How to automate a phytoplankton culture

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Kmst80

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9 days since the automated culture started, is now showing a rich green colour can barely see the light behind the photoreactor.

F7D28DC4-E733-417E-B755-2FB75007A9D0.jpeg
CFF045B7-7D2C-445D-B99A-18FAD45AD273.jpeg


despite the continuous addition of phytoplankton to the aquarium the culture seems to be maturing well. I’ve increased dosage from 3ml per hour or 72ml per day to 4ml per hour or 96ml per day on my 26 gallon tank.
this will translate to a weekly dosage of 672ml per week, will test parameters later on and see how this will affect the overall system in the weeks to come.
Very nice looking culture. I ran into your thread by accident but it's the best thing that happened lately.
I did dose my 100 gal tank heavy with phytoplankton( 80 ml a day...earlier even more)
The problem: I grow my phyto with miracle grow. My color reading of red sea tests must have been way off.
I had 0.12 ppm phosphate and around 25 ppm nitrate...so i thought.
Had an Icp test done....holy ****... phosphate of 1.125 ppm.
So i got me Hanna Nitrate and phosphate test kits and look...Nitrate was 59.9 ppm.
So i reduced phyto atm to 20 ml per week and after 3 weeks and heaps of waterchanges and some phosban i got nitrates down to 10ppm and phosphates down to 0.2 ppm, i think my chaeto started growing now too.
Just ordered me some of the TNC(luckily you can buy that in Australia but not cheap)
I need the phytodosing for my mandarin(copepods), xmastrees and coco worm so hope the Tnc will do the trick and maybe one day ill set up the auto culture. Great idea.Thumbs up. Thanks
 
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The reason I would have liked to purchase the tnc product that you use is because you have already experimented with it and you already suggested the proper amount to use for success. With the 2hr product I do not know how much to use. Could I treat it the same as tnc and use the same ? Is this the ratios that you was looking for to conpare to tnc?
Yes those ratios help and I got to the conclusion that it wasn’t a good suggestion from my side now, the formula is too concentrated.

this is the same dose of 5ml of TNC per 100 litres

4D6136AE-CDC6-4177-965B-BC3B7827BE2C.png


I was looking at a calculator and this is what I found today

1ml of TNC in a 1 litre bottle

42AB5398-5368-47BD-8B49-B1D7C6501AAD.png


and if all was to escape into my 25 gallon system

BA9B307B-5849-4F0C-9AB1-1630EB88FB28.png


50 - 75 and 100 gallons


E97B9409-35D6-4C44-B41C-8AB989845B32.png


D680D0E8-5CAE-4495-BD2E-68944EBD7438.png



06E075BD-6329-45D3-BE14-7550546E7F9F.png


I can’t find the apt on the calculator just this other two that have inorganic and organic nutrients, TNC is mainly organic nutrients

7906D23B-1B90-44E2-A8A2-A533E427F210.png
51837216-A452-4F48-9822-D3A082464D8E.png
FAD3EDF4-70EA-4588-9A38-7892CFD390F4.png
E7F417B5-901B-464D-A2A5-214B8F1B1010.png
 
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Very nice looking culture. I ran into your thread by accident but it's the best thing that happened lately.
I did dose my 100 gal tank heavy with phytoplankton( 80 ml a day...earlier even more)
The problem: I grow my phyto with miracle grow. My color reading of red sea tests must have been way off.
I had 0.12 ppm phosphate and around 25 ppm nitrate...so i thought.
Had an Icp test done....holy ****... phosphate of 1.125 ppm.
So i got me Hanna Nitrate and phosphate test kits and look...Nitrate was 59.9 ppm.
So i reduced phyto atm to 20 ml per week and after 3 weeks and heaps of waterchanges and some phosban i got nitrates down to 10ppm and phosphates down to 0.2 ppm, i think my chaeto started growing now too.
Just ordered me some of the TNC(luckily you can buy that in Australia but not cheap)
I need the phytodosing for my mandarin(copepods), xmastrees and coco worm so hope the Tnc will do the trick and maybe one day ill set up the auto culture. Great idea.Thumbs up. Thanks
Are you skimming? I had the same experience as you with miracle grow, phosphates eventually went trough the roof, the phosphates in the culture water were high and not skimming made it worst as phytoplankton does acts as a Dissolved organic carbon also meaning that if implemented correctly it should eventually lower nutrients.

let us know how things change for you after changing the fertiliser

this is the thread where am tracking the carbon dosing abilities of phytoplankton if you interested in having a look

 
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@((FORDTECH))

this is the most similar to NTC that I can find for now

tropica Plant growth specialised, is that available in the US?

