Having your own spirulina window farm is one of the easiest most satisfying things you could ever take on. It is an environmentally friendly way to produce and consume a complete protein and nutritional source! Algae Spirulina is 25 times more efficient per squared foot than any other plant, which makes it optimal for indoor growth. Integrating algae into our homes can be one of the most significant things that can impact our nutrition. It is truly the food of the future as it contains all of the amino acids and is a complete protein!

Step 1: Hardware

To grow Spirulina at home you are going to need some hardware to optimize and automize the process. Most of it is readily available at your local pet or fish store.

10-20 Gallon Aquarium Tank
Air Pump
Air Line
Bubble Wand
Food Grade Harvesting tube
Ph Strips
Bi Valve
Harvesting Cloth (50 micron filter cloth)

The only thing that you will need to get from a specific source is your initial spirulina culture. SpirulinaSystems.com is the most affordable source.
After harvesting spirulina will the water grow more or do you have to buy another starter culture?
<p>is it mix nutrients working ? Because in here, one of our university prof, against that mix. She dont want to share his nutrients mix. </p><p>Any one try it ( 1.4 KG of saltpeter, 50 grams of ammonium phospahte, 30 grams of potassium sulfate and 20 grams of epsom salt. ) </p>
<p>What all things needs to be added to the tank for the nutrition of the algae ?</p>
Can you grow spirulina at room temperature?
<p>yes, indoor spirulina cultivation is maintained at room temperature.</p>
<p>You answered my prayer for an instructible on this! Yay!! Thank you! I am great at predicting the future and pond scum as I affectionately call it, is in it. I have some lab grown blue-green &quot;clean chlorella tm&quot; and it tastes quite good. I already tried growing it but they are dead as the cell walls are all cracked for digestion. Algae can be excellent as chips (go ahead and steal that 100 million dollar idea I have a million of them). Cooking with algae requires a different mindset as slime is not a usual cooking component but I have just thought of many recipes. As powder it is a good seasoning for many things. I look forward to doing your instructible! &lt;3</p>
<p>the discussions in the comments here I dare say is probably the best source of info on algae cultivation available on the net.</p>
<p>Eeating is not only about getting the needed nutrients.</p>
Oh, god. No offense but the thought of eating algae makes me want to puke. Cool ible, though.
hahaha gross. Technically its uber beneficial but I think most people wouldn't eat it. Great and well detailed article 10 thumbs up :P
Thanks!! <br>I'll add some recipes to see if i can change your mind! =)
Please add recipes, I am wanting to start a home farm and this looks like a great food stuff to invest in. When I have the start up cash I will probably end up eating this stuff by the truck load :P
<p>InTheory, follow this link for recipes with spirulina :)</p><p>http://www.spirulinaacademy.com/spirulina-recipes/</p>
:O ok im up for that. <br><br>I see algae as fuel not food but id could never grow it enough to fuel my life so I guess i could eat it instead. Not like im gonna eat sunflowers or jatropha.
I'm interested in starting my own spirulina farm. Would it be safe to just drink the spirulina water right out of the tank? I would like to use the water for smoothies as opposed to running the spirulina water through a cloth. I know I would have to replace the water to get it back to the same level but other than that... Would this work and would it be safe to drink?
