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  #1  
Old 07/27/2005, 04:41 PM
TheDeepSandBed TheDeepSandBed is offline
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Cultiring your own Phytoplankton

I was just wondering how everyone on the forum felt abotu the benfits/detriments of using your own phytoplankton cultures, and more importantly how they setup their colonies and maintained them.

Thanks
  #2  
Old 07/28/2005, 12:31 AM
Anthony Calfo Anthony Calfo is offline
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While I think live cultures are the best assuming you culture them properly, know your species and if they are useful to your filter-feeders, specifically, etc....

I must admit that this aspect of the hobby (phyto culture) is way too tedious to me.

I prefer to use fresh, refrigerated, bottled commercial products. Its not mystery that I use, recommend, admire the quality products from DTs. The man (Dennis Tagrin) knows his business and science very well(!). To chat with him at any of the hobby conferences is impressive, if such science and industry interest you.

And so... with a talented culturist, and a blend of species in a bottle that I do not have the time or money (necessary culture equipment), the purchase saves me a lot of time and serves my purposes very well (enough).

That all said, live phyto culture is popular with many aquarists. Rather simple, albeit tedious for at least a couple strains of phyto commonly available. Of course... there is the issue too of finessing the cultures to manufacture maximum nutritional value in the final product (this aspect of phyto culture is VERY interesting. not all bottles of the same/given species are the same nutritional quality).

Do a search of the archives my friend... there are tons of threads on the topic you seek here.

Afterwards... do followup with specific questions if you still have them.

best of luck/life,

Anthony

PS - to be clear here too... I am not paid to endorse this or any product! And I am sure that I have taken less free samples than most aquarists do at industry hobby/trade shows through the years. I simply speak my mind frankly about brands/products. FWIW. Just my opinion
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  #3  
Old 07/28/2005, 06:33 AM
moumda moumda is offline
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Anthony, is there any danger of adding too many toxic chemicals from the fertiziler to our tanks? I still culture phyto to raise rotifers but after talking to Dennis and Randy Reed I'm nervous about adding it to my tank. Just wondering your opinion on this.
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  #4  
Old 07/28/2005, 12:26 PM
fishdr fishdr is offline
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I read a post earlier where Anthony said that using miracle grow or another fertilizer was bad because it adds too many trace elements to our tanks. He sugeste using Urea which does not have the same chemicals as other liquid fertilizer.
  #5  
Old 07/28/2005, 12:41 PM
Hobster Hobster is offline
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Here are some links to get you going on culturing. Too much effort for me.

http://www.sjwilson.net/reef/phytosteps.html

http://www.melevsreef.com/phytoplankton.html
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  #6  
Old 07/28/2005, 02:15 PM
Anthony Calfo Anthony Calfo is offline
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yep... as Hobster says: too much work for me

To do it right, that is.

Yes... contamination is an issue. Its the old adage, "you are what you eat"...

and using bulk, low grade lawn fertilizer to grow algae that you will feed your $20K reef tank... is a horrible idea IMO

Dennis is a wealth of information and very objective. He is a savvy businessman and knows that his best consumer is an educated consumer. And educated consumers realize very quickly that growing the best/safest phyto is more than a bottle of greenwater and a light bulb
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  #7  
Old 07/28/2005, 02:49 PM
TheDeepSandBed TheDeepSandBed is offline
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hmmm the idea of using my pee to feed the phytoplankton would finally put to bed my roommates desire to pee in my fishtank
  #8  
Old 07/28/2005, 02:54 PM
Bugger Bugger is offline
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Athony If I run my phyto through packed cotton and then test the water for nitrate will that be good enough to see wether or not more or less furtilizer should be used.

Johnny
  #9  
Old 07/28/2005, 03:24 PM
Anthony Calfo Anthony Calfo is offline
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hard for me to say, although the answer is likely no.

What kind of fertilizer?
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  #10  
Old 07/28/2005, 08:55 PM
Moreta Moreta is offline
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I culture my own phyto and feel a bit schizophrenic as I am constantly trying to grow alage in one place (the culture station) and keep it from growing another (the display tanks)
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  #11  
Old 07/28/2005, 10:31 PM
Bugger Bugger is offline
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I use F2 from florida aqua farms
  #12  
Old 07/28/2005, 10:33 PM
Bugger Bugger is offline
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Anthony is right it so diffucult and time consuming anybody that tells you its easy to grow is a liar.
  #13  
Old 08/08/2005, 10:44 PM
TheDeepSandBed TheDeepSandBed is offline
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So far the setup has been easy (and cheap <$100). Tomorrow the cultures go into their bottles and start the cycle. A few here have expressed concerns over how much work it takes and it seems to me (thus far) that getting the station setup is the hardest part.

Anthony also commented that it takes more than a green bottle and light to grow a "good food" for yoru tank and I have to disagree. With the fertilizer from FAF and the cultures from FAF hwo would it be that much different from thier bottled product, relative to how much you are saving. If there is one thing this hobby has taught me is that strong science wins in the end, and the science here seems straight forward. Phytoplankton need two things for the most part: 1) light 2) supplemental nutrients via the medium. Seeing as the station is setup in a climate controlled area (my closet) temperature wont be an issue. And I have to belive that the bottom of the water food pryamid has to be at least moderately easy to grow with a little know-how. Afterall I do have a green thumb on land.

I have also learned that many thigns in this hobby are overpriced for what they are and I dont see phytoplankton being any different (DIY for the win!). Either way I will let you all know of my success/failure and what i have learned in the process over the next couple of months. Wish me luck!

