By The Wind Sailor (Velella velella) Video from MBARI

Everyone has been reporting the “blue jellyfish” washing up on west coast beaches this year… here is a great video from Steve Haddock at MBARI explaining who they are and what they do!

“The secret life of Velella: Adrift with the by-the-wind sailor”

Posted in Blooms n Smacks, Uncategorized, Video | 1 Comment

Enoshima Aquarium – Spherical Jellyfish Tank

Check out this amazing jellyfish tank at Enoshima Aquarium in Japan:

Enoshima Aquarium Jelly Sphere

It looks like there is water pouring down around the sphere, hopefully I will get to see this tank in person someday. Makes you wonder how the top is accessed and how they clean it!?

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Largest jellyfish tank in the world opens at Kamo Aquarium

World’s largest jellyfish tank.

Weighing in at 40 tons and ~40,000 liters, or 13,000 gallons, Kamo Aquarium has built what is likely the largest jellyfish tank in the world. Kamo Aquarium recently opened their new building featuring the largest jellyfish collection in the world with 30-40 species always on display. They also hold the Guinness World Record for most jellyfish species displayed.

The director looks on as the big tank is filled for the first time.

Other aquariums have recently claimed the title of ‘largest kreisel tank’ such as Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto (16,500 liters) and Georgia Aquarium’s 25,000 liter tank but Kamo Aquarium stepped in and almost doubled the volume with their new flagship tank! The tank holds approximately 10,000 moon jellies! The window/viewing area is a whopping 5 meters by 5 meters, very impressive. The tank itself is much bigger, about 2 meters wide:

Filling the world’s largest kreisel.

The renovated Kamo Aquarium opened June 1st to the public so go visit! Or follow their progress at their Facebook page.

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3D Printed Spray Bar: DIY spray bar/manifold for jellyfish tanks

My apologies for the break in posts, hopefully this post will makeup for it! This is something cool I’ve been working on this summer… a 3D printed spray bar for pseudo-kreisels. As far I know this is the first of its kind…

3D Printed Jellyfish Tank

3D Printed Spray Bar in Sketchup 8

Using the free version of Sketchup 8 I built this model of an 8″ wide spray bar. As you can see there is a barbed fitting on one end to connect some 1/4″ tubing for the supply and 16 evenly spaced outflows to drive the current in the tank. The spray bar is angled to match the angle of the screen for a snug fit in the tank. There is also a flange on the far side of the model to help prevent it from being pulled off the tank. After printing 5 different versions of this model, I finally found one that worked. We used a MakerBot Replicator 2X to print the models.

3D Printed Spray Bar

3D Printed Spray Bar in the Maker Bot

This was the final print that made it all the way through, there were various printing errors: clogged print heads, ran out of material once, the print fell over, warped too much and the print would not stay on the table. Notice how in the final print above there is a tear-away support piece that I had to design in order to support the print. When you build an angled object you are going to need something to build on. I also ended up using double-sided masking tape to keep the print on the tray because sometimes the MakerBot would pull it off and start spewing plastic spaghetti strands all over.

3D Printed Spray Bar

Print Time

Each print took six hours! A good overnight print job. I could watch it for about 30 minutes before I had to leave.

3D Printed Spray Bar

Tear off supports

Here you can see me  bending off the support and raft (the raft is the flat piece on the bottom and acts as an additional build platform, which can help prevent warping). The raft is from the Skeinforge slicing engine (the software that tells your bot how to print your model), I ended up choosing the Skeinforge engine because it gave a much better quality print. Since then, MakerBot has made some significant improvements to their own default slicing engine, but I still don’t like the complexity of their raft. The Skeinforge engine uses a nice simple grid type raft.

3D Printed Spray Bar

3D Printed Spray Bar in use on a small pseudo-kreisel

Here it is in use, pushing some little Mitrocoma medusae around in a 1′ pseudo-kreisel or “PK” for short. This print did leak a little bit at high pressure, I later found that I needed to properly face all of my polygons in the model before printing. Sketchup uses polygonal drawings that need to be converted to STL models, or triangle based models. If you don’t face your polygons properly then the printer will not print some faces and produce errors or rough surfaces. For example you can see the rough end of this print closest to the camera… that face should have been white in Sketchup, or an outer face… not a blue face which would be an inside face. This print was also slightly warped, something that could be avoided next time by using PLA plastic, a biodegradable plastic that is more rigid. When designing your own spray bar remember that you need the end of the spray bar to be below the water level, measure carefully when drawing your model in Sketchup. I hope this spray bar can serve as inspiration for more 3D printed applications for jellyfish tanks. If you come up with your own print, please send me some photos and I will post them here.


Posted in DIY, Jelly Tanks | 3 Comments