<p>no, no no, you shouldn't drink the spirulina culture medium. It's nutrients for your little blue-green algae but it's not fit for you. You need to wash them (usually 3 times) with fresh water - you can recycle the water of course and add it to your ponds - before you can consume it.</p><p>More info on the culture medium here:</p><p><a href="http://spirulinaacademy.com/2012/07/11/how-to-grow-your-own-spirulina-at-home-part-iv-the-culture-medium/" rel="nofollow">http://spirulinaacademy.com/2012/07/11/how-to-grow...</a></p><p>Hope this helps! let us know how it goes :)</p>
<p>link above not working. Please use this link:</p><p><a href="http://www.spirulinaacademy.com/how-to-grow-your-own-spirulina-at-home-part-iv-the-culture-medium/" rel="nofollow">http://www.spirulinaacademy.com/how-to-grow-your-o...</a></p>
Thank you! I was using Google to try and find an answer but I didn't find any... And thank you so much for the link! It's really helpful. I will start buying the equipment and supplies over the weekend and hopefully I will have my own little spirulina tank pretty soon :)
<p>Glad it helped :)</p>
<p>Great instructable! One question though; you mentioned (in some of your replies) having multiple aquariums for greater yields. But what if you just used a bigger aquarium? Wouldn't that yield more spirulina? Ultimately, I'm looking to produce 3 to 4 tablespoons daily. I'd prefer working with only one aquarium and I don't mind if it's bigger. Any recommendations?</p>
<p>it depends of the shape of your aquarium and the location of your culture. </p><p>Spirulina will need a LOT of light to have a high yield but if you live in the tropic (like me) the sun can damage the cells.</p><p>More info on the impact of the light on our favorite cyanobacteria here:</p><p><a href="http://spirulinaacademy.com/2012/06/29/how_to_grow_your_own_spirulina_at_home-light/" rel="nofollow">http://spirulinaacademy.com/2012/06/29/how_to_grow...</a></p><p>So in temperate latitudes you want to have an aquarium that exposes the spirulina to a maximum of light =&gt; you'll need a aquarium with a SMALL light path, think skinny aquarium, tall and long, so there is no zone in the aquarium more than 15 cm away from the sun light (or any artificial light devices you use).</p><p>In latitudes with higher sun intensity, you want to protect your spirulina from too much sun and you also want to increase the VOLUME of the tank to increase the buffer capacity of the water so the temperature doesn't go up too much (and drop down too fast, spirulina does NOT like rapid swing in temp.)</p><p>The advantage of have 2 aquarium vs. 1 is that is something wrong happens to one, you can always re-start from scratch using the other aquarium to inoculate (= introduce the spirulina into) the first one. </p><p>If for what ever reason you can only have 1, then make sure you keep a back-up culture, just in case.</p><p>A culture pond, once up and running, yields about 6 to 10 gr of dry spirulina per square meter per day. (Yields are estimated usually for larger productions that use ponds with a standard depth of 15 to 20cm, only the surface of the pond is taken into consideration for the production, so it's a little bit more tricky in a aquarium). </p><p>So to answer your question: YES a bigger aquarium will have a hogher yield. </p><p>Never weighted a tablespoon of fresh spirulina (what % of humidity are we talking about? Just as it comes out of the harvest cloth or pressed?). Let's assume it's about 10 gr, non pressed.</p><p>If you want to yield daily 40 gr of fresh spirulina @ 100% humidity, with the right sun exposure, temperature and shape, I guess you'll need a tank of about 30-40 gallon.</p><p>If you want my 2 cents, start small and then upgrade gradually towards a larger system. You can always re-sell the smaller tank and other equipments you don't want / need anymore.</p><p>I hope it makes sense :)</p>
<p>Sorry guys - I updated the website and all the links have changed :(</p><p>here is the link to the same page in the new website</p><p><a href="http://www.spirulinaacademy.com/how_to_grow_your_own_spirulina_at_home-light/" rel="nofollow">http://www.spirulinaacademy.com/how_to_grow_your_o...</a></p><p>Sorry for the inconvenience... </p>
Spirulina is not a superfood. As far as I've seen there is no evidence of any health benefits, in fact it is toxic. http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/algae.html
Hello Omnibot, <br>Do you speak from experience or just a vague google search? I have personally been consuming fresh spirulina for the last two years with positive benefits to my health and energy levels. Your link mentions pharmaceutical companies that were trying to rip people off by selling it at 300 dollars a pound. Yes, algae can become toxic if you grow it in contaminated water. The same way that if you grow a vegetable in lead contaminated soil, it will be toxic. That is why people question commercial sources of spirulina, but if you grow it at home you know the purity of your water source. As far as the term superfood, there is no consensus on its exact definition and I use it to convey the efficiency as a solar energy collector and oxygen producer in a small space. Algae as a food source produces oxygen and CO2 sequestration while most other food sources require fossil fuels to make and transport.
perhaps you could confirm that those nasties mentioned in the article are killed by the ph of 10? <br>i have been a tablet and capsule consumer from many different sources for over five years off and on. when i am flagging i start and pickup noticeably in a day or two. <br>except with my most recent capsule purchases from a supplier i think has gone bad or changed hands. these recent capsules also fail to turn the water into purple blue hue that i had always tested for in the past.
