Skip to main content

FAQs and Instructions

PyroFarms cultivates a marine phytoplankton (microscopic plant plankton) known to scientists as Pyrocystis fusiformisP. fusiformis is classified as a dinoflagellate (aka 'Dino').  At PyroFarms we refer to our Dinos as 'PyroDinos'.  We have been growing and selling Dinos for several years and guarantee all PyroDino dinoflagellates for 30 days.  

After delivery:

It is OK to leave the PyroDinos in their white Spout Pouch for up to two months after delivery if they receive daily light.  If kept in the spout pouch, loosen the cap weekly to allow for some air exchange.  Our PyroDinos have enough resources in the pouch to sustain them for 8 weeks.  PyroDinos will require daily lighting (low to moderate room lighting), 8- 12 hours a day.  PyroDinos will not survive more than 4 or 5 days without daily light.   


Feeding Dinoflagellates:

There are two feeding approaches 'maintenance feeding' and 'expansion feeding'.  Maintenance feedings keep a culture healthy while expansion feedings are for people wanting to rapidly produce more dinoflagellates.      

    Maintenance feeding:
    Wait for one to two week after arrival until feeding. 

    Add small amounts (5%-10% of total culture volume) once every week or once every 2 weeks. 
       <example for a small 300ml/10oz culture add 1oz/25ml every 2 weeks>

    Feeding is not actually 'feeding' like you would feed a pet.  Feeding PyroDinos is more akin to fertilizing a plant.  It is good for the plant's health but not absolutely required.  And you can overfeed Dinos as you can over-fertilize a plant. 


    After filling the Bio-Orb:

    Once PyroDinos are added to the Bio-Orb or other container it is best to let the new PyroDinos go without feeding for the first week.  Wait for the PyroDinos to bounce back from the stress of shipping and transfer.  And then wait for healthy PyroDinos to aggregate near the top of the Bio-Orb or new container before feeding.  Healthy PyroDinos will aggregate near the top of their container.  Do not feed unless you see a distinct line of PyroDinos near the top of the container.   This is the sign of a healthy PyroDino culture.   

    When you have a healthy PyroDino culture as described above you may feed every week or every two weeks.


    Expansion feeding:
    Add 30-50% total culture volume once every 7 to 10 days.  Ensure culture is healthy and dense before expansion.  Stop or reduce feedings if bioluminescence is significantly diminished days after feeding.   

      Temperature:  63F to 79F (17C – 26C)

      Dinoflagellates can withstand a wider temperature range if the changes are gradual and light conditions are complimentary.  During periods of warm temperatures (80F+) low lighting is preferred. 


      NO direct sunlight or any lighting that adds excess heat to the dinoflagellate culture should be employed.  Indirect (naturally reflective) sunlight is good.  LED lighting is great because it produces minimal heat.  Lighting should be similar to having a small dino culture 4 to 10 feet away from a single 60W light bulb.  Try to keep your culture in one location throughout the day and night.  


      Bioluminescence will only occur at night in the dark while the dinoflagellates are gently disturbed.  Dinoflagellates will not light up during daytime hours!  These tiny plankton have a circadian rhythm or internal clock which helps program them to nighttime and daytime.

      Bioluminescence depends on these factors (in order of importance):  1)  The amount of contaminating light in the room (darker = better).  2) The density and volume of dinoflagellates used.  3) The time the dinoflagellates have to generate the light producing molecules luciferin and luciferase into their nighttime cycle.  4) The overall health of the dinoflagellates.


      More information on PyroDino dinoflagellates:

      A deeper dive into PyroDinos

      What is a dinoflagellate



      (Send your questions to

      Q: Just one quick question-- I know that the PyroDinos produce O2, so should I leave the silicone plug OFF of the glass orb once the PyroDinos have entered the orb?  Should I just throw away the silicone plug?
      Keep the plug.  The plug itself has a small hole in the middle that allows air exchange.  The object is allow some air exchange while limiting evaporation and contamination.

      Q: I am interested in buying PyroDinos. How long does Priority Shipping take to arrive? How long can they be kept without food before I give them as a gift?

      A: We ship PyroDinos Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays using Priority 2-3 day mail.  So depending on where you are located in the US it will take 2 to 3 days.  10am (PST) is the shipping cut-off time. 
      PyroDinos are easy to care for once they are received.  Immediately open the box and place the PyroDinos in a moderately lighted room where they are out of direct sunlight or factors that can overheat them.  Typical room lighting, artificial or natural, is fine. 
      After they have settled, with the pouch standing upright, you can loosen the cap on the spout pouch to give them some air exchange. Note- keep the cap on the spout.  With the cap slightly loose and in daily lighting conditions (typical room lighting) the pouch of PyroDinos can last several weeks.


