How to Culture Phytoplankton and Copepods for Your Tank

Discussion in 'Fish Discussion' started by Reef Breeders, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. Reef Breeders

    Reef Breeders The LED Guy R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Toys For Kids 2016

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    I saw someone else type up a guide in the DIY forum, and I thought that I would post my version here. I do it a little different than most, but my way is the quickest, cheapest, and most importantly reef safe. I originally typed this up for my ebay store, but I want to post it here as well. The moentioned fertilizer is called phtyo-grow, and can be purchased on ebay for around 5 bucks.

    The Culture of Marine Phytoplankton

    Culture Kit Checklist:

    • 2 liter bottle of phytoplankton •Small airstone

    •Drilled cap •2’ 2 bulb T-5 fixture

    •4’ of airline tubing •Fertilizer

    •Whisper® air pump •Dosing syringe

    How to set up your new culture kit
    (1. First, remove the cap on the 2-liter bottle, and empty one liter into a separate 1 liter container (not included)

    (2. Now you have to make more water to replace what you removed. To do this, fill a one liter container with tap water (RODI will not be optimal), and pour this water into a larger container. Add a drop of unscented bleach to the water, this will kill all bacteria. This next step is crucial; add 1ml of water conditioner per liter to neutralize the bleach, making the water culture safe.


    (3. Add a tablespoon of salt per liter, and mix the water until all salt dissolves completely. Remove one ml of fertilizer with the dosing syringe, and add .5 ml of water to the culture, and .5 ml to your replacement water.

    (4. Pour your replacement water into the 2 liter bottle of phytoplankton until the water reaches approximately 2 inches below the top of the bottle. If you have any remaining replacement water, that is okay, just pour the rest down the drain, not much should remain anyways.


    (5. Take the included drilled cap and insert one end of the airline into the larger hole. Attach the airstone (also included) to the airline on the inside of the cap. Pull the airline through the hole until it is long enough to reach the bottom of the 2 liter bottle. Screw the cap on until it is tightened all of the way.

    (6. Attach the outside end of the airline to the provided air pump, or an air pump of your choice. Turn the airpump on, and if the water begins to rise above the cap, empty out some water until this does not continue.

    Splitting your culture

    Periodically, you will have to remove a portion of your culture as it multiplies. You should have to do this around every 4-5 days, or when the culture becomes a dark/deep color.

    (1. To split your culture, first remove the culture bottle’s cap and airline.

    (2. Pour the entire culture through a coffee filter or a 20 micron sieve.

    (3. Pour out all of the phyto into another container, leaving by rule of thumb at least half a liter of plankton behind.

    (4. Make 1 ½ liters of water in the same way described in steps 2-3 of the previous article, and use this water to replace the removed phyto.

    (5. Add 1ml of fertilizer to the mixture (don’t forget to shake the fertilizer first)

    (6. Screw the cap on the culture bottle until it is tight, and turn the air pump back on.
    (7. Repeat this process once optimal thickness is acquired.


    How to Culture Copepods
    (1. Make 1-2 gallons of fresh saltwater the same way that you do in your tank

    (2. Pour the new saltwater into a 10 gallon tank or a 5 gallon bucket. Either one of these will work, but be sure to add twice as much water to a 10 gallon tank than a 5 gallon bucket.

    (3. Put a small airstone with a flow regulator in the culture water, and turn on the air pump.

    (4. Adjust the airflow until the air is moving slowly, just enough to add oxygen, but not enough to create a current.

    (5. Add the pods to the culture water, and pour in about a quarter of a liter of nannochloropsis to start the culture. The water should remain a green tint at all times. When low on phyto, a yellowish color is acceptable, but optimal growth will not be achieved.

    (7. After a week, your culture should be thick with pods. They look like little connected black dots swimming around in the culture.

    (8. To capture them and make room for more pods to grow, dip a shallow Tupperware container in the culture water near the pods, allowing the water to suck the pods into the container.

    (9. Pour the collected pods through the same sieve/coffee filter used to sieve the phyto, and put the water back in the culture.

    (10. Flip the sieve upside down or inside out, and pour tank water through the sieve over the tank three times. This removes all pods from the filter and adds them to your tank.

    (11. Every three weeks sieve half of the culture water and replace it with new water. Be sure to put the pods back in the culture instead of in your tank. Try to use a slow siphon to suck out the debris from the bottom of the culture and clean it up a bit.
     
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  2. BfishLpond78

    BfishLpond78 F.U.P.A. R2R Supporter

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    Interesting write up, i realize this is a little on the older side but i was curious if you made any changes to the process?

    I also PM'ed you as well.
     
  3. tinctorus

    tinctorus Well-Known Member

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    This is a good how-to for anyone that has never cultured phyto or pods before, Just one question though...What fertilizer are you using for your cultures?
    I know some people only buy fertilizer from some of the phyto culture store but I know you can most likely use any liquid fertilizer like miracle grow or most any liquid fert from home depot

    When I first started I bought all of my cultures from florida aqua farms and had very good luck with the items from them
    Florida Aqua Farms
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012
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  4. soutzee

    soutzee Well-Known Member

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    sorry to bother but one tablespoon of salt whichever salt we normally use for making fresh saltwater in our tanks or any in specific which one do you use ? sorry tosund so rookie but im a newbie in this phyto thing just started doing reasearch on how to raise it and i think it stops here awsome write up!
     
  5. Squishie89

    Squishie89 Glub Glub R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Following this as I want to read it again later

    Sent Via the R2R Forum APP
     
  6. Aquaph8

    Aquaph8 Love The Fish Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I made it a sticky so you can find it easier, good info.
     
  7. reefbrucie

    reefbrucie Member

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    great thread.

    Hi well explained but do you have any pictures that would help a simpleton like me lol.
     
  8. Vwtbug

    Vwtbug Well-Known Member

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    I would need vid would lov t make my own
     
  9. gregcoyote

    gregcoyote Well-Known Member

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    Also check out;
    Brineshrimpdirect.com
    They have everything you need.
     
  10. Joni

    Joni Member

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    Nice write up, will be following :)
     
  11. unionfishguy

    unionfishguy Well-Known Member

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    Definitely following this!
     
  12. Lyndya

    Lyndya Active Member

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    following
     
  13. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Well-Known Member Toys For Kids 2016

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    Also some folks may be interested in a multi-stage pod setup, where the copepods overflow into a amphipod grower, and these amphipods them overflow into a tank.
     
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  14. NanaReefer

    NanaReefer Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Anybody notice this thread is 3yrs old?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014
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  15. whoalee

    whoalee Active Member

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    Cool
     
  16. lebladp

    lebladp Well-Known Member

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    On my way home to try this out. F/2 fertilizer just came in!
     
  17. lebladp

    lebladp Well-Known Member

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    ImageUploadedByREEF2REEF1420642209.376388.jpg
    ImageUploadedByREEF2REEF1420642304.440744.jpg
    Two day difference!
     
  18. Gaines69

    Gaines69 Well-Known Member

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    FE1868A1-6547-4D35-BFC6-B92AC7395AF8.png Ok. I’m gonna ask a silly question. I have a bottle of phytoplankton that I purchased to feed to my feather dusters every once in a while and to feed brine shrimp. Can I use this to feed pods or to start growing my own phyto.?
     
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