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BioGlo - The Bioluminescent Aquarium

By Leonard Ho - Posted Dec 13, 2017 09:00 AM
Dinoflagellates are usually the bane of marine aquarists, but what if you design an aquarium specifically to display bioluminescent dinos? The BioGlo does exact that ... and it's magical!

The novel concept behind BioGlo is ingeniously simple:

  1. Create a small captive environment conducive to growing tropical bioluminescent dinoflagellates, Pyrocystis fusiformis.
  2. "Charge" the dinos with light (like you would with artificial glow-in-the-dark materials) from a LED light located in the base of the aquarium.
  3. Then implement ways to agitate the dinos in order to induce their natural glow.  With controlled bursts of air bubbles or swirls of the compact hour-glass-shaped aquarium, the BioGlo is able to recreate a variety of sublime light shows.



While this is certainly no substitute for a reef tank or nature aquarium, it's a really neat way to add a splash of marine life (and color) to your desk or nightstand.  The BioGlo even has a built in USB outlet for you to charge your mobile devices.

You can purchase a complete BioGlo aquarium for  a pledge of $65 on Kickstarter.  The production units are slated to ship March 2018.

The makers of BioGlo, Keegan Cooke and Kevin Rand, supplied us the following summary of their new aquarium:

Make it BioGlo

BioGlo, a unique handheld aquarium, enables anybody to experience one of nature's most beautiful phenomena: bioluminescence.


It’s a microbe’s world, and we just live in it. Their diverse characteristics and unique abilities are borderline supernatural, with some species able to generate electricity, sense magnetism, or even emit light! Like tiny superheroes these amazing creatures are a reminder of what makes life itself so exceptional.

Inside its stylish hourglass shape, Bioglo contains hundreds of tiny microbes called dinoflagellates (a.k.a. dinos). These dinos have the natural ability to absorb the sun's rays during the day and emit a mysterious blue glow when shaken at night. By providing the right conditions for the dinos to thrive, BioGlo makes it easy to care for the microbes and observe their bioluminescent effect in the comfort of your home.

BioGlo offers an exciting way for people to have "first contact" with the microbial world. Like a pet or plant, the experience of caring for dinoflagellates is similar to maintaining a typical aquarium, making BioGlo a great entry-level experience for people interested in learning about marine ecosystems or building an aquarium. Like other marine life, dinoflagellates require proper control of environmental conditions and a regular supply of fresh nutrients.

Available for pre-order now on Kickstarter!


Modes of Use

There are a few primary ways to interact with the dinos:

  • Bubbling. Simply letting BioGlo bubble calmly on your nightstand is an effective way to ease your mind when going to bed. As the microbes ride each air pocket upward to the water's surface glowing along the way, you too may find your mind drifting off into a deep sleep.
  • Streaking. Like little bolts of lightning, watch the dinos dazzle as they travel down the side of the hourglass body. This is one of the most effective ways to see the glow of each individual microbe and to prolong the effect for as long as possible.
  • Whirling. By whirling or gyrating BioGlo you will behold a stunning display as hundreds of dinos light up together all at once, forming a dazzling vortex of light.

BaseLight Accessory

To help users care for their microbes, the BaseLight accessory is also available. The system enables users to automate control of the lighting conditions, sense undesirable changes in room temperature, and make it possible to alter the circadian rhythm of the microbes so that they glow during daylight hours.

Hourglass Form

By invoking a reference to the passage of time, BioGlo's hourglass form is simultaneously a nod to the dinos' circadian rhythm as well as our evolutionary origins. In this way we hope it gives pause for consideration by highlighting the complexity of life even at the smallest of scales.


BioGlo showcases the microbes' bioluminescence by making it possible to view them from any angle. At night the aquarium's optical clarity makes it seem as if the microbes are floating midair before you.


The design makes use of appropriate materials to ensure that, from its textured hand grips and waterproof construction to its recyclability and ease-of-use, the experience of using BioGlo has been thought through from beginning to end.


The simple but elegant shape of BioGlo is designed to blend seamlessly into a stylish, design-conscious home environment without sacrificing the functionality needed to create an engaging experience. BioGlo is available in 2 color options: black and white.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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