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spirulina growing

 
Posts: 18
Location: Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio
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SILVERSEEDS wrote:
  I might have to try co2 as well, with the results you have....

  how do you harvest? I havent found a decent way o harvest... of course this might not be an issue for the raising of the little guys Im raising, but I might use it for anythings if i could harvest well.



It's critical to NOT use silicon tubing or standard vinyl tubing for CO2. Also you can't use standard gang valves. You have to spring for the expensive stuff. I make my own CO2 using yeast and a simple syrup (sugar and water). Then I compress it and pump it into a CO2 rated manifold that splits to each grow tube. At the end of each CO2 line is a CO2 diffuser. I tune the rheostats of the CO2 pump so that it pumps just enough CO2 to ensure there isn't much bubbling action in the water (lessens loss of CO2 due to insufficient water saturation). Then I use standard atmosphere via standard air pumps and line into a fine airstone for bubbling action.

Concerning harvesting, I use a stack of 50 micron screen printing frames with their fabric tightened to about 75n. Just pump/pour the harvest water over the top. Each screen catches a harvest. Use a paint spreader (squeegy) to "push" some of the excess water/medium out of each layer of algae harvest. Kind of like using a cheesecloth when making cheese. Then use fresh or flash-dry to preserve. Fresh doesn't last very long. Flash dried lasts between 6 months and 2 years depending on speed of drying and temperature of drying. Freeze dried and vacuum sealed in foil bags would last long enough to not have to worry about freshness in this lifetime.
 
                                              
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  okay no vinyl or silicon tubing... what type can you use then?

  Do you NEED to compress it as you do? or does this just make it more efficient?

  Ive read a bit on people maaking their own diffusers for coral set ups, and dont remember that.

  very neat on the harvesting thanks!!!
 
Daerk Denelith
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Location: Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio
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SILVERSEEDS wrote:
  okay no vinyl or silicon tubing... what type can you use then?

  Do you NEED to compress it as you do? or does this just make it more efficient?

  Ive read a bit on people maaking their own diffusers for coral set ups, and dont remember that.

  very neat on the harvesting thanks!!!



Polyethylene or Polyurethane tubing is best for CO2 under aquaculture conditions. Vinyl leaks 20% of the CO2 before it even hits your tank... Silicon leaks 10%. Polyurethane and Polyethylene leak only about 1/2 of 1% to 1% of CO2. Silicon breaks down chemically and becomes dryrot-hardened when in contact with CO2.

Compression is required to ensure the diffuser can create SMALL micro/nano bubbles. The smaller the bubble of CO2, the easier and faster it absorbs into the medium. Otherwise you're just wasting all of your CO2. HUGE expense/waste.

If they're using a diffuser, they have it attached to a pump. Most likely, it's a regular airline pump. Meaning it's leaking half the CO2 coming into it back into the room.

No problem
 
                                              
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  Well Ive gotta do this on a budget. I WILL be looking to optimize this at some point but for now I need my funds elsewhere, if its to much capitol outlay....

  based on what I said, a 60 gallon clearish drum on its side, with fish water for the fertilizer sitting in full sun, with a bubbler for oxygen and surface tension.... what do you think is the most efficient way for me to improve on that cheaply? ultimately i might even have a set up like you in time. the stuff has a ton of potential in aqua culture, but Im on a budget for this project for now. the more of it I can grow the better for my goals.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.
 
                                              
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SILVERSEEDS wrote:
   Well Ive gotta do this on a budget. I WILL be looking to optimize this at some point but for now I need my funds elsewhere, if its to much capitol outlay....

   based on what I said, a 60 gallon clearish drum on its side, with fish water for the fertilizer sitting in full sun, with a bubbler for oxygen and surface tension.... what do you think is the most efficient way for me to improve on that cheaply? ultimately i might even have a set up like you in time. the stuff has a ton of potential in aqua culture, but Im on a budget for this project for now. the more of it I can grow the better for my goals.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.



or would a kiddy pool be better? more surface area to light? I read something like it grows best only in the top few inches of a lake....
 
Daerk Denelith
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SILVERSEEDS wrote:
   Well Ive gotta do this on a budget. I WILL be looking to optimize this at some point but for now I need my funds elsewhere, if its to much capitol outlay....

   based on what I said, a 60 gallon clearish drum on its side, with fish water for the fertilizer sitting in full sun, with a bubbler for oxygen and surface tension.... what do you think is the most efficient way for me to improve on that cheaply? ultimately i might even have a set up like you in time. the stuff has a ton of potential in aqua culture, but Im on a budget for this project for now. the more of it I can grow the better for my goals.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.



No problem, my first setup was about $50.00 worth of materials... and produced even then. I still have plans for increase in optimization even beyond this by using a custom built LED lighting setup (priced out it costs $7,800.00 just for the LED lighting I'd need) and some other goodies. Eventually the ultimate PBR would run about $15,000.00 just to build... but wouldn't require any input in energy beyond what it produces itself in oxyhydrogen gas burning, solar collection on it's own solar array, and self-produced oil burning.

I can see where a few cheap alterations to your setup would benefit your production.

#1. The drum needs to be at least 90% transparent. Light needs to be able to pass through it with minimal blockage. 90% transparent means it looks almost completely clear but has a very slight cloudy milky look to the plastic.

#2. Sunlight will provide all the light you need for the photosynthesis, however, not enough of the right wavelengths of light to "boost" the growth of the algae to reach double or triple it's volume on a daily basis. Most strains of algae operate best when producing chlorophyll A. Chlorophyll B is mainly just an assistant which operates off another wavelength of light. It's best to optimize for A and then focus on optimizing for B. In our case, Chlorophyll A production is best attained at maximum value when the lightsource is being produced in optimal range of 660nm RED to 700nm RED. The exact middle of the range should be your PEAK wavelength produced... so a peak of 680nm is your goal. Chlorophyll B production is best attained at maximum value when the lightsource is being produced in optimal range of 430nm BLUE to 460nm BLUE. The exact middle of the range should be your PEAK wavelength produced... so a peak of 445nm is your goal. Finding the right bulbs that produce those light wavelengths but also produces them in a bell curve where the peak of the bell is the peak of your required range will optimize your light production so that the algae thrives beyond just natural sunlight. For chlorophyll A a Reef marine aquarium bulb I can suggest is the "Arcadia" brand "Original Tropical Fluorescent" Aquarium Grow T8 bulbs. Make sure they're the T8's! The T5HO's have a lesser range. For chlorophyll B an Actinic Blue marine aquarium bulb (best is T8 type bulbs) I can suggest is the Hagen "Glo" brand "Marine-Glo" T8 bulbs.




Should you take a waterproof container that the bulbs can fit inside and then insert the container into the drum, you'd be able to maximize the coverage area the algae has access to for the light. Or just put multiple bulbs around the drum. Just switch the light(s) on for a few hours during the day to boost photosynthesis. I suggest boosting AFTER the peak of daylight when the light begins to fade.

#3. Nutrients. Guillard's 1968/1975 F/2 Formula is technically the best for growing algae quickly. You can look up what's in it and mix it yourself from bulk chems or just buy a gallon jug of Type A and Type B mix (the 2 get mixed to produce the formula). A single gallon of Type A and a single gallon of Type B costs on average $30.00 each including shipping and handling if ordered online... and those 2 gallons will create almost 8,000 gallons of medium when properly mixed with the proper source of water.

