Living Organism Care - Algae


Quick Start Information:


  • Our Algae is cultured and available year-round.
  • As algae are photosynthetic, they require carbon dioxide as well as light to remain healthy. 
  • For best results, use cultures within 2 - 3 days of receiving them.
  • Algae subculturing can be conducted in Erlenmeyer flasks, tubes, bottles, or petri dishes.


  • Algae refers to a large group of photosynthetic organisms; some closely related, and others not.
  • Freshwater Algae is theorised to be the ancestor from which the first land plants evolved.
  • Phycology refers to the study of algae. 
  • The singular form of algae, alga, means “seaweed” in Latin.
  • Certain varieties of Algae form symbiotic relationships with other organisms, such as lichens and corals.
  • Phylogenetic name(s)
  • None. Algae is paraphyletic.
      • Common name(s)
      • Seaweed,
      • green algae, red algae
      • brown algae, golden algae,
      • cyanobacteria, blue-green algae


  • Open your package immediately after it arrives. Remove the culture vessels and inspect the algae. Loosen the lids on the containers and ensure they remain upright; you may use a beaker or tube rack to keep them in place. 
  •  The cultures we provide are ready to use when you receive them. While they are likely to remain viable for a week or more with minimal care, it is recommended that you use them 2 to 3 days after receiving them. This will guarantee the highest quality specimens for examination of cellular morphology. 


No Housing information needed for this organism


Ensure all algae has access to a light source as they are photosynthetic and therefore need a source of light. 

Maintaining and Culturing

Most Algae benefit from a culturing under fluorescent lights (cool white or full spectrum) and a 16-hour light/8-hour dark cycle. Lights should be placed roughly 46 cm above the cultures to guarantee sufficient light intensity. Exceptions to this rule is for cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), which require less light and are best cultured under normal room lighting. Provide aeration using an air stone. Your cultures should be dense and green in approximately 8-12 weeks. Once the new culture is a healthy green colour, or mature, the culture needs to be maintained by repeat sub-culturing. This can be done at a ratio of 1-part algae into 3-parts new culture media.

To subculture, you will need additional containers and nutrition for the algae. Southern Biological sell all forms of algae media to aid the culturing of algae, refer to the table below for organism-specific information and recommendations on media preparation and lighting. Feel free to contact our Technical Support team for more information.  





Temperature range




Algal culture medium


16-22 °C




Chlamydomonas culture medium


16-22 °C




Chlorella culture medium


16-22 °C




Chlorella culture medium


21-25 °C



Note: We also sell a 10x concentrate of Chlorella Culture Media CM14 which is a great, economical alternative to CM3 when making larger volumes or culturing Chlorella for algal photosynthesis. For making larger volumes of Euglena culture media, we recommend CM51 Euglena culture medium concentrate.

Making Algal Culture Medium

For CM2 or CM3

  • Shake the culture medium to disperse any sediment.
  • Add 30 mL of culture medium into a sterile container.
  • Add algae to working medium at a 1:4 ratio.

For CM10

  • CM10 is a x50 concentrate which makes 1L of algal culture medium (working solution).
  • Add 20 mL to 980 mL of distilled water to make 1L of Algal culture medium. Scale as necessary.
  • Dispense into clean, containers and sterilise at 121°C for 15 minutes.
  • Add algae to working medium at a 1:4 ratio.

For CM14

  • CM14 is a x10 concentrate which makes 1L of Chlorella culture medium (working solution).
  • Add 10ml to 90 mL of distilled water to make 100 mL of Chlorella culture medium. Scale as necessary.
  • Dispense into clean, containers and sterilise at 121°C for 15 minutes.
  • Add algae to working medium at a 1:4 ratio.

For CM51

  • CM51 is a concentrate which makes 200 mL of Euglena culture medium (working solution).
  • Add 0.5g to 200 mL of distilled water to make approximately 200 mL of culture medium.
  • Bring to boil for 1 minute to dissolve.
  • Dispense into clean, bottles and autoclave.
  • Allow the culture medium to cool completely before use.
  • Subculture Euglena into the medium using aseptic technique.


Southern Biological provides living organisms for educational and scientific study. We strongly advise against releasing organisms into the environment. In most circumstances, it is illegal to release organisms; regardless of whether they are indigenous, into the natural environment without a permit. This is to protect native wildlife, environment and ecosystems.

We recommend that organisms be:

  • Maintained within the classroom until they can be disposed of properly.
  • Donated to other science departments or organisations.
  • Disposed of following the steps below: 
  • Submerge cultures with a 10% bleach solution for 24 hours. 
  • Rinse the solution down the drain until you can no longer detect a bleach odour.
  • Be aware Macroalgae should not be flushed down the sink as it can clog drains. When disposing of Macroalgae, place in sealable bags and freeze for 24 hours; then they may be disposed of in regular solid waste 


Will the algae last longer if I place it in a refrigerator?

It is not recommended that you place the algae in a refrigerator or expose it to rapid temperature changes.

The cultures arrived on Friday, but I plan to use them in Monday’s class. Will they still be okay?

As long as you follow the above care instructions and most importantly, remove the cultures from their shipping container, the cultures should be okay. 

Can I use tap water for my algae cultures?

Do not use tap water as it may contain metal ions that are harmful to algal growth. Use spring or pond water for freshwater algae and natural seawater for marine forms.




||Biology||Living Organism Care||||||