Backyard Aquaponics

spirulina, home made supplement
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Author:  spiritrancho [ Feb 9th, '11, 20:31 ]
Post subject:  spirulina, home made supplement

I have been studing how to produce spirulina to supplement our diet with this superfood. If we can do this in a relatively inexpensive and sustainable way we can reduce the vitamins and minerals that cost ever more and are ever more required for health. Grocery store products are increasingly devoid of vital nutrients and loaded up with stuff that is less than health promoting. We grow as much of our produce, meat and dairy as we are able, with garden orchard and aquaphonics, but it is not enough. In the event that grocery store products are not available or to expensive how are we to cope?
My answer is to produce spirulina at home in a continuose supply, so the two of us will have five grams or more a day. Spirulina has over 50% protien and is loaded with amino acids, essential fatty acids and all the minerals required. The only thing missing is vitamin C.
A month ago I purchased a cheap 10 gal aquarium heater and air pump. I bougth some Guillards f2 nutrient, and ordered a 50ml culture of spirulina. I set this all up in a south(sunward) window and put additional light on a timer for 16 hours a day. In summer the light and timer will draw little or no power but now it makes it all work. Now I have to harvest the filaments of algae that stick to the sides and float on the water surface daily. This allows the algae to get sunlight clear thru the media. I place the spirulina in a 50mc strainer and wash it a bit and it is ready to use in a slurpy or in food prperation or to dry. My culture is not very dense yet but I still get 5to10 grams a day dry wieght of spirulina.
After drying thoughly the algae can be powdered and put in capsules for later use. The cheapest spirulina I have found is powder at $22 per pound plus S&H. We do not know if they use high heat or freeze drying and leave an inert product. We do not know if it is tested for contaminants, or if is short some of the nutrients desired. Our spirulina is from out home environment, and spiked with exptra nutrients, and handled to preserve it best

Author:  jdphish [ Feb 10th, '11, 10:15 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement

Spiritrancho, what does that stuff taste like? Pretty cool you can grow a healthy supplement and save money. I've spent most my working life trying to kill algae in fish ponds. But, I might give this a try.

Author:  freoboy [ Feb 10th, '11, 10:22 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement

spiritrancho, really really interested in what you are doing here. is there any way you could post pics/ details??
might give it a shot myself :)

Author:  netab32 [ Feb 10th, '11, 10:28 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement

+1 for pics

Have read a bit about spirulina a while back and would love to try it one day... definitely interested in how you go and what you do with it - have heard it doesnt actually taste too bad either.

Are you/will you be using your AP water? Do you think there are any health risks associated with doing that?


Author:  gnash06 [ Feb 10th, '11, 10:42 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement


Try here :D

Author:  spiritrancho [ Feb 10th, '11, 20:34 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement

It tastes very bland, in powder or fresh. Try some out of the health food market before you go to any great lenghts. The first thing we noticed is the increase in energy and sence of well being. Take it later in the day and you may have trouble sleeping. The commercial stuff has a slightly fishy odor that is not present in my homegrow stuff. Spirulina can cause a healing reaction by moving toxins out so start out with just a gram and over a week or so increase to 5 grams. Most health problems are related to either toxins or nutrient difficincy. Except for vit. C, spirulina helps with those issues.
The reason for choosing spirulina over other edible algae is that it only grows in PH of 9.5 or higher. Other algae wont contaminate the mix at that PH. Chorella and bluegreen algae from Klamath both have hard cell walls that make much of the nutrients unavailable. You start with a culture of pure spirulina, keep the PH up and it should stay pure.
At this point I am only using the Guillard's f2 nutrient plus a bit of sea salt and some montromarilinite clay in my well water. Baking soda will raise the PH. When I expand my processing to provide supplemental feed for the animals I intend to use the liquid out of the biogas digestor and water used to scrubb CO2 out of the biogas. I may well try the fish water, but it is to valuable as fertilizer.
When the light is better, later, I will try some pics.....not very skilled at that. I lost my resizing tool and could not post my last pics.

Author:  dbird [ Feb 10th, '11, 22:03 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement

I know of a fellow who is growing it to feed red fin perch and he is quite pleased with it .I will see if Ican find out a bit more about it.