<p>Ah ah! that's a very good indication that the <br>phycocyanin (one of the most important pigment of spirulina that has that deep blue hue) has been removed <br>and hence the efficacy of spirulina to boost your immune system greatly <br>reduced. </p><p>Beware of cheap spirulina, that's often what happens!! This is another reason to grow your own spirulina! At least you know exactly what you're eating :)</p><p>check this for more info on the <br>pigments in spirulina:</p><p><a href="http://www.spirulinaacademy.com/pigments-in-spirulina-or-why-spirulina-is-good-anti-aging-anti-oxidant-and-anti-inflammatory-natural-product/" rel="nofollow">http://www.spirulinaacademy.com/pigments-in-spirul...</a></p><p>And YES the majority of potentially <br>dangerous bacteria can not survive in a culture medium with a pH &gt;10</p><p>So make sure you check the pH before <br>EACH harvest.</p><p>And BTW, you have THOUSANDS (!!) of <br>scientific research papers published in very prestigious journals that have <br>demonstrated the positive impacts of spirulina on human (and animal) health. <br>But most of the big pharma companies are not too happy about that.</p><p>Just go to PubMed <br>(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) and do a search for spirulina + &quot;what <br>ever aliment you think it can help&quot; and see what comes out.</p><p>But of course if you don't know what <br>you do and don't take care of your culture you might get nasty stuff in it, <br>just like when you don't brush your teeth, you'll get nasty stuff in your mouth <br>:)</p>
What the Quackwatch article was promoting was the companies that are selling this product as a medicin rather than as food, and then classifying it as food but selling it in medicinal quanties at medicinal prices! <br> <br>Now, a part from that, there is a very valid point in this article: in the wild, you avoid eating any blue-green algae, as yes, there is a real risk of poisoning. What I do not like about this is that you start growing your algae, but it can be so easy to grow somthing else that could make you sick. With a plantation, you can pull out the weeds and keep the veggies, but here you cannot tell the difference between good and bad. As much as I believe that algae based products are good for you and in some cases wiil be a staple of the future, I would want clear testing guidelines to make sure that the algae I want to grow is actually what *is* growing... clean and fresh water is one thing... but it's not a guarantee !
<p>I have been growing and eating my own Spirulina both indoors and out for many years, with continuous microscopic monitoring. If you maintain the alkalinity of the medium, it is rare for other species to grow (most often Chlorella, which is harmless). Spirulina itself has never been known to produce toxins (see Wikipedia, there is a reference there). It is important to check your culture with a microscope occasionally.</p>
I believe Spirulina is a superfood as the term is ill defined. It can be grown cheaply and replace 60% of your protien intake without any ill health effects. This should be a cash crop that should be up there with corn (maze). It is a complete protien that has more protien then all other usual plant sources. <br>Yes, don't grow it in rancid water. Don't go harvesting it from nature with who knows what in the water. However, in a tank at home where you can control everything should have no toxic ill effects. <br> <br>My research <br>Chamorro-Cevallos, G.; B.L. Barron, J. Vasquez-Sanchez (2008). &quot;Toxicologic Studies and Antitoxic Properties of Spirulina&quot;. In Gershwin, M.E. Spirulina in Human Nutrition and Health (CRC Press). <br>http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874198000804
Omnibot, according to your link, Spirulina is nontoxic, but other blue-green algae had detectable levels of a particular toxin.
