Frequently Asked Questions
How long will the algae live?
The algae can keep growing forever, as long as you take good care of them by following these instructions. That means putting them in the correct location and occasionally adding nutrients. But even without adding nutrients they can survive for months.
Do the algae glow all the time?
The algae glow when you shake the bottle, but only after sunset. They have an internal biological clock based on the light-dark rhythm of the past few days. Because of this biological clock, they will never glow during the day, not even when you shake the bottle in a dark room. Bioluminescence generally starts about 1 hour after dark and can be best seen in a pitch-black room.
Can I cultivate the algae myself and increase their volume?
Yes, absolutely. However, it may take some time and practice. It is important that you put them in a suitable location (see the instructions). Keep the bottle cap partially unscrewed to allow some air exchange. Shake the bottle every few days to mix the contents. Over the course of a few weeks your algae will grow denser and denser. You can then dilute the algae with nutrients, thereby increasing the total volume. Do not use tap water to increase the volume, because this will quickly kill them.
The algae have arrived, what should I do next?
It is important to unpack the algae immediately after arrival. The shipment process can be stressful to the algae and they may need up to a week to recover. During this week, leave the algae in the bottle and do not add nutrients. Place the algae in a suitable location, according the instructions. After dark you can carefully swirl the bottle to check for bioluminescence, but leave the bottle alone as much as possible. It may take a few days before you can see them glow.
Can I transfer the algae into another bottle?
Yes, but the bottle (or some other container) should be very clean. The algae are sensitive to impurities in the water, such as soap residue. You could take a bottle of mineral water, empty it out, rinse once with a small volume of nutrients, and then transfer the algae.
How often should I add nutrients?
The faster the algae grow, the sooner they will start to run out of nutrients. They can survive for a few months without adding nutrients, but we recommend to replace (or add) at least 10% of the volume with fresh nutrients every 2 weeks. For example, if there is 200 ml in your bottle, you pour out approximately 20 ml and fill it back up to 200 ml. Alternatively, you can add fresh nutrients without removing volume. If you want, you can add more nutrients, but keep in mind that this will dilute the algae, resulting in less strong bioluminescence.
Where should I store the bottle with nutrients?
The best location to store the nutrients is close to the algae. That way, they will always have the same temperature, and the algae will not get a temperature shock when nutrients are added. You definitely don't need to store the nutrients in the fridge.
What is in the bottle with nutrients?
Just like land plants, the algae need many different minerals and nutrients for healthy growth. We have carefully optimized the nutrient mix for these specific algae. Among other things, it contains sterile sea water, nitrate and phosphate.
Do they need fresh air to breathe? Should I keep the bottle open to allow fresh air to come in?
The algae will grow faster if there is some air exchange. However, they will be fine without it, so you can keep the bottle closed. The algae are photosynthetic, which means that they get their energy from light. They consume CO2 (carbon dioxide) and produce O2 (oxygen) as they grow.
Can I put the algae in my aquarium?
We do not recommend this. The algae live in sea water, so pouring them into a fresh water aquarium will quickly kill them (and possibly your fish too). They can possibly survive in a salt water aquarium, but the fish in the aquarium may not like the added nutrients. Do this entirely at your own risk.
The nutrients bottle has floating white flakes. Is that normal?
Yes, that is normal. Sometimes these small white flakes occur after temperature changes. Sometimes they go away after shaking the bottle, but not always. In any case, they are harmless to the algae.
How much can I shake the bottle?
The algae are pretty sturdy, so you can pretty much shake the algae as much as you want for a few minutes. Remember that in nature they survive just fine in the turbulence of the waves. However, we do not recommend shaking the bottle too much in the first week after receiving the shipment, since they may need to recover from shipping.
I received the algae, but they don’t glow. What should I do now?
Give the algae at least one week to recover from shipping. Remember, they only glow at night (starting from 1 hour after dark) and only if you swirl them in a dark room. Carefully read the instructions to make sure you have placed the algae in the right conditions. Still don’t see anything? Email email@example.com and we will help you out.
I thought algae were green, but I only see brown specks. Are they dead?
The bioluminescent algae have a rust brown color. Some other species of algae are indeed green, but these bioluminescent algae are dinoflagellates. Dinoflagellates are only very distantly related to the green algae that you find in a pond, so they are very different.
The algae are sinking to the bottom. Are they dead?
Some of the bioluminescent algae may sink to the bottom of the bottle, while others float on the surface. That is normal. If white clumps start to appear, then that is generally a bad sign and may mean that the algae are unhappy and dying. Follow all the instructions to make sure that you keep the algae under the correct conditions at all times.
I’m an artist and I need a large volume of algae for my art installation. Do you want to collaborate?
These glow-in-the-dark algae can look amazing and very mysterious in an artistic display. However, please understand that this takes careful planning and experimentation. They are living organisms and may not survive for long if the conditions are suboptimal. The algae may be sensitive to some of the materials or some other aspect of your artwork, for example. They will only glow for part of the day, and bioluminescence will temporarily decrease gradually if you shake them for too long. Therefore, we recommend that you take enough time to build and test your artwork. Start with a small volume to test the basics and scale up from there. We may be able to provide a discount for large volumes, please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org. Unfortunately, we cannot send free material.
Do you ship to my country?
We ship to all the countries in the European Union. Email email@example.com for additional information.
What are the shipping costs?
We use priority shipping to make sure that the algae arrive safely to your house. Depending on where you live, this may unfortunately make shipping a bit expensive. All the costs are listed here.
When do you ship and how long is the delivery time?
We will make every effort to ensure that you receive the algae alive and as fast as possible. Generally, we ship at the beginning of the week, to ensure that the algae do not spend the weekend in transit. However, the algae can be very sensitive to low or high temperatures, so sometimes the conditions are too warm or cold for shipping. In that case we may have to delay for a few days. Once the algae are shipped, they usually arrive in 1 or 2 days. You will receive a track & trace code so you can follow the shipment. If your order is time sensitive, then you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about the options.