      Q: Just got my new PyroDinos from the mailman, very excited to have them again.  Should I feed them right away or wait?

      A: We would recommend waiting a week before feeding.  Best to feed a stable culture.  After the rigors of shipping, these dinos will need time to stabilize and start their growth phase again. 

      Q: I just got my PyroDino’s. But I’m clueless as to what to do.

      A: PyroDinos mainly need light.  Keep them in a moderately lighted location like a kitchen, living room or office and they should be fine for weeks.  Very similar to a houseplant.  

      Q: I’m interested in buying your product Dinoflagellates. 
      Don't Dinoflagellates create toxins though? Should I be careful not to touch it or something?
      A: Some dinoflagellates do produce toxins.  These do not.  PyroDinos are Pyrocystis fusiformis (phytoplankton) and are non-toxic.

      Q: I have an old glass vase I would like to populate with dinos.  Please send cleaning/prep instructions.

      A: PyroFarms will send detailed cleaning instructions upon request.  Please send requests to: Or you may view our cleaning protocol using this link:

      Feeding and Cleaning Your Bio-Orb

      Cleaning Instructions (quick reference): Wash container in sink using a small amount of dish soap.  Rinse thoroughly (3x) with warm tap water* until no soap residue is present.  

      (optional) Next fill container with diluted (1:20) bleach/water, wait 10 to 20 minutes and rinse thoroughly (3x) with warm tap water*.

      Then rinse container with a small amount of DinoNutrients. Pour out DinoNutrient rinse and fill container with PyroDinos.      

      * distilled water is preferred over tap water on rinse steps. 

      Q: Now that I have my new Orb...should I wash them first? Or are they ready to fill? 

      A: Your Bio-Orb is ready to fill.  Some people rinse the Orb with a small amount of DinoNutrients.  This is optional.   

      Q: What are dinoflagellates?

      A: To put it simply, Dinoflagellates are a part of the plankton community. They could also be described as ‘algae’. PyroDino dinoflagellates are a species known as Pyrocystis fusiformis. Yes the company was named after our ‘dinos’.   If you want to get all sciency these dinoflagellates are a marine (ocean) phytoplankton (plant-like plankton). PyroDinos are considered plant-like because they use sunlight as their main source of energy (photosynthesis). Click HERE for more information on dinoflagellates

      Q: Can PyroDinos (mairne dinoflagellates) be put in a marine aquarium?

      The short answer is YES.  However, the Dinos will be diluted and removed by mechanical filtration and predation.  If we were to add Dinos to a saltwater aquarium we would wait until nighttime, turn out the lights and turn off the filtration (for a short period).  Adding them to a saltwater aquarium at night in the dark would be dramatic for a few minutes.  We are told PyroDinos produce a cool 'starry night' effect in your aquarium.  If you do decide to do this (in a saltwater aquarium) please let us know how it turned out. (we have had feedback on this and there is starry-night effect for several weeks!)


      Why do PyroDinos need the DinoNutrients if they produce food via photosynthesis??

      Great question.  DinoNutrients are composed of filtered purified seawater with added micronutrients.

      PyroDinos require DinoNutrients for two main reasons: 1) In a confined environment, their demand for trace elements and micronutrients (phosphate, nitrates, etc) is beyond what a closed system can provide.  2) Space to grow.

      1) DinoNutrients can be thought of as plant food.  A plant does not necessarily die if you do not feed it fertilizer, however, the plant's health and growth will be negatively affected.  PyroDinos will not die if you do not feed them DinoNutrients however their growth, health and ability to produce light will be diminished.

      2) PyroDinos are considered immortal because they reproduce by simple cell division.  Under ideal conditions, they can double in numbers in about 10 days to two weeks.  They do enjoy being in a high cell density environment however there are limits.  Adding DinoNutrients dilutes their cell density ratio (c/ml) and provides them 'space' to grow so they can continue to multiply. 

      About sunlight

      Filtered natural sunlight is good (slatted blinds, an opaque skylight or a translucent curtain).  Reflective sunlight is also very good for the PyroDinos.  i.e. Somewhere in the room that does not get direct sunlight but does benefit from the indirect sunlight.

      Direct sunlight is not good for two reasons.  1) It tends to overheat the contents of the Bio-Orb.  2) UV radiation can be harmful.

      In nature, these cells can adjust their buoyancy to put enough ocean water between them and the sun to create an ideal filtered light situation.  In the Bio-Orb they do not have this option and rely on you and I to put them in a location that receives an ideal amount of light.  Note- the ocean appears to be blue because it is reflecting the blue spectrum of light (UV light).   

      Product Links: 

      Bioluminescent Bio-Orb

      PyroDinos (bioluminescent dinoflagellates)