Phytoplankton feeding of coral and pods in display tank

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nutrition' started by Brad Miller, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. Brad Miller

    Brad Miller Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I've exhausted myself over the course of several months researching this and still can not seem to find the answers I'm looking for.
    I did order "Ocean Majic" Phyto from Algae Barn (4 strain mix) and have been doing their recommended dosing once a day by adding to my refugium for just over 1 week now. It may be my imagination, but my Non-Photosynthetic coral such and sea rod and fans seem to be extending their polyps a lot more and color seems to be better.

    If this is really that beneficial, I would like to start culturing my own to feed display tanks pod population and also feed coral, but....

    Here are my questions;

    1. Should I culture and dose only 1 strain ?
    If culturing you're own several strains at first, only one strain will eventually survive, unless you
    separately culture different ones and mix together to match the 4 that Ocean Majic has in it.
    2. Has dosing phyto really been proven to be beneficial for overall growth / health of coral and pods in
    tank ?
    3. Does dosing phyto really decrease nitrates ?
    4. If I would start culturing my own, can I do any damage to my existing setup by just winging it the
    way my research seems to be telling me most hobbyists do ?
     
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  2. Flippers4pups

    Flippers4pups Fins up since 1993 R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    I've never cultured phytoplankton.

    Let's hear what others say.....
     
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  3. Brad Miller

    Brad Miller Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I came across "Mercer Of Montana" on a thread here.
    They sell through Amazon and have 16oz. Starter culture of Nannochloropsis (most common for reefs) with f/2 fertilizer and syringe and free shipping for $25.

    Has anyone used this kind to start their own culture recently ?
     
  4. Muttley000

    Muttley000 Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    I culture the same strain but got my stuff from Florida aqua farms. I can't tell you how much feeding it to my system has helped because there are too many other factors in play, but I feel like I have more pods in my system than I used to have.
     
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  5. Evan28395950

    Evan28395950 Well-Known Member R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor

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    Following
     
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  6. Kelso

    Kelso Member

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    I used to culture 3 strains from Florida Aqua Farms when gut loading brine shrimp and pods for dwarf seahorses. Multiple strains were used to provide different nutritional value and to determine which would be most suited to my culture style. I cannot comment on nitrate effects though because the phyto was not freely dispersed into the tank, only the live foods were and due to the frequent water changes for nutrient export the water parameters were kept fairly consistent.

    The three strains were in separate 2 liter bottles. The bottles were placed inside a 5 gallon home depot bucket lined with foil to reflect an overhead spot light into the all sides of the cultures. Rigid air lines were lowered into each culture for circulation... basic phyto culturing. I strained the phyto based on density and rinsed it in micron mesh to remove fertilizer before dosing the pod tank. The pod tank was a dense green color and and I made the mistake of placing a small oyster in there to help control the green water. The oyster did a great job until I realized hydroids had hitchhiked on the shell and were now in my seahorse tank. The explosive reproduction of hydroids caused the restart of a new pod culture as well as difficult treatment and removal from the display tank. I learned to pay more attention to cross contamination issues.
     
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  7. Brad Miller

    Brad Miller Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    i just ordered that starter culture kit, will update thread after culturing
     
  8. marlinmon

    marlinmon Active Member Partner Member 2019

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  9. Jonreefer

    Jonreefer Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I have been doing my culture of Phyto from mercer of Montana for about a month now. I dose daily to my tank with it. No idea what i dose I just open and pour during day and at night as well. I probably use a 16oz bottle a week in my 35g and havnt seen any negative effects
     
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  10. Jeremy K.A.

    Jeremy K.A. Active Member

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    I used Phytoplankton on my tanks for a month or two and it *Absolutely* helped with pods, and also sponge growth was amazing as well. I imagine Seawhips/fans would love it as well
     
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  11. sde1500

    sde1500 Active Member

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    1) Culturing a mix will result in one variety taking control over time. I cultured multiple varieties but they were in separate systems.

    2) No real hard data on this. Most was for pod tanks but I definitely saw an increase in microfauna in the DT when I added some there. My dosing wasn’t consistent though. I wouldn’t dose one week, I’d consistently dose small amounts the next week, and the week after that I’d dump a half gallon in at one time which I always regretted lol.

    3) Never measured but I don’t think so. You’re adding life and food to the tank.

    4) it isn’t hard. Get a light source, a air pump, rigid tube, 2L bottle and a starter culture. Don’t need food but it’s helpful, get some guliards from Florida aqua farms. Follow directions on starting the culture. Then, once a week remove half the culture and add NSW to it. Use the other half for dosing the tank. Won’t hurt. Keep an eye on nutrient levels if you’re concerned/interested to see results. Don’t add it all at once it just makes your tank cloudy for days.

