Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Atlantic Sea Nettles

My beach trip has been quite successful! Several things occurred while I was there.

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.

15 comments:

  1. Me again (from the slugs ect., have been away). I am currently in Soldotna, Alaska at my grandparent's fishing lodge. I would like to know if there is anything you would like me to pick up(such as mushed up fish guts to feed the jellyfish)
    The other thing, While the sea nettles are graceful and your work impressive, you seem to be dwelling into the more poisonous jellyfish. I don't think it would a good idea to sell box jellyfish or any other lethal ones. That's just an accident waiting to happen. Right now, There aren't many rules and regulations regarding jellyfish. It would be good to keep it that way by not attracting attention.

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    1. If you happen to find any jellies, I would love to have some frozen ones sent to me for reference! Yeah, I may actually end up keeping some non lethal box jellies, but I have made a rule with myself to never provide them. I dont want people trying to buy them after watching "Seven pounds". :)

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    2. I went to Homer today with my family (plus aunt, uncle, and a cousin) and saw loads of jellyfish including a comb jellyfish, tons of loin's mane jellyfish, some sea nettle, and a massive moon jellyfish with orange, opaque gonads (we could send you pictures). And on the way back, we happened across a dead lion's mane jellyfish with missing tentacles and internal organs, that I picked up and put in a jar. I was wondering if you'd be interested in that one and if so, there may be problems in shipping dead things. And the other thing, what do I do with the specimen in the meantime, stick it in the freezer? I will try to find more and do you have any requests?

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    3. Wow, that would be awesome! Yeah, just throw it in the freezer before it begins to decay. You could ship it in a styrafoam box, or cooler bag. You can also preserve the sample in 95 percent ethanol. I would love a picture as well. Contact me at travis.brandwood@gmail.com

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  2. Replies
    1. Hey I live in NC and raise jellies as well....I've been successful so far and havent had any losses...cross fingers....but its a steep learning curve and I am trying to research and learn as much as I can. I can't find much detailed quality information aka scientific grade info on moon jelly fish. Does anyone know where I can find better info than " jellyfish live in the sea and are made of water the end" type articles? So far I've been learning primarily through trial and much error!

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    2. Hi Sean,

      I have found scientific articles to be quite helpful. Some of them are hard to access. My favorite readily available article is "Collection and Culture Techniques for Gelatinous Zooplankton". That covers lots of breeding and lab quality growing of jellyfish. As you may know by now, my blog is also a great source info on jellies. Feel free to email me on any questions as well! travis.brandwood@gmail.com

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  3. Yeah, it was the area where the jellies were lab cultured.

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  4. this is a gay blog. LOL Fuck you

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    1. Get a life, don't come back. Don't come to people's blogs people spent super long making. If you can make a blog this awesome, let me know. But I bet you can't.

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  5. I have a question! I just recently got a atlantic sea nettle and I just changed his sea water and fed him, I noticed instead of being upside down and super low to the tank- he's now floating upwards and is moving very slowly but constantly near the surface of the water. He also has an air bubble. I followed the directions of the sea salt water, and he is at room temperature (78 degrees f.) Is he sick? Or is he fine and i'm just freaking out for no reason..

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  6. 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 ... jellyfishtank.blogspot.com

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