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bawater

Phytoplankton Culturing

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Phytoplankton

There are various articles on the subject all over the web so I shall not explain what phyto actually is here.

And if you’re thinking of cultivating it then I guess you should have done your research and know what you want to grow.

Phytoplankton

There are two interesting articles on feeding phyto that I suggest you read by Sanjay Joshi and Rob Toonen on one of their talks (or print it and read in your spare time). It covers all the details with regards to the hype of feeding phytoplankton dead or live products. Also covers feeding of sps.

Sanjay's Article

Rob's Article

There a various sources you may start a culture from, cell farm in the UK and Florida farms in the US sells these agar disks.The old DT’s has also been known to be able to seed new cultures, not always but there are many success stories. The new DT's is a poly culture(meaning a mixture of strains) and culturing is not recommended as nobody knows what will grow. (commented on DT's website).

My cultures were started from agar disks; this at least ensures I started with a pure algae strain.

phyto_cultures_side_view.JPGphyto_cultures_front_view.JPG

We start with a batch of cultures currently running on my culture station. It has a capacity for 12 nos of 2ltr bottles, but currently I don’t run as many. Instead I run 7 bottles of phyto, a cultures of rotifers and a brine shrimp enrichment culture.

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This is what a ready culture looks like when it’s ready, usually 7 days old. This bottle has a cell density of 13.3 million cells per ml. Sometimes I let a bottle or two sit longer to get 19.2 million cells per ml (10 days).

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In my case I harvest 3 x 1.5ltr bottles twice a week (that means I run 2 batch cultures on my station)

restart_new_cultures.JPG

First we empty the bottles for storage and leave behind about 200ml or 250ml of the original cultures to restart new cultures.

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microgrow_and_water.JPG

Then we prepare the fertilizer, if using Florida farms Micro algae grow solution- 10 drops per litre or 1ml is needed. In this case I use a 2ltr bottle and 20 drops then shake the bottle gently. You can prepare the medium (fertilizer solution) ahead of time and store but I find that if its not airtight, bacteria may start to grow in the solution and lead to contamination

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Top up the culture to be restarted with this fertilizer water, write the harvest date on the bottle and your ready to rock and roll.

Note* the more old culture you use to restart the faster it will mature. Using about 350ml –500ml will give you a new batch within a matter of 4-5days. You may even start a culture with 50ml, just that it will take longer. I just use 200-250ml(1 cup)

restart_new_cultures_end_product.JPG

This is what I get from tonight’s harvest, about 3 ltr for storage (to be used over the next few days), 700ml-1liter for feeding to my tanks and remainder to feed my rotifers immediately.

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The bottles go back to the culture station for another 7 days (the two on the left side)

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You can store live phyto in the fridge for up to 3 months and still be able to restart new cultures from it.

I have only tested up to 3mths but on RC they say can go longer 4mths-6mths.

starter_culture_in_fridge.JPG

I also keep a starter culture or two in the fridge, just in case as back up. Anyway after a few months phyto cultures seem to degrade in quality so I just restart from this. For the storage of live phyto, just take the bottle out once a week and give it a shake as it does tend to settle at the bottom.

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An optional piece of equipment is a seechi stick and density chart which I use to check the density of the cultures once in a while. Very easy to use, just dip the stick into the bottle and read at which dept the white circle disappears, check the measurement against the chart according to the algae strain and you have your answer. I said once in a while because over a period of time home cultures seem to get less dense (I find it happens every 3-6 months) and then its time to restart a culture from a back up or new agar disk.

;) That's it....just takes a little time. If you do culture, there will be crashes...its a fact of life- deal with it :) . Contamination in home cultures are common as bacteria is everywhere,or the algae pushes pH up and too high pH and it crashes, or the lights produce heat....too hot and the culture crashes.

And since you culture phytoplankton...why not jump on the lorry with another live food- ROTIFERS

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Here are two methods of culturing rotifers, one is continuous culture which you maintain a constant culture of rotifers and harvest small amounts as and when you need. Problem I find is trying to keep water quality high with cultures prone to crashes by the time it reaches 30days.

The other way of culturing is batch culture, where you culture and harvest a whole volume then start a new culture with a little from this batch. I use this method.

rotifers_ready_to_harvest.JPG

Here are my rotifers ready to harvest and some equipment i use. How I know when its ready? I try to keep the culture water a light green tinge with phyto until the rotifers can clear the water overnight (12-15hrs). I do it by eye, just gauge the density of the culture. I use those containers that people use for cookies/love letters/pineapple tarts, it holds 3-4ltrs each and cost about $1.20 to $1.80.

