DIY Jellyfish Aquarium – The Ecopico by Ecoxotic

Your Summer Project: DIY Jellyfish Aquarium Using the Ecopico

I was lucky enough to receive an Ecopico from Ecoxotic recently to try and figure out a way to turn it into a jellyfish tank. I’m happy to report that I’ve had several moon jellyfish  living in the tank now for over a month with minimal care. Read on to see how to build your own jellyfish aquarium…

First, the obvious, you need to get an Ecopico. There isn’t much to setup, just clamp the light on to the back of the tank. Some plastic clips support the glass lid. You can check out the basics on setting the tank as a normal fish tank here.

DIY Jellyfish Aquarium

Ecopico DIY Jellyfish Aquarium

In addition to the tank, you will need a few supplies; an under gravel filter plate with air tube, a small air pump, a valve for airlines, some airline tubing and rigid airline tubing. All of these can be found at your local pet store.


You will want an under gravel filter that has a modular air tube so you can place it wherever you want. Some of them are fixed in place, you don’t want those. This one at PetSmart is what I used. Connect all the filter plates together and place the air tube in the middle as shown below. You may need to cut a side off one of the plates to make it fit in with the rest.

DIY Jellyfish Aquarium

Under gravel filter plate with centered updraft tube

Center your gravel plate in the EcoPico, you will want the substrate to hide the plates around the edge of the tank…

DIY Jellyfish Aquarium

Center the under gravel plate in the EcoPico tank

Next you need to choose a substrate. I prefer these small, jellybean #1 size, glass beads from American Specialty Glass. You’ll need at least 2″ of these beads, which works out to about 7 pounds worth of glass, I ordered a 10# bag so there would be plenty just in case I needed to add more. You can of course use any other glass bead you can find, sometimes dollar stores carry these beads. You just need to use the right size bead, read here to find out why! You don’t want your jellies getting sucked down into the substrate. Go ahead and add your beads by hand, don’t just dump them in carelessly.

Now connect the rigid airline tubing to the airline and pump. Feed the line through the Ecopico LED bracket, it helps to hold it in place. I used some nice black silicone airline, as it blends in well with the LED bracket.

DIY Jellyfish Aquarium

Place the airline tubing in the updraft tube

You should be ready to add water! For salt mixes, I use E.S.V. B-Ionic. This salt comes in  3 parts, the sodium chloride crystals, magnesium crystals and liquid trace elements. Because it comes in 3 parts like this it mixes much faster and clearer than other salt brands. Having large undissolved salt crystals in your water is not optimal for your jellyfish aquarium! You will want to mix your salt in RO/DI filtered water or distilled water, do not use tap water.

DIY Jellyfish Aquarium

Ecopico Jellyfish Aquarium

After you fill the tank be sure to smooth out the beads. You will want to allow some time to seed your tank with bacteria to drive your nitrogen cycle but it is possible to add jellyfish immediately. I added 3 small and 1 medium moon jellyfish immediately and performed water changes everyday for a week to keep ammonia levels down. Keep this in mind when setting up a small tank like this, ammonia will build up quickly and it is best to stay ahead of the game before it can become a problem for your jellyfish. A typical sign of ammonia being too high is that the oral arms will look ‘burned’ off or severely shortened, the tentacles may also be shortened or not extending. If you see this you need to start changing water. An easy way to manage your water changes is to buy a sturdy Brute trashcan and mix your salt all at once, effectively creating a saltwater reservoir, this way you aren’t mixing salt every time you want to do a water change. You can easily cup out water and then go get clean water all ready to go. If you do keep a reservoir you will need to stir it because it is possible for the water to stratify with different layers of salinity over time, if you’re using the reservoir regularly though this usually isn’t an issue.

Once the jellyfish are in the tank you are probably wondering; how much air should I bubble? It is difficult to count bubbles when they’re moving so fast, so here is a video of what your bubble rate should look like…

We are going to follow the same “rule of flow” for jellyfish with this tank as with any other; we want just enough flow to keep the jellies off the bottom and suspended, no more than that.

As for feeding, I feed live brine shrimp several times per week for this setup. I like to alternate feedings with water changes, so for example… on Monday I’ll feed some brine shrimp, Tuesday I’ll do a water change, feed again on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with a total of 3 water changes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. You can feed other products such as R.O.E. or Rotifeast by Reed Mariculture but live brine shrimp, or even live copepods are now available from AlgaGen, are the preferred foods for moon jellyfish.

