Growing Spirulina:Post 6

Tonight I am going to go through what would be day 98 of my Spirulina culture. It has gone pretty well thus far. I would say overall it runs itself. I have taken it from a small vial of Spirulina to a roughly 9 gallon culture. I did it with the following:

  • Distilled Water
  • AT Zarrouk’s SM Spirulina Growth Medium – Microalgae Feed by Algoid Technologies
  • baking soda
  • sea salt or table sale
  • 10 gallon fish tank
  • indoor fish tank lighting
  • airstone and pump
  • light timer

I also made sure to take a phased approach. I first used all of the growing medium that I had from the initial purchase then I got the AT growth medium. I let the culture grow for a couple of weeks and then increase the amount of liquid in the tank. If I felt the culture wasn’t turbid enough I would give it more time before adding more growing medium/water. I made sure that I had my light timer set to roughly 14 hours and connected both the lights and the airstone/pump to that. I have experienced pretty good success on essentially autopilot. One thing that I am going to do to tech it up a bit is to hook up some sensors to make measurements on the culture to be more precise about what is going on.

First Harvest

I harvested my first Spirulina last night. I used a funnel, coffee filters, mason jars and a butter knife. It was a highly inefficient way to do it but just wanted to give it a try. Very simply I would get some of my culture and pour it into the funnel with a couple of coffee filters in it. Sometimes it helped to gently pick up the filter and squeeze lightly to get more of the water out it as the Spirulina level increased. I also didn’t measure the amount harvested this time which I will do in the future.

This was simply more of an exploratory mission to see what live and raw Spirulina was like. To my surprise it was absolutely tasteless! I couldn’t believe that it didn’t seem to have a hint of anything. For those of you who hate the powder version of the Spirulina b/c it tastes like pond water then this would be for you! I know that it seems like a huge hassle but if it is something that you want to incorporate into your diet it might be a worth endeavor for you. The intial setup is where most of the work is. I will share an efficient harvesting practice to make this essentially a set and forgot operation. More to come!

Spirulina Culture 3 months in
First Harvest pic 1
First Harvest Pic2

Growing Spirulina: Post 5


Tonight I wanted to add a post on the progress of my Spirulina culture. This far it has looked pretty good and have seen good growth. I added my small culture to a fish tank that I had. I hope to fill it so that I can have a good amount of Spirulina production. I may even go to two tanks so I can rotate depending on my consumption.

What I Did

I bought 4 liters of the AT Zarrouk’s SM Spirulina Growth Medium – Microalgae Feed by Algoid Technologies(amazon link below). Per the directions I mixed 1 gallon of distilled water and also salt and baking soda. That took my small vile of Spirulina to where it is now in the tank which is a roughly 2 gallons or 4 liters in volume. I am also giving my culture 12 hours of light/day. I have also added an airstone to get some air flow into the culture. That helps to keep the culture oxygenated and also moves the Spirulina some. I am running the airstone around 4 hours a day. Make sure not to turn up the air too high when using one to prevent any damage to the Spirulina. Please comment with any questions. I will be posting more on this topic as I scale up my production.

Spirulina Culture 43 days in
Spirulina Culture 43 days in

Growing Spirulina: Post 4

Spirulina Week 2

It has been roughly 2 weeks since I started my Spirulina culture. That is going towards the stationary phase where growth levels off. Because of that I added to a fish tank I have and will begin scaling my culture. Do to a shipping error some of my culture media was not shipped to my house but I have it coming. I did use what I have the rest I had from my original mixing. Once I add some more growing media I will add the bubblers I have to keep the culture moving. More to come on the progress.

Growing Spirulina: Post 3

This is day 6 for my first Spirulina culture. I can start to see a marked increase of turbidity in the medium. This is the start of what is called the Exponential Growth Phase. As discussed in my last post, the name describes it all. The growth of the culture will explode in population due to resource availability in the container. I am indeed seeing that and it falls in the suggested time range. I will look at transplanting into another container that I will use for my normal culture that I will use. More to come on this. Happy Growing!!