#4. Water source. This is a huge thing. Probably the biggest listed here. Distilled water is the bare minimum. Reverse osmosis water that's been de-ionized is even better. This needs to be treated as if you were preparing for an exotic expensive fish in an aquarium. Tap water is BAD. Be aware that container material can leach chemicals into the water, as well. Remember to Ph-UP to 8.6 or slightly higher but not over 8.9 (and yes, this means you'll need to invest in the Ph test strips (yuck) or the Ph liquid test dropper (best) to do weekly tests). Temp of the water is critical as well. If the temp of the water goes above 92 degrees F the algae begins to die. It may look like it becomes more active, and greener, but that's the effect of rot on dead cells and the live cells dodging around the medium looking for cooler temps. Please note that the room temperature is NOT the water temp. Your room can be 95 degrees F but the algae/water could be easily 88 degrees.

SILVERSEEDS wrote:
or would a kiddy pool be better? more surface area to light? I read something like it grows best only in the top few inches of a lake....



A kiddy pool would technically be better simply based on the light surface area ratio. However, then you have the open-air problem where you no longer can control what species of algae is growing in your pool and some species can be VERY harmful in bloom. Some species offgas hydrogen... others methane... etc. Not to mention the fact that pretty much anything that can dissolve in water will become CONCENTRATED in the algae. So... a little mercury or another harmful contaminant would wreck havoc on your production... the algae might thrive, but rotifers would die if they attempted to eat the algae. Rotifers are a good quality control measure to test your algae on before consuming it yourself or allowing your stock to consume it. The large open-air mass-production pool setups are generally always located in an area that is inhospitable to airborne algae deposits as well as requiring almost hourly culture sampling (usually automated). It's not uncommon to lose entire pools due to a harmful bloom. This is essentially why small scale algae growers (especially marine biologists with strong phycology/algology focus) NEVER grow in open-air except when required to for testing methods of improving existing open-air systems. We always attempt to grow in a closed loop system or in open-air systems inside a protected controlled environment.

EDIT: Added Marine-Glo light wavelength image.
 
Daerk Denelith
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I should probably add that a closed-loop system introduces a plethora of other problems that need addressing... just to prevent the slamming of heads against walls or keyboards.
 
                                              
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Daerk wrote:
I should probably add that a closed-loop system introduces a plethora of other problems that need addressing... just to prevent the slamming of heads against walls or keyboards.




Like? Ive read about various other countries which did similar things for 1000s of years. but perhaps they took care of issues within their systems that didnt stick out to me.... Id love to know of possible issues if youve got the time.
 
Daerk Denelith
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SILVERSEEDS wrote:

Like? Ive read about various other countries which did similar things for 1000s of years. but perhaps they took care of issues within their systems that didnt stick out to me.... Id love to know of possible issues if youve got the time.



Certainly. I've heard tales of the thousand(s of) years of closed loop production methods but everything is rather... suspect. Truly closed loop systems for aquaculture are very hard to maintain due to such aspects as cleaning, sterilization, filtering, balance, off-gassing, pressurization, harvesting, etc. The list can go on and on. Each aspect has multiple concerns that need addressed. For example, When pressurizing air in an air-line to a bubbler air-stone, the air-stone will gather deposits from the water over time and either require cleaning or replacement... or it will erode over time. Removing the stone generally introduces contaminants into the water in the process of reaching the air-stone. Not to mention the air-line needing replaced over time... the medium needing re-stocked with pre-treated pre-warmed water... regular sampling for testing... etc. How will you off-gas the oxygen the algae mass-produces or the unused pressurized CO2 or the gas provided from the agitator air-line? A sealed, closed-loop system cannot accept external unfiltered air into the system or it's integrity is compromised. So the pumps need to be in a filtered environment. It's off-gassing air purge valves need to only accept filtered air back into the system if it allows reverse flow at all.

All of these concerns add up to expensive and often trial/error learned re-design requirements. Certain designs (although inspired and unique and promising LOOKING) just will NEVER work efficiently or effectively for long-term OR mass-production growth due to the nature of the "nature system". The way nature works sometimes just can't be fooled or emulated... and systems can collapse. Just look at all the problems still encountered in just standard freshwater fish aquariums that end in failure. Now try to miniaturize the system to the microscopic level of "stock" AND simultaneously maximize the system to gigantic mass-production of crops... yeah. Not easy. Often totally improbable using current technology.

The addition of a completely closed-loop system sealed from external influences adds plentiful problems while eliminating a number of concerns found in open-air systems. The question is really to what degree are you willing to invest in your production. High investment doesn't necessarily equate to high production... regardless of whether the investment is time or money. Really the best one can currently hope for is an expensive and non-self-sustainable system that offsets their personal concerns or fulfills their personal interests. I wouldn't put my hopes into creating a zero footprint self-sustaining system that can produce long-term harvests anytime in the next... hundred years or so. There are (of course) exceptions... if you happen to be the recipient of government or organizational grants to offset/cover expenses... plus you're located onsite with a factory (who won't mind you fudging with their system) that's off-gassing MASSIVE amounts of CO2 in stacks... plus you have access to dedicated passionate marine biologists to run the systems for you while you're paying them a competitive compensation to keep them on-board... you just might be able to achieve a zero footprint self-sustaining system that not only is future-proof but is also able to massively produce for long terms of time.
 
                                              
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    Im not sure we are using the terms the same here. I was talking about with fish with algae.

    the closed loop systems I mentioned in other threads producing hordes of algae, HAVE been done for thousands of years.

      they DO account for all the factors I can only assume because they worked.

      Some were lower density and emulated lakes, that just happened to have all things interesting to humans. Some of these have been in continual use i europe for hundreds of years, some in asia likely thousands.

      Other low tech high density systems, that used various algaes for fish while also adding manure and ducks to the same small ponds, broke the disease cycle yearly by draining them.

      As for the systems Im working on, "closed loop" doesnt exactly apply, as because like any small system it helps to change out water. this is easily perpetual because I have rain, let alone city water.

      I Am using modern materials, but I could do every single thing, dang near as well even here where its so dry with nothing but some digging tools.

    As for entirely closed loop systems that your referring to, I dont really understand what your talking about actually. nothing is suspect about the systems i was talking about, they are well studied and still in use.

  as for what you said on fish tanks, theres a lot of variables is all, most cant wrap their heads around it. It is actually easy to do, especially if your working with fish like tilapia or carp or catfish. they are all very accepting. Main thing is keep it in a certain range, and dont change everything to fast.  I cant imagine how fragile of a system would crash from changing an airstone.... Is this stuff related to high end spirulina and not fish? It kinda seemed like there was two realms of thought perhaps....
 
Daerk Denelith
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SILVERSEEDS wrote:

    Im not sure we are using the terms the same here. I was talking about with fish with algae.

    the closed loop systems I mentioned in other threads producing hordes of algae, HAVE been done for thousands of years.

      they DO account for all the factors I can only assume because they worked.

      Some were lower density and emulated lakes, that just happened to have all things interesting to humans. Some of these have been in continual use i europe for hundreds of years, some in asia likely thousands.

