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Thread: I want to grow bio-luminescent algae

  1. #1 I want to grow bio-luminescent algae 
    Forum Freshman greenspan's Avatar
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    after reading many sources online I decided I want to make a system to grow bio-luminescent algae at home.
    The only problem I am thinking will come up is that coming from a sustainability perspective, having to dispose of 50-70% of my culture after growing it for a month seems to be a waste.
    Is it because after the time period the algae grow so quick that they eat up all the nutrients, in addition to having a high turnover rate of cells that it gets flooded with dead cells?

    So my real question I need answered is, how possible would it be to minimize the water that needs to be disposed of? Could I add some sort of non-toxic bacteria that would just eat the dead bio-luminescent algae and not interfere with the rest of the algae?
    Say I have a special aquarium I want to build to grow this bio-luminescent algae, and on the bottom of the small 1-2 liter aquarium I am building is an air pump for bubbles, or a fan, or a fluorescent or LED bulb. I even thought of perhaps a speaker in the base to vibrate the container.
    Do the dead algae cells float to the bottom, would I be able to see a layer? Or will they just float and pollute the mix and I still need to empty most of the culture after a month?


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    That's why researchers use continuous culture, as the rate at which dead algae are removed by overflow weirs, is equal to the growth rate of the algae. You can control the dilution rate to control growth of the algae. If you manage to turn it into a continuous culture (growth rate is 0) you'd minimise water that needs to be disposed of. And the non-toxic bacteria could very well compete with the algae for food, it all depends on the species you're using as well as the substrate.


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    Quote Originally Posted by greenspan View Post
    after reading many sources online I decided I want to make a system to grow bio-luminescent algae at home.
    Why would you want to do this, what is the economical benefit you try to achieve here?

    The only problem I am thinking will come up is that coming from a sustainability perspective, having to dispose of 50-70% of my culture after growing it for a month seems to be a waste.
    Algae are pretty much perfect for sustainable growth. You can combine green algae, which provide the culture with energy and oxygen, and bio-luminescent algae which can live off them, plus a bacterium species that can digest the algae which have died and dropped to the floor, including its own dead cells. You would need a constant input, and output, and you would need to test under which environment none of those organisms gain the upperhand or grow too fast.

    Is it because after the time period the algae grow so quick that they eat up all the nutrients, in addition to having a high turnover rate of cells that it gets flooded with dead cells?
    Nope, mostly toxins, so much waste in the water that it becomes unsustainable.

    So my real question I need answered is, how possible would it be to minimize the water that needs to be disposed of?
    Keeping the number of bacteria or algae as low as possible.

    Could I add some sort of non-toxic bacteria that would just eat the dead bio-luminescent algae and not interfere with the rest of the algae?
    Yes, but you would need to balance this out, will be trial/error.

    Say I have a special aquarium I want to build to grow this bio-luminescent algae, and on the bottom of the small 1-2 liter aquarium I am building is an air pump for bubbles, or a fan, or a fluorescent or LED bulb. I even thought of perhaps a speaker in the base to vibrate the container.
    The water of which these bio-luminescent algae grow doesn't bubble, maybe methane of CO2, but not air. This doesn't mean that it will not grow good when you bubble like this, you don't want it to grow well, trust me.. Don't bubble, just use a pump create turbulence, and if possible immobilize the algae on a flat surface to create a biofilm.

    Do the dead algae cells float to the bottom, would I be able to see a layer? Or will they just float and pollute the mix and I still need to empty most of the culture after a month?
    Possible, they do float down. But i doubt they will all go to the bottom, especially since you create a flow, or bubbles.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman greenspan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by greenspan View Post
    after reading many sources online I decided I want to make a system to grow bio-luminescent algae at home.
    Why would you want to do this, what is the economical benefit you try to achieve here?

    The only problem I am thinking will come up is that coming from a sustainability perspective, having to dispose of 50-70% of my culture after growing it for a month seems to be a waste.
    Algae are pretty much perfect for sustainable growth. You can combine green algae, which provide the culture with energy and oxygen, and bio-luminescent algae which can live off them, plus a bacterium species that can digest the algae which have died and dropped to the floor, including its own dead cells. You would need a constant input, and output, and you would need to test under which environment none of those organisms gain the upperhand or grow too fast.

