Here I’m going to show you how to make a quick and cheap jellyfish tank that is great for catching your ephyrae from your polyp bank and even growing the ephyrae up. Obviously this isn’t a display tank, but it’s great for holding and growing your jellies until they are big enough to display. If you build several of these you can distribute your ephyrae between them to achieve greater size before going into the display tank…
You are going to need a few things before we get started:
- Some type of rectangular or square container, a Critter Keeper, acrylic tank or even a Tupperware storage bin which is what I have chosen to use for this project.
- Painter’s tape
- Nylon screening, I used a 150 micron sized mesh for this, found here at Aquatic Eco-Systems.
- Silicone, I prefer Dow Corning 999-A, but you can use almost any silicone. Just make sure its not for roofing or concrete work. I find it easiest to work with clear silicone so I can see bubbles.
- Bulkhead/PVC tank adapter, 3/4″ is going to work for most of you. For larger applications you may want to use 1″.
- A cup of ice cubes
- Disposable gloves, even though I didn’t wear any for this project, I recommend wearing them.
- A well ventilated space if you do not enjoy the smell of silicone
Save the lid! If you chose a Tupperware container like me, keep the lid. You are going to want to use the lid to control evaporation, hold your incoming water lines and help keep the structural integrity of the container.
Install your bulkhead, no I’m not going to go over this, but do remember that the gasket goes on the wet side! Backwards tank adapter = leak.
Tape off where your screen will attach to the sides. You’ll want to leave some space so the screen does not suck up against the bulkhead. Cut your screen material to match your taped lines, you will want to leave a half inch extra on each side to allow for a nice curved screen. You can also use some rough grit sand paper to rough up the area behind the tape (everywhere silicone will go) in order to help the silicone hold onto the plastic.
Lay a nice thick bead of silicone along each tape edge as shown. Now use an ice cube or your finger if you are wearing disposable gloves to smooth and flatten the bead. Some people spit on their finger to smooth the silicone, ends up smelling nasty though! Saliva + acetic acid, yuk!
Do the other side, should look like this.
Lay the screening on your silicone. Don’t worry if your screening is wrinkled, we’ll straighten that out later.
Lay another bead of silicone on top of the screen and flatten/smooth with an ice cube again. Put enough pressure on the silicone that you can see it work its way down into the mesh, this will provide a strong bond. It’s ok if the silicone spreads over the tape, we’re going to peel the tape off later.
Now we need to glue the bottom of the screen down. This is the trickiest part, especially if your Tupperware container has an uneven bottom like mine does. We are going to fill in that uneven part with silicone.
Use this time, while the silicone is still workable, to shift the screen any direction you like. Sometimes you’ll see an angled side or a bubble that needs to be pushed in. Or maybe the bottom of the screen isn’t a perfect curve, you can use your finger or an ice cube to smooth it all out again. What you don’t want to do here is move the screen until it is taught, if the screen is taught it can tear off the wall when you fill the container with water due to the plastic flexing. When you’re satisfied with your work, go ahead and peel off the painter’s tape.
It should look something like this when you’re done…
Don’t like that crinkled screen? Not to worry, simply wet it with those ice cubes or just some water and leave the container on its side to dry. The water weight on the screen will help re-shape the mesh. Sometimes mesh is too old or bent to re-shape which is why you should use new nylon screening. Also, the larger the container, the harder it will be to keep a nice curved screen. You can add support rods if you really want to. Sometimes if I have a screen that is sagging down in the middle I will insert a zip tie to hold it upright.
Now leave it to dry for 24 hours!
Did you get some silicone somewhere you didn’t want to? Leave it alone! And once it dries, then remove it. Smearing it will make it difficult to remove.