      Other low tech high density systems, that used various algaes for fish while also adding manure and ducks to the same small ponds, broke the disease cycle yearly by draining them.

      As for the systems Im working on, "closed loop" doesnt exactly apply, as because like any small system it helps to change out water. this is easily perpetual because I have rain, let alone city water.

      I Am using modern materials, but I could do every single thing, dang near as well even here where its so dry with nothing but some digging tools.

    As for entirely closed loop systems that your referring to, I dont really understand what your talking about actually. nothing is suspect about the systems i was talking about, they are well studied and still in use.

  as for what you said on fish tanks, theres a lot of variables is all, most cant wrap their heads around it. It is actually easy to do, especially if your working with fish like tilapia or carp or catfish. they are all very accepting. Main thing is keep it in a certain range, and dont change everything to fast.  I cant imagine how fragile of a system would crash from changing an airstone.... Is this stuff related to high end spirulina and not fish? It kinda seemed like there was two realms of thought perhaps....



Ahhh I see. Those are referred to as Circular Cycle Systems or Cyclical Systems.

Yes, they have been around for ages and work, because it IS nature just miniaturized to a smaller scale but still operating with all the same microsystems accounted for. They're open to the air, etc.

A sealed, closed loop system is like the biodome projects... external influences removed. The idea is to control the system entirely so as to understand all aspects of the system and be able to tweak individual portions of the system and monitor the results of the tweaking.

In my case I'm comparing effects of exposure of light wavelengths, nutrients, etc on the growth factor of algae. Being able to effectively control the entire environment allows better monitoring of the results so as to properly document causal effects. The final goal is to document the absolute best series of conditions for maximal growth of algae under the minimal cost efforts both in time as well as money.

And yes, I'm referring to a system devoted to maximum algae cultivation under extremely specific tolerances.
 
                                              
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Ok... i get what you were saying much better now.    i couldn't fathom the 100 years off comment especially in the context i was taking it in...

  i always thought those biodomes were very amazing. hopefully we never need them, unless its on mars or the moon.

  a friend of mine is big on terra forming mars. hes convinced we could do it, pretty easy, but alas another subject....

    thanks for your insight, all out of my league for this topic for now... but I will be expanding eventually. Although likely lower tech, and less optimized then yourself.

    my answer for contaminated cultures from being outside by the way, is diversification. I grow it in half a dozen spots, none of which are grown on the fish water. those are just to preserve my pure green water strains. ive got a few besides spirulina. and like you said I can test it with rotifers and moinaa etc. It is after all for them, if its properties change or the rotifers dont like it.... I can start over....

  of course im not growing them for people.
 
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Do you sell spirulina commercially? 1 lb/week seems to be way above personal consumption levels. If you are commercial, what kind of NOI do you run?
 
Daerk Denelith
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tamo42 wrote:
Do you sell spirulina commercially? 1 lb/week seems to be way above personal consumption levels. If you are commercial, what kind of NOI do you run?



Technically it's NOL

I do sell it to a few friends and I on occasion do go to the local farmers market with some fresh and some dried Spirulina and Chlorella.

Until I've sold enough to get a return on the initial investment I'll be operating off a loss. Not income/profit. So right now I'm out of pocket on the configuration. Eventually I plan on moving larger scale with both the size of the PBR as well as the quantity of PBR's in operation. Then I will be selling online and locally and will be operating in the black instead of the red.
 
                                
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Daerk can you post pics or link to a flickr gallery or something? I'm sure im not alone in wanting to see a work of art such as yours. Not to mention the educational benefits

Daerk wrote:
Sure... I plan on uploading some videos documenting the building of the PBR sometime soon. ish. maybe. ;P

Essentially it's a multiple polycarbonate tube and sched 40 pvc vertical reactor with forced CO2 input via microbubble diffuser at the bottom of each tube, and an airstone pumping fine bubbles of compressed local atmosphere into the tube for agitation of the algae as it's growing. I use the same F2 medium as described above. I use a set of specifically tuned wavelength lights and cycle them via computer for exposures. I use a stepper motor gearbox to oscillate the vertical light shaft for light and shadow play across the tubes (the algae likes it and grows more and faster). I use a radiant heating and cooling tube (externally heated/cooled) to regulate temperatures in each individual culture tube. These radiant temp control tubes are rigid and flexible tubing combinations that thermally leach their values into the grow tubes. Best temp is 86 degrees F constant. I harvest via a manifold system that drains via the base of each tube (ball valve to inverted reducer (barbed) to hose to harvest tank) and I harvest using 50 micron screen-printing fabric on an aluminium frame. The harvested water (with leftover algae) is placed back into the tubes and pre-treated pre-warmed medium is added via a 55 gallon tank and mag pump through a manifold system. At the top of each (sealed, closed loop) tube is an air purge valve to offgas the pure oxygen byproduct and unused CO2.

I'll upload some pics of it in action sometime soon. ish. maybe. ;P

EDIT: This is about a $3,000.00 PBR assuming you build the stepper motor gearing and do all the wiring and sealing and whatnot yourself. The same PBR can be sold for about $12,000.00

 
Daerk Denelith
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Gelstudios wrote:
Daerk can you post pics or link to a flickr gallery or something? I'm sure im not alone in wanting to see a work of art such as yours. Not to mention the educational benefits



Sure will.

I'll need to find all the pics and vids I made during the construction, but as of right now I've disassembled some of it to optimize for energy consumption. The stepper motor arrangement just ate too much energy for my wallet's liking. I'm currently about 3/4th's of the way done on rebuilding using a non-moving lighting assembly. I did find a few of the initial pics of the shelf construction and the radiant heating/cooling manifold that I can go ahead and upload now, though.


Here you can see the Manifold sitting on a sheet of the acrylic I used to build an airtight sealed lid for each of the aquariums I'm using. Also pictured is one of the growing tubes in it's rough and unfinished state (no marine adhesive or drilled inputs/outputs or internal components).
You will also notice the 55 gallon tank under the acrylic.


Here's the support shelf that the PBR is connected to... I need to find the remaining pics (these were on my cell phone).
The PBR is connected on the lefthand side of this shelf.


Close-up of the reservoir support shelf.

I'll look for the pics and vids I took of the initial construction and upload those as I find them.
 
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Bravo to those of you growing Spirulina! For those interested in exploring the blue-green world on their own, I suggest checking out www.algaelab.org. We sell complete and very affordable kits with everything you need to grow, harvest, and eat your own live Spirulina superfood!  If you pick up the kit at a workshop (in the SF Bay Area), it will include a 10-gallon tank. If you buy the kit online, you will have to provide your own tank. If you already have some kit components, email us and we can sell you a cheaper kit without some items…

Also, if you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, you won't want to miss our upcoming workshop on June 12th in Oakland...


DIY Algaculture Workshop:


Grow your own superfoods and biofuels at home...

Sunday, June 12th, 11-5 pm

Ace Monster Toys (maker's co-op), 6050 Lowell St, Oakland CA 94608

Grow plentiful food and fuel in a small space.

Algae can make impressive amounts of food or fuel but do not require land, soil, or fresh water. They can be harvested every day, producing many times more output than land crops, and some of them (e.g. Spirulina) have amazing health benefits as food.

