Greenwater Algae Starter Culture

Mixture of freshwater algae species for “seeding” green water cultures. Add water, sunlight, and agitate. For bigger “blooms” add fish, snails or fertilizer.

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Greenwater Algae Starter Culture

This is a ~300ml mixture of various freshwater algae species.
It is the same mixture that I use to seed my large outdoor tanks and as an attractant for my blood worm, glass worm and mosquito larvae harvest.

To “seed” a new culture all you do is this.
Using clean filtered rain water, add algae starter culture, sunlight and time.
The more time you wait, or the more algae starter culture you use, the faster the bloom.

Professional aquaculturalists use chemical fertilizers like like DAP(Diammonium phosphate), or organic fertilizers like animal manure, especially chicken or pig to speed up the process.
Some folks use lime to add calcium, which also kills other aquatic life via changing the ph dramatically, which then breaks down providing food for algae growth as well.

You can try your hand with that too if you want, but I can’t offer advice on amounts or types of fertilizers, as I personally don’t use them.
Google knows a lot more about that than I do, likewise with indoor production under artificial lights, so please keep that in mind before you consider asking me about it.

For small scale backyard growers(like me) I suggest you chuck in a few snails as they stop filamentous algae(the “hair” or “string” algae you want to prevent), but provide a very lot of well decomposed manure which the single celled, free floating, and clumping algae feed and thrive off.

Alternatively you can use just use fish, something I do all the time, but make sure you remove them all if you are trying your hand at bulk production of fish foods like Daphnia, Moina, Simocephalus etc in those tanks later.
It’s a mistake I would love to say I only made once..

Clean chemical free garden soil, compost(no eucalyptus, pine, or resinous plants), or a handful of fine lawn clippings can be used as a sort of trace element vitamin boost if the bloom is taking a while to kick off.
It may be that the conditions are perfect but the batch is lacking one tiny % of a certain trace element or mineral, and that is preventing things to kick off.

Agitation is essential to keep the algae floating in the water column with equal access to sunlight, and air, instead of piled up on top of each other on the bottom.

In my 1000lt IBC tanks I just stir the water whenever I remember too, and I happen to be walking past.
Every 1-3days I take the lid off, stick a clean pole, paddle or broom handle in, swirl the water around a bit till it looks like the water going down the drain, put the lid back on and walk away.
Takes maybe ~2minute max.

Aeration using basic aquarium air pumps works much much better and really incorporates the carbon dioxide that the algae needs to grow.
These days I always use aeration when I grow on a smaller scale in tubs and fish tanks <100lt(~26gallons) but originally I would just pick up each tub and shake the heck out of it once a day. Worked great.

I don’t bother with aeration in the larger scale IBC’s as at 1000lt(~260gallons) which is ten times the water and light, even with a much lower agitation and aeration rate they still performs quite well and don’t have an electricity need or cost.
Plus I just kinda like the idea of being able to do everything I do without electricity, if I ever had to.
Zombies, apocalypse, shtf, that sort of thing.
Bit of a self-sufficiency nutter at heart…

Last of all I better do a bit of an explanation about algae and basic water quality itself.
Algae culture for use as a fish food, or as fish feed food, is normally called “Green water” culture.
This is because one of the more common algae Chlorella, is green from chlorophyll within the plants cells.
This is the same for a lot of freshwater algae “blooms”, but not all.
Many contain pigments like phycobiliproteins and xanthophylls which produce many different shades of tan and browns, some are even a burnt orange kind of colour.

At first glance many folks may think a pond or dam is dirty or polluted when they see brown, tan, or green water instead of clear which they expect to be safer and cleaner.

In fact clear, standing water normally means two things are possible.

1. Heavy metals, chemicals or toxic components are preventing algae and life to exist.
In which case it is definitely not something you would want to handle or drink.
Does look pretty though.

