Colonial Cymbella cistula attaced to the substrate by mucilage stalks

(30x time lapse)

 Craticula cuspidata in darkfield and brightfield (20x time-lapse)


Purpose of cultivation

Why is it useful to cultivate diatoms that you want to observe? From our point of view, the advantages are as follows:

  • Compared to an observation on a fresh sample, the genus and possibly the species can be identified with greater certainty and assigned to the observation.
  • The identification can take place independent of the observation.
  • The use of just one species is prerequisite for the reproducibility of experiments.
  • A large number of diatoms of a certain species is available. This allows investigations in which a statistical statement is the goal, such as in the case of population dynamics.
  • Other organisms and impurities do not interfere with the observations (see videos below).

Thus, the conditions under which one observes become well controllable. The development of a population can be investigated as a function of external parameters such as temperature, light conditions or composition of the culture medium.

Moreover, the culture vessel (e.g. petri dish) itself can be used for observation.

A sample from the river Neckar. Most striking are colonies of the diatom Bacillaria paxillifera (Bacillaria paradoxa). These colonies exhibit a unique movement based on the motility of the diatoms relative to the neighbouring diatoms. The observation is particularly affected by detritus. (4x time lapse). View into a culture that was created with Bacillaria paxillifera from the Neckar river. The quality and the possibilities for observation are significantly improved compared to the observation in the sample. ( 4x time lapse).


On the pages on the subject of cultures we briefly describe what Mr. Kurt Schneider and I can convey from our experience. On this occasion, I would like to thank Mr. Oliver Skibbe ( for his valuable advice.


Cookies make it easier for me to provide you with my services. With the usage of my services you permit me to use cookies.