How to Keep Jellyfish in a Home Aquarium

Written by david barnes
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Jellyfish can be one of the most interesting and unusual creatures in a home aquarium. Unlike fish, the gelatinous jellies have no spine, no eyes, no stomach and no brain. They require special treatment and a specially designed environment to survive and thrive in captivity. This can be an expensive hobby, but jellyfish are so fascinating that the extra effort and cost can be worth it under the right circumstances. Here's what you need to provide a suitable home habitat for jellyfish.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Understand that jellyfish cannot be placed in a conventional rectangular aquarium designed for fish. They require a constant flow of water that mimics the ocean's currents to help keep them afloat. The water must circulate in a specific way to keep them from getting trapped in a corner or sucked into the circulation system. A circular tank, called a kriesel, may be a good choice, but there are other configurations, including built-in wall tanks. See the Resource section for suppliers.

  2. 2

    Feed the jellyfish baby brine shrimp that are 1 to 2 days old. Jellyfish eat lots of tiny brine shrimp, so you may also have to have a separate aquarium to hatch and raise enough of them fast enough to satisfy the jellyfish. Brine shrimp are hard to find in pet stores in the quantities you will need.

  3. 3

    Consider the necessary lighting for your tank. Jellyfish depend on strong light for photosynthesis. You can used some coloured lights as well, to make the jellyfish appear to glow from within because of their transparency. Some home aquarium owners describe jellyfish as "living mood lights."

  4. 4

    Choose from several types of jellyfish for your aquarium. The most common type is the Moon jellyfish, which grows up to 12 inches in diameter. Another popular type is the Upside Down jellyfish which sometimes lies on the bottom of the aquarium and sometimes floats toward the surface. These grow to about 8 inches in diameter. See the Resource section to purchase jellyfish for a home aquarium.

Tips and warnings

  • Be careful with your captive jellyfish. Their sting can be painful.

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