You can grow algae too — in your own home — and I would love to show you how.

Come to the Hands-On Home-Grow Algae workshop. Go home with your own Personal Photo-BioReactor and everything you need to grow your own Spirulina superfood algae in your own home!

One personal algae photo-bioreactor in one sunny window can provide enough spirulina to significantly supplement the diet of one person every day. Larger installations can provide biofuel and organic fertilizer, and perform important services, such as cleaning up water, and eliminating greenhouse gases from exhaust.

In addition to an introduction to an overview of algae farming, and a discussion of the practicalities of setting up your own farm, we will have an extended hands-on section of the workshop where I will show you how to set up and run your personal photo-bioreactor kit — it’s easy!

Special offer: along with the workshop, all participants will be able to take home a one liter bottle of live spirulina culture to start your own tank or pond — this alone is worth far more than the course fee…


ALGAELAB.ORG:
DIY Home-Grow Algae for Biofuels and Superfoods
Kits, Components, and Culture
 
Daerk Denelith
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AlgaeLabOrg wrote:
Bravo to those of you growing Spirulina! For those interested in exploring the blue-green world on their own, I suggest checking out www.algaelab.org. We sell complete and very affordable kits with everything you need to grow, harvest, and eat your own live Spirulina superfood!  If you pick up the kit at a workshop (in the SF Bay Area), it will include a 10-gallon tank. If you buy the kit online, you will have to provide your own tank. If you already have some kit components, email us and we can sell you a cheaper kit without some items…



Heya Aaron! Good to see you here

Hope your workshop goes well bud

I just bought a litre of your spirulina. Gonna check how many spirals and rods your culture has compared to mine

Hey do us a favour and keep us posted on the progress of the probe, pleeeaaassssee?
 
                                          
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The spirulina I started growing came from Wards Scientific.  It originally clumped together and was easy to harvest with a fish net.  Now it will only stain a 50 micron strainer, even tho it is dense ( sieche 1-2).  I keep the solution above PH 9.5 to insure it is not cross contaminated. 
I regularly use a cream seperator for goat's milk, making cream for butter.  Has anyone experimented using a cream seperator for harvesting algae.  Seperators from the urikrane are listed on ebay for as low as $72, $35 shipping.
 
Daerk Denelith
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spiritrancho wrote:
The spirulina I started growing came from Wards Scientific.  It originally clumped together and was easy to harvest with a fish net.  Now it will only stain a 50 micron strainer, even tho it is dense ( sieche 1-2).  I keep the solution above PH 9.5 to insure it is not cross contaminated. 
I regularly use a cream seperator for goat's milk, making cream for butter.  Has anyone experimented using a cream seperator for harvesting algae.  Seperators from the urikrane are listed on ebay for as low as $72, $35 shipping.



Clumped together Algae is a sign of a bad environment. Likely due to the heating element you had in direct contact with the culture in the first place. When Algae is directly heated some of the cells die from being overheated and their polysaccharide content "thickens" the immediate water around it. When this happens enough times it causes a gel-like effect where dead and living algal cell biomass is caught and held in place. In addition, this "gel" layer of polysaccharide reduces the surface area contact the algae has with the medium, meaning it cannot absorb as much nutrient from the medium as quickly as it used to. This also can block some of the light wavelengths intended for the algae's photosynthesis. Specifically the red spectrum light which is converted into chlorophyll type "A" (the photosynthetic process primary workhorse).

Spirulina grown in such an environment is less nutritious, grows slower, and generally has a strong unpleasant seaweed flavour.

You need a graduated straining filter. Essentially:

One 5 gallon bucket with a few 1/4" holes drilled into the bottom.
One unaltered 5, 6, or 20 gallon bucket.
One 73 micron filter bag sized to fit into the 5 gallon bucket.
One 45 micron filter bag sized to fit into the 5 gallon bucket.
One 25 micron filter bag sized to fit into the 5 gallon bucket.

Place the unaltered large bucket on a flat surface.
Place a wooden or metal support grid over the top of the large bucket. (You can use 2 separate 2"x4" studs, a metal grill, etc)
Place the 5 gallon bucket on top of the supports. Ensure the holes are unblocked and fluid can pass from the holed 5 gallon bucket into the larger bucket unhindered.
Place the 25 micron filter bag into the 5 gallon bucket first.
Place the 45 micron filter bag into the 5 gallon bucket next (directly on top of the 25 micron filter bag).
Place the 73 micron filter bag into the 5 gallon bucket last (directly on top of the 45 micron filter bag).

To use, simply pour your algae culture into the 73 micron filter bag. The 73 micron filter bag will effectively filter out the clumpy dead zone sections of your algae culture. This is the lowest quality harvest you have just captured.

The 45 micron filter bag will collect a much better and more nutrient-rich harvest of live spirulina with less ratio of dead cells or clumps. This is your mid-grade quality harvest.

The 25 micron filter bag will collect a significantly more nutrient-rich harvest of living spirulina. This is the top notch grade. Doesn't get better than this.

Concerning the cream/milk separator... save your money. Those separators are around 250 micron density filter material. Anything over 60 micron and you won't be harvesting your spirulina unless it's dead colony strips or clumps.

Here's a source for relatively cheap 5 gallon filter bags: http://www.freshheadies.com/catalog/bubble-bags-singles-22/5-gallon-replacement-bag-38.html

Hope this helps...
 
                                          
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Thanks Daerk.
Yesterday I seperated cream and followed with 4 gal on spirulina solution.  I ran it thru twice and got very little increase in density.  Utter failure.  Now that solution is contaminated with milk solids, but have been running it for 6 months.  You taught me that it needs refreshing with new culture.  So I ordered some.
I have tried 50 mc bags singly and captured very little green.  I will follow your three layer tip down to 25 mc.  After passing thru the filters do you add fresh nutrients and reuse that solution or dump it and add fresh water and nutrients?  As to the heat, should I put the heater in a jar of water and indirectly heat the solution, in hopes of avoiding algae kill?  Air temps here often drop 30 deg. F at night.
 
Daerk Denelith
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spiritrancho wrote:
Thanks Daerk.
Yesterday I seperated cream and followed with 4 gal on spirulina solution.  I ran it thru twice and got very little increase in density.  Utter failure.  Now that solution is contaminated with milk solids, but have been running it for 6 months.  You taught me that it needs refreshing with new culture.  So I ordered some.
I have tried 50 mc bags singly and captured very little green.  I will follow your three layer tip down to 25 mc.  After passing thru the filters do you add fresh nutrients and reuse that solution or dump it and add fresh water and nutrients?   As to the heat, should I put the heater in a jar of water and indirectly heat the solution, in hopes of avoiding algae kill?  Air temps here often drop 30 deg. F at night.



No problem.

