Comprehensive Guide to Culturing Phytoplankton
Welcome to the exciting world of phytoplankton culture! This detailed guide by the Reefphyto Team will assist you in successfully growing and maintaining a healthy phytoplankton culture.
1. Sterilisation: Begin by thoroughly sterilising the provided culture container. Clean it with warm, soapy water, and rinse it well to ensure no soap residue remains. This step is crucial for preventing contamination.
2. Setting Up the Aeration System:
Place the air pump above the culture's location to prevent back siphoning. Alternatively, install a check valve if you have one for extra safety.
Run the tubing from the pump into the culture, securing it at the container's bottom with the airline sucker provided. This ensures proper oxygenation and mixing of the culture.
3. Adding Starter Culture: Gently pour the 250ml starter culture of phytoplankton into the sterilised container.
4. Preparing Culture Water:
Mix prepared culture water to a specific gravity of 1.025. This salinity level is optimal for phytoplankton growth.
Fill the container with 2 litres of the prepared culture water.
5. Nutrient Addition:
Add 6ml of Reefphyto Nutrient and Guillard's F/2 food.
This initial double concentration helps kickstart the culture. Avoid further fertilisation during the first growth cycle.
6. Lighting Setup:
Position a fluorescent light near the culture container, ensuring it does not touch the container to avoid overheating.
Maintain a temperature range of 68-80°F, optimal for phytoplankton growth.
Use a timer to regulate 16 hours of light and 8 hours of darkness daily.
If you would like to know which lighting is best for growing phytoplankton, please see our guide here on our website
1. Observation: Monitor the culture's colour and thickness. Initially, it should be thin and light green, gradually becoming thicker and darker green.
Add more culture water to dilute it slightly when the culture darkens (usually in 10-14 days).
Allow the culture to reconcentrate to the desired dark green shade.
3. Timing: The culture usually takes around seven additional days to reach the optimal density and colour for harvesting.
Harvest and Storage
1. Harvesting Process:
Divide the dark green culture, storing 70% in a fridge and using 30% as a starter for the next batch.
2. Routine Harvests: Harvest approximately 70% of the culture weekly, maintaining the 30% to 70% division for continuous cultivation.
3. Usage and Storage:
The harvested phytoplankton is ready for use in aquariums or as coral feed.
For long-term storage, refrigerate and shake the container every few days to prevent settling and spoilage.
Patience is Key: Phytoplankton growth is slow initially but accelerates exponentially. Observe the colour change as an indicator of growth and health.
Troubleshooting: If you notice any foul smell or discolouration, it may indicate contamination. In such cases, starting a new culture with fresh materials is best.
Support: Should you encounter any difficulties or have questions, don't hesitate to contact the Reefphyto Team for guidance.
We hope this comprehensive guide assists you in establishing a thriving phytoplankton culture. Your success in this endeavour is essential to us, and we're here to support you every step of the way.
The Reefphyto Team