Okay so your jellyfish has suddenly turned inside out. Or maybe it arrived that way. Don’t panic, we can help!
When jellyfish turn inside out they are referred to as inverted, or sometimes everted. This problematic condition is somewhat common. Let’s take a look at what causes it, and what we can do to fix it.
Jellyfish are made of 95-97% water, and the rest is mostly protein. When protein is exposed to extreme or unfavorable conditions, such as heat, they change shape in a process known as denaturing. Think about how frying an egg makes it go from liquid to rubbery. Unfortunately, this very same process happens to jellyfish. The number one cause of inverted jellyfish is too much heat. Every species of jellyfish has an ideal temperature range, and when they slip past it, into the hot end, they risk winding up inverted. Always check your jellyfishes ideal temperature range before purchasing, and make sure your aquarium is at the correct temperature. Some other causes of inversion include: sudden change in salinity (usually too high), pH swings, and ammonia build up. Note that the key element here is speed. Change that happens too quickly can be very bad for your jellyfish.
Jellyfish that are inverted struggle with necessary processes, such as eating. Even if it looks like they are catching food, they are probably not able to disperse the nutrition around the body. A very small percentage of inverted jellyfish will return to their proper shape on their own.
So how do we fix this? Over the years we have come up with a couple of good methods for fixing your inverted jellyfish. Please proceed with caution, and understand that manually handling your jellyfish can help it, or make its condition worse.
- Changing the salinity: We recommend trying this method first to see if it helps any. This is still based on anecdotal evidence, but it seems to have worked for many jellyfish keepers, including us. You want to bring the salinity up towards the high end of their comfortable salinity range. Before you ask, I know we just said above that high salinity can cause inversion. The idea here is to slowly raise the salinity, and keep it within their acceptable range. If they flip back to normal, you can slowly drop the salinity back to its original level. To change the salinity, we recommend preforming a water change with extra salty water. This will help bring the salinity up gently.
- So maybe method #1 hasn’t done anything after a day or two. You may try manually flipping your jellyfish back to normal. Our favorite method of doing this goes as follows: Take your jellyfish * and put two fingers underneath it, right in the center. Begin moving the jellyfish slowly up to the water’s surface. Gently bring the jellyfish just up out of the water, but not all the way. The jelly should collapse back on itself, flipping into the correct shape. Understand
that this process can be risky for the jellyfish. Only attempt it if other options have not worked, and you feel skilled enough to properly handle it.
Once your jellyfish has been flipped back, it may invert again. This is fairly normal, and some jellies can be very stubborn. You can try flipping it back again, but we have found that these jellies will actually return to their normal shape, once you have manually flipped them a few times. So even if your jellyfish inverts again 30 minutes after you manually flipped it, don’t worry too much.
Jellyfish that have been inverted once in their life tend to be susceptible to inverting again in the future. Just make sure their water quality is good, stable and at the right levels.
*Please wear gloves or other protection when handling jellyfish that sting.
You can buy your own pet jellyfish and jellyfish aquarium at our online store: Jellyfish Warehouse