<p>So sad how people resort to name calling and accusations. The idea of sharing is only hindered by those wanting to take credit and make profit. Why can't different sources of information exist without jeopardizing the growth of each. </p>
<p>Also agree with you. It's a great instructable! Don't worry too much about the no sayers, they'll always be there... </p>
<p>fully agree. this is equality. thank you for the instructable.</p>
<p>How much Spirulina would you have to grow until you reach a production of 1 kg daily? I'm planning to set up an experimental rig: 150 litre plexiglass tanks, three or four stacked on top of each other, two columns next to each other. 600 Watt multi-metal high pressure lamps, two per column, and smaller high pressure multi-metal lamps between the rows. The tanks would be added in setups of eight tanks in each until one kilogram per day is reached in optimal growth conditions. Nitrogen can be obtained from compost tea and powdered silica mix, as well as urine, but nitrogen-rich compost from legumes does the trick as well, air curtain to add oxygen in the water, air pump to pump some air in it, and some nutrient mix meant normally for houseplants with some extra nitrogen perhaps. What's the optimal temperature? does it need a light cycle? It doesn't flower, so I assume it can grow even without a cycle, right?</p>
<p>Like this:</p>
<p>wouw! that looks very cool! Agreed with Algaescientist, please update us on your project! Would love to see that :)</p>
<p>The average output is 20 grams per meter squared in a pond set up (10&quot; height). You would have to translate that to vertical space to get a good idea. I think you will definitely get a good return if you use lamps and keep the culture at around 95 degrees. Please update if you create the project</p>
<p>This guy makes some highly suspect claims on his website, such as that 1 gram of Spirulina is equivalent to 1000 grams of fruit and vegetables... This guy pretends that he came up with this stuff, but there are other providers of Spirulina grow systems with a much longer track record who are a lot more honest.</p>
<p>well, in fact this was a study done by the NASA in the 80's. And the same agency fed the Astronauts spirulina during their space missions to enrich their diets. Pretty cool, uh! </p><p>They even developed a program called CELSS (controlled ecological life support system) which planned to cultivate spirulina in space stations (because, among other things, of its capacity to recycle CO2 and produce O2 and of course the very high yields and health benefits!). </p>
<p>How does wet, raw algae compare volumetrically / nutritionally to dehydrated spirulina by the tablespoon? </p>
<p>Usually small farms try to dehydrate the spirulina to leave MAX 10% humidity.</p><p>So basically 100 gr fresh = 10 gr dry</p><p>So you concentrate all the nutrients you have in your spirulina the same way. For the vitamins it's more complicated because some get oxidized/altered very quickly.</p><p>Hope this helps :)</p>
I'm interested in starting my own spirulina farm. Would it be safe to just drink the spirulina water right out of the tank? I would like to use the water for smoothies as opposed to running the spirulina water through a cloth. I know I would have to replace the water to get it back to the same level but other than that... Would this work and would it be safe to drink?
When you harvest, how much material do you get? Harvesting 1/3 of the tank would of course give you different amounts depending on the size of your tank (you use a 20 gallon tank?); how dense is the growth, and what size tank would you need in order to eat the stuff as more than just a teaspoon sized supplement? SpirulinaSystems's nutrient kits give enough nutrients for about 6 pounds of the stuff, or about 192 tablespoons of it; how many harvests will that produce, and how long will the nutrient mix last? <br> <br>Also, how much does it cost to maintain, with nutrients, iron and all? You mention how much sodium bicarbonate to add to a liter of water, but do you know how much of the other nutrients to add? It might be cheaper to buy them in bulk from a food-grade supplier (if possible to find) and mix them yourself. <br> <br>I'm looking for healthy alternative food sources, and spirulina seems to fit the bill. If the most I'll ever get is a teaspoon a day, however, or I bankrupt myself in the process, it would probably not be worth it.