The jellies have been flowin’ and growin’ in this Ecopico for over a month now, I am confident that you can emulate this success. I tried to leave the tank alone as much as possible, even missed a few feedings and water changes to really ‘stress test’ this DIY jellyfish aquarium. It works great! That being said, let’s talk about expectations for this setup… if you are looking to keep jellies for say around 6 months then this is a great tank for that, but if you want to attempt to keep jellyfish for over a year then you will need a more robust setup, such as the Cubic jellyfish aquarium. Keep in mind that moon jellyfish are seasonal animals with what is most likely a natural life span of about 6-12 months. Now that I’ve set this expectation, if you can get your moon jellyfish to live longer than 6 months in the Ecopico, then I want to hear from you! I’ll gladly post your tank photos here on





About Wyatt

I am a professional jellyfish aquarist in the public aquarium industry. I have worked in marine animal husbandry since the age of 17, it was my first job. I love raising jellyfish, especially new species, and finding better ways of caring for them. Here, I hope to provide great ideas and product suggestions to help you create your own successful jellyfish displays.
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49 Responses to DIY Jellyfish Aquarium – The Ecopico by Ecoxotic

  1. pete says:

    Is the cubic aquaraim more robust since it is larger and therefore it will allow the jellies to grow out? Are there other reasons why it is a better solution to this setup?

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Pete,
      Yes the Cubic is much larger and will allow the jellies to grow to their maximum size. If you put 3-5 jellies in the Cubic, they could easily attain an 8″ bell diameter.

  2. mark says:

    What size tank do I need to breed them because I want them for m ore than 6 Weeks.

    • Wyatt says:

      Hey Mark, you’ll want to either setup your own DIY tank or buy a tank such as the Cubic. The Cubic is large enough to grow your moon jellies to maturity.

  3. peter says:

    hi i don’t understand because everyone says that on every page that jellyfish can be only kept in tube aquarium or bowl the say that it cant be in a square because the jellyfish will die ???
    that you have to have the aquarium like on the jellyfish art

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Peter,
      Moon jellies do not require circular (kreisel) tanks to thrive. You can grow them in just about anything, a flask even. Jellyfish will get stuck in corners of square tanks unless you provide a current to keep them from doing so. This is very easy to do in most tanks.

  4. Curtis says:

    I have a 10 gallon hex that is 20″ tall and 11″ wide, is that to tall? Also could I use the air-lift for my tank?

  5. Joseph says:

    How much water volume is required to rear moon jellyfish to sexual maturity? Looking at some papers it does appear they reach sexual maturity in captivity at much smaller bell diameters than in the wild. Thoughts?

    Also, how long do polyp cultures last? They do age and need to be replaced eventually right?

    ~Joseph See

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Joseph,
      You can get jellies to reach sexual maturity in a 10 gallon tank. I’m not sure what papers you’re reading but jellies most certainly reach sexual maturity earlier in the wild than captivity. They may be smaller in captivity when trying to mature but this is usually a bad indicator of health, the jelly is basically ‘racing to reproduce’ because it might be damaged, poor nutrition etc and they switch from growing to putting all of their energy into producing gametes. They usually shrink in size while doing this.

      Polyp cultures can last years and years. The more the polyp population is bottle necked, the worse off they are and become very unstable.

  6. Katie says:

    Does the Aquarium come with a heater, then?

  7. paige says:

    Can you put other salt water fish in this tank with them?
    Also so they really don’t need to have a circular tank they will be complety fine in that?

  8. paige says:

    What will happen if the power goes out?

    • Wyatt says:

      Most of the time the jellies will be fine pulsing around for 24-48 hours without power, so long as the ambient temperature doesn’t vary too much.

  9. Bob says:

    Would the filter work on a 45 gallon Hex tank.

  10. Cindy torres says:

    Hello my name is cindy. I recently discovered a baby jellyfish in my normal salt water tank, and i was wondering were i could buy a medium size jelly fiah tank? I was planing on moving the jelly fish out before it dies, or even if it dosnt make it im planing on actually getting some jelly fish. Iv done tons of research about it. Iv surfe the web for a jellyfish tank but i cannot seem to find one. In need of help please and thank you!also does the tank need to be special for jellyfish?

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Cindy, what do they look like? The most common jellyfish that show up in home aquariums are upside down jellies, Cassiopea. You can usually spot the polyps too, small and white about the size of a grain of rice. If it is an upside down jelly then you can use just about any shallow tank with good lighting, small metal halide or strong LEDs etc… For medium jellyfish tanks you are looking at the Cubic tanks, either the Orbit or Pulse.