1ml per 1litre

1522C453-2899-4895-8DD0-1B246C22954A.png


1ml per 25galloms

AA02DF9A-FB53-4940-B71A-602ED6FA2C01.png


TNC complete for comparison

1ml per 1 litre


9C868EDD-E429-40EF-ACCF-106E66A2017A.png


1ml per 25 gallons

313BA190-29BA-49D9-B450-9BA4E8F7B2FF.png
 
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It seems that tropica has a better ratio of phosphorus to nitrates in comparison to TNC, tropica has almost the 1:16 ratio that redfield indicates being optimal for phytoplankton.
 

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@((FORDTECH))

this is the most similar to NTC that I can find for now

tropica Plant growth specialised, is that available in the US?

1ml per 1litre

1522C453-2899-4895-8DD0-1B246C22954A.png


1ml per 25galloms

AA02DF9A-FB53-4940-B71A-602ED6FA2C01.png


TNC complete for comparison

1ml per 1 litre


9C868EDD-E429-40EF-ACCF-106E66A2017A.png


1ml per 25 gallons

313BA190-29BA-49D9-B450-9BA4E8F7B2FF.png
Hello thanks for all your time researching and your help. I did find what I think is the product you are talking about. They do have a premium nutrition and a specialized nutrition I found both of these on Etsy. Price is not too bad. Was wondering if if you can confirm this is the proper stuff along with should I get the premium nutrition or the specialized nutrition and then have you any clue what the dose would be in approximately 1 1/2 L of Phyto weekly?
 
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@((FORDTECH))

this is the most similar to NTC that I can find for now

tropica Plant growth specialised, is that available in the US?

1ml per 1litre

1522C453-2899-4895-8DD0-1B246C22954A.png


1ml per 25galloms

AA02DF9A-FB53-4940-B71A-602ED6FA2C01.png


TNC complete for comparison

1ml per 1 litre


9C868EDD-E429-40EF-ACCF-106E66A2017A.png


1ml per 25 gallons

313BA190-29BA-49D9-B450-9BA4E8F7B2FF.png
Ok looks like the Premium nutrition version has zero phosphates and nitrates whereas the specialized nutrition does have nitrates and phosphates
 
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Ok looks like the Premium nutrition version has zero phosphates and nitrates whereas the specialized nutrition does have nitrates and phosphates
Hello thanks for all your time researching and your help. I did find what I think is the product you are talking about. They do have a premium nutrition and a specialized nutrition I found both of these on Etsy. Price is not too bad. Was wondering if if you can confirm this is the proper stuff along with should I get the premium nutrition or the specialized nutrition and then have you any clue what the dose would be in approximately 1 1/2 L of Phyto weekly?

it’s the specialised nutrition one (green bottle) that looks to be compatible with TNC, it contains less phosphates, I will be switching for that one also for that reason.
 

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it’s the specialised nutrition one (green bottle) that looks to be compatible with TNC, it contains less phosphates, I will be switching for that one also for that reason.
Thank you ! Have you any clue the Approximate dosage ?
 
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Are you skimming? I had the same experience as you with miracle grow, phosphates eventually went trough the roof, the phosphates in the culture water were high and not skimming made it worst as phytoplankton does acts as a Dissolved organic carbon also meaning that if implemented correctly it should eventually lower nutrients.

let us know how things change for you after changing the fertiliser

this is the thread where am tracking the carbon dosing abilities of phytoplankton if you interested in having a look

Yes i do use a Skimmer, oversized for the System. I think i overdid it with the Miracle grow too, i used 5mg on 1.5 lt phyto for 2 weeks and i would use half the culture to make the next one and add 5mg again and so on.
 
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Yes i do use a Skimmer, oversized for the System. I think i overdid it with the Miracle grow too, i used 5mg on 1.5 lt phyto for 2 weeks and i would use half the culture to make the next one and add 5mg again and so on.
Yes, that’s definitely a lot of fertiliser I used to use 1ml per litre and still felt too much
 

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@bumpyj38 to automate the phytoplankton culture you will need a minimum of 1 dosing unit head.

the following pictures will be using 2 heads although it can be just one in use if you allow for the phytoplankton to be gravity fed into a sump or a display, because my current system is in the display I prefer to use the dosing pump to avoid splashing on the wall and it looks a bit neater.

material list to build exactly what I got:

air pump
Dosing unit
Air line
Rigid air line
Fauna marine DIY reactor with a 800ml smooth surface bottle
Reservoir for salt mix
Natural sea salt
Fertiliser
Phytoplankton starter culture
K1 micro media or similar


assembly:

step 1:

connect air line to the bottom of the reactor and use the provided check valve, this reactor got two air intakes one should be capped of with the supplied stopper and a additional check valve just to be safe.