Hmmm... you shouldn't need a restock of culture unless you didn't have harvest densities when attempting to harvest and your culture has been genetically restricted to rods instead of spirals... or it's contaminated. Essentially, I suggest not attempting harvest until you reach 2cm density on a secchi disc, and then putting 1/3rd of the harvest back into the tank to continue to grow. See, when you harvest spirulina the majority of your harvest are the spiral cells. The strait rod cells are hard to capture in a filter. It's easier to capture them in a 25 micron filter but a large portion of the rods slip right through that, too. I consider "rod" cells to be genetically inferior to the "spiral" cells. When you repeatedly harvest the majority of spiral cells from your culture and leave only the inferior rods to reproduce, you are effectively reducing the genetic stock quality of your culture with each harvest. It's good practice when attempting to increase the genetic stock quality to:

* Harvest the entire culture at 45 or 50 micron filtration without pressing
* Empty the filtered medium and use for agricultural fertilizer
* Take freshly prepared medium and place 1/3rd of the harvested algal biomass into it
* Slowly add more medium as the culture reaches a ready split state until the culture vessel is at capacity
* Repeat

This process effectively weeds out the majority of rods with each harvest, ending with a genetically superior stock consisting of mostly spiral cells rather than rod cells as I assume your culture to currently be due to your difficulty in harvest attempts. It takes EXTREME care to avoid damaging the spiral cells when filtering then adding them to fresh medium.

Spirulina Secchi Index:
Culture during "Gestation" phases: 4-6+cm
Culture ready for Splitting: 3cm
Culture ready for Harvest: 2cm
Dangerous Culture Suffocation Levels: >1.5cm

I refer to any diluted culture as gestational. It's too diluted to do anything with until it's growth reaches (at minimum) splitting level.

Splitting density is when the culture is dense enough to justify adding more medium without wasting the medium nutrients which deplete over time if not consumed. Technically you can harvest at this level but in my opinion it's a waste since it doesn't take much more time or nutrients to reach 2cm density for harvest and then start all over with a gestational culture.

Suffocation density is when the culture is too dense to breathe. Spirulina literally breathes carbon dioxide and other gasses in and breathes out oxygen and trace gasses. When the culture is too dense, whole portions of your culture can die from suffocation.

Due to the costs of nutrients and energy used to increase densities from 2cm to 1.6cm I find it more economic at present to simply harvest at 2cm.

If you are not attempting to rejuvenate or otherwise strengthen the culture genetic stock, dumping the medium is not recommended as it will likely retain nutrients as well as biomass able to be harvested using more efficient means such as centrifuge or mass dehydration. I personally ensure nutrient levels have been consumed prior to harvest and I dump the rods as gardening fertilizer which makes for an AMAZING result in nutritional properties of produce grown in that nutrient-rich soil.

Your idea for thermally leached radiant temperature control is sound. Leached heating and cooling of algal culture is the recommended manner to control culture temperature. I use thermal leach temperature control on my PBR. It provides a much smoother transition in temperatures as well as eliminating direct contact with the heating and cooling elements.

I'd like to see more pictures from others growing Spirulina, as well. I'll get to looking for mine on these thumbdrives and external hdd's as I promised, too
 
                                          
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I have kept back 1/4 of my solution so will just add the 8 oz. of culture to it when it arrives.  Meanwhile I will add fresh water and nutrients to keep going.  I have put the milk contaminated spirulina on lettuce but cant detect the results yet. 
The instructions for my F2 nutrient says to add 1 ml per 2.5 liters of water.  That is what I do to feed the existing stock.  I add double that when adding fresh water to increase the batch size.  Does that seem correct to you, Daerk?  I also add 0.2g sea salt and 0.5 g montromorillianite clay per 2.5 liter of fresh water.  Any other supplements required or suggested?
 
                                          
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I could not afford to buy 25 micron filter media so I went to walmart fabric dpt. and found curtain shear material so dense that I could not see my hand thru it.  A yard of that and a yard of some less dense cost less than $6.00 and filtered my spirulina very well.  For the first filter I used standard cheese cloth.  I filtered the whole batch (6 gal) at a sieche of 4 cm and got about 3 tablespoons of nice algae.  Concept prooved so next will build up to 5 gal and 2 cm for a standard harvest.
Putting the aquarium heater in a jar of water in the aqurium of algae causes far less clumping than directly in the culture.  That got me thinking.  I have read about using cool flourecent light inside of a PPR so I put a cool compact flourecent in a heavy jar in the aquarium.  Only problem is the jar tends to float and turn over so required extra wieght to keep it down.  The result is much faster growth than the blue red L.E.D. lamps I was using.  I still keep the light on a 14 hour timer, during daylight.
Thanks again for your guidance Daerk
 
                        
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Thanks in particular to Daerk for all this helpful info.

Where can I find more info on growing? The Algaelab forum is spammed and a little low on info without a workshop; not much help if you're in Africa.

Personnally I love all this info but it's not the angle I'm aiming for. Just a little bit too difficult. I'm interested in getting a very basic culture started from as little as possible. Something as easy as possible for a survival viewpoint and also practically for people who just haven't got access to all these resources. Can it be made cheaper and easier is what I ask myself.

If possible I don't want to be reliant on pre-prepared culture mediums.

I can't find much info on salt-water varieties and also cold water varierities. A salt water variety to my mind sounds like it should be easier to keep clean, perhaps the salt water medium can be easier to source?

I work at sea so I wondered if I might be able to create a bloom from just sampled water.
To try to create a bloom I just took a sample in a plastic tube and added aged urine for nutients. No visible bloom yet on day3. Not suprised.

I expect there to be algae in the sample and that some sort of algae must survive in the 14 degree water temperature here(north sea). The tube is tied to a handrail but still very little agitation. I have next to no equipment to work with so this is completely ghetto.

Next I will try increasing the pH with a little sodium bicarbonate with a resample. Then I'll look at ways to get more co2 into the tube. Quite how I might do this I don't know but I can place the tube by air conditioning outlet thus increasing the temperature while keeping it in the sun. Perhaps I can use yeast (sugar is available) but for that I'll really need to get the temperature up. Temp is the key here but that usually involves plugging into the grid. On land perhaps a tube could be tied to livestock.


The goal is to learn how to do this on a shoe string and with very little tools so that if I'm on holiday somewhere (I travel for 80% of my life which is great but means I've only been able to do bacterial culturing), I can get something like this going. In addition I'd like to do this in a basic way before I spend much money on it.

I had a spirruella sample sent that arrived after I left home. It's been kept in the fridge for me. Should I add anything to keep it alive?
 
                        
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I'm not sure if the sample bloomed. The colour in the tube was a light green from top to bottom, and not just at the top with just the Urea. I will try adding sodium bicarb to raise the pH next time and manually aspirating it with a hand pump every 6 hours next time. I need to find a way of heating it while in the sunlight...
a way to examine the algae would be useful. The problem is with these natural algae samples is I don't know what species are in there. I need a way to test them. I would say use a taste test but it's stinks! In addition there's loads of salt of course. Perhaps I could remove the salt and urea.
In
Algal culturing techniques
By Robert Arthur Andersen
Anderson describes traditional culturing techniques:
http://books.google.com/books?id=NYP5d6RdSYAC&lpg=PA92&ots=ffjU6FuZds&dq=algae%20how%20to%20take%20a%20single%20cell%20from%20a%20sample&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

I do sometimes have access to Niskin bottles. But this makes it harder for the amateur; we need something easy. We also need to think about supporting bacteria that can clean the medium for the algae, otherwise we get a die off. A die off is hard to gauge without expensive equipment, tat needs to be thought about too.
A stage that can help is removing the zooplankters that feed on the Algae by prefilter. This should be a fairly straightforward step... but can we find a natural filter?

