Steinhart Aquarium (Jellyfish And Seahorse Labs)

Tenji, Inc. staff worked with California Academy of Science biologists and engineers to design and install a functional jellyfish and seahorse culture, grow-out and holding space.  There are 7 independent systems; six for jellyfish rearing and one dedicated to seahorses. 

Three of the jelly systems are specifically for culturing new animals.  These are water tables designed to hold small tanks and pseudo-kreisels used for polyp, ephyra and juvenile stages.  One of the tables is for temperate (cold water) species one for various tropical species and one dedicated to Cassiopea sp

As the animals get larger, so do the holding tanks and filtration systems.  A system with 7 medium pseudokreisels (three 16” and four 24”) was built to handle the next stage of development.  All tanks are fed from a common filtration system and gravity flow back to the insulated fiberglass sump.  The heat exchanger was sized such that temperatures could be maintained as low as 55 deg F.

Two larger systems were designed to provide plentiful holding and grow-out for a variety of temperate and tropical jelly species.  One system is designed to keep water temperature at 55 deg F and the other at 78 deg F.  There are several pseudo-kreisels on these systems, that with strategic valve placement can receive either warm of cold water depending on the institutional needs at any given time.   Flexibility is the key when managing a diverse collection of gelatinous creatures.

Finally, no culture room would be complete without a system for rearing seahorses.   Tenji designed and installed a rack system specifically for holding and growing juvenile sygnathids.  Two mini-kreisels, 2 fiberglass round tubs and 3 cube shaped acrylic tanks are fed by a dedicated life support system. 

The greatest challenge in this project was making 30+ tanks and all equipment fit in into a relative small space and still have systems be easily serviced and maintained.  Tenji, Inc. used 3D modeling software to ensure this would happen.

Tenji designed systems that are robust, easy to service and all tie into the building infrastructure.  Tenji sized water-to-water heat exchangers that utilize building cold water to chill each of the various systems.  Digital flow meters were placed on piping to ensure proper flow rates of process water are going to the critical components.  All systems use My Reef Creations Orca recirculating protein skimmers, Aqualogic heat exchangers and inline heaters (warm water systems only), and custom insulated fiberglass sumps with baffle systems to prevent microbubbles from entering the tanks.

Tenji, Inc. sincerely appreciates the relationship they have with California Academy of Sciences biologists and engineers.  They have a long relationship with the institution.


Client Type
  • Public Aquarium
  • Science Museum
  • Education Center
  • Research Laboratory

Exhibit Type
  • Jellyfish
  • Seahorse

Project Type
  • Design
  • Build

Water Type
  • Saltwater