So, blue blubber jellyfish are very beautiful and (relatively) tough as far as jellyfish go. The only issue I have run into so far is feeding. Blubbers can't eat fish food, obviously. They also can't eat "jellyfish food" which is fine for moon jellies and those that eat larger particles, but way too big to be caught by a the fine oral net of a blubber. So what do they eat? Zooplankton. The first attached picture shows a blubber as it is feeding on zooplankton, and I was not seeing this from my blubbers.
My first course of action was to seed a natural population of (mostly) tropical Copepoda in the kreisel's refugium: pseudopsyclops, tisbe, tigriopus, and rotifers. These act like a microscopic cleanup crew among the live rock, and will become established in the tank. To feed Copepoda and help this process along, I have been adding 2ml per day of concentrated phytoplankton, which also will live in the water column There are always a few copepods that wind up getting sucked into the main tank, so the idea is that these jellies will have natural feeding opportunities throughout the day.
But this will likely not be sufficient for the jellies main diet, as they will require a bit more food than the tank can likely produce sustainably on its own -- and exotic live zooplankton are not available cheaply or easily enough to simply keep the jelly's area filled with floating dinner.
So, the solution is to hatch fresh artemia, which is available in (dry) egg form, very very inexpensive, and hatches overnight. So, problem solved, right? Well, almost...
My first attempt to hatch artemia was a bit of a dud. I put the eggs in some water with table salt (I don't know why. I had perfect seawater available. I was just following the directions...). The yield from this approach was negligible. There were a few artemia among the millions of unhatched eggs, but the product was unusable.
Next, I tried adding an airstone to a small bucket of eggs and salt water, which did produce a few more live artemia over the course of the next day or so, but very few of the eggs actually wound up staying in suspension. 95% sat on the bottom and didn't hatch.
The next thing I tried was an actual hatchery, you can see in the photo below. The shape of the soda bottle is perfect to allow bubbles of air to rise from the narrow base and keep nearly all of the eggs in suspension. I was hatching zooplankton by the millions!
However this was not exactly the end of my problem. See, the issue is that while freshly hatched artemia is extremely nutritious, the husks of the egg shells they hatch from are not. In fact, it's not good for them at all. So, I naturally tried every bone-headed approach to this problem that occurred to me, including a few frustrating hours trying to suck out individual artemia one at a time with a pipette. I also considered some approaches I read about online: apparently, the correct combination of acids will melt the husks, leaving only the outer membrane. Most will still hatch. Oh geez...
So, finally I stumbled onto this other idea online. It is actually marketed as a children's school-age experiment to hatch brine shrimp. It has a simple, unaerated black box, and a clear collection cup separated from the dark box by a lid with a small aperture the creatures can swim through, as they are attracted to light. So, alone this device winds up with a very very low density of product -- a fraction of a percent of the total eggs I put in. But the result is pure! Only live brine shrimp will swim upward through the aperture to get to the light. Husks remain below.
So, what I discovered is that by combining these two techniques I now have an unbelievable production pipeline of fresh artemia, perfectly sorted from their husks. The soda bottle bubbler produces live artemia/egg husks by the millions. To produce a final product, I simply squirt a turkey baster full of this artemia soup into the black box, wait an hour, and the collection cup is absolutely brimming.
At this point I'm producing about 10x the artemia I would need to just jellies, so my nano-reef and pipefish get the leftovers. Adding zooplankton to my reef has also had noticibly beneficial results. The corals just seem absolutely vibrant. And the fish are having a ball, since they now have little snacks to chase around all day. And it's an extremely clean form of nutrition since it basically stays alive in the water column, rather than settling and decaying.
I've got jellies with full bellies!#nanoreef #jellyfish