The Spirulina sample has died before I got a chance to look after it. The problem with slow delivery times and moving about so much is that it's hard to take delivery of it...

According to:
http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:AxwtCE8OtAkJ:www.antenna.ch/en/documents/Jourdan_UK.pdf+spirulina+growing&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjaKmTU6X7LBUhVDfL-JPrDaT0wM2efoNM64D8eu3VGw2eTD5h3xxAbhFghpzoVP9Naqmgw4JOt5r04LpYeyTz3U4oaUF6iojTaAdfQWP6qTFkEkbB1vMGrd5ZETqWO46mNYFet&sig=AHIEtbQrGRD-q3xZq9QpzG540qjGj0Zm2Q

spirulina should be able to survive on Urea alone.

According to:
http://jojocafe.wordpress.com/2008/09/09/growing-spirulina-at-home-made-simple/


If you are interested in growing Spirulina at home, I hope you find this method useful…

Like many freshwater algaes, spirulina has a wide range of PH’s in which it can grow. In fact, spirulina can be grown from a range of 3.5 up to, and above a pH of 10. Without having access to labratory conditions, it seems nearly impossible to just grow spirulina, and no other algae in the same water.  What I discover is if grown in Distilled Water, and no other algae is present in the water then your almost guarenteed, spirulina will be the only algae present.

Almost is not good enough.  After reading a scientific journal from 1979, I found an experiment done in france where spirulina troughs were exposed to the air.  To keep other forms of algae out of the growing spirulina exposed to the elements, the growers raised the pH of the water above 8.6 pH.  It seems as though no other algae will grow above a pH of 8.5

To review, the base for growing spirulina is Distilled water.

 
Daerk Denelith
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spiritrancho wrote:
I have kept back 1/4 of my solution so will just add the 8 oz. of culture to it when it arrives.


I wouldn't suggest doing this. Your existing culture is likely mostly rods. You wouldn't want to imbalance your new culture with a deficient stock before the new culture has even had a chance to propagate. Personally I'd suggest you harvest all of that and plan on breeding the new culture from scratch.

spiritrancho wrote:
Meanwhile I will add fresh water and nutrients to keep going.  I have put the milk contaminated spirulina on lettuce but cant detect the results yet. 
The instructions for my F2 nutrient says to add 1 ml per 2.5 liters of water.  That is what I do to feed the existing stock.  I add double that when adding fresh water to increase the batch size.  Does that seem correct to you, Daerk?


Double-dosing for gestational cultures is common, but not really helpful due to the fact that most of the nutrients are actually just being wasted and not absorbed and used by the culture.

spiritrancho wrote:
I also add 0.2g sea salt and 0.5 g montromorillianite clay per 2.5 liter of fresh water.  Any other supplements required or suggested?


The clay makes the pH easier to regulate but can cause problems with clogs in pumps and filter media. Make sure any aquarium pump you're using is rated for silt and saltwater. You'll need to likely replace airstones more regularly as well. Personally I'd add a bit of sodium bicarbonate, it boosts pH but also forces the algae to produce more lipids.

spiritrancho wrote:
I could not afford to buy 25 micron filter media so I went to walmart fabric dpt. and found curtain shear material so dense that I could not see my hand thru it.  A yard of that and a yard of some less dense cost less than $6.00 and filtered my spirulina very well.   For the first filter I used standard cheese cloth.


Nice workaround! I'd be more than interested in seeing what product that material is, so I can save some money doing the same

Cheese cloth will really only catch large clumps. I still suggest between 60 and 80 micron filter media for the first stage filtration.

spiritrancho wrote:
I filtered the whole batch (6 gal) at a sieche of 4 cm and got about 3 tablespoons of nice algae.  Concept prooved so next will build up to 5 gal and 2 cm for a standard harvest.


Remember to put some of the 45 micron (middle grade!) filtered algae BACK into the medium to propagate!

spiritrancho wrote:
Putting the aquarium heater in a jar of water in the aqurium of algae causes far less clumping than directly in the culture.  That got me thinking.  I have read about using cool flourecent light inside of a PPR so I put a cool compact flourecent in a heavy jar in the aquarium.


Yeppers. That's why I suggested a waterproof transparent container inside of Silverseed's 60-ish gallon drum. Same principle.

spiritrancho wrote:
Only problem is the jar tends to float and turn over so required extra wieght to keep it down.  The result is much faster growth than the blue red L.E.D. lamps I was using.  I still keep the light on a 14 hour timer, during daylight.
Thanks again for your guidance Daerk


No problem. Glad to be of help.

I suggest a 16 hour timer.
 
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jago25 wrote:
Thanks in particular to Daerk for all this helpful info.


My pleasure. Nice to know so many people are interested in building their own micro-farm algae projects.

jago25 wrote:
Where can I find more info on growing? The Algaelab forum is spammed and a little low on info without a workshop; not much help if you're in Africa.

Personnally I love all this info but it's not the angle I'm aiming for. Just a little bit too difficult. I'm interested in getting a very basic culture started from as little as possible. Something as easy as possible for a survival viewpoint and also practically for people who just haven't got access to all these resources. Can it be made cheaper and easier is what I ask myself.



Sure. Take a 10 gallon aquarium, some silicon airline tubing, some airline check valves, a few airstones, an aquarium plant light (preferably one that hits the light nanometer ranges previously mentioned), an aquarium air pump (preferably one with rheostat controls and dual output, rated for at least 20 gallon tank), 1 gallon of part A F/2 formula, 1 gallon of part B F/2 formula, a high range pH test kit (liquid dropper test with range up to 10), a single 25 micron filter bag, sodium bicarbonate, and a submersible aquarium electric heater.

The airstones (with checkvalves to ensure nothing goes in reverse back to the airpump) provide the agitation to the culture as well as providing CO2 to the medium. The heater keeps the medium to proper temp. The sodium bicarbonate keeps the pH high (higher than 8.6 for growth, but boost to 10 for at least 12 hours prior to harvest... this will ensure that the majority of any hazardous biologicals have been eliminated and that the culture is relatively safe to ingest. This will not ensure that the algae has not concentrated toxins within them, though... so it's not 100%. The plant light should be on for 16 hours per day. Off for 8 per day. I suggest off during the darkest time of the night. The algae needs the dark time for breathing. The F/2 provides a pure salt-water environment full of nutrients for the algae. Essentially it allows you to take freshwater and turn it into pure saltwater without any biologicals in it.

jago25 wrote:
If possible I don't want to be reliant on pre-prepared culture mediums.

I can't find much info on salt-water varieties and also cold water varierities. A salt water variety to my mind sounds like it should be easier to keep clean, perhaps the salt water medium can be easier to source?


Few things to note here...

F/2 medium is essentially not only the natural chemicals found in salt-water... but it's also of the correct strengths to provide nutrients for the algae. It's not pre-mixed because once mixed the nutrients begin to leach out. Using actual seawater means dealing with thousands of "unknowns" that generally require expensive high-end equipment to even begin to test for... much less resolve.

To do what you're wanting to do in the cheapest possible and easiest manner would necessitate that you create your own medium and not try to use seawater with it's unlimited variables.

