Reef Ecosystems


Algae & Zooplankton

Step into the fascinating world of reef ecosystems! Here, the relationship between algae and zooplankton is key. Both in the wild and in your tank at home, algae acts as a crucial food source for zooplankton like Tigriopus Californicus and Tisbe Biminiensis. We feed our zooplankton nutrient-rich algae, a practice called "gut-loading," before shipping them out. This makes the zooplankton healthier and more nutritious when they reach their new home, benefiting the receiving ecosystem by boosting their role in supporting marine life.


The Zooplankton


Tigriopus Californicus

Tigriopus Californicus, also known as the California copepod, is a tiny crustacean found along the Pacific coast. It belongs to the harpacticoid copepod group and thrives in intertidal zones, enduring fluctuating environmental conditions. These copepods play a crucial role in marine ecosystems by being a primary food source for various marine organisms, including small fish and invertebrates. They contribute to nutrient cycling by consuming phytoplankton and detritus.

Microscope picture of Tisbe Biminiensis

Tisbe Biminiensis

 Tisbe Biminiensis is a small copepod commonly found in coastal and reef environments. It's highly adaptable and thrives in both natural and artificial habitats like aquariums. These copepods contribute to maintaining the health of reef ecosystems by consuming detritus, algae, and phytoplankton. They serve as an essential food source for larval fish and other small invertebrates.


Live Tisbe in Isochrysis

Apocyclops Panamensis

Apocyclops Panamensis is a species of copepod found in diverse aquatic environments, including freshwater and marine habitats. These copepods contribute significantly to the marine food web by consuming algae, detritus, and other organic matter. Their feeding habits regulate phytoplankton populations, impacting the overall balance of the ecosystem.


Brachionus, or rotifers, are microscopic invertebrates found in freshwater and marine environments. They possess a unique wheel-like structure used for feeding and locomotion. In reef ecosystems, rotifers feed on phytoplankton and bacteria, playing a role in nutrient cycling and supporting the food web by being a food source for various organisms.


Live Brachionus in Nannochloropsis

The Algae

Algae are photosynthetic protists and bacteria that can be thought of as simple plants. In most cases, commonly described algae are unicellular phytoplankton, which means they are photosynthetic, single-celled organisms that live freely and suspended in the water they inhabit. The casual observer can view them as large (macro) or small (micro). Microalgae are unicellular and contain all necessary metabolic processes within one membrane, whereas macroalgae more closely approximate land plants as they are composed of vascular and root systems. ARS provides microalgal cultures as they are the quintessential algal morphotype and possess high growth rates, simple life cycles and are the simplest species to culture. They are organized by kingdom and division according to genetic and morphological characteristics, which are described below. 


Microscope picture of Nannochloropsis cells



Nannochloropsis is a genus of alga within the heterokont line of eukaryotes. While they can be found in fresh and brackish waters, Nannochloropsis widely occurs in saltwater world-wide. Some Nannochloropsis species have been shown to be suitable for algal biofuel production and is popular for use in aquaculture feed and dietary supplements. Nannochloropsis is a bulldog of an algae strain, It is great for science projects as it stays in suspension and is difficult to kill.

Nannochloropsis Starter Culture

Nannochloropsis Culture Kit

Saltwater Media Kit  

Microscope picture of Porphyridium cells


The microalga Porphyridium sp. (Rhodophyta) is a potential source for several products like fatty acids, lipids, cell-wall polysaccharides and pigments. The polysaccharides of this species are sulphated and their structure gives rise to some unique properties that could lead to a broad range of industrial and pharmaceutical applications. This is one of the ONLY red microalgae strains. It is used by researchers to study the red protein based pigment phycoerytherin. Often used by the aquaculture community to bring RED color into filter feeders.

Porphyridium Starter Culture

Porphyridium Culture Kit 

Saltwater Media Kit


Isochrysis galbana is a great feeder algae. We know when it is happy and healthy because when you smell it, it smells like low tide! The high lipid and DHA content make it popular as an aquaculture feed for animals such as bivalves, crustaceans, and zooplankton. Saltwater reef aquarium hobbyists love this strain as it brings great pigmentation to the corals.

Isochrysis Starter Culture

Isochrysis Culture Kit 

Saltwater Media Kit 


Filter Feeder Formula of microalgae is a blend of four Live Phytoplankton species: Nannochloropsis, Tetraselmis, Nannochloropsis and Porphyridium, that will nourish and provide pigments to your filter feeders. This blend supports corals, copepods, and filter feeders with a complete diet of highly nutritious essential fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, amino acids and carotenoids. Filter Feeder Formula will provide a balanced diet to your corals, clams and invertebrates. Phytoplankton improve water quality by out competing nuisance algae for nitrate and phosphate. Filter Feeder Formula is LIVE blend of cultures, NOT a ZOMBIE blend sold in the chilled section of the pet shop

Filter Feeder Formula culture