  #14  
Old 08/08/2005, 10:55 PM
moumda moumda is offline
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I've been growing phyto for a year or two now and it's not difficult but it is time consuming. I have a predominately sps tank so I only use it to grow rotifers. There are some metals used in the fertilizer that I don't really want to add to my tank. DT's and Reed's phytofeast are centrifudged to dilute the metals in their product. Not saying you can't add it just don't add to much and skimm heavily. JMO.
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  #15  
Old 08/08/2005, 11:20 PM
TheDeepSandBed TheDeepSandBed is offline
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I was also hoping that the feeding of the live phyto on a regular basis might help to grow some rotifers in the tank to help feed the corals. Now culturing rotifers seems kinda like a pain in the ***, but we will see where I am at in a couple of months.
  #16  
Old 08/09/2005, 05:00 AM
Puffer Queen Puffer Queen is offline
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Rotifers do require a lot of work. They are demanding & do require daily feedings & careful monitoring of water quality & culture densities.

Greenwater is not as demanding as the rotifers but does require feedings & frequent splitting to avoid crashes. Contamination is a real issue. Also keeping the rotifer cultures away from the greenwater to avoid accidental splashing or introduction of them into the greenwater cultures is essential.

It can be done but does require hard work & daily attention.....in other words time could be your limiting factor.

Hope this helps.

Kelly
  #17  
Old 08/09/2005, 05:12 AM
Puffer Queen Puffer Queen is offline
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If you want more information or want to check availability of greenwater, rotifers, etc - Florida Aqua Farms is great -https://3kserver7.com/~frank/secure/agora.cgi.

I would also recommend the Plankton Culture Manual & another book called Conditioning, Spawning and Rearing of Fish With Emphasis on Marine Clownfish. Both of these books are available through Florida Aqua Farms.

Best of Luck,
Kelly
  #18  
Old 08/09/2005, 06:43 AM
moumda moumda is offline
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I do rotifers a little differently. I have a 5 gallon bucket that I started a rotifer culture in. I feed the bucket daily. Every couple of days I take out 1/2 gallon, sieve it through a 53 micron filter, and add it to my tank. I then put in fresh salt water at 1.2 gravity. I don't get real high density cultures but enough to feed my tank.
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  #19  
Old 08/09/2005, 11:47 AM
Shark Bait100 Shark Bait100 is offline
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I culture my own Phyto for the last 6 months, and I recently tested the water for Phosphates since a couple of my sps acropora were browning out. The phosphate were high, ~.3 ppm. I tested everything for phosphate, then tried the phyto cutures. They were loaded with phosphates. I run a 29 gal fuge with chaeto and recently added Phosban to lower the phosphates. Has anyone else seen high levels of phosphate in their cultures, whether they use plant food or not???
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  #20  
Old 08/09/2005, 12:04 PM
TheDeepSandBed TheDeepSandBed is offline
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So am I wrong to think that adding phtyo to my tank will help to develop the rotifer population for feeding within the tank? Or is it necessary to culture them outside of the tank?
  #21  
Old 08/09/2005, 12:12 PM
Shark Bait100 Shark Bait100 is offline
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I was adding for that purpose, rotifers and pods. I'm not sure what to do next, I might be adding to much for my system, was adding 1/2 cup every day or so. Once my levels get down to.03, I will start adding again, but at lower amounts and monitor the phosphates more closely. I would like to know if people that are using DT's is having the same problem.
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  #22  
Old 08/09/2005, 01:07 PM
moumda moumda is offline
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If you use dt's or phytofeast the nutients have been diluted down to the point of being immaterial. If you add your own home grown phyto you will be adding nutients to your tank. I add phytofeast to my tank for the copepods and feed my homegrown to the rotifer culture. I don't think you can grow much in the way of rotifers in your tank. There's just too many predators IMO.
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  #23  
Old 08/09/2005, 06:16 PM
bvoss bvoss is offline
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Culturing live food is fun and rewarding until you realize you can never leave your house for more than 24 hours for the rest of your life! I am looking forward to the time when we have good reliable planton reactors that run unattended for perhaps 2 days.

Until then, I am a very happy user of golden pearls. The Acros don't seem to notice the difference
  #24  
Old 08/09/2005, 10:15 PM
Samala Samala is offline
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I feel like I am the only person here who has no issues growing phyto.. Isochrysis, Nanno or Tet. ?? Really odd.. I just have a few 2L flasks, an air pump and line and a strip light (40W 6500K) that runs 24hours. I pay attention to the cultures every four or five days when they start to bloom. Split them in half and give away or use the portion and add saltwater and ferts on top of the mother culture. It really hasnt been bad in my experience.

I also started making phyto paste on my own but I have access to some centrifuges so I guess I am cheating that way.

Also, I tested the culture water after I had filtered out the algae cells tonight.. only one of the three had testable phosphates by the spec's terms, and none had testable nitrate. I did just split the culture, so perhaps all the nutrients were being used up anyway.

So I guess I will just continue to pray that my algae farms dont go south? I've been at this about eight months now.. we have no issues culturing diatoms at work either. Oh I should mention we use f/2 medium from Aquatic Eco in the dry mass pack form.

Hmm..
>Sarah
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  #25  
Old 08/10/2005, 12:37 AM
Anthony Calfo Anthony Calfo is offline
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another interesting issue is the inherent quality of the phyto dependant not only on the source of nutrition/fertilizer for it, but the very temperature it is cultured at! (mfgs culture commercial phyto in refridegerated rooms in part for quality issues.

As alluded to previously... not all phyto (same species in culture) is equal!

There is usually a significant difference in quality (not in our favor) between what is cultured at home in soda bottles versus matter cultured from a good lab/mfg. Really... it is a big difference.
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