Also, salt-water has many problems associated with the aquaculture groups... including requirement of more expensive pumps, scrubbers, etc. Generally speaking, freshwater would be easier than saltwater.
 
Daerk Denelith
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jago25 wrote:
I work at sea so I wondered if I might be able to create a bloom from just sampled water.
To try to create a bloom I just took a sample in a plastic tube and added aged urine for nutients. No visible bloom yet on day3. Not suprised.

I expect there to be algae in the sample and that some sort of algae must survive in the 14 degree water temperature here(north sea). The tube is tied to a handrail but still very little agitation. I have next to no equipment to work with so this is completely ghetto.

Next I will try increasing the pH with a little sodium bicarbonate with a resample. Then I'll look at ways to get more co2 into the tube. Quite how I might do this I don't know but I can place the tube by air conditioning outlet thus increasing the temperature while keeping it in the sun. Perhaps I can use yeast (sugar is available) but for that I'll really need to get the temperature up. Temp is the key here but that usually involves plugging into the grid. On land perhaps a tube could be tied to livestock.


Electricity is likely going to be a requirement unless space isn't an issue. In that case you can heat the medium using a solar water heater. Also you need to have the temperature of the culture up before it is exposed to direct light otherwise you'll fry the algae. It does NOT like to be cold and exposed to bright light.

Don't worry about more CO2. Unless you're using a micro-bubble/nanobubble diffuser to saturate into the water, most pure CO2 sources will actually offgas from the water without being absorbed. Not to mention that using a standard air pump is enough in most areas to scrub existing CO2 from the atmosphere by allowing the algae to absorb it in the medium. It's not efficient but it is enough CO2 for micro-farming operations. I sincerely hope that NO-ONE tries to produce their own CO2 unless they have a totally enclosed system that recycles it's own offgases to ensure all CO2 has multiple chances to saturate in the medium and be absorbed and utilized by the algae. We have more than enough of a CO2 greenhouse gas problem as it is without hobbyist contribution.

Most areas have thousands of tonnes of CO2 in the local atmosphere. Placing the airpump on the ground increases the chance of pumping higher percentages of CO2 into the tank since CO2 is heavier than air.

jago25 wrote:
The goal is to learn how to do this on a shoe string and with very little tools so that if I'm on holiday somewhere (I travel for 80% of my life which is great but means I've only been able to do bacterial culturing), I can get something like this going. In addition I'd like to do this in a basic way before I spend much money on it.

I had a spirruella sample sent that arrived after I left home. It's been kept in the fridge for me. Should I add anything to keep it alive?


Loosen the cap on it so it can breathe while in storage. Ensure it isn't exposed to light. Should keep for up to at least a few months without anything as long as it is in a proper medium.
 
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jago25 wrote:
I'm not sure if the sample bloomed. The colour in the tube was a light green from top to bottom, and not just at the top with just the Urea. I will try adding sodium bicarb to raise the pH next time and manually aspirating it with a hand pump every 6 hours next time. I need to find a way of heating it while in the sunlight...


Wow. That's some hardcore dedicated old-school low-tech methods. I'd suggest battery powered heater and lights at the minimum instead of all that work.

See above for my suggestion for a solar heater.

I wouldn't trust ANY natural ocean's medium in a bloom. Too many chances for unknown variables. Make your own medium using either distilled water or reverse osmosis de-ionized water with some F/2.

jago25 wrote:
a way to examine the algae would be useful. The problem is with these natural algae samples is I don't know what species are in there. I need a way to test them. I would say use a taste test but it's stinks! In addition there's loads of salt of course. Perhaps I could remove the salt and urea.


Everything mentioned here requires some VERY expensive testing equipment and filtering/processing equipment.

jago25 wrote:
I do sometimes have access to Niskin bottles. But this makes it harder for the amateur; we need something easy. We also need to think about supporting bacteria that can clean the medium for the algae, otherwise we get a die off. A die off is hard to gauge without expensive equipment, tat needs to be thought about too.


Just boost pH to at least 10 for half a day (12 hours) using sodium bicarbonate. This "freezes" the algae's replication, but it still produces lipids and still absorbs nutrients from the water. No die-off and the nutrient isn't wasted and other biologicals aren't introduced into the system. You'll have to harvest immediately afterward but then you can re-seed a new batch with some of the harvest and maintain it's pH at 8.6 to 9.

jago25 wrote:
A stage that can help is removing the zooplankters that feed on the Algae by prefilter. This should be a fairly straightforward step... but can we find a natural filter?

The Spirulina sample has died before I got a chance to look after it. The problem with slow delivery times and moving about so much is that it's hard to take delivery of it...


To address this it is easier and FAR cheaper (not to mention 100% stable and reproducible) to simply use filtered pure potable water and artificially turn it into seawater by adding F/2.

jago25 wrote:
spirulina should be able to survive on Urea alone.


Just because Spirulina can SURVIVE in those conditions doesn't mean it's good for the spirulina or efficient or good for YOU should you wish to ingest the spirulina. There are so many negative variables due to the fact that urea includes fatty cells from the host, trace chemicals from the host's diet, medications, etc... I wouldn't touch that stuff. Use F/2 nutrient and save the pee for the toilet.
 
                        
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I see, clearly F/2 is the easy way to go. Nutrients by addition not subtraction! (a bit like earth potting vs hydroponics...)

Thing is, it would be nice to be able to do this from behind closed borders in a wartime situation etc, for survival. I wouldn't expect to be able to get hold of F/2 in those situations.
I will get some though from a local aquarium and start growing to practice.

Apparently they managed to grow algae in ancient egypt and mexico. But how did they do it? Probably they used it for livestock, that could be the reason. Still, I'd love to find how they do it, I've had no luck with searching. Any tips on what to search for? If this could be duplicated perhaps the results could be used just for livestock feed.

It's a shame not to be able to use urea, but that makes sense. Once thing I would say is that I heard about a guy who lived in a diving bell for 12 days without any contact from the surface as an experiment. He was using algae as an oxygen source and feeding with urea. How did he do it? Perhaps the algae was simply not stable and had he continued it would have died off. I'll have to see if I can find that guy...

and offer him counseling!


addundum:
The other problem is sourcing the starter culture. There are many scientific banks acros the world but:
1) no everywhere
2) Customs restrictions, and I expect this could get worse one day

I'm actually experiencing this problem right now. I'm not in one place to wait the 2 weeks for delivery. So, for example, I'm looking for a collection in Buenos Aires but I don't know if they have one. What I'll do eventually is drive to a collection and get it that way but it will be a while before I get to a place where I can do that.

So there's lots of reason to develop something easier to do. It's the edibility that makes it hard.

I wonder, if Kefir can stablise the microfauna of the gut, can something similar do the same for an algae culture... or rather, can we lower standards a little.

Growing algae hydroponically is great but being able to do it unsupported would be amazing!
 
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jago25 wrote:
I see, clearly F/2 is the easy way to go. Nutrients by addition not subtraction! (a bit like earth potting vs hydroponics...)

Thing is, it would be nice to be able to do this from behind closed borders in a wartime situation etc, for survival. I wouldn't expect to be able to get hold of F/2 in those situations.
I will get some though from a local aquarium and start growing to practice.

