How to automate a phytoplankton culture

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sixty_reefer

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Giving that we love tech and use any excuse to reduce labour in our tanks I will give you below the diagram to automate a phytoplankton culture. There’s no need to split cultures weekly, just set it up and forget it.

EBA7BBF6-EDE0-4860-99BB-C5445BCB474B.jpeg


It’s really simple and it worked for me for two consecutive years without crashing.

You will need a doser to do the main work for you. Now you can set this up in the sump area and dose it directly into the tank or in a different room and let it collect in a collection cup and dose it manually.

How it works.

Week 1

Set up you phytoplankton culture as you would do normally and let it grow for 7 days.

Week 2

Select how much phytoplankton you would like to dose daily, anything from 20ml to 200ml, I would recommend to start small and gradually increase the dose according to your tank needs.
You can give it all in one dose or spread it over the day in smaller amounts.

Set your fertiliser line to dose once every 7 days, I used to dose 2ml every 7 days for the amount of phytoplankton I was using.

Important notes:

Add around 20 to 30 k1 micro media to the phytoplankton culture, this will help keeping the culture in suspension and keeping the inner walls of the vessel clean.

Salt mix

This will have to be adjusted depending on how much phytoplankton you dosing, adjustments will have to be made during the process as you will have to take in account the evaporation. I would recommend to start at 1.015 and adjust from there so that you can have a constant 1.019 on the culture.

Fertiliser

Choose one that you feel comfortable with a here’s different formulas out there.

Use 12mm tubing or higher for the overflow in the phytoplankton culture, anything smaller will clog easily.

Hope this helps someone to keep a constant supply of phytoplankton with ease. This system can also be expanded to create a continuous supply of rotifers if anyone interested in knowing how to had that give us a shout.

More information can be found on this thread.


 
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sixty_reefer

sixty_reefer

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Thank you for sharing! My phyto culture degrades after 4-5 generations. Did you run into this too or what I shall pay attention to? Thanks!

I believe it’s the fertiliser that causes this some how, I read that phytoplankton cultures crash often with f2 I was using miracle grow and run non stop for two years until I’ve stopped it as i needed the space for a different experience.
I also believe that by adding the k1 media does prolong the life of the culture as it does help with keeping everything in suspense, basically any dead phyto accumulate in the rim instead of the bottom of the vessel.
 

zzyz

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I believe it’s the fertiliser that causes this some how, I read that phytoplankton cultures crash often with f2 I was using miracle grow and run non stop for two years until I’ve stopped it as i needed the space for a different experience.
I also believe that by adding the k1 media does prolong the life of the culture as it does help with keeping everything in suspense, basically any dead phyto accumulate in the rim instead of the bottom of the vessel.
Wow, two years non stop! I definitely shall have a try on miracle grow! Thanks.
 
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Add around 20 to 30 k1 micro media to the phytoplankton culture, this will help keeping the culture in suspension and keeping the inner walls of the vessel clean.
I also believe that by adding the k1 media does prolong the life of the culture as it does help with keeping everything in suspense, basically any dead phyto accumulate in the rim instead of the bottom of the vessel.

Awesome idea, I have not seen this done before but it makes a lot of sense.
 

Tathamet

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cool! Very interested in this. I might have to try it out!

so say I want to dose 10ml of phyto per day.
I would set the doser to feed 10ml of fresh saltwater to the culture which would then cause it to overflow into your desired vessel be it a copepod culture, display tank or collection cup?

Also with dosing small amounts. Would the culture be more susceptible to crashing from over producing? Is there a certain ml per day that you find runs best without causing any problems?

I don’t mind dosing a little extra saltwater if I need to. Just want to make sure I don’t cause a crash over time.
 
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cool! Very interested in this. I might have to try it out!

so say I want to dose 10ml of phyto per day.
I would set the doser to feed 10ml of fresh saltwater to the culture which would then cause it to overflow into your desired vessel be it a copepod culture, display tank or collection cup?

Also with dosing small amounts. Would the culture be more susceptible to crashing from over producing? Is there a certain ml per day that you find runs best without causing any problems?