<p>I can't really answer your questions but I'd definitely suggest more research than just this instructable. Not saying you weren't planning on it but this instructable seems a bit suspicious to me. It uses the same/related images as are used on spirulinasystems.com and just happens to also recommend buying stuff from them. I'd suggest this is a sales tool. There's probably a much cheaper way to get going with this. I'm hoping that there is too because $60 is NOT affordable as a starter culture for some water with some algae in it.</p>
<p>I'm guessing you haven't priced a lot of spirulina cultures. <br><br>Actually, if you price a pint of high density spirulina culture from trusted scientific suppliers, who guarantee the purity and vitality of their cultures, $60 is an excellent price. <br><br>I don't know the quantity being offered by spirulinasystems, but saying something is overpriced without even mentioning quantity or quality seems to me a bit like buying a car or home sight unseen - unwise, and a tad ignorant.<br><br>That said, even with spirulina, it is FAR safer to check your culture visually with a microscope on a regular basis, and easy to do as spirulina is pretty unmistakable. Unless you have a clean room, which few of us can provide in a home setting, it is always possible for your culture to become contaminated.</p>
<p>Ok. Good? My point was that this instructable is likely a sales tool for spirulinasystems.com and that more research is suggested because they may not have the best price. I also then expressed my personal opinion that $60 was too much for some algae. In the comment that I replied to, the user mentioned that he didn't want to break the bank. I was warning him that going straight to spirulina systems may not be the best option as this doesn't appear to be a genuine &quot;user recommendation&quot; of their site.</p>
<p>Just an FYI, this guy is not an &quot;algae scientist.&quot; He simply ripped off completely what algaelab.org has been doing since 2008. If you're serious about growing your own and want an actual scientist to provide you with the right support and information, then check out algaelab.org and the work that Dr. Wolf-Baum has been doing for years... </p>
I was interested in spirulina, as a humanitarian mission. <br>I read that it needs nitrogen to grow and there are no organic way to get nitrogen except from nettle (Urtica dioica) ... which need nitrogen from the soil. <br>Of course urea was used too, like in the wonderful 80's spirulina farm (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxSA5iiGgiY but I heard that urea gives a bad taste). Is it true? <br>Of course you can also use nitrogen rich fertilizers which are not good to find in your liver. So do you know other (organic) nitrogen source? <br>About starting growing I have some concerns: <br>A used tank (previously with fishes) might keep unknown dried algae in corners that can &quot;restart&quot; as you put water back into it, so you must deep clean it, is chlorine best or alcohol or else? <br>About distilled water from evaporator, dryer or air conditioning: I was surprised that my distilled water from dryer was actually containing &quot;stuff&quot; (I don't know what), because it's conductive (and should not). <br> <br>I also wonder about e-coli that is present everywhere ... in a house, not in a lab (see conclusion of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDc7-oya1Qg). Everlasting producing spirulina in house in the same tank may grow a nice colony of other things that can be problematic with time. Am I right? <br> <br>Since I read some comments here, I'd like to prevent people from using the Brita way to get &quot;purified&quot; water: NO, an active carbon filter is not enough to remove other algae, just leave water in your brita for 3 weeks on the kitchen table and drink it, you'll literally feel and smell the algae (experienced by my family when coming back from holidays, I didn't because I prefer the naturally distilled water present in grapes with alcohol called ... wine). Carbon filter is good for capturing salts and metals (AFAIK). <br>If you start wrong, you'll end up with wrong algae in your mix and you don't want that. <br> <br>May be a good way to find if you have something in your water BEFORE starting spirulina is to clean-prepare and fill your tank, raise ph and temp and leave it without anything in it for 3 weeks (or more) and see what happens. What do you think? <br> <br>And finally, do you have any chance to start growing pazifica from powder? I mean even a 0.001% chance? Or, how to get a live source? Is it naturally present in Hawaii? <br>Thanks for your light on my questions.
Humanitarian use will almost always use urea from animals or human. It is free and abundant. I personally have not grown it in urea but hope to in the future as I am planning a waste water spirulina treatment system. I might personally not it the spirulina grown from it but I could feed fish from my own waste. But in complete honest, urine is sterile when it leaves your body and it is non toxic to the body, there is actually urea therapy. <br> <br>If you start with a pre used tank, wash with soap let it dry completely. The high alkalinity will prevent most other organisms from growing in the tank. Commercial spirulina is grown in outdoor ponds that are exposed the all the elements and even bird feces, but only spirulina will grow because it is adapted to the environment. So I would not worry, just a good clea. And get a microscope to do your own quality control checks. <br> <br>Pazifica from powder is pretty much impossible. try look for it live in algae laboratories that sell cultures. Or take a a trip to Hawaii and go on an adventure on the hunt for a microscopic algae.
Thanks! You replied all questions, I appreciate.<br>Let's go to Hawa&iuml;!! :)

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