The Astonishing Benefits of Incorporating Live Phytoplankton in Your Reef Tank

Plankton Marin

7/4/20232 min read

brown and white spotted caterpillar on green plant stem
brown and white spotted caterpillar on green plant stem

For avid reef tank enthusiasts, maintaining a thriving and vibrant ecosystem is a constant pursuit. While many aquarists focus on the well-being of corals, fish, and other macroscopic organisms, the importance of microscopic organisms like phytoplankton cannot be overstated. In this blog post, we will explore the remarkable benefits of introducing live phytoplankton to your reef tank. These tiny, photosynthetic organisms not only contribute to the overall health of your tank but also enhance water quality and provide a sustainable food source for various marine life.

  1. Enhanced Water Quality:

Live phytoplankton serves as a natural filtration system for your reef tank. These microscopic plants help maintain water quality by absorbing excess nitrates, phosphates, and other organic compounds that can lead to imbalances and algae blooms. By reducing these nutrient levels, phytoplankton helps create a more stable and favorable environment for corals and other tank inhabitants.

  1. Improved Oxygenation and pH Stability:

Phytoplankton, through photosynthesis, releases oxygen into the water, promoting oxygenation and maintaining optimal oxygen levels for marine organisms. This is especially crucial during the nighttime when corals and other organisms consume oxygen rather than produce it. Additionally, the photosynthetic activity of phytoplankton aids in stabilizing the pH levels of your tank by absorbing carbon dioxide, thus preventing pH fluctuations that can harm delicate reef ecosystems.

  1. Nutrient Enrichment:

Live phytoplankton is a rich source of essential nutrients required for the growth and development of various marine organisms. It contains proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements that contribute to the overall health and vitality of your tank's inhabitants. The presence of phytoplankton can support the growth of corals, filter-feeding invertebrates, and even small fish larvae.

  1. Coral Health and Coloration:

Corals are highly dependent on the symbiotic relationship they share with zooxanthellae, a type of photosynthetic algae. The zooxanthellae reside within the tissues of corals and provide them with essential nutrients and energy through photosynthesis. By introducing live phytoplankton to your reef tank, you can ensure a continuous supply of healthy phytoplankton cells, supporting the growth and coloration of corals while bolstering their resistance to stressors.

  1. Sustainable Food Source:

Many marine organisms rely on phytoplankton as a primary source of nutrition. From filter-feeding corals and anemones to copepods, rotifers, and even larval stages of fish, a diverse range of aquatic creatures benefit from the presence of live phytoplankton in your reef tank. By cultivating phytoplankton cultures or adding phytoplankton supplements, you can create a sustainable and nutritious food source for these organisms, promoting their overall health and enhancing their chances of successful reproduction.


Incorporating live phytoplankton into your reef tank offers a plethora of benefits, ranging from improved water quality and oxygenation to enhanced nutrient availability and coral health. By harnessing the power of these microscopic organisms, you can establish a balanced and thriving ecosystem that supports the growth and well-being of your corals, fish, and other marine life. Remember to research the specific requirements of your tank and choose appropriate phytoplankton species or products that align with your tank's needs. With the addition of live phytoplankton, you can take a significant step towards creating a vibrant and captivating underwater world within your reef tank.