I have learnt my lesson in rotifers, I don’t run too many cultures now because they will eat you out of house and home if possible, they just eat and eat and eat and their appetite was getting too expensive.

(I use to run 4 containers …that’s about 12ltrs). Now I just run two batches.

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You will need a filter of some sort to strain the rotifers, you may feed the with old water but it may contain some “who knows what else” bacteria. I use a 53micron mesh .

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Simple and easy, just pour the volume into the filter and you will be left with rotifers only.

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I then rinse off the rotifers from the mesh with a squeeze bottle, you may either use phyto or some new saltwater or some tank water. For this demonstration I use new saltwater, usually I use phytoplankton.

rotifers_enrich_with_live_phyto.JPG

I use live phyto to enrich the rotifers before feeding to my tank. I usually harvest in the evenings or late afternoons on (weekends). The rotifers are left to stand for 4hrs to eat as much as they can, remember that when I harvested the rotifers they were in clear water? This means they didn’t have much food in them and have very little nutritional value. This way I gut load the rotifers and not waste any extra phyto. The whole amount above is then fed to the tanks after lights go off (for me that’s around 11pm-11.30pm)

It’s the same way I gut load brine shrimp (just that BS left to grow in phyto for a few days)

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Ah ha! Back up!

Frozen algae paste is fed to rotifers and sometimes I use it on my main tank too.

I use to use up a small tub in a month until I cut down my rotifer cultures, now at least I can make a tub last 3 months.

rotifers_frozen_algae.JPG

The frozen algae is easy to use, just scrape a little on a knife or teaspoon and mix with saltwater.

*note, if using to feed a tank , a little goes a long long way, just alight green colour is enough.

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The amount I mixed is for feeding rotifers and if you use this dense mixture on your new tank with immature filtration you will be playing Russian roulette with Mr. Cyanobacteria and Miss Green hair algae.

rotifers_mix_frozen_algae.JPG

rotifers_feed_frozen_algae1.JPG

Remember you already harvested the culture; you can use back 30%-50% of the old water and top up with new saltwater or 100% new saltwater. The culture only runs for a week before next harvest anyway

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Add 5 teaspoons of rotifers (the amount of new culture water you see is about 2ltrs). Slip the top back on.

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And back on the shelf. Bubble rate can be 1 bubble per sec to 2 or 3 bubble per sec.

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Because of the usage of new saltwater, would be very troublesome to mix every time I need so got some toyogo containers (and also coralife bucket hee hee) to mix a quantity every few weeks.

If I do a water change on my main tank, I just use up one bucket. 3 cups of coralife salt for each means about 6 gal per container.

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I also use a little spirulina algae to enrich live brine shrimp.

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Dosing phyto has its methods. You will need to build up the feeding amounts gradually over some weeks so that the system can compensate to the extra food load, maybe start with 100ml then increase by 50ml or 80ml every week untill you reach your target amount. I can’t tell you how much your tank needs, its really base on the number of phytoplankton feeding corals you have in there and how well your nutrient management is. I started by feeding every other day and can now feed daily 700ml to 1ltr amounts with no drastic side effects. I can but still don’t, apart from a trial period of daily feeding I now just feed the amount every other day or small amounts continuously for 5 days then let the tank rest for 2 days. (My small amounts mean at least 500ml each time).

I shall repeat myself again here, if your tank is still young (as less than 6mths old) your nutrient removal choice (DSB) may have not become established and you are feeding liquid foods at your own risks. Doesn’t matter if they are live or dead or dried or frozen. If you do, do so in moderate amounts and watch your tank for any signs of trouble.

That's all for culturing folks........happy culturing! :D

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depends on how poorly you take care of them.

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:) Hi,

Anyone able to culture DT so far? What about the first(old) DT strain? For me, I am culturing nanno and at anyone time there is at least 10 bottles running. Culture crash are common. Contamination, I guess.

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:) Hi,

Anyone able to culture DT so far? What about the first(old) DT strain? For me, I am culturing nanno and at anyone time there is at least 10 bottles running. Culture crash are common. Contamination, I guess.

i had tried the current DT...have been culturing...no problem..... usually i feed direct to the tank....

