Skip to main content

Adding PyroDinos to a Saltwater Aquarium

Adding PyroDinos to a Saltwater Aquarium

So you want to add bioluminescent PyroDinos (phytoplankton) to your marine aquarium.

Go for it. It's easy to do and beautiful to behold. 


  • Get some PyroDinos (HERE).
  • Wait for nighttime.
  • Turn off the lights, pour some into the tank, and watch the show unfold. 


You should be able to see a starry night effect for several nights or weeks, depending on your aquarium.  


bioluminecence PyroDinos poured into a bowl




PyroDinos are the dinoflagellate species Pyrocystis fusiformis. Some saltwater tank caretakers will cringe when they see the word 'dinoflagellate'. They will warn that dinoflagellates can be a dreadful scourge to marine tanks. This notion is partly true. Some non-photosynthetic dinoflagellate species can be a plague to saltwater tanks. PyroDinos are different because they are true phytoplankton.  

PyroDinos (Pyrocystis fusiformis) dinoflagellates


Phytoplankton (also called microalgae) are tiny photosynthetic organisms (similar to single-celled plants) that make up the bottom of the food chain. Phytoplankton use sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce simple sugars called glucose. Like land plants, phytoplankton convert light into sugar through photosynthesis. They make their own food and are a nutritious food source for many marine organisms (directly or indirectly). In addition, marine filter-feeding invertebrates up the food chain depend on phytoplankton as a primary or secondary food source. 

bioluminescent PyroDinos in a jar homegrown


What are the cons of adding PyroDinos? First, these PyroDinos could be removed by mechanical filtration and protein skimmers (not to mention predation). And adding phytoplankton in a marine aquarium could add phosphates, nitrates, and silicates that could cause water imbalance. And some coral and invertebrate species in a marine aquarium do not directly feed on phytoplankton.


You may also grow PyroDinos under standard lighting in a 2-liter bottle or refugium tank. You can then dose your marine tank at night with the PyroDino culture. There are several ways to add (or dose) PyroDinos from a culture bottle or refugium; manually or by using a reef dosing pump. For more information on growing your own PyroDinos, please watch this video:


Bio PyroDinos grow your own


Get yer PyroDinos here


Or from Amazon


Comments are welcome and help others


Stephanie Wescott

So if I wanted to have the pyrodinos in my fish tank. No filter or anything can I put a fountain in there to make the move at night?

All comments are moderated before being published.

Your Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Click here to continue shopping.
Thanks for contacting us! We'll get back to you shortly. Thanks for subscribing Thanks! We will notify you when it becomes available! The max number of items have already been added There is only one item left to add to the cart There are only [num_items] items left to add to the cart