Apparently they managed to grow algae in ancient egypt and mexico. But how did they do it? Probably they used it for livestock, that could be the reason. Still, I'd love to find how they do it, I've had no luck with searching. Any tips on what to search for? If this could be duplicated perhaps the results could be used just for livestock feed.


From my talks with Dr. David Stuart (University of Texas at Austin), the Maya scooped the algal biomass up from the water of extremely highly alkaline natural freshwater lakes whose sources are deep underground springs being filtered through alkaline mineral sediment. It was a perfect natural condition where almost nothing else COULD grow in such a lake... it was so alkaline that only spirulina and other similar extremophiles could survive there. I would assume the same from the Egyptian sources and sources such as Lake Chad in Africa. Good luck attempting the same without some high tech filtration and high energy expenses.

jago25 wrote:
It's a shame not to be able to use urea, but that makes sense. Once thing I would say is that I heard about a guy who lived in a diving bell for 12 days without any contact from the surface as an experiment. He was using algae as an oxygen source and feeding with urea. How did he do it? Perhaps the algae was simply not stable and had he continued it would have died off. I'll have to see if I can find that guy...

and offer him counseling!


Spirulina and many other species of algae are extremophiles. They can survive in many different extreme environments. The algae thrived off the urea but wouldn't be considered safely edible for human consumption unless in a survival situation. There are studies that claim that the protein substrate chains found in the host's cells still left in the urea can cause (if ingested) symptoms of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in humans. I can't attest to their validity or facts but at the very least I can state that there exists scientific studies that appear convincing when compared to placebo results. That's enough for me... it's easier to use far superior and safer medium, anyway.

jago25 wrote:
addundum:
The other problem is sourcing the starter culture. There are many scientific banks acros the world but:
1) no everywhere
2) Customs restrictions, and I expect this could get worse one day

I'm actually experiencing this problem right now. I'm not in one place to wait the 2 weeks for delivery. So, for example, I'm looking for a collection in Buenos Aires but I don't know if they have one. What I'll do eventually is drive to a collection and get it that way but it will be a while before I get to a place where I can do that.


Can't help there other than to suggest you pre-plan your route and pre-order with shipping address of a location you plan to be at soon.

jago25 wrote:
So there's lots of reason to develop something easier to do. It's the edibility that makes it hard.

I wonder, if Kefir can stablise the microfauna of the gut, can something similar do the same for an algae culture... or rather, can we lower standards a little.

Growing algae hydroponically is great but being able to do it unsupported would be amazing!


Lots of people only experience algae as a dried and strong-tasting seaweed. Fresh algae can often taste almost bland while being slightly salty... great for using as a condiment on toasted breads or crackers as an alternative to butter or mayo.

Ok... what exactly are you suggesting concerning the stablization of the algal culture, or lowering standards? What standards?

You can easily grow algae unsupported. It's as simple as some naturally alkaline water and a seed source for the algae. The problem is that algae can easily bloom and can disrupt existing ecosystems. Unless the algae already naturally is present, it's unlikely to be able to fit in with the existing ecosystem without intervention or instigation. Taking a species like spirulina and adding it into a local ecosystem can cause massive damage to the ecosystem.

Emulating the natural ecosystem where human edible spirulina can thrive safely (without danger of hazardous species or bacteria or whatnot) requires energy, additives, specialty equipment, and relative containment. Really not much of a way around that.
 
                        
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Daerk, take a look at this:
http://www.antenna.ch/en/documents/Jourdan_UK.pdf
I see mention that it can be possible to grow spiruella and avoid the contamination problems, or rather, to mitigate them greatly by keeping the pH alkaline, where only spiruella can grow. I'll try a batch with f2 and a batch with a low concentration of aged urea to compare the 2.

I'm going to give it a try but will treat any result very cautiously. If I can find a way to test if it's safe first I'll definitely do that too.

-j
 
                                          
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After months of working with the spirulina, I am satisfied that I can do it if I have to.  However It is a takes more time and effort and more power than it is worth.  i CAN BUY POWDERED SPIRULINA FOR ABOUT $20 PER POUND.  The intension was to provide high power supplement to our diet to make up for degraded foods with questionable supply.  We cant seem to grow enough high quality food, to supply all our needs.
The solution is to sprout seeds.  All of the vitamins minerals protien and energy are there as in algae, and it can be eaten in a variaty of ways.  The only power is that to drive a timer and solinod valve.  The time and labor consists of daily havesting a tray and reseed, less than 5 min. The equipment cost me less than $50 using mostly materials at hand.  A guide to build an automatic sprouter is found at www.greensmoothie.com.  Sprouting seeds are widely availble and can be stored for years.  I am sprouting and eating home grown peas, beans and grains.
I am consuming them in smoothies, salads, soups, and sandwiches.  The automatic feature prevents mold or seed failing to sprout because to dry as was common with other methods.
I still have the set up for spiulina and in the event of a total breakdown of the food chain can activate it, for survival. 
 
                              
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velacreations wrote:
I've been interested in this, but as an animal food supplement, for rabbits, chickens, and pigs.

Do you know of any online resources that don't require workshops or large fees?

The biogas digester integration is interesting.  You could use a hot compost pile to help keep the temps up, similar to Jean Pain's water heating system.

I don't see many people actually doing this at home, but it is a very interesting concept.



Hi there, I am a novice to algae culture. I have just started togrow spirulina in my 10 l fish tank.I am using the RM6 media. I have installed an air-pump for oxygenation. The RM6 media contain,

1.25 g/litre - single super phosphate:
2.50 g/litre - sodium nitrate:
0.98 g/litre - muriate of potash:
0.50 g/litre - sodium chloride:
0.15 g/litre - magnesium sulfate:
0.04 g/litre - calcium chloride:
8 g/litre - sodium bicarbonate:


Now i cultivated spirulina. After 4 weeks, there is no growth,it has turned yellow,which means practically it is dead. I checked the PH with PH strip, itturned dense blue in range of < 11. I provided lighting to the aquarium for 12 hrs and then 12hrs of darkness.

What was the problem? What should i do to creat an ideal aquarium with aadequate conditions for algae growth. Thank you.


 
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Great thread!  I checked out a book from my uni once that was about 300 pages of scientific studies on growing spirulina and other edible algaes.  I'm not sure what its called, but its out there! 

Here are some ideas. 

-As I think you know, spirulina does not have to be at a perfect temp to grow.  Make up for lost productivity with extra volume.

-Grow in a greenhouse during the summer with no extra lighting.  The only electricity needed is for bubbling and pumping to harvest.

-Move the operation indoors for the winter into a living area or a place that otherwise needs to be heated.  Run heating first through the tanks...the heat will naturally diffuse into the rest of the room.  The same is true for your lights.  The heat generated by your light will heat the room.  Also, unused photons will convert into heat energy.  Basically you will use bioD to run a generator for electricity.  The electricity will be used to make heat and light, which will first grow algae, then flow into the rest of the room.

This should increase the efficiency of the entire system.
 
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hi everyone. wonderful replies here. so how are all your spirulina growing now? any pictures? (:
 
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yes
here is my tank!
at winter i put it with artificial light- as you can see.
i posted more pictures on
www.grow-spirulina.com
artificial.jpg
[Thumbnail for artificial.jpg]
 
Tom Vered
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Happy growing to all!
 
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