    Is it because after the time period the algae grow so quick that they eat up all the nutrients, in addition to having a high turnover rate of cells that it gets flooded with dead cells?
    Nope, mostly toxins, so much waste in the water that it becomes unsustainable.

    So my real question I need answered is, how possible would it be to minimize the water that needs to be disposed of?
    Keeping the number of bacteria or algae as low as possible.

    Could I add some sort of non-toxic bacteria that would just eat the dead bio-luminescent algae and not interfere with the rest of the algae?
    Yes, but you would need to balance this out, will be trial/error.

    Say I have a special aquarium I want to build to grow this bio-luminescent algae, and on the bottom of the small 1-2 liter aquarium I am building is an air pump for bubbles, or a fan, or a fluorescent or LED bulb. I even thought of perhaps a speaker in the base to vibrate the container.
    The water of which these bio-luminescent algae grow doesn't bubble, maybe methane of CO2, but not air. This doesn't mean that it will not grow good when you bubble like this, you don't want it to grow well, trust me.. Don't bubble, just use a pump create turbulence, and if possible immobilize the algae on a flat surface to create a biofilm.

    Do the dead algae cells float to the bottom, would I be able to see a layer? Or will they just float and pollute the mix and I still need to empty most of the culture after a month?
    Possible, they do float down. But i doubt they will all go to the bottom, especially since you create a flow, or bubbles.

    Thank you for the reply Zwolver.
    My idea is to create an algae home growing system and lava-lamp to inspire kids to want to learn more about algae, science, engineering and sustainability.
    What better way to inspire kids than to have a living lamp, a lamp that uses bio-luminescent algae? I call it LifeOhrB. Ohr in Hebrew means light..and it fits perfectly with the theme.. a living orb of light..

    The idea is it could be partially solar powered so it could be taken on camping trips, and activate at night through a button or bluetooth..
    It could also be used for art shows or ceremonies, or even some businesses that money isn't a problem, in which the sustainability of the water and algae culture won't be an issue at all...but if I wanted to make it more of a product and not just for schools, I want to try to lengthen the use of it... having an upkeep of $100 a year for nutrient water doesn't sound too sustainable for most people.

    I could most likely get a sensor or infrared or a laser to determine the amount of dead cells in the container and say when it reaches like 30% live cells it would notify the owner to replace a majority of the water, but this brings me to my original question of how could I purify the original water without wasting much... to wait for them to float to the bottom and then a quick suction of 20% water could be good..but what you said is what I was thinking...how effective could be bacteria? could I create a system with 2 types of algae and still maintain a strong bio-luminescence for light illumination?

    I would just like to mention I am discussing with fertilizer/chemical companies how to make an organic mixture of the medium in mass, either binded in a ball/cube or perhaps as a powder form and a person could just add it to sea-salt water and stir it before pouring it in...so I have not confirmed a final cost...but seeing the medium costs from bio-lum algae companies like Empco at $15 for 500ml is how I estimated $100 a year...but if it could drop to about $50 a year then this issue I brought up here won't be a big problem at all.

    I look forward to a response
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenspan View Post
    Thank you for the reply Zwolver.
    My idea is to create an algae home growing system and lava-lamp to inspire kids to want to learn more about algae, science, engineering and sustainability.
    What better way to inspire kids than to have a living lamp, a lamp that uses bio-luminescent algae? I call it LifeOhrB. Ohr in Hebrew means light..and it fits perfectly with the theme.. a living orb of light..

    The idea is it could be partially solar powered so it could be taken on camping trips, and activate at night through a button or bluetooth..
    It could also be used for art shows or ceremonies, or even some businesses that money isn't a problem, in which the sustainability of the water and algae culture won't be an issue at all...but if I wanted to make it more of a product and not just for schools, I want to try to lengthen the use of it... having an upkeep of $100 a year for nutrient water doesn't sound too sustainable for most people.

