Spirulina is a saltwater plant that was discovered in the natural alkaline lakes of South America and Africa. It is a well-known type of algae that is used by many people as a dietary supplement that contains three to four times the amount of vegetable protein than fish or beef, three to four times more vitamin B12 than animal liver and a wide range of minerals such as magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, sodium and phosphorus. It also has five times the amount of beta carotene that is found in carrots and 40 times the amount that is found in spinach. In order to successfully grow spirulina algae in your own home pond, certain factors need to be considered.
Determine the location for your grow site. Four major conditions are required for growing spirulina: tropical weather, pure water resources, strong sunshine and a pollution-free environment. Make sure that your location receives consistently high temperatures. The growth of spirulina ceases in temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius, and the temperature should be no higher than 38 degrees Celsius.
Place alkaline water in a watertight open container. This container must be non-toxic and resistant to corrosion. It should not have sharp angles and should be twice the size of the culture, which is usually 40cm. Make sure the water has a composition of all the micronutrients, including potassium nitrate, sodium carbonate, magnesium sulphate and lime, that are needed in order to support plant life.
Agitate the surface of the culture with an aquarium pump.
Add three grams of dry spirulina per litre of water and aerate at least twice each day. When the temperature is adequate, the spirulina algae will grow at a rate of 30 per cent each day. Maximise the area that is exposed to light because it will directly affect the algae's growth.
Harvest the spirulina early in the morning. The process is easier in the cooler temperatures, and the spirulina has the highest percentage of proteins at this time. Once the spirulina has been removed from the pond, it is ready to be dried or consumed.
If you plan on growing your spirulina algae with artificial light, halogen lamps and fluorescent tubes can be used. Using lamps can provide the necessary light and heat simultaneously.