Jellyfish Are an Aesthetic Saltwater Delight

Aquarium jellyfishThe latest trend in ornamental saltwater aquariums, jellyfish provide an aesthetic delight for hobbyists with their mesmerizing forms and soothing movements. With the right setup, you can have these exotic creatures anywhere in your home.

It does require a lot more thought, however, than just setting up a standard aquarium, since jellyfish are such delicate organisms. If you follow these steps, you can successfully set up and enjoy your new jellyfish habitat for years to come.

Jellyfish have very specific requirements when it comes to establishing a compatible ecosystem. If you are setting up your own tank, pay particular attention to how the water moves in your tank. Jellyfish can easily be sucked into a filter and liquefied. If you’re not using a tank and filter setup that’s specifically designed for jellyfish, you’ll need to make several modifications.

Keep it simple

If you enjoy “aquascaping” then jellyfish are not for you. Decorations threaten the integrity of the jellyfish, literally. By necessity, their tanks must be plain.

Next, make sure you place your tank in a convenient location out of direct sunlight, away from heat sources and electrical equipment. Then, you can install the filter, following the instruction that came with it. You can use any aquarium filter designed for a tank of at least 8 gallons.

If using the kit filter, you need to remove the sponge filter from cellophane wrapping and rinse in fresh water. Then, lock the filter cartridge into the bubble tube by inserting the bubble tube into the cartridge and rotating. Lock the filter cartridge into the bottom of the tank by inserting it into the bottom of the tank and rotating. Plug the clear airline tube into the air pump.

Next, make sure you rinse the gravel in fresh water. Use aquarium gravel that is porous to keep helpful bacteria, which consume waste created by the jellyfish alive. Make sure you.

After you have covered the bottom of the aquarium evenly in gravel, add a layer of glass marbles to completely cover the gravel to protect the delicate jellyfish tissue from being torn on the gravel. Make sure the marbles cover all the gravel and the entire filtration cartridge.

Temperature is important for jellyfish

Now you can add the heater. Set it to 77 °F – the appropriate temperature for a tropical species, including the common Blue Jellyfish (Catostylus mosaicus) – and affix it to the inside of the tank so that it will be completely submerged.

Once that is done, you can fill the tank with salt water. In the kit tank, the water level needs to be 2 inches (5.1 cm) above the top of the bubble tube for proper water circulation, but below the light bulb housing, so the water does not get over-heated by the light. The safest bet is to buy salt water from your local aquarium store to ensure it has the right pH and salinity. at this point, you should plug the light, pump and heater into an electrical outlet and make sure those components power up correctly.

Now it is time to establish the bacterial colony. If you are using a kit, it should contain Stress Coat and Stress Zyme, which contain helpful bacteria that will colonize your filter. The bacteria digest the waste from the jellyfish. You will need to feed the bacteria before adding any live animals to the tank; otherwise, the tank will accumulate biological waste, which contains poisonous ammonia.

The kit also should contain a bottle of Cycle Starter, and you will need to add the entire bottle. Cycle Starter contains the ammonia excreted by animal as waste and digested by filtering bacteria as food. Run the tank for 7 days. During this time, the bacteria colony will grow in your tank.

Before you add your jellyfish, you will need to check that water for ammonia levels, salinity and temperature. If those elements are well within specifications, you can add jellyfish!

Restocking the Aquarium is Simply In the Bag

Acclimating new fish in a tank during restockingOK, so you just bought some new tropical fish for restocking your freshwater aquarium, and you want to get them home and into the tank as soon as possible.

So you race right home, open the bag and dump them right into the tank right?

Wrong!

There is a right way and a wrong way to introduce your new tropical fish to your fish tank, and what we just described is very much the wrong way. Some gentle preparation is in order to move those new fish into their new environment safely.

When Restocking, Acclimation is the Key

The purpose of acclimation is simple: the water that the fish or corals are packaged in has different temperature, pH, and salinity parameters than your aquarium. Fish, and especially invertebrates (including corals), are very sensitive to even minor changes in these parameters, so proper acclimation is the key to ensuring their successful relocation.

Of course, this whole process begins with selecting some healthy fish from your local aquarium specialist. Take special care to make sure the breeds of fish that you have are compatible and get along. Most pet stores are staffed by knowledgeable clerks and attendants who can help you pick out fish that will be able to share a tank without causing one another harm.

