Phytoplankton are single cell microalgae that exist primarily in the water column. Microalgae is the beginning of the marine food chain and the primary source of essential nutrients for most reef filter feeders. Filter feeders that rely directly on phytoplankton include bivalves like clams, scallops, mussels, and oysters, as well as many corals, feather dusters, sponges, ascidians and zooplankton like rotifers and copepods.
It was once thought that most reef animals do not require microalgae, however, we have learned in recent years that nearly all reef animals that can filter feed do rely on plankton for an essential portion of their diet. This is even true for animals that can use zooxanthellae and photosynthesis for nourishment. With hindsight this is obvious as zooxanthellae only contribute carbohydrates to the host animal, requiring the animal to look elsewhere for lipids, protein, vitamins and other nutrients.
In nature filter feeders rely on a mix of diatoms, golden-brown, green, yellow-green, blue-green and red microalgae for a nutritionally complete diet. These life forms may look similar, but they are so ancient that they have incredible biological and nutritional diversity. Biologically speaking, there is vastly more difference between a green algae and a golden-brown flagellate than between dandelion and a fir tree.
Yes - in very small amounts. There are no added phosphate and nitrates in Phyto-Feast, however these are critical components of all plants so it's impossible for any microalgae product not to contain some amount. If you have a refugium with some seaweed, the seaweed should help pull some of the phosphate and nitrates out of your system. If you experience elevated phosphates there are many products on the market to help lower them, such as Granular Ferric Oxide (GFO).
Phyto-Feast will add much less phosphate and nitrate than algae you grow at home. The algae in Phyto-Feast is separated from the growing media during harvesting, so the only P&N is the small amount actually in the cells, not the media.
There is also a very good article about this by Eric Borneman at reefkeeping.com.
Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA, and ARA) are considered essential fatty acids, which means that they are essential to animal health but cannot be manufactured by animals. For this reason, Omega-3 fatty acids must be obtained from food. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish and certain plant oils, especially marine microalgae. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development.
Different algae can be very different in their Omega-3 fatty acid content. Some, such as Chlorella, contain no EPA or DHA. So it is very important to feed your tank a mixture of carefully chosen algae species for complete and balanced nutrition. The algae in PhytoFeast were specially selected to provide high levels of EPA, DHA and ARA.
No. Phyto-Feast cells are intact and not broken so bacteria cannot quickly break them down and cause them to decompose
Typically No. Bacterial blooms are typically caused by significant amount of uneaten biomass remained in your system for several days due to overfeeding. Please adhere to the feeding instructions on the bottle to minimize the likelihood of this happening. When first using Phyto-Feast, we recommend you begin at the lowest recommended level and increase as your tank becomes accustomed to the new feed.
Your protein skimmer will likely remove any excess Phyto-Feast from your system.
This commonly happens. If you accidentally leave it out, and it’s in a stable environment where temperatures don’t exceed 75F, then the product will be fine. But, keep in mind that this may shorten the 3 month shelf-life of the product, so try to use it up before expiration.
Some soft corals, sponges, tunicates, gorgonians, sea fans, basket and feather stars, clams, mussels, barnacles, feather dusters and tridacnid clams.
YES – Phyto-Feast LIVE is ALIVE!
Over 95% of the cells are alive when bottled and much of it will stay alive for several months. Check out the viability report from the CCMP.
All the microalgae that go into Phyto-Feast Live are grown at our farm in California, harvested live and packed and shipped "farm fresh" every week. Once harvested the algae are induced to become "quiescent," in "suspended animation." At the time of bottling 95% or more of the algae are alive.
In this quiescent state metabolic activity and respiration are reduced to minimal levels and the nutritional value of the algae and the integrity of the cell membranes are preserved. The process is similar to cryopreservation where alga can be frozen live for years and remain viable.
Not all of our algae species are equally hardy and over time some of the more delicate cells begin to expire. However some cells will remain viable for up to three months.
Because of the unique quiescence process that is applied to the algae, the cells remain intact and they retain their full nutritional value long after they have ceased metabolic activity. Properly stored, a bottle of Phyto-Feast will provide the same value at three months that it did on the first day.
Yes and No. Cell integrity is critical. Live cells are a clear indication of quality, intact and unprocessed cells. However, microalgae can often retain these qualities when handled properly, whether viable or not.
Yes, you can. But keep in mind that one of the species typically outcompetes the others. Nannochloropsissp, which is a very small, non-motile, green algal species, commonly wins out over the other species in the bottle. We always recommend that you find a source of single species, clean cultures if you wish to culture algae. We do not sell live algae starter cultures.
No. Many kinds of algae do not swim. Other kinds "swim" by the beating of flagella. As a survival response algae lose their flagella under certain conditions - such as during the harvesting process. The flagella don't grow back so you won't see any of the algae swimming.
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