There’s a pretty special shop in the UK called Southwest Marines which at first glance seems rather unassuming but they do some really interesting things. In addition to housing some amazing aberrant tricolor tangs and gem tangs like it was normal, they also grow phytoplankton. So they grow phytoplankton, so what, tons of stores used to do the same thing but not like this.
The phytoplankton culture at Southwest Marines is so intensive that it could pass for a phyto farm with a fish store in it, rather than the other way around. Southwest Marines grows more than enough phytoplankton for store use and store sale, but they also surplus more than enough to wholesale to other local fish stores in the area.
Sure we’ve heard of stores growing some phytoplankton for store use and resale but in our personal experience this was usually limited to Nannochloropsis and Tetraselmis. Store grown phyto used to be much more common but with affordable and diverse phyto available for cheap it has mostly fallen by the wayside with the LFS who has more than enough to do. Someone must have forgotten to give Southwest Marines the memo because they grow no fewer than six varieties; in addition to the two above they also grow Isochrysis, Pavlovia, Thalassiosira and Rhodomonas.
Could you imagine how different our aquarium hobby would be with a ready supply of these diverse phytoplankton at every better LFS around the country? First we’d also have a better supply of zooplankton that eats the phyto, then the door could open up to a huge renaissance in marine aquarium fish and invertebrate breeding. Hats off to Southwest Marines for taking the road less travelled with a few more shots of their setup after the break.