2. Bacterial bloom has killed off and eaten all the nutrition and life in the water.
For example a body like a cow or horse dies trapped in a small dam.
That increase in nitrates and fertilizer causes a short term algae and planktonic bloom.
Then the pH of the water has changed as bacteria take over.
This kills all life, flocculates or binds up the particles of death with things like clay and minerals in the water, which then drop to the bottom. These are also in turn eaten by the now dominant bacteria bloom, or they are just plain smothered by their dead cells and trapped in the sediment.
It’s a bit of a chain reaction as all the death spirals out of control, feeding more bacteria, which in turn kill even more life by making more rapid changes to the water chemistry.

Fast forward a bit and the result is a lovely crystal clear looking pond or dam, that has a high enough bacteria count to hospitalize or knock you on the head for good.
Again, it does look pretty..

The colours green, brown, and tan evenly distributed in standing water traditionally makes folks think of “mud, rot, disease and pollution”.
In fact it is often quite healthy and the large amount of single celled algae colouring the water are feeding the life under the surface, and the birds and animal life around it.
It’s a balance, and a missing link in the chain, even one as insignificant as tiny single celled algae, is never a good thing.

This instinctive fear based behavior stems from the fact the fast flowing clear water is often cleaner than standing water of any colour.
This is because the agitation and higher aeration in moving water provides ideal conditions for rapid growth of everything.
The physical erosion and battering breaks down the particulate size again speeding absorption of chemical components, again meaning cleaner water.
The rapid growth prevents accumulation of any nutrients or fertilizers as the moment they enter the water they are broken into smaller bits, eaten and absorbed by life, then broken down again and again into nothingness over a very short period of time.
Hours or days, not weeks or months.

Like if you eat a raw carrot in bites, or juice it first.
The juice is faster to be absorbed as the pieces are smaller, and faster to decompose for the same reasons.
So yeah, fast flowing clear water = generally pretty healthy and safe.
BUT still crystal clear water in small dams, ponds or puddles, devoid of all visible life = generally DANGEROUS.
Keep that in mind.

As this is a mixture it may contain any number of algae species, and dependent on your local conditions and water chemistry, it may be any number of them that is the eventually dominant species or or species’s for you.

Some really nutritious freshwater algae species are not green as one would expect.
The browns and tans are great for aquatic life too, and though folks call it “Greenwater” don’t be surprised if the batch you grow is any of the “army cammo” type colours.
It’s not a bad thing and there is no need to worry.

You are buying 1x 350ml bottle filled with about ~300ml of greenwater algae starter culture.
Really shake it up on arrival, take the lid off to allow more air in, Bob’s your uncle!


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Why do I want to buy these weird little mini-creatures?

They make great low maintenance pets, especially for kids.
Beats a snow globes or lava-lamps by a mile I reckon! They make a very nutritious foods for fish, poultry etc.
Seriously nutritious, huge amounts of omegas, very high in protein, and a much more environmentally sustainable option than commercial pellets or flakes.

No “trash fish” or “by catch” is needed for their production.
No large scale commercial netting of waterways here or overseas, and no broad-acre industrialized farming is needed to produce them.

They improve the colour of your fish, stimulate breeding behaviour, and are CHEAPER for the backyard or hobbyist to produce.

They stay alive in the main tanks until eaten, and unlike commercial pellets, flakes, freeze dried or even frozen options, they do not pollute the water, even if you feed you fish way too much.

In fact, this is exactly what I do before we go away on road trips.
I just dump in a handful of critters in the Aquaponics and community fish tanks, then walk away.
My fish eat them over the next few days-weeks as required.
As my mini-critters eat algae and bacteria they are actively cleaning up and clarifying the water, improving the conditions and health of my fish in the meantime!
Pretty good system hey!!!

I have a sludgy green pond or water feature. Can your creatures help with this?

Sure can!
Theses guys eat algae and bacteria, so if you have a soupy green or brown mess, they are the ideal natural clean up crew!

