This page will go through how you can find or buy a Spirulina culture, the steps you need to take in the beginning when you get the Spirulina starter and a bit on how to maintain it. More on growing Spirulina can after that be found in the page “Growing Spirulina”
Sections in Spirulina culture
How to find a Spirulina culture
There are several ways you can get hold of a Spirulina culture. Spirulina grows natural in some saline lakes spread out over the world. So, if you live close and will travel to the vicinity, the first option is to go to any of these lakes and take a culture with you. However, here there is a chance that you get some other species than the commonly safe and cultivated Spirulina platensis.
Live Spirulina cultures for sale from farmers
The second option is to go to a Spirulina grower near you. It is possible that they can sell you their Spirulina culture and you can start growing your own Spirulina from that one. Just be sure to get the specific nutrients they use too. This is good since the farmer might use a specific nutrient setup that the culture is more adapted too and if not followed will result in low growth in the start.
Live Spirulina cultures for sale from grow kit producers
The third option is that you go to a dedicated seller of Spirulina cultures such as HealthAlgae. It can be good to choose a serious Spirulina seller for here. You can read about HealthAlgae and our aim here: about the Spirulina culture seller HealthAlgae and our vision.
A dedicated Spirulina culture seller can be good since then you often get clear directions on how to cultivate and maintain your culture. HealthAlgae sends a 47 page grow manual with each culture and you can also buy a complete Spirulina nutrient medium from us. This takes care of much of of the effort in finding your own nutrients and mixing them yourself. You can order two types of Spirulina growing products from HealthAlgae: Just the Spirulina culture and or a Spirulina growing kit with an additional Spirulina nutrient medium.
Spirulina cultures from HealthAlgae
HealthAlgae sell our Spirulina cultures in three different volumes: 30, 250 and 500 ml. We always concentrates the culture over 10 times before we fill and ship it. Here beneath you can find the link to our 500 ml culture.
The large and best option to get a steady Spirulina culture going with 10x concentrated 500 ml Spirulina start culture and a complete Spirulina manual.
Spirulina growing kit from HealthAlgae
Our Spirulina starter kit comes in the same volumes but with and additional 10 L of our Spirulina growing medium. This extra 10 L medium will get you started until you have learned to make your own medium or as a way to get our medium at a lower price if you anyway consider growing with it. Beneath is the link to our 500 ml Spirulina growing kit
Great starter of your own culture with 500 ml 10x concentrated Spirulina culture, full instructions manual and 10 L dry complete growth medium ready to mix with water and use.
What to do when you get you have ordered your Spirulina starter culture
When you have ordered you Spirulina culture there are some things you need to prepare. Very easy put you need the following:
– A container you want to grow in (best is something transparent that is easy to clean and with rounded edges – pockets with no circulation limits growth).
– Where you want to have your culture growing.
– Good tap water (meaning it has no chlorine, and if it has, you need to tap out what you need and let it stand and gas out the chlorine for a couple of days).
– Get the ingredients for your grow medium if you decide to make your own.
– An aquarium air pump with an qas/CO2/oxygen stone on the tubing air outlet (optional if you wish to have a faster growing culture).
Direct steps to take when you get your live Spirulina culture
When you get the culture it has been on the move for some days. This means that is is stressed and some of it can have died. To minimize the damage you should put it in the fridge. This is especially important if the outside temperature is high. Just don’t let it freeze. You can keep it like that for a couple of days. The cold will slow down any degradation and death. Meanwhile you shall make the medium and set up your desired system.
An option to putting the culture in the fridge is that you open the lid and put it in a lighted and warm window. Keep the lid on but not closed. Gas must easily be able to go out and in. Since the culture is over 10 times concentrated and too dense to get enough nutrients and gas exchange, you can only have it like this for maximum 24 hours.
Starting your Spirulina culture with the starter
When you have prepared your medium and want to add your starter culture it is important that you do all to minimize any stress. Therefore, take out the culture from the fridge and let the flask stand next to or in the medium to slowly get the same temperature. To add a starter culture to a medium with a different temperature will be a stress moment, especially if the culture has been in the fridge and the medium is room tempered.
Another stress moment is the difference in salinity and pH between the medium and the Spirulina starter. There is not much to do here besides use a similar medium as the culture comes with but the pH difference is harder to adjust for. Therefore, it is very good to add the culture slowly to the top of the new medium. If you have cleaned to outside of the flask you can open it and just lay it in the medium. The culture will slowly diffuse out and slowly adapt to the new environment.
You should also not direct start mix or circulate the new culture when you have added the Spirulina starter to the medium. Let it be for one or two days and then start to mix it. The Spirulina cells will have migrated out by themselves into the medium by that time and then you can start to move the culture around your culture. Start mixing slowly at first.
Suggestions when growing your Spirulina the first days and week
A culture will with time be selected and adapted to a new environment: differences in light, light periods, temperature, the growing container, mixing and other factors. However, this can take some weeks.
It is understandable that you direct want to push the culture to perform at the maximum with all parameters optimized. But be a bit patient and careful the first weeks. You may want to increase the temperature to the optimal around 30 to 35°C but our suggestion is that you start growing at room temperature to 25°C the first week. When your culture has adapted a bit more you can start to push the temperature upwards. But be aware of the signs of stress with clumping of the culture and foaming.
It is also recommended that you circulate your culture less intense at first. If you use an aquarium pump, use a less intense pumping at first. A gas/O2/CO2 stone on the outlet from the tubing will also cause smaller bubbles to form, slow down circulation and reduce splashing of the culture to the sides of your container.
Other factors to consider when starting your Spirulina culture
You might also want to feed your culture all the nutrients it need. However, the window between what the Spirulina need and what will be too much is small. It is therefore important to keep track of your feeding. This is especially true when it comes to feeding nitrogen in the form of ammomia/ammonium and urea (which breaks down to ammonia and CO2). Here you have to be careful and not overfeed and stress or even kill your culture.
When you have reached this point and you want to know more on this and other factors for improved growth, we suggest you go to and continue reading on our other page: growing Spirulina at home.
Spirulina growing systems
You might also be wondering how you should set up your growing system. Here you can relax and know that you can take it in steps and start easy. You don’t need to know all at first and can start to grow in a container or large glass jar.
What you will use to grow Spirulina in is known as a photobioreactor system. These can be very simple to very complex and if you want to know more here on how to build your photobioreactor or want to know what HealthAlgae uses and can offer you, we suggest you have a look on our page dedicated just for this: build or buy photobioreactors for growing Spirulina and algae.
– What to do when you get you have ordered your Spirulina starter culture
– Direct steps to take when you get your live Spirulina culture
– How to maintain the Spirulina culture from HealthAlgae when you get it
– Setting up a high yielding Spirulina culture system
If you are interested in how to make an photobioreactor or read about the ones you can order from us, have a look here: Photobioreactors for growing Spirulina and algae : link to the photoreactors
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