May 14

bioluminescent algae

glowing algae pyrocystis fusiformis

They can't be agitated this hard constantly

glowing algae pyrocystis fusiformis

just tapping the table



pyrocystis fusiformis is a bioluminescent algae, a dinoflagellate to be specific. They emit blue-green light  when disturbed ie. the wake of ships, waves breaking on the shore, or when something moves in the water. It is thought the reason they do this is to attract secondary predators, something to eat what is eating them. They are found in many places but most notably bioluminescent Bay in Puerto Rico http://biobay.com/ .


You can get your very own from http://empco.org/edu/ . They like temperatures between 65°F and 75°F. I keep mine at a steady 72°F, thanks to a little engineering. If kept in moderate light during the day they should last a month without care. If you dilute the culture with new growth medium (fertilized salt water) they can be kept indefinitely. In the wild blooms usual happen after a rainfall. Rain waters carry nutrients into the ocean promoting growth. This also dilutes the saltwater, and it turns out algae actually favor a salt level a little lower than average seawater 20 -24 g/l vs the average 35 g/l. They can tolerate cold better than the heat. The following link will tell you almost everything you need to know.    http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/W3732E/w3732e06.htm


The second link is f/2 growth medium, Empco uses L1 but there isn't much difference, just some trace minerals. This is enough for 2,645 gallons! for $20, just add saltwater.  You wont need the pack with silicate, diatoms use the silicate to build a shell; but these algae don't have a shell. Also you can buy premixed saltwater at aquarium stores, just make sure they didn't add anything for algae control. Then dilute it with RO water. Ready for some math?

Seawater is 35g/L we need to know how much water to add to make our solution 24g/L. It will be easier to work with percentages.

1mL of water weighs one gram so our liter weighs 1000g. So the original solution is 35g salt to 1000g of water, That's 3.5%. Our final solution should be 24g salt to 1000g of water, and that's 2.5%

The Formula for dilution is:

original concentration * original mass = final concentration * final mass

3.5% * 1000g  = 2.4% * final mass       << plug it in

.035 * 1000g  = .024 * final mass          << move the decimal 2 places left

35g  = .024 * final mass                          << do the multiplication

35g / .024 = final mass                           << divide both sides by .024

1458g  =  final mass                                << new mass and  1mL water weighs 1g ... so

The final volume will be 1.458 Liters

Answer: You need to add 458mL to every Liter of premixed saltwater.





1 comment

  1. Damen Nix

    Just to sum up the care they need:

    Temp = 65°F to 75°F << most sensitive to overheating
    Ph = 8 << most algae can tolerate a wide rang
    Salinity = 2.4% – 3.4%
    nutrients = f/2 or L1 formula
    Lighting = moderate << direct sunlight will overheat small containers

    At around 4 weeks they will start depleting necessary nutrients. Empco suggests either changing 50% of the growth media or diluting the culture 4:1 with new media. If your trying to maintain a dense culture, they probably don’t need to be diluted that much, I’ll experiment with this.

    abrupt changes in any of these factors should be avoided, just like with fish they will go into shock

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