How Much Do Pet Jellyfish Cost?

Last Updated on February 16, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Jellyfish are emerging as a fascinating new option for exotic pet enthusiasts. With their hypnotic movements and alien beauty, jellyfish present a truly unique aquarium experience. However, while their appeal is clear, jellyfish do require a considerable investment to keep healthy and thriving in a home aquarium.

In this article, we will explore the range of costs involved in setting up and maintaining a jellyfish tank.

How Much Do Pet Jellyfish Cost?

The first major expense for aspiring jellyfish owners is purchasing the livestock itself. There are a few species commonly available in the pet trade with prices between $20 and $150, as follows:

  • Moon Jellyfish – Known for their classic jellyfish shape and pulsing movements, Moon jellies are a great starter species. Pricing ranges from $30-$60 per individual.
  • Petite Moon Jellyfish – A miniature variety of moon jellyfish, reaching about the size of a quarter. Their tiny size allows for desktop jellyfish tanks. Petite moons cost $20-$35 each.
  • Pink Jellyfish – Distinguished by their vibrant pink coloring and elongated tentacles. A relatively hardy species. Pink jellies sell for $40-$100 apiece.
  • Upside Down Jellyfish – Unique for their tendency to float upside down, revealing their pulsating mouths and oral arms. Average cost is $50-$150 per jelly.

Aquatic Creations Group, for example, offers the following prices for jellyfish:

  • 1″ (small) $25.00 each,
  • 2″ (medium) $35.00 each,
  • 3″ (large) $50.00 each.

Jellyfish Art offers these prices:

  • Small Moon Jellyfish $22.00,
  • Medium Moon Jellyfish $39.00,
  • Large Moon Jellyfish $55.00.

At Sunset Marine Labs, three (3) 1-inch diameter Moon Jellyfish Aurelia aurita species are priced at $40.

Initial Tank Setup and Equipment Expenses

The specialized aquarium setup required for jellyfish is the primary cost hurdle for prospective owners. Jellyfish need circular tanks with perfectly smooth sides to prevent damage to their delicate bodies.

Filtration must be gentle but effective. Expect an investment of $1500-$4000 for a complete new jellyfish tank setup, depending on size and features.

Types of Jellyfish Aquarium Kits

  • Desktop kits – Perfect for housing just 1-3 petite jellyfish. Prices range from $200 for basic 5-10 gallon kits to $500+ for high-end mini systems.
  • Standard aquarium kits – For keeping multiple medium-sized jellyfish. Entry-level 30-50 gal tanks cost $800-$2500. Larger custom setups can cost up to $5000.
  • Cylindrical tank kits – Offer optimized jellyfish viewing with their all-around visibility. Expect prices starting around $3000.

In addition to the tank itself, essential equipment like filtration systems, LED lighting, and chillers will add $500-$2000+ to startup costs. Advanced systems with automatic chemical dosing can cost even more.

Recurring Jellyfish Care Costs

Jellyfish With Beautiful ColorsCaring for your jellyfish requires some ongoing expenditures, including:

  • Specialized jellyfish food – Specially formulated plankton-based foods and supplements cost $30-$50 monthly for a standard tank.
  • Salt mixes – To maintain proper water chemistry and salinity, marine salt mixes cost $50-$150 every 2-3 months.
  • Filter media replacement – Filter cartridges, resins, and other media require replacement every 4-12 weeks, at a cost of $20-$60.
  • Water testing supplies – Crucial for monitoring water parameters. Basic test kits run $30-80 for initial purchase, then $10-30/month for additional reagents.
  • Utilities – The chiller, pumps, lighting and other electrical equipment results in higher electricity bills of $30-$100+ monthly, depending on tank size.

In total, the budget is $100-$300 per month for keeping jellyfish after the initial setup. Larger tanks and fancy species may cost more.

You might also like our articles about the cost of an octopus, a lion fish, or an Axolotl.

Other Potential Jellyfish Expenses

  • Veterinary care – While jellies are generally hardy, you may need specialized vet care for illnesses or injuries, which could cost hundreds for diagnostics and treatment.
  • Equipment repairs/replacement – Pumps, chillers and other systems eventually wear out and need replacement every few years. Budget $200-$2000+ for potential replacement costs.
  • Tank maintenance – Periodic deep cleanings by professionals will cost $100-$300 per session, depending on tank size.
  • Tank upgrades – As your experience and jellyfish collection grows, you may want to upgrade to a larger and nicer tank, easily costing $2000-$5000+.

Tips for Saving Money on Jellyfish Keeping

  • Start small – a mini desktop tank with just a few petite jellies can help you gain experience at a lower cost.
  • Buy used equipment when possible – join jellyfish keeper groups to find deals on used tanks, chillers, filters, etc.
  • Leverage batch purchasing – many jellyfish are sold at discounted rates if buying multiple individuals at once.
  • Keep species with simple care – Moon jellies have basic requirements, making their care more affordable.
  • Design a DIY system – advanced hobbyists can custom-build tanks and equipment for significant savings.

Final Words

While not inexpensive pets, jellyfish offer unmatched beauty and serenity that dedicated aquarists find well worth the investment. With smart planning and choices that fit your budget, you can enjoy these hypnotic animals as captivating living art within your own home.

Expect an initial investment between $2000-$5000 for a complete setup, then $100-$300 per month in recurring expenses for their specialized care. For lovers of aquatic life looking for a visually stunning new challenge, owning jellyfish can be a deeply fulfilling endeavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you own a jellyfish in the US?

Yes, it is legal to keep pet jellyfish in the United States. There are no federal regulations prohibiting jellyfish ownership. Some individual states may have restrictions, so check your local laws. Most pet jellyfish are captive-bred, not wild-caught. With proper care, jellyfish can live over a year in home aquariums.

How long do jellyfish last as pets?

The average lifespan of pet jellyfish is 12-18 months. Some species or individual jellies may live longer, up to several years. Lifespan depends on tank conditions and care. Jellyfish are delicate and require highly specialized care to thrive. With optimal water quality, feeding, and temperature regulation, they can live happily within their normal lifespan range as aquarium pets.

Is it cruel to keep jellyfish as pets?

Keeping jellyfish ethically requires providing an appropriate habitat and care tailored to their needs. Done properly, jellyfish thrive in home aquariums. Important elements include the right tank size and shape, smooth surfaces, stable water chemistry, gentle filtration, appropriate lighting and temperature, proper nutrition, and an expert level of care.

Jellyfish are beautiful but delicate creatures. Attempting to keep them like a typical fish is ill-advised and unlikely to succeed. With the right commitment, jellyfish can be rewarding pets.

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