    I could most likely get a sensor or infrared or a laser to determine the amount of dead cells in the container and say when it reaches like 30% live cells it would notify the owner to replace a majority of the water, but this brings me to my original question of how could I purify the original water without wasting much... to wait for them to float to the bottom and then a quick suction of 20% water could be good..but what you said is what I was thinking...how effective could be bacteria? could I create a system with 2 types of algae and still maintain a strong bio-luminescence for light illumination?

    I would just like to mention I am discussing with fertilizer/chemical companies how to make an organic mixture of the medium in mass, either binded in a ball/cube or perhaps as a powder form and a person could just add it to sea-salt water and stir it before pouring it in...so I have not confirmed a final cost...but seeing the medium costs from bio-lum algae companies like Empco at $15 for 500ml is how I estimated $100 a year...but if it could drop to about $50 a year then this issue I brought up here won't be a big problem at all.

    I look forward to a response
    Hmm.. While this isn't a bad idea persť, i doubt there is a market for things like this.

    With a good setup you would never have to change the water. But, maybe it is a better idea to replace the living cells with phosphorescence chemicals. But since you want it containing living cells, i would suggest a biofilm of luminescence algae, maybe Pyrocystis fusiformis (Pyrocystis fusiformis - Bioluminescent Algae).

    I believe they simply eat some sugars, minerals and proteins. Supply this, and it will most likely survive. You will need a filter though, to filter out the dead cells *will leave the biofilm*. A pump is needed, and you will need a light source inside, as without a light cycle it will not work.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  7. #6  
    Forum Freshman greenspan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by greenspan View Post
    Thank you for the reply Zwolver.
    My idea is to create an algae home growing system and lava-lamp to inspire kids to want to learn more about algae, science, engineering and sustainability.
    What better way to inspire kids than to have a living lamp, a lamp that uses bio-luminescent algae? I call it LifeOhrB. Ohr in Hebrew means light..and it fits perfectly with the theme.. a living orb of light..

    The idea is it could be partially solar powered so it could be taken on camping trips, and activate at night through a button or bluetooth..
    It could also be used for art shows or ceremonies, or even some businesses that money isn't a problem, in which the sustainability of the water and algae culture won't be an issue at all...but if I wanted to make it more of a product and not just for schools, I want to try to lengthen the use of it... having an upkeep of $100 a year for nutrient water doesn't sound too sustainable for most people.

    I could most likely get a sensor or infrared or a laser to determine the amount of dead cells in the container and say when it reaches like 30% live cells it would notify the owner to replace a majority of the water, but this brings me to my original question of how could I purify the original water without wasting much... to wait for them to float to the bottom and then a quick suction of 20% water could be good..but what you said is what I was thinking...how effective could be bacteria? could I create a system with 2 types of algae and still maintain a strong bio-luminescence for light illumination?

    I would just like to mention I am discussing with fertilizer/chemical companies how to make an organic mixture of the medium in mass, either binded in a ball/cube or perhaps as a powder form and a person could just add it to sea-salt water and stir it before pouring it in...so I have not confirmed a final cost...but seeing the medium costs from bio-lum algae companies like Empco at $15 for 500ml is how I estimated $100 a year...but if it could drop to about $50 a year then this issue I brought up here won't be a big problem at all.

    I look forward to a response
    Hmm.. While this isn't a bad idea persť, i doubt there is a market for things like this.

    With a good setup you would never have to change the water. But, maybe it is a better idea to replace the living cells with phosphorescence chemicals. But since you want it containing living cells, i would suggest a biofilm of luminescence algae, maybe Pyrocystis fusiformis (Pyrocystis fusiformis - Bioluminescent Algae).

    I believe they simply eat some sugars, minerals and proteins. Supply this, and it will most likely survive. You will need a filter though, to filter out the dead cells *will leave the biofilm*. A pump is needed, and you will need a light source inside, as without a light cycle it will not work.

    How do I make it into a biofilm?
    I already considered buying from empco, I read that the lunula grow the most dense and therefore can be the brightest though
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