Continuous culture phytoplankton reactor

Pat Castille

New member
I just read an extended thread on going skimmerless on a forum with Eric Boreman as moderator. During the discussion, mention was made of "a continuous culture phyto reactor to feed a zooplankton reactor". I have a 55 gallon refrugium with a DSB which I would like to enhance the copepod population by feeding phytoplankton. Because I work on offshore drilling rigs, my work schedule of 14 days on and 14 days off make it impractical to batch culture plankton as described by Hoff & Snell in their Plankton Culture Manual. The idea of using a 10 gallon aquarium with UV treated tank water with the input controlled by a float valve sounded similiar. It was my thought that the nutrients in my system water would sustain a phytoplankton culture. I realize my culture density would be weak but I am not doing high density fish aquaculture. I had thought to drip about 3 gallons per day into the refrugium. At this time my refrugium has some red gracilaria with a varied population of micro-inverts. I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions on this process.
Pat Castille
Sounds like a promising idea to me, at least potentially. One of the things I've always found slightly odd is the relative lack of discussion about a large pelagic-style refugium. I've never had the chance to mess around with this idea much, nor do I know anyone that has, so I can't say whether it would be particularly beneficial or just pointless, but some of the benefits like greater production of pelagic plankters (phyto and zo) might be realized.

Unfortunately I don't have much to add in way of logistics. I know Ken Gosinski set-up a system like this a few years ago, and I think there is an article in RK about it. If you try this keep good notes and report back :D