Dinkins Aquatic Gardens uses lab-grade sanitation procedures every step of the way. We culture each strain of phytoplankton separately in seven gallon wide-mouth carboys. Once a batch of phyto finishes, we soak the carboy and rigid airline tubing in Alconox overnight, then scrub it by hand the following morning. After a very thorough rinse, we allow it to dry.
Once the carboys are dry, we then clean the inside with isopropyl alcohol and allow that to dry for about half a day. Late that evening, we fill the carboys with five gallons of saltwater and the appropriate amount of F/2 fertilizer from Fritz Aquatics.
Our saltwater is made using seven stage RODI water mixed with Hw-Marinemix Professional Salt. This lab-made salt is very high quality and mixes completely clean with no residue. This fresh saltwater should be sterile, but just in case, we run it through a 150 watt UV sterilizer to kill any bacteria that might be present and then added to the culture vessels.
Once the saltwater is added, we then use bleach to chlorinate the water. This is a backup to the backup, guaranteeing that any bacteria which might be present is completely dead. We aerate the culture (after filtering the air through 0.1 micron filters) overnight to thoroughly sanitize the water, the F/2, the rigid airline tubing, and the inside of the carboy. The following morning, we treat the water with sodium thiosulfate in order to remove the chlorine. Only after all this is done do we add one gallon of starter culture and begin the process of growing our new batch!