They are a live animal, not a toxic chemical, so when the algae gets eaten out their numbers drop in line with it.
If the algae blooms and builds up again(after rain or warmer weather) their numbers build up in line with it too, meaning they eat it out often BEFORE it becomes a visible problem.

I don’t care what the label says, alternative chemicals options just can’t do this.
They require repeated treatment, and cause big problems with the pH of the water, putting any life in or around it at risk.

Plus its a big continuous, never ending expense, that just doesn’t do as good a job as a well balanced ecosystem.

Are Daphnia, Moina, Triops and Fairy Shrimps edible?

I strongly believe they are, but for legal reason I can’t and don’t sell them as a potential human food.
They are sold as pets, pet food and animal models for scientific studies only.

I also can’t offer any advice and won’t answer any questions regarding this.
Just wouldn’t be sensible for me to do so, hope you understand.

That said, it is a fact that in parts of Asian Triops and Fairy Shrimps are used as a food, usually battered and fried like mini prawns.
These are not the Australian species, but they are very similar.

Brine shrimps, which are close relatives of our Australian fairy shrimps were eaten by Native American as a staple seasonal food, and although I have never found any documentation, I would find it very hard to believe that Australian Aborigines did not take advantage of Triops as an easy to catch and nutritious seasonal food too.

Daphnia and Moina species is/was used to bulk up protein levels in some Eastern European and Russian MRE (Meal, ready to eat. Army ration packs) and protein or health bars.

I myself have also personally eaten hamburger patties made from Daphnia magna.
It tasted like a prawn/fish patty but much more crunchy.
I also used to eat a lot of them salted and sun dried like Ikan Bilis back in the day too.
Very tasty.
I love crunchy salty dried fish so they were a perfect snack for me.

As I really liked them, I saw huge potential as a more ecologically sound food than traditional farming of red and white meats.
Even processed into fish sticks or hot-dogs they would be a be a pretty good option I figured at the time.

It was a major focus of mine as where with yabbies and trout in my small dam I could only produce 500grams of meat a day maximum (with an additional ~200gram pellet feed requirement).
In the same amount of water and using Daphnia magna instead I could produce 1-3kilos a day with NO inputs at all.
An additional 100grams of lucerne dust or 500grams of lawn clippings bumped that up even higher to 2-5kilos, every single day!

Daphnia + Water + Sunlight = Algae + Daphnia = FREE, 100% SUSTAINABLE PROTEIN.
Amazing potential, well worth throwing a big chunk of government money at in my opinion.

BUT, please keep in mind it is not something I can personally do, or recommend to you.
The costs are way out of my league.
This is because of the “unknown” aspect.

Here in Australia there has been no major studies done into human consumption of any of these species as a food source.
At least not that I can find? (If you find something of interest I would love to hear about it!)

It is also an insurance thing due to the major potential risk posed by eating any crustaceans, especially these little guys.
They all eat detritus (decomposing plant and animal matter).
It’s what crustaceans eat and one of the reasons some cultures and religions ban the consumption of things like prawns, lobster, and crab altogether.

Detritus is high in various bacteria, most of which are no risk to us humans at all.

The thing is, some are, and without expensive testing there is no way of knowing exactly what you are growing in your particular culture.
Some bacteria can kill you, seriously.
It is not a good idea to eat any of these fellas for this reason.

I can not, and will not, sell any of these creatures to you, if your reason for purchase is for use as a human food.
I can sell pets, pet food and animal models for scientific studies ONLY.

If you tell me your plan is to eat them, then you buy, I will have to cancel and refund your order, blocking your email address from all future purchases.

I do not do this to be a prick, it is a legal obligation.
I will say that one more time in caps so that I am sure you actually read it and understand….


Do you guarantee the eggs will hatch for me. I have no experience and do not want to waste my money?