I don’t mind dosing a little extra saltwater if I need to. Just want to make sure I don’t cause a crash over time.

not sure if there’s a minimum amount, wend I started I kept at 20ml a day for 3 months and den gradually raised it up to 200ml plus a day for my needs. I would think if you dosing a small amount to use a smaller vessel maybe a 1000ml of culture I believe the smallest vessel than can be used for the experience to work is a 800ml. Not sure if this helps, I do apologise never tested the lowest end as normally most people would try and see the maximum that you could get out of a culture daily without crashing.
 

Tathamet

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not sure if there’s a minimum amount, wend I started I kept at 20ml a day for 3 months and den gradually raised it up to 200ml plus a day for my needs. I would think if you dosing a small amount to use a smaller vessel maybe a 1000ml of culture I believe the smallest vessel than can be used for the experience to work is a 800ml. Not sure if this helps, I do apologise never tested the lowest end as normally most people would try and see the maximum that you could get out of a culture daily without crashing.

Haha yeah I have a tiny tank so I currently don’t use much.

Ok cool I was wondering if changing the bottle size would help. maybe I’ll give that a go. I have an 800ml glass Voss bottle that might work perfectly.

Just need to buy a dosing pump.
 
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Anyone having luck using this method to keep phyto culture going?
I believe Julian Sprung mentions of someone doing something similar in a sump wend they were discussing refugiums at Macna.
 

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Important notes:

Add around 20 to 30 k1 micro media to the phytoplankton culture, this will help keeping the culture in suspension and keeping the inner walls of the vessel clean.
I just ordered some k1 media thanks for the tip! I've never heard of it before.

I tried continuous culture like this before but eventually everything crashed, with exception of tetraselmis. Are you using nanno?
 
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Great idea i was growing phyoplanton, rotifers, copepods in separate containers. It got to be way to much work I love this idea , so no splitting of cultures this way? Just adding r/o water and fertilizer?
Yes to and salt or the salinity will drop, salt mix will depend on how much you decide to harvest daily.
 

capt.dave

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If you're adding saltwater from a reservoir, won't that reduce your RODI top off additions to the main system and result in increasing salinity in your water? Why not use tank water to fill the plankton reactor? That way you wouldn't be changing the salinity of either system.
 

CGH

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If you're adding saltwater from a reservoir, won't that reduce your RODI top off additions to the main system and result in increasing salinity in your water? Why not use tank water to fill the plankton reactor? That way you wouldn't be changing the salinity of either system.
Tank water would contain copepods and such, which can contaminate the phytoplankton culture and cause a crash
 
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chippwalters

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I'm curious if it would be possible to dose a bottle of phyto using a drip method. The idea would be you have a dozen or so small bottles of phyto in your fridge, and each couple of weeks, take one out, shake it up, turn it upside down and put it in a simple fixture and let it gravity drip feed the sump over the next couple of weeks. Then, each couple weeks, you replace the depleted bottle with a new one.

Issues would be:

1. Does it go bad? If it does, does it matter? What is the shelf life?
2. Will it clog? Is there a simple way to keep it from clogging?
3. How accurate is a drip model? Is there a better way to dose than drip assuming you don't want to purchase dosing pump?
 

Doctorgori

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If you're adding saltwater from a reservoir, won't that reduce your RODI top off additions to the main system and result in increasing salinity in your water? Why not use tank water to fill the plankton reactor? That way you wouldn't be changing the salinity of either system.
aside from wild phyto contamination, Too many things that like to eat algae is in tank water, even bacteria can be bad, see below
I'm curious if it would be possible to dose a bottle of phyto using a drip method. The idea would be you have a dozen or so small bottles of phyto in your fridge, and each couple of weeks, take one out, shake it up, turn it upside down and put it in a simple fixture and let it gravity drip feed the sump over the next couple of weeks. Then, each couple weeks, you replace the depleted bottle with a new one.

Issues would be:

1. Does it go bad? If it does, does it matter? What is the shelf life?
2. Will it clog? Is there a simple way to keep it from clogging?
3. How accurate is a drip model? Is there a better way to dose than drip assuming you don't want to purchase dosing pump?
the cells settle out if not kept suspended and can die,,,, if you shake the bottles every so often, refrigerated phyto can last a few weeks or so

Anyway, cool, my issue is always contamination, which leads to crashes. I was wondering if your strain is pure or roll your own by now?
 
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