    Picture of my now shut down set up below. I got too busy to devote time to splitting weekly, dosing 3 pod tanks. Harvesting pods and dosing the DT. Plus it was in my sitting room and it’s ugly. I have plans for a hidden version that I may get around to setting up this year.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Brad Miller

    Brad Miller Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    SDE...I like your set up...my cat wouldn't be able to knock the bottles over if I had one:)

    Thanks guys !
    I harvested my first batch after 10 days (mine is pretty dark and makes Algae barns look sooooo weak)
    I split some and am into my 2nd culture now.

    This is a pic of when I split and started the new culture.
    I had a cardboard box around this with foil on the inside, but I'm gonna try without it.
    Having the air tube in the center of the bottom is also giving me better circulation.
    Have to put a sandwich bag under the lid since it's cheap metal.
    IMG_0818.JPG
     
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  13. sde1500

    sde1500 Active Member

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    Thanks! It worked pretty well but ended up being a pain getting to the bottles at the back without moving everything around. This summer I'm considering getting some sort of chest like those cedar chests you get for bedrooms. Line it with foil or something else reflective and grow the phyto in gallon carboys.

    Good looking set up yourself. When you split, did you add water? I ask only because the bottles aren't full. I like the idea of the chalk date, that is handy, as I've forgotten all the time when I last split. If you want to save a bit of money, those spouts are super cheap on amazon, and I've made one like that out of a cleaned out container of Utz cheese balls. Bonus, you get to eat tons of cheese balls. Just chow on cheese balls, clean out the container, drill the hole for the spout and attach it. Mine leaked slightly, so I added a bead of super glue around the outside and it worked perfectly.
     
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  14. Brad Miller

    Brad Miller Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I could see how it would be tough to reach the rear bottles...LOL
    I started with 16 oz of starter culture and 16 oz of 1.019 salt water in each container, so I won't get the containers full for a few more splits.
    I like the 1 gallon glass containers and they are those plastic spouts (Walmart, $9.00 each with a stand)
    I'm trying to be very careful to keep things sterile and clean everything with vinegar.
     
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  15. CreatiVe2

    CreatiVe2 Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I grow the same culture from mercer and feed my pod culture with it, and they really flourish. As others have said, the DT and refugiums really benefit due to the added mico fauna. Plus Clams and NPS coral will thrive. The type of plankton we add to our tanks does not contribute to added nitrates, or negative parameter directly. Indirectly i would assume the elevated parameter could come from the fauna increasing which would directly increase the waste they produce. How much though? probably undetectable in most of our systems, but it is always a good idea to test more when adding a steady culture of phyto to the tanks.
    However I have fabricated a custom 3d printed phyto grow pod with oxo flip lock containers. I DO make these for people and if you are interested please PM me, I run 4 off of 1 power supply.
    IMG_20181123_193806.jpg IMG_20181214_145913.jpg
     
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  16. AngryOwl

    AngryOwl Angry R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I got the PoseidonReefSystems phyto and pod culture kit a few weeks back and it has already paid for itself. It's plug and play really. I'm only doing 1 strain of phyto and pods. I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to start up culturing. I have more info in my build thread about it if you get curious...
     
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  17. atx100r

    atx100r Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Hi Brad...I recently purchased the Phyto and Copepod farms from Poseidon reef systems. They have fantastic customer service and the products work as advertised. Ive done a lot of DIY on my tank but this time I decided to just get a kit and I'm glad I did. I had phyto in a week and have a strong colony of pods several weeks later. I know you can do this all DIY but every now and again I like to just get it done. This system comes with everything you need including cultures, fertilizers, and all the accessories. Very nice product and no cleanup.

    20181208_144530.jpg
     
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  18. mitch91175

    mitch91175 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Culturing phytoplankton isn't difficult. My approach is common to what everyone else does. I make sure that I do my best to ONLY use equipment for my culture and nothing else.
     
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  19. Brad Miller

    Brad Miller Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Cool set ups everyone, keep 'em coming !
    Oh...by the way, I told my wife, kids, grandkids etc...IF THERE ISNT A LABEL ON THE BOTTLE AND ITS GREEN, DONT DRINK IT ;Vomit
     
  20. mitch91175

    mitch91175 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Lol. I think you can actual drink it and it may be good for your health. Might not taste too good though. Sure the salt would be an issue though.
     
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