I 100% guarantee that you will have the same success I do, if you follow my directions exactly.
I say this with confidence as I test sample and hatch each and every batch of eggs I sell.
I do not sell them if I do not get an excellent hatch rate within 2-4weeks, and I do not keep the eggs more than 12months, no exceptions.

How long will the eggs last unhatched in the packet for?

Some studies say 10-100years with no major drop in hatch rates.
Studies also show they can withstand high temperatures and even freezing during that time with very minimal impact on their viability and later hatch rates.

With my production and packaging methods I guarantee they will remain viable for at least 2years, provided the package is kept in a cool dark place during that time, and you follow my recommendations.
Just in a cupboard or drawer is ideal.

How long does processing orders take?

I post on Monday mornings.
If Monday is a public holiday or there is a weather event preventing me getting to town where I am at 4671 Queensland Australia, then I post Tuesday morning and failing that Wednesday at which point I will email you to let you know what is causing the delay.

I print and pack the orders on the weekends, and Friday is the weekly cut off day so if you are in a hurry then a week day is the best time to buy.
An order that comes in on Saturday or Sunday will normally go out the following week, meaning a processing time of 7 to 9 days.
Actually delivery times are on top of this.

How long does delivery to QLD, NSW, VIC, ACT, SA, VIC, take?

I send everything within Australia “Express Post” via the Australia post, rural service.
For Australian delivery from where I am here that means 1-4days delivery time as we are in a “Rural” not “Metro” area and have a slightly longer delivery time.
We are not in a “Next day guaranteed” service area according to Australia post.

How long does international shipping outside of Australia take?

I send everything internationally “Standard International Untracked” via the Australia post, rural service.
As this is an untracked service, there is no tracking number.
International delivery takes 2-5weeks for delivery, if all goes well and there are no delays with your customs service on arrival.
Please wait 6weeks and double check your delivery address and ask over the counter at you local post office before contacting me, just in case there are delays by your customs service on arrival or other unexpected dramas.

I live in WA, TAS or NT Australia, and I want to buy your products?

Sorry, can’t/won’t do it, even if you ask really really nicely.
If you “accidentally” send me money anyway, despite me asking you nicely not to, I will consider it a donation to help cover the costs involved in my continued research.

Thanks in advance, every dollar appreciated, and every 100% non-refundable cent of your donation will be be put to good use.

If you are not sure why I can’t send (particularly the species native to your state that pose no threat at all) please ask your states quarantine department.

I have tried, and after hours on the phone, endless bloody emails, too many to even count, and more than four bloody MONTHS of stuffing around, I have no idea how to comply with the regulations and make your quarantine departments happy.
I also no longer care…

I encourage you to take it up with them yourself if you are super keen.

I live outside Australia and I want to buy live cultures from you?

Sorry, can’t/won’t do it.
Just buy the eggs when available like everyone else please.

Why not?
Unlike the dormant eggs, live cultures may not survive the long slow journey overseas, and/or are very likely to cause dramas with your countries quarantine on arrival.

If you are certain they are 100% legal to import and you are happy to accept all risks associated, I may consider it, but do NOT in any way recommend it.

If confiscated by your state or countries quarantine service, you must pay all costs involved.
You must accept that I will not be held in any way responsible in the event of theft, loss, damage, duties, taxes, fees, fines, DOA (Dead on Arrival), or non-delivery for any reason.
If you are determined, you have a good understanding of your countries importation requirements, and you are happy to accept all risks involved then CONTACT ME and we can have a very quick chat about it.

I say again though, it is NOT something I recommend, and YOU are responsible if YOU decide to go down that road.

NO REFUNDS or DRAMAS and keep in mind I don’t like stuffing around with paperwork or government departments.
If that sort of stuff is needed, then the answer will be a polite “no thanks”.

No offense intended, I’m just a lazy dude that likes the quiet life.

Can you send via EMS or Courier instead of Australia post?