  11. Sam says:

    If I were to keep only a few small jellyfish in this setup would they live longer or would it not make a difference?

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Sam, it doesn’t matter – the eventual problem you will run into with any small tank is that as the jellies grow larger and put out more ammonia you will have to manage water quality more often. You can really get a feel for when the tank needs a water change as you observe them growing, algae growth, water clarity, surface scum etc… same goes for food, as they get bigger they will want more food.

  12. Christina says:

    Does your setup have a regular filter? Or, is that why you do such frequent changes?

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Christina, there is no filter on this setup. The beads can act as biofiltration though, so yes you do need to do frequent water changes. It is always a good idea to do regular water changes when keeping jellyfish though…

  13. Frederick Wormwood says: could one just use this? it seems to do the same thing with built in colored lighting.

  14. Davide says:

    Hi Wyatt…good idea!
    Im Davide from Italy and i wanna create a jellyfish tank…
    i think modify a rectangular aquarium like kreisel tank…
    but in jellyfish tank its no better an external filter or skimmer??

  15. Chuck Mageean says:

    There are moon jellyfish in the area I paddle board here in Southern California. The water is between 59-61 degrees there today. Would jellyfish collected locally work out in that sort of tank?
    Thanks, Chuck

  16. Matt says:

    So will a 2 gallon fish bowl and the filter you recommended work ?

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Is a regular 10 gallon tank good enough for them with the undergravel filter? Would they need an overflow or anything else?

  18. Lydia El-Shazly says:

    Would the Biorb be the same/do the same job?
    People have told me the biube is good but it’s not available in the uk, that I can find.—accessories/cold-water-fish-tanks/big-biorb-with-light-60ltr-silver-coldwater-aquarium-starter-kit#

  19. Melissa says:

    Hello! Will a 26 gallon bow front work?

  20. Lily says:


    I’ve decided to keep one or two small moon jellies in this tank model

    It comes with an undergravel filter, and I have also purchased a 10 gallon Tetra Whisper Air pump, a 2 meter long airline tube, a check valve, a flow control valve, and some basic aquarium gravel. If I simply set this up, how would I connect the tubing, pumps, and valves to create a current? After setting up the aquarium kit, what would the next step be?


  21. Jason says:

    I have a 40 gal bay window tank
    I would like to convert it to have jellyfish
    Is it possible ?
    If so how would I do it as im fascinated by jellyfish.
    If not should I buy a small tank
    Thank you

  22. Lily says:

    Are moon jellies like turtles? Like if you keep them in a small tank they won’t grow as big?

  23. John says:

    It doesn’t look like you are using the carbon filter that comes with the undergravel filter do you need it?

    • Wyatt says:

      No, not using it, and no you do not need it. In fact if you are going to use carbon with jellies you need to be very careful about the dust produced, rinse the carbon very well otherwise they can ingest it and fall apart.

  24. Jason says:

    First off please excuse the email, I am very serious about creating a working jellyfish aquarium.

    Going along with a previous question, I see you said that a hexagonal tank works with this air lift method and I am very happy to see that. I am curious however if the volume of the tank affects the required airflow into the tank as well as the updraft tube size.

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Jason, yes the diameter of the tank will require increasing the size of the air lift tube. If I had to guess, go with 10% of the diameter. So a 10″-12″ square tank like the Ecopico requires a 3/4″-1″ tube lift. And of course the depth will require a stronger air pump… if the tank is acrylic consider installing the air from the bottom. If the tank is too tall then the air lift might not work, I wouldn’t try it if the tank is higher than 24″ or so. Luckily it is fairly cheap to build and test!

  25. Jasmine says:


    I purchased an biOrb 45L tank that this aquarium sold me as a jellyfish tank. However when i went to another boutique to get the jellyfishes they told me that my tank isnt a jellyfish tank, it is unsuitable and the jellyfishes will die because of the airpump and the different water currents in the tank. Is this true??? I really need some help to clarify this, thanks!!!!
    biOrb 45L tank

  26. Kathleen says:

    I found I guess what is called an electric jellyfish. I just know it lit up when water came over it. I decided to keep it in salt water to just show a few people. Reading here, it looks like it’ll survive a couple days if I don’t bring it back by then? It’s in a bottle w/out the cap. Just figured ask you on what I should expect etc. I never knew these things existed. I’m assuming newborn. It’s just a bit bigger than a quarter. Pretty neat, had to hold onto it for a bit to show! I’m amazed.

  27. Radek says:

    Hi there. These website with substrate doesn’t work. Please tell what diameter of beads is best?

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