New aquarium designed to put jellyfish on your desk
By Ben Coxworth
August 15, 2011
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.