Basic Advice

Jellyfish Aquariums: Not Worth the Trouble

Jellyfish Aquariums: Not Worth the Trouble

Jellyfish are clearly incredibly cool looking animals. See what I did there? (Jellyfish are largely clear.)

Anyway, if they are such an interesting looking animal why aren’t there more jellyfish aquariums? Have you been to the Shedd Aquarium to see the Jellyfish Exhibit? It is truly incredible. Jellies spinning, gliding, floating slowly through the aquarium. LED lighting displaying otherworldly colors.

The jellyfish aquarium is one of the most peaceful, serene displays imaginable. The problem is, these types of aquariums almost never work.

The manufacturers of these aquarium systems would argue with me, but unless you are a public aquarium with an army of interns to constantly feed, maintain, clean, watch over, and attend to the aquarium, or you are a Las Vegas Hotel with comedic amounts of money to burn, it’s not a feasible reality.

First off, the animals you will typically get for your jellyfish aquarium aren’t the ones you see at the Shedd Aquarium. They are still neat looking, of course, but don’t have the long flowing tentacles, bizarre coloring, and body the size of an orange. Rather, how does the size of a bite-sized piece of cauliflower sound?

Next, you should know that you’ll have to keep a constant source of a live plankton culture in a separate aquarium, as well as feed your jellyfish 5+ times per day. Lastly, the design required to obtain the appropriate water flow flow for a jellyfish aquarium leaves a lot to be desired.

You see, typical aquariums work on a pretty simple basis: water comes out from the filtration over here and drains down to the filtration over there. Simple. If there were jellyfish in the a standard aquarium, the poor guys would get sucked right down the drain in the blink of an eye. They don’t swim, think and act like fish. Jellyfish are completely dependent on water flow for survival and thus need to have a specially designed system to suspend them in water rather than blow water around with great force like a standard fish aquarium would.

The method these jellyfish aquariums use involves a slow water flow to keep jellyfish in perpetual suspension. It’s a complex system – let’s just say you better keep a close eye on it throughout the day or you will risk an overflow. Water needs to be calibrated to drain at the exact same rate as water enters the tank, which can be very challenging when the flow is that slow.

So, if you are thinking about a jellyfish aquarium, the truth is that we discourage most of our clients from this type of project. I’ve already had to say No on behalf of Blue Planet for several requests to install and maintain jellyfish aquariums, because it’s our job to look out for our clients. But, if a better design and easier way to maintain them are invented, Blue Planet is all in!

About Jon Wolf

Servicing Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana & Michigan, Blue Planet Aquarium Services has been the most trusted name in aquarium design, installation and maintenance since 1999. A company large enough to be dependable but small enough to still watch out for your best interests, Blue Planet is the only company to call if you are planning to install an aquarium or have one maintained.