lot of water. If you can, replace the air in the bag with  pure oxygen gas. Try to keep the jellyfish in each bag to a minimum, to prevent build up of waste. Bigger jellies may need to be placed 1 per bag. On the contrary, you can bag several small moon together. 

Environmental Impact-

Taking any living organism from an environment leads a high risk of harming that environment. Luckily, jellyfish almost always occur in huge populations. That being said, many jellyfish supply food to many organisms. In my case the cannonball jellyfish is a huge source of food for the endangered leatherback sea turtle. Cannonball jellies do happen to make up 16% of the Atlantic Ocean's biomass. I still refrain from gathering large amounts of cannonball jellies from one location to prevent a harm to the environment. Try to take just as many as it takes to obtain a male and female jellyfish. Then polyps can be produced, leaving you with infinite jellies. 

Also, never dump jellyfish ,or even water that jellyfish have lived in, into salt water. Microscopic jellyfish stages could end up introducing a new species. This has occurred before, and has decimated populations of other organisms. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cannonball Jellyfish Try II

I have arranged everything I need to try cannonball jellyfish a second time.
  • 200 gallons in reef salt.
  • Reverse osmosis system.
  • More cannonball jellies. 

I have three more cannonball jellies this time. Two smaller jellies and one very large one. The large one appears to be very scratched, and has several impressive chunks out of its bell. Its vitals seem to be fine, however. It pulses fine and hasn't shown signs of inversion. One of the smaller jellies is also having some problems. Its bell is bent and skew. It almost appears to be inverting, but hasn't quite gotten their yet. Its quite possible that it is just damaged from the waves. It also seems to pulse fine, but just looks funny in general. The last jellyfish is a very good specimen, and seems perfectly fine. It is unscathed and pulses with vigor. 

Ive recorded most of my progress,

Friday, March 16, 2012

My aquariums and setups.

I feel that I haven't covered my entire setup lately. I've just been mentioning specific tanks or setups. But all in whole, I have a pretty big system going and I'd like to share it with everyone.

Running systems~

  • 20 gallon moon jellyfish grow out tank
    • Follows my design that I posted here, but with slight modifications to fit the 20 gallon size. 
    • The water in this picture is cloudy because i took the picture right after adding salt. 

  • 2 gallon main polyp tank (moon jellyfish polyps). 
    • I keep 95% of my moon jellyfish polyps. Its a 2 gallon glass tank filled with water. There is a bent mesh screen facing bend side up. This holds the dishes of polyps and allows waste and baby jellies to float down to the bottom. 

  • Reserve polyp dishes (Moon jellies). 
    • These are just spare dishes of polyps. I keep them away from the master polyp tank in case something goes wrong. That way I wont loose my entire stock, and I can use the dishes of polyps to start a new colony. 

  • Ephyra dish system. 
    • The ephyra that have just been released go into dishes. They are too small for a full system so I keep them in special lab-like conditions to ensure they grow well. They are raised in an 8 inch diameter glass bowl. The bowl sits on a magnetic stirrer. The stirrer uses magnetism to stir a little teflon coated bar in the dish. So you have just the bar spinning in the dish to create water movement. 
    • Real ocean water is used (collected from beach then sold to petstore, then sold to me). This water is optimum as it contains the exact amount of micro nutrients and things that jellyfish enjoy. Aquarium salt always leaves calcium deposits in my dishes. These deposits build up and collect everywhere. This essentially turns the bowl into sandpaper for the jellies. The ocean water is also very clean. Water in the bowl is generally changed daily, except for weekends. 

Tanks and systems that are not full or operating at the moment~

  • 200 gallon cannonball jellyfish tank
    • I had some problems with the water and salt I was using. The tank will be dry until I purchase an reverse osmosis unit and 200 gallons worth of salt. 

  • 10 gallon kreisel. [my original design]
    • I accidentally caused the tank to crash and many of my moon jellyfish in the tank died. It was originally meant to house comb jellyfish. Its probably too small to comfortably and safely house moon jellies for extended periods of time. So I'm going to do a few repairs and maybe put some combs into it in the future. 

  • 9 gallon jellyfish art tank.
    • I havent ran this tank since november. I simply haven't ran it because I haven't had jellyfish to put in it. The tank works best for 2-5 inch jellies. I've been dealing with 1.5 inch jellies at most. So I've had no reason to fill it and use it. If I end up with enough big jellyfish, then I may store extras in this tank. Maybe it could act as a display tank to show off the current moons I have. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fixing the problem and update on moon jellies

So via process of elimination I can assume that my problem with the jellyfish was the salt. So this time around I'm going to get 200 gallons worth of aquarium salt and a reverse osmosis filter. The city tap water might work, but I'd rather not stretch it at this point. Plus a reverse osmosis unit will save me several trips to the store for distilled water here and there. Now personally, I feel that ocean water is superior to any other water for jellies, but I cant bring back 200 gallons of ocean water back from the beach.

Now as for the jellyfish, I will be going back to the beach to gather some more and bring them back. I'm thinking, 4-5 if I can. The last time I was at the beach the jellies were everywhere, but that could easily have changed since then. I feel a hurricane brought them in, but this time the jellies may stay far out in the ocean. Of course that may also be false. We will just have to find out.

Update on my moon jellies~

I'm still working on them. I've got a few in my 20 gallon tank, and more on the way. Hopefully this round will be the most successful.

Also I'm getting some upside down jellyfish polyps in the mail. I've heard that these jellyfish practically grow themselves. Hopefully that is true, I'm interested to see what they are like.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mysterious Jellyfish Death

I finally got a 200 gallon tank set up for my cannonball jellyfish. I acclimated them and introduced them. And then something weird happened. They began to slow down and eventually stopped moving. At first I though this was due to the cold, but they eventually stopped all movement. So I rushed them to my heated 30 gallon saltwater tank. They began to slowly pulse again, and eventually at full pulse. But that tank was much higher in salinity. So I used the remaining amount of my salt to make some water for them. That wasn't quite enough so I gathered a gallon jug of the strange 200 gallon tank water and syphoned it down drip by drip. For a  while the jellies were fine, but the next morning they were far dead. The water was heated that night as well. I am absolutely stumped as to what happened. The salinity was dead on. the temperature was lower than room temp but still at or higher than the temperature of the water that I caught these jellies in. I tested a spider crab and a snail as well. The crab went limp but recovered to full health when put in my good aquarium. The snail shot back in its shell but also recovered when put in my good tank. Does anyone know what might be happening?

  • The tank is a plastic holding tank, and was washed thoroughly before use
  • The water is tap but has been treated with ammo lock.
  • The salt is solar salt. 
  • salinity was proper. 
  • Temperature was a little low, but was still in range of water that the jellies were found in.
  • Water affects snails, jellyfish and crabs alike.
Is it possibly the use of tap water? Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

Also, here is some underwater footage of the jellies before they began to act up.