So very predictably I’m discovering that I’ve been doing everything completely wrong. I vastly overestimated the light requirements and I think I sort of bleached a lot of them to death with 50W 24/7. I changed to a 20W LED about 6 hours a day and they seem to like that a lot more. Also I’ve been reading more about what nutrients they need and a little bottle of miracle grow seems to keep them happy for now. At this point I’m still just trying to make sure I can maintain a population of these things at all- then I can get into testing out some variations.
Also apparently I introduced pests in one jar by dropping some dirt in it. Turned into a delightful little hellscape of micro monsters eating each other and the pods and then everything died. I took some video in a USB microscope because it was interesting but not sure what exactly happened there. I like to think it was the plot of Pacific Rim but the trans-dimensional aliens are bacteria and a Class-5 Kaiju is about 2mm tall.
And I got enough 80/20 parts in to put together an aluminum frame box so I can get rid of the wood frame monstrosity. I ordered a MakersLED fixture but it’s been stuck in transit for a few weeks so I just used another heatsink I had and it does okay with a fan on it.
The raspi just controls a relay for the light and a USB webcam for now. Apparently I’m too dumb to correctly wire a dallas 1-wire module so not taking temperature readings yet.
I’ve been doing more causal ‘research’ and I’m pleased to find out I’m way, way behind on discovering how awesome this plant is. And though my assumptions on how to grow it were painfully misguided- apparently my assumptions about its potential value are shared- and actually pretty well proven.
This article in particular says “A closed plant and animal system has been tested with Wolffia Arhiza because of its rapid rate of biomass production. The system is designed to function for a period of two years” which basically says everything I wanted to do with this plant has already been done. But- if some goon with no expertise in any relevant field can do some of it in their apartment- that’s probably a positive step too so I’ll just do that. I actually haven’t looked up the reference for that claim yet- but I’ll probably get to it eventually after enough failures.
Here are some other links I’ve found about watermeal that I only vaguely understand but seem cool and interesting.
SOMETHING ABOUT USING WA AS A GENETIC FACTORY THING – BIOPHARMA STUFF
ALL KINDS OF SCIENCEY ARTICLES
UNDER A SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPE
NITRATE AND NITRITE REDUCTION
PATENT FOR CULTIVATION MEDIUM
https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/d3/bb/e8/997bb1b065efda/RU2472338C1.pdf (MOSTLY RUSSIAN)