Now that you have chosen your new fish, the process begins, bringing them back to your home is an important part of the process of preparing them for their new environment. As you transport your new fish home, make sure you cover the bag with something to help reduce the stress experienced by the fish during transportation.

Once home, let the bag float in your tank for 15 minutes to a half hour, allowing the fish to get used to the temperature of the water in your tank. Certainly the water in the transport bag will be remarkable different in temperature from the water in your tank, so this process of acclimation is very important.

Equalize the temperature

After the temperature equalization, open the bag and being very careful not to spill any of the water into the tank, get a clean cup and put some tank water into the bag. You will want to put an amount in the bag about equal to what already was in it, thus approximately doubling the volume. Allow the bag to float for another 15 minutes.

Now take the bag out of the tank and open it to allow you to reach in with a net. Gently scoop up your new fish with your net and withdraw the net from the bag, allowing the net to simply rest in the water until your new fish swim out of it and into their new habitat.

Repeat this process until you have brought all of your new fish from the bag into the tank.

Once you have completed the transfer, it is very important that you do not empty the remaining water from the bag into your tank. This water may contain germs or diseases from the pet store, which may result in a deaths or illness to your fish.

So there you have it! A simple restocking method for introducing your new fish into their new habitat safely! Follow these simple step for an easy and enjoyable time with your tropical fish tank!

Keeping the Koi Pond Comfortable in Colder Climates

A school of fish in the koi pondPond preparation is a must 

There is nothing more relaxing than sitting and watching a gentle waterfall caress the rocks as it cascades into a fully stocked outdoor fish pond filled with Koi. In warmer weather Koi are particular active and will provide you with hours of enjoyment as they are lively and remain highly visible. Thus it is a simple matter of observation that allows one to keep tabs on the Koi pond and the conditions of the environment and its inhabitants.

But even in Southern California, where ambient temperatures seem to perpetually stay well above freezing, those of you who have outdoor Koi ponds know winter can be a concern. When the cold weather descends on us, Koi tend to slow their activity.

Koi are poikilothermic or cold-blooded beings, and their metabolism is closely tied to the temperature of the water in which they live. This, in winter, when the water is coldest, Koi activity slows to a crawl, mirroring their metabolism. They mostly spend their time treading water near the bottom of the pond, where they find the warmest water in the Koi pond. The need for movement is minimal as it doesn’t take much for them to keep their joints limber and flexible.

Water reaches its maximum density at just more than 39°F, and in cold weather, the warmest water is at the bottom of the pond. That is where you will find your Koi in winter.

Keep an eye on them 

And unlike our other outdoor hobbies, like gardening, one can’t just ignore the pond, letting it freeze over (if you are in higher elevations or in less temperate climates) and pick it up again after the spring thaw. Do that and you will find yourself having to restock the pond every spring, a lesson most Koi novices learn just once.

If you do happen to live in a cold climate, it will be a while before you see your Koi again as they sit on the bottom of the pond in the warmest pocket of water they can find. This might lead one to think they are huddling together for warmth, but being cold-blooded creatures, but what is actually happening is, the Koi are entering a state of torpor.

Because torpor is measurably shorter in duration, it is not really considered hibernation, but many of the characteristic of torpor mirror what bears and other endotherms that hibernate experience: reduced body temperature, slowed metabolism, slow reaction times, reduced breathing rate and primary body functions. Torpor allows the animal to save the energy that would otherwise be needed for higher levels of activity.

Keep things calm in the Koi pond

So because of that, it is wise to keep things as calm as possible around your Koi pond in colder seasons. If, for example, you live in a place where your pond might freeze over, and you need to open the ice, find a quiet, gentle method, such as using some boiling hot water to make a hole. Do not chop at it with a hammer or axe.

You can even use a cordless drill to get through the ice if it is too thick to be breached with the boiling water. But the key benefit to doing this is the open area in the ice will allow noxious gases, like ammonia, to escape from the pond.

As a general rule, you should guard against letting your pond’s water temperature fall below 34F. Temperatures below 34F will allow ice crystals to form on the gills of your Koi, which can kill them.

Of course, if you do your homework and have cleaned and prepared your pond for the winter, then you have little about which to worry. You can sit back and relax, enjoy the slower pace the fish will maintain in cold weather, and look ahead to spring, when the Koi will be back to their usual entertaining behaviors.