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New aquarium designed to put jellyfish on your desk


August 15, 2011

The Desktop Jellyfish Tank is an aquarium designed specifically for the keeping of jellyfish

The Desktop Jellyfish Tank is an aquarium designed specifically for the keeping of jellyfish

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Jellyfish are definitely fascinating creatures, that are almost hypnotizing to watch ... you could say, they're the lava lamps of the animal kingdom. Unfortunately for aquarists, however, they also can't be kept in a regular aquarium, as they'll get sucked into the water filtration intakes. That's why Duke University Biology and Environmental Science alumnus Alex Andon started experimenting with adapting regular aquaria to make them jellyfish-friendly. After having some success with selling these converted tanks online, he decided to start making them from scratch. His San Francisco company, Jellyfish Art, is now marketing them as the Desktop Jellyfish Tank.

For a marine aquarium, the tank is fairly simple.

Water is pulled through a layer of rock on the bottom, and is channeled up one side of the acrylic cylindrical aquarium (along with diffused air supplied by a pump) to the surface. From there, it goes back down the other side, and is once again sucked down through the rocks. This creates a circular flow, which is said to keep the jellyfish centered in the middle.

The rock is actually what's known as living rock, meaning that it has been "seeded" with live nitrifying bacteria. These serve to break down and neutralize the jellyfish waste. Weekly partial water changes are still necessary, however.

The creatures themselves are non-harmful-to-humans moon jellyfish, which can be purchased for US$39 each from the company. They will be overnight shipped from the company's breeding facility, but are only available to residents of the continental U.S. The 7-gallon (26.5 L) tank is reportedly able to support up to five of the critters, which eat frozen plankton that is also available from Jellyfish Art.

Light is provided by a built-in LED lamp, the color of which can be changed using a remote control.

Andon is currently raising funds to begin commercial production of the Desktop Jellyfish Tank, and expects the first tanks to be ready within a few months. A pledge of US$350 will reserve you a tank and a voucher for a starter kit, that includes food and three jellyfish.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

That\'s just cruel. Imagine Yourself stuck in a circular room with only air and food for the rest of your life (that\'s right - no internet!). :/

Renārs Grebežs

JellyFish have no brain or central nervous system (seriously), so there\'s no cruelty here.

Andrew Chapman

Renars, change \"circular\" to \"square\" and that describes the working conditions of many of us! :-)


lavalamp redux

Thom Delahunt

SEA Jelly

Irving Martinez

While I like the concept of a micro Kressel to keep jellies, this tank won\'t be able to keep the water quality high enough to sustain one jelly, let alone 7. I don\'t know what type of \"moon jelly\" they will sell you, but the native moon jellies in New England grow to about a foot across.

However, as a reef enthusiast since 1995, let me say there\'s simply not enough filtration with the nonexistent amount of rock in the pictured tank. Moreover, the jellies will bounce off the rocks periodically and get torn to shreds.

Full sized Kressels as you see in public aquariums rely on external filters of live rock so that the jellies can circulate without damage.

Finally, the article comments that for $350 one gets a voucher? Perhaps they should actually go into business and get a deal with one of the chain stores (online or brick) first.

Paul Escobar

@Paul they did say "weekly partial water changes are still necessary" besides while jellies are mostly planktonic they do have a very small locomotion ability, so I am sure if you made the water slow enough they will be fine.


Got one of these and let me just say... DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY! The tank design ignores the basics of Jellyfish tank design (which I have researched a ton since getting it)- putting rocks in the tank kills Jellyfish. I've gone through four and tons of others have lost all their jellies too. We were duped into being their R&D, and paid them for the privilege. This was not a tested product and has a bunch of flaws.

Adrianna McKinley

"...they're the lava lamps of the animal kingdom"

Great imagery!

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