An international network of/for intelligent organisms
If you're keen to grow your own the slime mould Physarum Polycephalum, this information may help...
In my experience too, 2% agar works fine. I source it from an Asian supermarket, the kind that has no additives. Not laboratory grade, but by boiling it during preparation you get rid of most of the biological contaminants. For fun I tried flavored/colored agar too, which mostly works fine, although 'true' molds (dust molds as opposed to slime molds?) seem to mess up the candy agar faster. You'll find more about this here.
For time lapses I keep the slime mold container under a hood with led-strip lighting that is always on. A laptop and a webcam attached to a tripod are part of the setup, and I use CandyLabs VideoVelocity software for the time lapses, which gives you great control over light, color, etc. I mostly shoot one frame every fifteen seconds, which at 30 frames per second gives you nice, slow movements with pulsations.
Do you (or any other collective member) have advice on what to do if P. polycephalum feels like slowly escaping a petri dish?
Perhaps it is because I added too much water to the paper towel base to increase physarum's feeding abilities(imagine eating pancakes without syrup). Adding the extra water increased its speed and mass but my theory is that it stuck a portion of itself outside the dish to evaporate some of that water because now it is back inside (1% is still sticking out).
I ordered and received my sclerotia last week and grew a piece on Friday.
Give it somewhere nice to go! I've had lots of escapees--they'll grow just fine in a pyrex dish, or on a wad of wet paper. Let it out to explore!
If you keep it on a glass plate with an aluminum rim, and fill the plate with agar, it will be reluctant to crawl over the aluminum
Do I need to do anything special to grow physarum polycephalum in an arid climate?
I just received a pet slime mold for Christmas, but I live at high altitude with very dry air. Will the agar base in a petri dish provide enough moisture? Or do I need to arrange some kind of humidity control system?
Also -- this is probably a stupid question, but i can't seem to find the answer: Is a covered petri dish airtight? Do I need to keep the cover off? (Does a slime mold even require oxygen anyways?)
Any advice greatly appreciated!
A petri dish containing agar should hold enough moisture with a lid on (the agar will slowly evaporate without a lid). The container doesn't need to be airtight, most petri dishes allow some movement of air. The organism is aerobic but I don't know if it 'requires' oxygen. I've grown it in airtight containers without any problem, but usually use petri dishes as they're easy. My advice, to all Physarum growers, is to try different methods and observe behaviours - there's no better way to get to know and understand your pet slime mould than empirical experimentation!
PS: I love the fact that you got your pet slime mould as a Christmas present :) Happy growing...
great thanks for the top tips.
I currently have mine in a tupperware container with a damp tissue and bits of wood and in a shoe box and in a drawer.
Do you know where to buy agar jelly by any chance?
I also have some that is not moving - is this likely to suggest its dead?
Agar powder is sold by many Asian supermarkets. Look for plastic sachets like this
I usually use 110 gram water with 2 gram agar powder. Bring to a boil and keep stirring for about two minutes. Let it cool a bit while still stirring, and then pour the agar over your substrate. Good luck!