Author:  spiritrancho [ Feb 11th, '11, 21:03 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement

Used as feed for fish or animals algae can be made much less expensively with waste products. I will try that thsi summer when warm out.
Meanwhile here are some pics if I can resize them

File comment: one day harvest, 8 grams dried
spirulina 003 (640x480).jpg
spirulina 003 (640x480).jpg [ 218.71 KiB | Viewed 13714 times ]
File comment: spirulina strands bubbler and led light
spirulina 001 (640x480).jpg
spirulina 001 (640x480).jpg [ 195.75 KiB | Viewed 13714 times ]

Author:  everydayanewone [ Jul 16th, '11, 11:52 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement

spiritrancho wrote:
The cheapest spirulina I have found is powder at $22 per pound plus S&H. Our spirulina is from our home environment, and spiked with extra nutrients, and handled to preserve it best

Hi, I'd like to try this as well. We have been using spirulina powder mixed with our green smoothies we drink once daily and have noticed a difference in more energy. What are the extra nutrients you're adding? Have paid a good bit more than you found online. Wanting to get an aquarium and a sample to get started with. Like that this would be relying less on the grocery store. What sample did you find to get started with? What are the temperature requirements? Had thought about setting up in my shop but the temperature gets easily into the 100s out there in the summer.

Author:  spiritrancho [ Jul 21st, '11, 20:37 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement

Here in Arizona it gets into the low 100's often also. With your aquarium in SOUTH FACING WINDOW you will have lots of light and it will get plenty warm enough in daytime. Because of my 3500 ft elevation it often cools 20 deg F at hight. So I have a fish tank 100 watt heater in a 1/2 gal mason jar on a timer to run at night. The inderict heat reduces clumping at the heater. Clumping is a distorted spirulina and inferior as a food supplement.

Author:  spiritrancho [ Jul 21st, '11, 20:54 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement

The nutrient I use is Guilliard F2 from That is your standard algae nutrient. To that I add sea salt and montromorillianite clay and baking soda to keep ph above 9. Above 9 no other algae will contaminate your batch.
The cuture from is cheap but not very good. It has mostly distorted spirulina without the spiral shape, but in a few generations can be filtered and improved to mostly spirals. Take care to not dilute your new culture with to much water. Double the volume every two days or less to avoid losing your culture.
By adding 1 to 1 each generation will take two days with proper light and heat and nutrients. Taht means you can harvest algae every four days, add back filtered media by i/3 gets rid of distorted elements. Then add a like amount of water and nutrients. Two days later double that with more water and nutrients. two days later harvest.

Author:  mrkontra [ Apr 6th, '12, 04:29 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement

We are addicted to spirulina, spirulina powder in orangejuice is awesome. The thing is that your body long for it when you´re used to the taste and you do feel better, more energy. Spirulina in green smoothies is an excellent way to ingest it!
Please teach us how to do our own spirulina and maybe also chlorella!!!

Author:  furnaceboy [ Apr 6th, '12, 08:33 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement

This is information that I have found awhile ago on growing it at home. ... a-at-home/ Kind of funny that even algae growing warrants its own magazine. :)

I was thinking of building a photobioreactor on one wall of one of my greenhouses, where the light intensity is not too great.

Author:  spiritrancho [ Apr 6th, '12, 20:58 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement

I have given up growing costly and time consuming, also quirky. Instead I use the same southfacing window to grow sprouts. Wheatgrass for smoothies and sprouts for omalets, salads etc. Arizona misters, on a timer with solinoid and pressure regulator make for an automatic system. I sprout various seeds in 3x10 trays and wheatgrass in 6x10" trays inside of a clear tote, upside down. I harvest 2 oz. wheatgrass juice and a tray of sprouts per day. the trays drain to a bucket for plant nutriants. The minerals and nutrients in sprouts are abundant.

Author:  faye [ Apr 6th, '12, 21:26 ]
Post subject:  Re: spirulina, home made supplement

Any chance of a photo Spritrancho, your sprout growing setup sounds very interesting.

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