The Moonwell is still and dark as you approach it, but then you catch sight of a pale blue spark which quickly fades. You tentatively dip your hand into the water and watch as the ripples flare with light and then fade. You collect a small sample of the water to learn more. When you swirl the bottle, it glows.
You receive flask of containing about an ounce of bioluminescent phytoplankton. It is a a special light-producing algae (Pyrocystis fusiformis) which grows in sea water. Under the correct conditions, it produces a beautiful blue light. When it arrivs, the plankton will either be nearly invisible in its seawater, or look like brown sediment.
When your plankton arrives:
- Open and unwrap it immediately. Loosen its cap. Place it in a brightly-lit spot, avoiding direct sunlight.
- At 9pm EDT in the evening, move it into a dark place such as a cabinet, closet, or room with curtained windows.
- Between 6-9am EDT the next morning, return it to a brightly-lit place. It should remain in bright light, loosely capped, from morning until night every day.
Helping your plankton thrive:
- Keep your plankton on a regular schedule. It has a circadian rhythm!
- It needs access to bright light (sunlight or electric light) for 12-18 hours a day.
- However, direct sunlight – or a warm bulb placed too close to it – can overheat it.
- It needs darkness for 6-12 hours a day.
- Currently, its scheduled “bedtime” (the time when it moves to a dark room) is 9pm EDT, but it can adapt to a new schedule over a few days.
- Allow a 30-60 minute transition time after bedtime, then swirl the bottle to check for luminescence. Tighten the cap before swirling.
- It may take up to a week after arrival for the plankton to recover its glow. It needs time to “recharge” through photosynthesis.
- After it has recharged and started glowing reliably at night, you can slowly adjust its schedule.
- It only glows in the dark, at night, when shaken or swirled.
- Swirl its bottle in the dark during its nighttime hours to witness its luminescence.
- It will not glow in a dark room in the daytime.
- Keep it loosely capped except when shaking it (then, you may want to tighten the cap so it doesn’t spill).
- It prefers temperatures between 63-79 F.
Water from the Moonwell was featured in the Moonwell Box (September 2022).
Shipping: Single items and non-box products ship for a flat rate of $7.00. Non-subscription products usually ship within 3 business days of purchase.
"If you have any issues with your purchase, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll personally do everything I can to make it right."
- Shannon, Birdmoss Curator and Liaison
I’ve never taken care of something like I’ve taken care of this glowing plankton! It’s so pretty