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So a couple of weeks ago I decided to start growing my own phytoplankton since it can get rather expensive buying it, and it is pretty easy to grow.

I did some research online and followed some general directions.

What you need:

aquarium air pump

Air tubing

light timer

simple CF light or small aquarium light

At least 2 2ltr bottles

Miracle grow all purpose plant food

Kent essential elements

salt water (Not from your aquarium)

a starter culture

Since I had all of this equipment already, all I had to purchase was the starter culture.

I bought this starter from RCA.


I then took a couple of empty 2 ltr bottles and pulled the labels off, rinsed them out thoroughly,and drilled a hole in the lids large enough for the airline to fit through. I also drilled a second hole in the lids for air to be released.


I started with one bottle

I then filled the bottle with fresh clean salt water. Added 5ml Miracle grow all purpose plant food. 1ml Kent Essential Elements, and then added a good amount of the starter culture. I did not use all of it in the event that the culture crashed. I then put the culture under the cabinet with the light and air pump. The light timer is set for 16hrs of light and 8 hours of darkness. The air pump works 24/7. Every day I would turn the bottle upside down real quick just to stir up the contents on the bottom After 5 days I took the empty 2ltr and added everything except the starter culture. I then poured the mixed contents in a pitcher. I poured half of the culture that was growing into the new 2ltr and then topped off the 2 bottles with the new mixed water from the pitcher. They have sat for another 5 days and now I have 2 2ltr cultures ready for harvest and ready to dose into my tank.


Here is where I originally got the info on starting my phytoplankton cultures.


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Mine usually "cooks" for about 10-12 days before it is ready. It gets so dark you can't see through it. I will post a pic for you when I get in from work tonite. I started mine with cultures from Florida Aqua Farms, so I don't know if that makes a difference or not. I also use their phyto fertilizer, have had really good results with it.

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Once you have an uncontaminated culture, it does not matter where it came from. Using phyto reactors with a continuouus drip and feed has always been a goal of mine. Because of my laisser fair attitude, I have settled on a vegatable filter and a mud filter in my refugium. Each produces a different food for the system.

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  • 8 months later...

eh.. I got lazy and let it all go.. story of my life.. I wan't to get it going again, but finding it hard to motivate myself since my tank isn't in need of it as it once was. I get a good film of algae that grows on the glass that I scrub off every couple of days. I figure that serves as a good feeding. Anyone else have any thoughts on that?

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