Atlantic Sea Nettle

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Species group:

Other common names:

Scientific name: Chrysaora quinquecirrha

The Basics:
Long, streaming tentacles and a strong, graceful swimming style has rendered the Atlantic Sea Nettle a great favorite of private aquarists and public aquariums. Although not suitable for novices, this magnificent creature is a good choice for those with the experience and facilities to meet its needs.

The Atlantic Sea Nettle is found in the Western Atlantic Ocean, from Massachusetts, USA to Brazil. It is a coastal species, more at home in the brackish waters of tidal rivers, estuaries, and salt marshes than the open sea.

Appearance / health:
The translucent body is tinged with light and darker shades of pink or yellow, or may be white. Adults reach 25 cm. (9.8 in) in diameter, and their tentacles may exceed 50 cm (20 in) in length.

The Atlantic Sea Nettle has proven relatively hardy under expert care. Poor water quality, starvation, and inappropriate aquarium design (see below) are the most common causes of fatalities. Jellyfishes cannot tolerate copper-based medications, ammonia, or nitrites.

Behavior / temperament:
The Atlantic Sea Nettle is a strong swimmer and remains continually in motion and actively feeding. Its sting may be quite painful, and the possibility of individual sensitivities or serious allergic reactions must be considered. Jellyfishes are best housed only with others of their kind, as their stings can injure or kill various invertebrates and fishes.

Atlantic Sea Nettle should be kept in a Kriesel, which is a circular aquarium specifically designed for jellyfish. Kriesels are equipped with a filtration and pump system that creates the type of current flow that is essential for keeping jellyfish in motion and feeding in the water column. The tank is bare, as jellyfish easily become entangled in coral and other structures.

The following water quality parameters are critical to long-term health:

Specific Gravity (Salinity): 1.015-1.020; Temperature: 20-25 C (68-77 F); pH: 8.1-8.4; Alkalinity 8-12 dKH; Ammonia/Nitrites: 0; Nitrates: below 5 mg/l. Calcium, iodine and other trace elements should be added as suggested by the product manufacturer.

Atlantic Sea Nettle should be provided large daily feedings of newly-hatched brine shrimp and, if available, zooplankton. Brine shrimp should be nutritionally enriched with a commercial algae-based diet designed for that purpose (i.e. Selco) beforehand. Atlantic Sea Nettle may also derive some benefit from plankton formulas designed for use with filter-feeding marine invertebrates, and sometimes accept commercial jellyfish diets, small fish, and frozen krill. Other jellyfish species, live or chopped into small pieces, are a great favorite.

Atlantic Sea Nettles reproduce sexually and asexually, going through several stages that differ greatly in appearance and lifestyle before becoming an adult, or medusa. Survival of the larval stages seems to depend upon a ready availability of plankton-based foods.

Written by Frank Indiviglio

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