P360/30 (30 litre)
The phytoplankton reactors require a 30" Lighting Tube, Light Controller, airpump, airline, and non return valve (if situated below water level)
Column Dia: 250
This plankton reactor will greatly enhance your ability to produce a regular supply of either phytoplankton or zooplankton, for use in larvae rearing or for feeding your reef tank.
The 360 is capable of producing approximately 3,5 0r 10 litres of plankton. Before you can proceed, you will need an 18” (15 watt) fluorescent light unit and tube, and a twin outlet air pump.
Please read any safety instructions supplied with all electrical equipment before proceeding.
- Set the reactor up on a firm, level surface capable of safely supporting the weight of the reactor when filled to capacity. It is important that you have easy access to the drain tap, allowing room for a one litre jug, or similar, for harvesting the plankton from the reactor.
- Add your plankton starter culture and replace the lid of the reactor.
- Attach an equal length of airline hose to each of the two air inlets, one on top of the reactor lid and the other attached to the drain plug.. Attach the other end of each airline to the outlets of the air pump. If the air pump is situated below the reactor it is important that there is a non return valve used on each airline to prevent any back siphoning due to power failure.
- Attach one end of the light unit lead to the fluorescent tube and carefully insert the tube into the centre of the reactor. Reach through the access hole in the side of the base of the reactor and attach the other end of the light unit lead to the tube.
- Fill the reactor with water to the maximum water level.
- Connect an air pump to an electricity supply and switch on the power.
- Adjust the flow of air through the two inlets to give a vigorous water movement without causing excessive splashing at the surface. Adjust the air flow from each side so that the airflow on both inlets is the same.
- Connect the light unit to an electricity supply and switch on the power.
- Always work on phytoplankton cultures before attending to rotifer cultures otherwise your phytoplankton has a tendency to turn into zooplankton.
- Always keep rotifer cultures and phytoplankton cultures well separated to minimise the possibility of contamination. Keeping the cultures in different rooms is preferable, but if impracticable then try to minimise the possibility of contamination by keeping the phytoplankton above the rotifers.
- To limit the possibility of atmospheric contamination (essential if culturing rotifers nearby) it is a good idea to place two small pieces of filter floss, packed loosely, into the two breather holes in the lid.
- Maintain the light source for between 16 and 24 hours per day.
- If running the light for 24 hours, replace the fluorescent tube every six months in order to maintain optimal lighting.
- If using with a starter culture, either in the form of live phytoplankton or fresh from an algae disc, wait until your plankton is a rich green colour before making the reactor up to capacity. “Ripe” phytoplankton will happily take a ten-fold dilution.
- Start using phytoplankton when it is a rich green colour, usually between six and nine days.
- Phytoplankton can, and does, “crash”. This is where the dense green culture can go clear overnight and become useless. Crashes can be caused by a number different factors with temperature, airflow and contamination being the most likely probable causes. Symptoms to look out for are clumping or plating (this is where the culture becomes lumpy). It can be possible to save a culture that does this by pouring it through a net and then restarting it. Another reaction to look out for is when your culture gradually loses colour over a couple of days. This is contamination as something is consuming the phytoplankton, usually a burgeoning population of rotifers or artemia.
- When using the reactor to culture rotifers or artemia, feed the culture with phytoplankton on a regular basis, maintaining a constant green tinge to the water. If the water clears, more food is required.
10. When raising artemia, change 20% of the water weekly, cleaning the bottom of the reactor at the same time. Turn off the air, wait for the detritus to settle then siphon it off.
Disconnect all electrical items before working on the reactor. Be sure to remove the end cap from within the base of the reactor to protect it from splashes. The inside of the reactor will need to be periodically cleaned of any build-up of algae. Using a bottle brush and running water is sufficient for this task.
The air outlets should be cleaned regularly to remove any salt encrustation. This can be done by immersing the outlets in warm water. In the case of a mineral build up, soak the outlets in a solution of weak acid such as vinegar. The tap should be cleaned under running water by passing a flexible brush through it when in an open position.
In the case of a plankton “crash”, it is recommended that the reactor and all internal pipe work be sterilised by soaking in a dilute bleach solution for an hour, then rinsed thoroughly before starting a new culture.