28ABC89B-AC25-4CBF-AF3F-A75B01C90B10.jpeg



Step 2:

Install the vessel as per manufacture instructions and remove the bottom of the bottle in a similar way to create a open top.


44BC0797-9AFC-43B1-9883-546593CF82D8.jpeg


Step 3:

Add the lines from the tank to dosing unit and dosing unit to the phytoplankton culture, using heat try and create a hook kind of shape with the rigid air line.

C677706E-BFDC-49A2-9CBB-FEAAC03426A2.jpeg



6D7251C0-A355-4C26-BD51-39D3C5A0D4E6.jpeg


the vessel lines should look like this

97193DF4-5A44-42E4-83E7-FD29D9F8D19D.jpeg


step 4:

Add a light source if mounted in the sump with a refugium addition light is not required. The refugium light is normally sufficient.

step 5:

Add 500ml of a live phytoplankton culture of your choice and top up with a salt mix at 1.019 and fertiliser

Step 6:

connect line to salt water top up reservoir, I find that mixing it at 1.015 keeps a good balance to accommodate for evaporation in the culture, wile using the system further adjusting to the salinity of the top up salt mix may be required.

4BB670D6-C5E2-4CA6-951A-ED21F4DF0360.jpeg


step 7:

add a few beads of k1 or k1 micro
This keeps the interior walls of the vessel clean and will allow better light penetration and reducing maintenance.

4339CBDF-8715-4E48-8AD9-BD3821BC9FAA.jpeg



once all installed allow for 7 days for the culturing to strengthen and start setting your dosing unit.

98DC4E00-1BC3-4489-AF0F-3CBB7477F05F.jpeg


it’s important that the same amount of phytoplankton out and top up saltwater in matches, if not the vessel will overflow.
As a safe feature one could add a third line connected at the level of the phytoplankton culture in the vessel for a event of a malfunction and the top up saltwater mix is emptied in the vessel.

I normally start at 1ml per hour or 24ml per 24 hours and allow the tank to adjust and slowly increase the hourly dose until I achieve my desired amount.

The dosing amount has to be adjusted on the phytoplankton out and saltwater top up in always to avoid overflowing the reactor.

fertiliser:

I do 1ml manually once every 7 days, this could also be automated.

I started using the fertiliser below as I believe it contain ingredients that could be useful to a reef tank in the situation that the fertiliser is not fully depleted by the culture, this will happen with most types of live phytoplankton cultures automated or manually. The end user should always consider this and choose a fertiliser they would be happy to dose directly to a system.

4B567702-E0D4-485A-8C75-E9395C184006.jpeg


saltwater top up water:

in general I’ve always had more successful cultures wend using natural sea salt it mixes at a lower dkh and ph, not absolutely sure on the advantage although my last culture went 2.5 years without maintenance or crashing.

this is the salt I’m using now

6C6CB7BF-4888-40D5-AC14-250E2287E201.jpeg


once all is set up it should look something like this, I’m normally not fond of having gear on display although I don’t have a alternative in this build, hopefully this information is helpful.



4DB55271-149F-4067-B348-0335B7D4B197.jpeg
I would drill out a couple holes and make a small weir, add a sump & plumb it and delete all the equipment on the display, and put it all on the sump. Btw this is one of the best automated Phyto cultures on Reef2reef that I have found since I started Reefing, and I have been looking to automate phyto & copepod cultures since I started so I can confidently buy a Dragonet, I know they can be raised on frozen but they’re only available for about two weeks early November and sell out immediately.
 
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I would drill out a couple holes and make a small weir, add a sump & plumb it and delete all the equipment on the display, and put it all on the sump. Btw this is one of the best automated Phyto cultures on Reef2reef that I have found since I started Reefing, and I have been looking to automate phyto & copepod cultures since I started so I can confidently buy a Dragonet, I know they can be raised on frozen but they’re only available for about two weeks early November and sell out immediately.
Thank you, ideally a sump would be good, in this set up I’m trying something different I want to keep live food in suspense for longer, that’s why it doesn’t have a standard filter, I’ve opted for a under gravel for that reason, the zooplankton stays in the water column without being filtered out by mechanical filtration or being damaged by pumps.

this was last night without having to continually add rotifers and other species of zooplankton they seem to be thriving in the water column.


The reactor looks alright to and folks that come to visit do get a bit baffled with it.

 
Last edited:
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