Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Updates, and My Tanks.

Sea Nettles- Unfortunately, all of the Atlantic Sea Nettles have died. I believe that the cause of most of their deaths was due to a bacterial crash in the filter. I added reverse osmosis water to an already established jellyfish tank. Looking back, this probably nuked most of the bacteria in the filter. With the large density of sea nettles I was housing, the ammonia probably got to them. Three did manage to survive longer in a test cylindrical tank. They seemed to do just fine, but did require a fair amount of food and attention.

This wont be my last shot with the sea nettles though. It's likely I will be going back to gather more jellies this summer or possibly sooner in november. I hope to also acquire some of their polyps at some point as well.

2 species of Moon jellyfish- I still haven't managed to figure out what two species of moon jellies I have. Research online has shown some interesting results. After searching for pictures of Aurelia labiata strobila and ephyra, I found pictures that showed dark purple ephrya. Pictures of Aurelia aurita ephyra were all yellows or whites. At this point, I am thinking that the moons are not Aurelia labiata, but rather both are variations of Aurelia aurita. The only question is which is which? I will be able to tell later, when I obtain mature jellyfish from both variety. I am currently growing out ephyra and juveniles of both, so hopefully we will have some results soon!

My Tanks- Some people were requesting that I show off all of my tanks in a video. Well here you are! :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Invasion of the Upside Downs and Cold Water Moons

I've been posting quite a lot lately, as quite a lot has been happening. Every day, surprises pop up.

Upside Down Jellyfish polyps 
In my last post, I mentioned that I had found a single polyp in my Sea Nettle tank. Since then, it has produced five buds, leaving me with 6 polyps total. As I have been studying the polyp and its buds, I have come to an unfortunate conclusion. They all look very similar to polyps of my Upside Down jellyfish. The main polyp has a very long stalk, unlike the polyps I remember seeing at the public aquarium. The prolific rate is also quite strange, and suspicious. The Sea Nettle polyps were closer in looks and behavior to moon jellyfish polyps. The only jellyfish I know of that has polyps which produce visible and mobile buds are those of Cassiopeia (Upside downs). Cassiopeia is also well known for their invasive behavior. Obviously, none of these polyps from the tank have strobilated yet, but when they do, we will know their species. Cassiopeia ephyra are unmistakable in shape and size.

Atlantic Sea Nettle polyps at a public aquarium. 

This morning I found that my largest tank bred moon (Think) has everted entirely. It turns out that the salinity got too high. Normally the sump drains and the pump stops before the salinity gets to high. In this case, I accidentally left the sump raised at an angle, so the pump had far more water. I added reverse osmosis water to bring the salinity down. Think is still everted, but I have managed to get him to almost revert back to normal.

The unidentified moon polyps.
A few months ago, I noticed that there were some Moon polyps growing amongst my Upside Down polyps. This made sense, as the polyps came from someone's tank of moons. The Upside Downs were invaders. After watching them for a while, I scraped three off and set them in a dish. They appeared to be slightly different from the moon polyps I use to breed moons. Just recently two polyps began to strobilate, allowing me to delve further into my investigation. One healthy ephyra was released this morning. It had an obvious difference to it, compared to my other ephyra. It appeared to be born with slightly more tentacle tissue than normal. Its coloration is also strikingly different, as it is a cloudy pale color. The metabolism of this ephyra also seems to be quite vigorous. I wouldn't normally do this, but with no other choice, I added it amongst my moons in the breeding system. To prove to myself that it looked different, I stepped away from the tank and came back later. I was able to identify it from the rest. I have narrowed the species possibilities down to three. It could be either Aurelia aurita (from Asia), Aurelia aurita (from the Atlantic Ocean) or Aurelia labiata (from the pacific coldwaters). I would like to believe that the polyps are from Aurelia labiata, however I'm really not sure. I will be able to tell once the ephyra grows tentacles. Aurelia labiata have clumped oral arms unlike Aurelia aurita. I dont know the origin of my original moon polyps, but they are definitely aurita. I feel like they may be an Atlantic species.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Demise of the Moon Jellies

I have been breeding and raising moon jellies in my breeding system lately. They were doing quite well in the breeding system. With three dishes of polyps, i easily found myself with 200 moon jellyfish ephyra. I got most of them to grow up to the 1/4 inch size. This is right before they start looking like mini adult Moon jellies.

Thursday night I noticed that the tank was looking a little dirty. Diatoms and brown algaes were beginning to grow on the surfaces of the tank. There was also quite a lot of debris in the tank. I thought that a sponge scrub of the tank would do no harm. After scrubbing the entire ephyra tank (while still in operation) I went to bed. The next morning I found most of my ephyra stuck to the screen. Many were missing as well. It turns out that I stirred up a ton of debris, which then clogged the screen up, and caused tons far to much suction. Scrubbing the screen the night before also caused part of it to come loose. I have a feeling that many ephyra slipped past the screen and into the drain.

I was left with around 40 ephyra, 20 of which were in horrible shape. It's so saddening to see that I lost so many jellies. Among the survivors were two jellies that were raised in my last batch of dish bred ephyra. They mean a lot to me, as they are currently the biggest moons I have ever bred. They are also the only jellies I have named in a long time. The largest is named Think, after my business. The second is named Mono, as he only has one gonad ring, unlike most moon jellies which have four. Seeing the two of them boosted my morale a little.

One little discovery boosted my morale even more. I am left with three Sea Nettles. One appears to be everting at the moment. The sea nettles have also been a discouraging failure. They were a gift to me, and here they are, all dying on me. I could not help feel that all of my work was for nothing, and that I have destroyed such a wonderful gift. On friday afternoon, I noticed that one sea nettle was laying amongst the marbles in my desktop tank. I used my arm to blow water over it, and get it to move around a little more. As I did this, a single polyp came flying out from the substrate. I wasted no time in grabbing the polyp and moving it to safety. It now resides in a small dish. A polyp bud is developing on it as well. This single little polyp holds the potential of all of my work and effort. I really need to do everything possible to protect this polyp. Soon it will be able to divide and produce more polyps. Then I can begin to work on breeding Sea Nettles. Wish me luck!