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marineOP, yes-usually all my excess cultures, but current batch all taken. i'm stopping culturing for the next 2 weeks while i'm on reservist. Will be starting a new agar disk once i'm back.

send u a pm then k if u still want it.(2-3wks)

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i wan a bottle as well ... so i can start a culture ... for my bbs ... and corals ... anemones ... clams... ZZZ

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Hello Bwater,

May I know what is the purpose of culturing phytoplanktons? To feed the higher food chain like rotifiers and copepods to be eventually used as food for corals. Hence can I just pour/drip/dose the 'green water' into the tank. If yes then do you think there are any side effects to the tank?

I going for corals. Pls advise which is better and/or easier. Cultivate phytoplankton or just by baby brine shrimp. At least I can see the brine shrimps swimming!

I read most of your writeouts. Wow! Very indepth knowledge. Trying to build the infra structure for the station. Some for phyto, brine shrimp, and maybe rotifier if I have all these knowledge. Am building the one with the PVC structure on this weekend and go through your notes again and again so that I don't miss anything.

Thanks for sharing these great amount of knowleges.

Regards

Danny ..

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Yes danny, you may also want to search the net on the subject. culturing phytoplankton or just phytoplankton.

brineshrimps are too big for some corals.

and for all those who are asking me for cultures, since reborn has started selling the starter packs,fert and algae disks i don't think i need to release live cultures anymore. :)

the prices are reasonable for the starter packs.

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Yes danny, you may also want to search the net on the subject. culturing phytoplankton or just phytoplankton.

brineshrimps are too big for some corals.

and for all those who are asking me for cultures, since reborn has started selling the starter packs,fert and algae disks i don't think i need to release live cultures anymore. :)

the prices are reasonable for the starter packs.

bawater

ur still selling? how much u sell? Sorry I got no time to diy myself...

let me know...

thanks :o:o:D;):rolleyes:B):P:lol:

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Hi Bawater,

I would like to start culturing phytoplankton using the starter kit.

Can you advise me if this set up is feasible:

- I would get 4 1.5l bottle and a air pump.

- I intend to use my 5 ft tank cabinet for the culturing.

- I am using 1 ft PL light for the photosynthesis and it will be turned on 4 hours a day.

- A fan to cool the bottles. Or soaking the bottle in my sump.

I am not sure if the temp is low enough.

Please advise.

Thank you.

regards

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Can you advise me if this set up is feasible:

- I would get 4 1.5l bottle and a air pump.

- I intend to use my 5 ft tank cabinet for the culturing.

- I am using 1 ft PL light for the photosynthesis and it will be turned on 4 hours a day.

- A fan to cool the bottles. Or soaking the bottle in my sump.

I am not sure if the temp is low enough.

Please advise.

Can you advise me if this set up is feasible:

4x1.5ltr bottle and an air pump

*fine

- I intend to use my 5 ft tank cabinet for the culturing.

*Should be fine if you have space , but a culture away from the main tank would lessen future contamination problems (and also stale air) or reusing output air from the skimmer.

- I am using 1 ft PL light for the photosynthesis and it will be turned on 4 hours a day.

* Any light source should grow phyto - you get higher density cultures if the light is horizontal behind the bottle.

If you want to know if its the right spectrum , just get a bulb for planted aquariums.

Nannochloropsis will grow optimum at 5000 lux and prefer more yellow & red in the spectrum. Any bulb from 6000k to 8000k will be fine, even cool white FL tubes work.

- A fan to cool the bottles. Or soaking the bottle in my sump.

* You don't need to cool the bottles, neither is soaking it in the sump a good idea. Soaking gives u contamination problems sooner or later.

If you run it outside your cabinet - the cultures will run at room temperature which is fine.

I am not sure if the temp is low enough.

*they will grow fine 28c to 30c. Again, if u grow it out of the cabinet - temp will not be an issue.

rgds

brandon

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Hello,

Does anyone able to tell me what is the 'market' price for a bottleof 1.5L phytoplankton eg. Nannochloropsis, NCP going with about 16.5million cells/ml? Sometimes I may cultivate too much and intend to sell some, in return, the moeny can be used to offset my culturing costs, materials used, etc.

Thanks!

Regards

Danny

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Hi Bawater,

couldn't help noticing you have a bottle of Kent Zooplex in your fridge in one of the pictures. Is it necessary to keep it in the fridge? I've been using a bottle for awhile now and i have not placed it in my fridge before. Please advice.

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zooplex is in essence cyclopeze. although i think they use the freeze dried version which is why it stays on the open shelfs of LFS.

don't think it makes a huge difference (cause it most probably stayed on the shelfs for mths anyway) but it doesn't hurt. :)

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:off: long time never hear from u.. bro bawater.. u one of the first to inspire me..

how u been.. ? :)

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