There is no depot here so it would mean an hour drive each way just to lodge them, much higher costs, and more importantly, I just don’t want to..

Sorry, really busy already so it isn’t something I will consider doing.

If we ever get a local depot or prices get more competitive of course that may change, but definitely don’t bother asking me in the meantime.

Can I just come over to your place and pick up in person?

Not a social dude, Mrs isn’t either.
“Anti-social” would be a much better descriptor..

Please don’t ask me just in case, as it always gets weird, even when I try really hard to be polite about it.
Especially don’t be offended if you already did, and I said no and told you to check out the FAQS page.
I say no to literally EVERYONE, even local folks I like and have known for many years.
Just how we roll.

Happy to answer your email questions and sell via the website though!
Even happier to swap or barter cool new species for my collection via the mail or visit your place (time permitting) on my next big road trip north or south!!!

I don't have rainwater, can I just use something else?

You can use any freshwater source you have access too, but I only recommend and guarantee successful hatching and live culture survival if you use rainwater, as that is all I have experience doing.

You may want to do an experiment using aged or treated town, tap, river, distilled, or even bottled spring water.

Unfortunately I can not guarantee your results if you do.
See more at this link about RAINWATER.

What sort of container should I use to start a culture?

You can use anything that holds more than 10litres (~2.7 gallons), but I only recommend food grade plastic, glass, perspex or stainless steel fish tanks.
I use 55litre (~14.5 gallons) plastic roller boxes as they are ideal size, cheap and comes with a lid.
Larger containers have more stable temperatures, and harder to over feed, but they are also much harder to judge feeding rates when populations are small in the beginning.
Keep that in mind.

The eggs did not hatch. What should I do?

Please reread the item description and instructions slowly, and making sure you did everything that I recommend, and that you have waited at least a month.
If it is colder or hotter than 15-30celcius (60-85 farenheit), even just for a few hours during that time, the hatch rate will be lower or they may not hatch at all.

Extreme temperatures stress them, and increase their dormancy.
Doesn’t mean they are dead, just they won’t hatch right now.

In that case they need to be dried out completely, rested for a month or so, then start all over again.
This makes them think it has been another full year/season and its time to stop being stressed and get ready to hatch again.
In extreme cases it may take several flood and dry periods before they eventually do hatch.
Stable temperatures avoid this issue so you may want to consider a water heater.

If none of the above applies, please make sure that the creatures you bought are not too small for you to see easily.
You may like to pour or carefully siphon all the water from your container through a fine piece of handkerchief or micron sieve.
They may just be tiny and sitting on the bottom, and I have though I failed heaps of times only to find millions of the little buggers hiding in the bottom of the tank.

If you have waited at least a month, used rainwater, a food safe container of at least 10liters, kept it are a nice cozy warm temperature the whole time, and you have sieved and drained the water to make make sure they are just not hiding, then CONTACT ME.
I will send you a FREE replacement as I 100% guarantee success!

The live culture arrived OK, but a month later the water looks gross and/or they have all disappeared?

If you overfeed them the water gets polluted and if it is just too much to handle for the amount of life in the water, it may even kill them.
If you are using a small container of water this is much more likely, especially if it is getting too much light or the temperature has big swings.

As they are tiny and soft, their body breaks down to sludge in a day, completely disappearing within the week.
It is nearly always just the larger visible the adults that die as they don’t handle stress as well as the young.

If you just give it another month (and continue stirring the water every 3days) your will see them all start to reappear again.

I always make sure to send some adults with resting eggs or ephippia with each culture.
I do this just in case the journey was too rough, or the conditions of your water is too different for the adults to handle.
Adults suffer from stress much more than juveniles.
Eggs can handle just about anything.

So, when the adults I sent molted or even died, some of them were carrying eggs and in good conditions they will begin hatching in 2-4weeks.

If it has been a month and try carefully sieving the water through a fine handkerchief or micron sieve and looking closely at the little lump of sludge that collects. They may have just be hiding in the bottom or too hard to see with your naked eye.

