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Culturing Phytoplankton

Discussion in 'Saltwater Plants and Macro Algaes' started by sethsolomon, Oct 26, 2014.

  1. sethsolomon

    sethsolomon Shark M.A.S.C Club Member

    Hey Guys!

    So I figured there were more and more people wondering how to culture phytoplankton I will make a guide.

    Things you will need:
    Air pump
    Easy to clean containers
    Muratic Acid or Bleach
    Microalgae Fertilizer
    Algae cultures
    Light source (100w equivalent CFL. T5, Warm white LED's, Halide (Your insane if you do this))

    Where to get algae cultures:

    If you want the typical 4 strains, Algae Barn is your best bet. They are local and you can get the cultures fast. If your looking for more odd strains for specialty feeding order from http://www.carolina.com/.

    What to feed the algae:

    You technically can feed your phyto anything that you would feed normal plants. But since we are adding this to our aquariums, we need to be selective what we add to our tank. Guillard F/2 is the fertilizer formula that we use for culturing aquarium phyto. The main place I know where to order this from is Florida Aqua Farms. Their Micro algae grow is the Guillard F/2.

    You can grow phyto in any clear container that will allow lots of light to access the liquid inside. Anything from 2-liter bottles, to pickle jars, to carboys.

    Air pumps:
    This is a tricky part of figuring how powerful of an air pump you need. If you are just doing a single container up to 3 gallons or so, a basic air pump for a 10g aquarium will work fine. Anything more and you will have to do trial and error till you find an air pump that fits your needs. Here are the 2 pumps I used: EcoPlus Commercial Air Pump 1 and EcoPlus Commercial Air Pump 7. The 1 was bubbling 4x 3g carboys and the 7 was bubbling 6x 5g carboys and 8x brine shrimp tanks.

    Bleach and Muratic Acid?:
    These are used to sterilize the containers between refreshing your cultures. Cultures can get cross contaminated very easily. A single cell of Nanochloropsis will take over another culture within 3 weeks.

    How to Make Phyto?:
    Culturing phyto is as easy as mixing ingredients and waiting. You want to mix up saltwater to a salinity in the ballpark of 1.018 +- 0.03. Then you want to add the fertilizer as directed by the instructions on the bottle. Then add the phyto culture. Then aerate 24/7 so it is vigorously agitating but not foaming up. The you need to light it 18 on 6 off.

    Harvesting and Maintaining Cultures:

    Harvesting phyto is just pulling out what you want to feed to your tank and replacing what you pulled out with fresh salt water and adding the recommended fertilizer to that fresh salt water. I skip adding the fertilizer to the fresh salt water sometimes as I am using Fritz salt and it has a bit higher trace elements in it than typical Instant Ocean.Once a week you need to check the salinity and make sure it is in the ballpark from above. Top off with RO water (Do not add fertilizer to the top off water).

    Things to Note:

    Clean your equipment before swapping between cultures.

    Kent salt worked the best for culturing phytoplankton for me.

    Trial and error is part of the process. So find what works for you and post here if you find a better way to do something.
  2. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C President M.A.S.C Webmaster

    Good info, thanks for writing that up, gonna sticky this one
  3. sethsolomon

    sethsolomon Shark M.A.S.C Club Member

    I am going to be doing lots of write ups for various stuff like this. :p
  4. Miah2bzy

    Miah2bzy Barracuda M.A.S.C Club Member

    Nice write up on phyto Seth. Looking forward to more.

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