Is There a Jellyfish Tank in Your Future?

jellyfish aquariumOne of the product lines that really caught my eye at MACNA 2014 were the jellyfish tanks at the Boyd Enterprises booth. Until recently, home aquarists did not have access to jellyfish systems. When I think of jellyfish systems, I think of them almost exclusively in the context of big public aquariums. I’ve been to a few really nice aquariums lately, and they all had these types of displays featuring different species of jellyfish.

As far as these tanks are concerned, it appears to be a Kreisel design, which is a circular tank that lightly tumbles the jellyfish using an air pump for water movement. The idea is to keep the jellies in suspension and prevent the animals from hitting the sides. Contact with the tank risks injury to the animals. The tanks come with an array of colored LEDs to make for a dazzling display.

The appeal of keeping jellyfish is clear (pardon the pun). They are mesmerizing to watch—sort of like a living lava lamp. The jellyfish sold as a part of this kit are moon jellies from the genus Aurelia. In the wild, they live about six months. There are several different species of Aurelia, though, and some species live longer than others. Some live only three to four months.

I was surprised to learn that moon jellies are pretty hardy overall. Despite their delicate form, they are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures and salinities. In addition, they can survive in turbid, dirty water and are straightforward to feed. In fact, there are reports that the ocean, due to increased temperatures and pollution, is encouraging an explosion in jellyfish populations.

One concern is the size moon jellies can attain. Despite their six-month life span, they can get absolutely huge! We are talking around 15 inches! I don’t know how to reconcile that growth potential with the size of the tanks here. Most of these models do not seem adequately sized for an animal that may achieve full size in a few months.

I am by no means an expert on jellyfish, but the idea of a jellyfish tank has always appealed to me. Is this tank something you would consider adding to your collection?


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About Than Thein

Than Thein is the owner of Tidal Gardens and Advanced Reef Aquarium. Than's love for all things underwater began early on when dogs and cats were strictly off limits, but a fish tank? Sure! What started with a 10-gallon goldfish tank eventually turned into a 5,000-gallon greenhouse coral propagation system. In addition to coral aquaculture, Than's other hobbies include scuba diving and underwater photography and videography.


  1. Hey Than, I’ve got a story for you. I purchased one of those exact Kreisel tanks and moon jellyfish a while back. While it was beautiful and as you said, mesmerizing, it didn’t last long (about 6 months). It was a huge waste of money! As you said, one idea was to keep the jellies from hitting the sides to avoid injury. Well, the other idea was to keep them from also getting sucked into the suction area under the gravel rocks and getting torn to shreds. I tried 2 times, both small and large jellies and both times was a failure! I did exactly what was suggested by the company itself and what was required to keep them alive but it did not work. No matter how much I covered the suction area on the bottom with gravel, I would constantly find the jellies (small and large) stuck to the gravel caught in the suction, causing severe damage. My opinion – jellies should be left to the big commercial aquariums or in the ocean.

  2. Andy Mollison says

    Do you know what brand of tanks they were? This question to the article writer and to the comment above really. Would be interested to know.

    There are quite a few different tanks available now – the Cubic range is sold at for example while the Jellyfish Art range is probably most well known.

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