If even after waiting a month, and sieving the water, you still don’t see any, then maybe your water is just too different to handle a live culture initially?

In that case hatching dormant eggs may be a better option?
Try drying out the sediment in the sun for a couple weeks, and breaking up any clumps so its a nice fine even mixture.
Once it has been bone dry for at at least 1month you can start over and begin the hatching process again.

The eggs hatched and I had heaps for a while. Now a month after hatching the water looks gross and/or they have disappeared?

If you overfeed them the water gets polluted and oxygen levels drop.
If it gets to be too low for the amount of life in the water, it may even kill them.
If you are using a small container of water this is more likely, especially if it is getting too much light.
As they are tiny and soft, their body breaks down to sludge in a day, completely disappearing within the week.
It is nearly always just the larger visible the adults that die as they don’t handle stress as well as the young.
If you just give it a month (and continue stirring the water every 3days) your will see them all start to reappear again.

If you have not seen them for a month, try carefully sieving the water through a fine handkerchief or micron sieve, then look very closely at the little lump of sludge that collects.
They may just be hiding on the bottom or too hard to see with your naked eye.

If even after waiting a month, and sieving the water, you still don’t see any, then cross your fingers.
Before they died, they may have produced resting eggs or ephippia!

Even more likely a small % of the thousand of eggs you bought from me, did not hatch and are still sitting dormant in the substrate.

Sieve the water, and dry the sand and sediment out in the sun for a couple weeks.
Break up any clumps so its a nice fine even mixture.

Once it has been bone dry for at at least 1month you can start over and begin the hatching process again.

Can you send to me overseas unlabeled or undeclared, in clear breach of both the export and import legislation of every country in the world?

Please don’t waste your and my time by asking me to send anonymously, or unlabeled, or undeclared, or hidden in a god damn teddy bear!!!

Ain’t gonna happen, not a bloody criminal, and I don’t have time to stuff around individually replying to nonsense.
Not a fan of dramas, especially the legal kind.

Example of typical packaging
Example of typical packaging

I can not afford the huge fines and besides all of that, asking me to break the law via email, or online message, when Australia has some of the strictest data retention laws in the world, is just bloody stupid…

Too busy for stupid, nothing personal, hope you understand.

Here is an example of the packaging I use.
If this is not acceptable to you, please don’t buy my products.
Easy as.

If you buy I will pack and send the way I always pack and send, just like all the others, no exceptions.

I didn't get my order AND I have read the above information about processing and delivery times. I waited a few days-week longer just in case there was a delay along the journey, public holidays, customs issue, or delay I was not aware of?

Bummer, that’s no good.
Please do these 3 things, then tell me you have done them.

1. Check the delivery address on your invoice is 100% correct.
2. Physically ask over the counter at your local post office in case the item is waiting collection or was damaged on the journey.
This happens all the time with the new system and I am not just saying this to stuff you around. It really is normally just sitting there waiting for you and the postal workers have not left a collection notification like the should have!
3. Give me your invoice number, email address and user name.

I will then sort it out straight away!

I own a store, website or market stall. Can I stock your products?

YES! (well maybe..)

CONTACT ME, telling me about your idea, give me a list of products you are interested in and why, your estimated sales, some examples of the products you normally sell and let’s discuss it.

I have a product or species that I want you to sell or buy from me?

Cool, give me all the details and I will have a think about it.
If it’s interesting to me then I will get back to you straight away.

No response from me within a couple weeks is a pretty good determinator of my level of interest.
Please don’t take it personal or get offended.
I’m just a busy/lazy dude and every minute wasted on the computer answering endless emails and spammy nonsense, is time taken away from doing something that really I do enjoy doing.

Feel free to repackage your sales pitch and try again in a month or so if you think I missed your initial message by mistake.
Still no response, then it was not a mistake, and you have your answer.