Day 6: Culture after being shaken
Day 6: Culture after being shaken
Day 6: Culture at rest
Day 6: Culture at rest

Growing Spirulina: Post 2

Day 2

I am now 2 days in on my spirulina growth. Below is a picture of that and compared to the first day I can already see a small amount of growth.

Initial Batching Night
Night 2 at rest

Night 2 shaken

Growth Chart
I will track progress using the instructions in the booklet I got with the product from Algae Research Supply.
Growth Graph Courtesy of Algae Research Supply

Please Click the graph to zoom in. To describe the numbers on the graph, it is the growth phases of the algae and actually is a graph of a population growth in the sample. It is characteristic of these kinds of graphs. You can see where the growth starts slowly and then the sample grows exponentially. That is the 1st and 2nd phases respectively. The third phase is a leveling off phase as the population reaches a level that is a slower/leveled off growth due to lack of resources. As the resources continue to decline you reach the final phase where growth actually declines due the population not having enough resources to maintain its peak size. I will use their notation and describe it in bullet form like in the pamphlet.

(1) Lag Phase: Growth is slow due the algae adapting to its new conditions, can last 1-10 days.
(2) Exponential Growth Phase:The highest growth rate of the algae given the conditions. They state to mix often.
(3) Stationary Phase: The culture becomes limited due to resources which can be light, carbon, nutrients, etc. and will not appear to grow
(4) Decline: It occurs when resources have been exhausted and is a natural part of the life cycle. To prevent decline from occurring more media is needed. If it is overcrowded then you may even need a bigger container.

Growing Spirulina: Post 1

Today I received my first Spirulina culture. I got my culture and media from Algae Research Supply. The instructions were easy to follow got to and it took me less than 10 minutes to complete the setup. I will share the results of this product as the growth goes.

Instructions With Product:

  1. Dissolve the salts
  2. They have salt packet with Culture Salts that you must dissolve in 500ml of filtered(dechlorinated) water. Then you have to shake the bottle. I put mine in a mason jar.

  3. Add the Nutrients
  4. There is a vial of nutrient salts that is provide, also mix this in. Again since I put mine in a mason jar I was able to seal and shake.

  5. Fill the culture flask with culture media
  6. You then put roughly 50ml of this into the flask.

  7. Add the inoculum
  8. There are vials of spirulina provided and you just need to add it to the flask. Once added, recap and shake it.

  9. Place in light
  10. They suggest dim light and avoiding direct sunlight to prevent overheating for the first 2 days. Their suggestions is to place by a fluorescent light for 12 hours a day with a timer.

  11. Shake as often as you can
  12. Their next suggestion is to give the vial a shake at least 1 per day going forward.

  13. Refresh the culture
  14. They then suggest getting rid of half the culture after 2 weeks and adding more of the growing media you created. Store that excess in a cool place for these times. With the refreshed culture you will get more growth to observe. I am going to use this opportunity expand my culture. I have more growing media coming in to allow for more growth and get a fish tank full of spirulina for consumption.

    Grow Kit by Algae Research Supply

    Please let me know if you have any questions and feel free to comment. Happy Growing!!

Since this is a small batch kit I have bought some more grow media to attempt to expand to a fish tank and grow enough for me to consume on a weekly basis. Below is a link to the kit they also sell larger kits for bigger grows.

Grow Kit by Algae Research Supply:

Spirulina Series

I am going to start a series of posts and videos on growing Spirulina. I have discussed the interesting micro algae in an earlier post: Spirulina Post. I will test and look at the things required to grow.

Items I will be testing:

  • Optimal Temperature Range
  • Required Nutrient Levels
  • Light Requirements

I will start with recommendations from Spirulina Academy and tweak if needed. The goal is to test their recommendation and blend with other research to see how well I can get it to work. Please comment with anything you would like to see in this series.