[youtube width=”640″ height=”510″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y3do0FplJ0[/youtube]
Hubert Chan, owner of Reef Aquatica in Toronto, Canada, shared this incredible video showing dozens of spontaneously captive-bred Upside-Down Jellyfish, Cassiopea sp. If video isn’t proof enough Hubert tells us that these jellies are on display in the shop — the public is welcome to check them out in person! Not sure we’ll ever have a species name for these as geographical origins suggest these could be C. andromeda, but also possibly C. medusa, C. mertensi or C. ornata, and likely rule out the Caribbean and Atlantic upside-down jellies we’re likely to see from Florida-base collections. Of course, species might only matter if you’re trying to replicate Hubert’s work and it could be that other species might not be so willing to reproduce in captivity. I should point out that Hubert Chan isn’t the first to breed a Cassiopea (they’ve been on captive bred lists for years and less than two months ago Sustainable Aquatics announced their own CB Cassiopea), but hey, if everyone else is dealing with Florida broodstock, this still might be a species first.
Hubert, and often known online as “Vaporize” or “Clownfishman”, started with broodstock imported from the Philippines 3-4 years ago, housed in a compartmentalized 50 gallon broodstock system. “Initially, for the 50 gallon spawning system, I notice baby jellyfish coming out every so often,” said Hubert, who began harvesting the offspring and placing them in a separate 10 gallon aquarium.
Reproduction was a very low tech affair. The 10 gallon grow out system has no protein skimmer and filtration is provided by a classic sponge filter. The tank is lit with a 23W power compact flourescent light but Hubert tells us “but only on for an hour daily max, only when I feed the fish.” Tankmates in the jellyfish growout include two snowflake ocellaris, a single green mandarin dragonette, algae and live rock.
Ultimately, the 10 gallon growout became a second broodstock and breeding tank. While Hubert has not observed the sexual phase of reproduction, he says that now both his 50 gallon system and 10 gallon tank contain the hydroid life stage of the Jellyfish. Periodically, the 1-2 mm hydroids throw off the next free swimming baby, which simply grows up in the tank. When pressed about light and feeding (given that this species is generally thought to be photosynthetic), Hubert stated, “I have a hypothesis that lighting might not be very critical. I think they survive on fish digested [new life spectrum] pellet feces (dust, debris).” It goes without saying that there must be a greater quantity of microscopic life in this 10 gallon aquarium, owing to the minimal filtration and minimal water changes (once every 3-4 months).
Reef Aquatica sells these captive bred Upside-Down Jellyfish online for $19.99 but remember Reef Aquatica only ships livestock within Canada. Hubert was quick to warn that once you have the Cassiopea hydroids in your system, good luck getting them out. Because of this (and the fact that Hydroids can be a real pest in some reef tanks), he implied that maybe these are not the best choice for a reef aquarium, but instead are better kept in a system dedicated to placing the needs of the jellyfish first. It would seem that these needs are very minimal and easily met!
Congratulations Hubert and thanks for sharing your story with the world! If you haven’t gotten your fill for the moment, one more video, courtesy of Reef Aquatica to tide you over. Yes, they have the same soundtrack but they’re different vids — you get to see even smaller babies in this one!
[youtube width=”640″ height=”510″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zitYGrajtN4[/youtube]