How to Make a Jellyfish Mood Aquarium

Written by jennifer leighton
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How to Make a Jellyfish Mood Aquarium
Jellyfish exist in over 200 varieties and are found in both saltwater and freshwater environments. (jellyfish image by pearlguy from

Jellyfish exist in a variety of colours ranging from the palest of translucent whites to more vivid blue and pink hues. An experienced aquarist can create a jellyfish mood aquarium with a variety of jellyfish types of colours in their own home. However, jellyfish can be challenging to care for, so a jellyfish mood aquarium should be created with care and attention to detail.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Kriesel tank
  • Protein skimmer
  • Tank lighting
  • Saltwater or saltwater kit
  • Cycle starter kit

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  1. 1

    Purchase an appropriate tank. Jellyfish tanks are circular aquariums (kriesels) or custom-designed circular aquariums. A traditional rectangular tank does not provide the constant circular current flow that jellyfish need to stay suspended in the water. Doctors Foster and Smith's Live Aquaria website suggest a minimum tank size of 30 gallons.

  2. 2

    Install lighting for the aquarium. Lighting is a matter of personal choice and may depend on the type of jellyfish chosen. Some aquarists use fluorescent lighting exclusively, and others choose metal halide lighting. Extra fluorescent lights on the aquarium sides can help to illuminate the jellyfish. Regardless of the preferred lighting, jellyfish do require bright lights to grow and thrive.

  3. 3

    Add saltwater to the tank. Prepared saltwater can be purchased at local pet stores or online, or you can prepare your own by adding a single teaspoon of dechlorinator and 3 1/2 cups of aquarium salt per 10 gallons of tank water. Power on the tank to ensure circulation works properly. A kriesel tank has a special built-in circulation that creates the constant circular motion jellyfish require.

  4. 4

    Add beneficial bacteria to the tank using a "cycle starter" kit, which can be found at local pet stores or online. The bacteria is necessary to help remove the jellyfish waste from the water.

  5. 5

    Test the water temperature. Typical water temperature for most jellyfish kept in home aquariums is between 12.8 to 18.3 degrees Celsius, but it can vary based on species of jellyfish.

  6. 6

    Add jellyfish to the tank, acclimating them slowly. The jellyfish will need to be suspended in your aquarium using a clip, while they are still inside the plastic bag or container they arrived in, for at least several hours. The jellyfish will then ideally be encouraged to swim out of the bag and into your tank on their own. Some jellyfish retailers suggest adding a cup or more of your tank water to the jellyfish bag prior to suspension in the tank to help speed acclimation.

  7. 7

    Install a protein skimmer if your kriesel tank does not already have one. A typical salt water tank protein skimmer will not normally work for a jellyfish tank since it may remove too many of the needed nutrients along with the waste. Make sure that the protein skimmer you use is designed for a kriesel tank and is designed to meet the unique needs of jellyfish.

Tips and warnings

  • Follow any instructions that you are given regarding the care of your jellyfish as closely as possible.
  • Regularly test water perimeters, including nitrites and ammonia levels, to ensure that the jellyfish are not being exposed to toxic substances that could kill them.
  • Place a fine mesh screen over filters to prevent jellyfish from becoming lodged in the filter.
  • Keeping jellyfish can be challenging, and only expert aquarists should attempt to keep a jellyfish mood tank, according to the Doctors Foster and Smith Live Aquaria site.

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