I managed to ask the local aquarium to give me a tour of the jellyfish culture room. They were fine with that, and the aquarium's jellyfish aquarist showed me around. I was very impressed with everything I saw.
The culture room had four large brine shrimp hatcheries, two sea nettle tanks, a large moon jellyfish tank, a sea nettle breeding system, a moon jellyfish breeding system, and a few tanks here and there. The moon tank was the aquariums display tank as well. Curtains surrounded the tank, so that people would not be able to see the silhouettes of the workers through the tank. Once the curtains were moved, you have access to a scaffold that takes you up to the top of the tank. Two lids can be removed to access the jellies within. The display sea nettle tank stood about five feet to the left of the moon tank. The second sea nettle tank stood in the center of the room, next to the sea nettle breeding system. It was essentially a thin acrylic tank. It had no edges like a kreisel, but the flow was still arranged like a kreisel. The two breeding systems were quite like mine. An acrylic box sat in a large reservoir/water bath. Sheets of acrylic held hundreds of polyps. The polyp tank drained into a smaller acrylic box. 1000 micro mesh was glued at the end in a parabolic shape.
At the time, no jellies were being bred, although the temperature was being dropped in the moon polyp tank. They will bring it back up later, so that the polyps will strobilate.
Along the trip I also managed to obtain twelve atlantic sea nettles. The aquarium directed me to a few locations where sea nettles are present on a near constant basis. They are all quite varied. Some are pure white, others have stripes or blobs of brown/purple on their bells. Some even have brown oral arms, and one even has all of the above characteristics. Its unclear as to whether or not the colors will interbreed, but I would guess so judging by the unique variety. All of the jellies are under 2 inches in bell diameter. Most are around 1 inch, but two reach 2 inches. Some of them have tentacles that reach a foot, and others show signs of tentacle loss. I managed to get some fairly healthy jellies, so hopefully they will all do well.
Their sting is quite potent, but is still fairly mild compared to the Portuguese Man of War and the Box jellyfish (both found in the area). The area of skin affected by the sting burns slightly (I find its quite similar to being pricked with a briar or a nettle plant) and turns red. Each individual stinging cell can be felt as it fires off its barb. I also noticed that stinging cells seem to rub off the jellies, and will remain potent for an hour or two afterwards.
I plan to keep my sea nettles in my 20 gallon kreisel tank. Thats probably just under what they would prefer however. It shouldn't be an issue to make them a tank. I could probably build a stretch kreisel from a 30-50 gallon tank. Im not quite sure what size I should get. I will definitely make an attempt to breed these jellies, but we will see how that goes. The aquarist said that the polyps seem to respond to certain changes one year but not the next, and so they have a hard time getting them to strobilate.
|The moon jellyfish breeding tanks.|
|One sea nettle in the holding tank.|
|A large and old moon jellyfish.|
|The Moon Jellyfish display from above.|