Water kefir grains slowing down

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Water kefir grains slowing down

Postby Annemieke on Sat Jun 24, 2017 4:55 am

Can my water kefir grains be tired? They look and smell the same as always, but now take more than twice as long to produce kefir: a week. The temperature has not changed: it is 22-28°C (75-82°F).
The outside temperature has risen greatly but the grains are kept in the airing cupboard so should not be affected by this, and they always have a thermometer by their side.
What’s going on?
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Re: Water kefir grains slowing down

Postby Tibor on Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:21 am

my grains are slowing down as well after about a year or so. It takes longer but still makes good soda. What used to take 5 days total, now takes a week or so.
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Re: Water kefir grains slowing down

Postby xelaris on Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:59 am

I'm glad you asked, there must be a factor affecting your culture.
It is usually (there are many more complex factors at work but i won't list them here) a change in these factors temperature, nutrients, toxins and competition.
We can rule out temperature so that leaves us to nutrients and possibly toxins or some infections.

As nutrients the tibicos as any other microorganisms require a source of carbon, nitrogen and other elements depending on the species.
The sugar is the carbon source but it won't be able to live just on sugar, that is why people also add more complex foods for it like fruits and raisins which also have a source of nitrogen, different sugars and microelements.
My recommendation is try some molasses or unrefined sugars next time, just a spoon will do beside the normal quantity of sugar that you use and a few raisins, or dates. Some even use ginger, apples, oranges (without the peel).
That might make your kefirs spike, it surely did for me :D

As for toxic substances that affect the kefir, chlorine comes to mind.
I use regular tap water but i give it some time to eliminate the chlorine out (if your city uses chlorine for water purification).
Or just make your water reach a roiling boil and you are ok.

As for infection or competition with other foreign bacterias or yeasts i will leave this out sadly.
I have no idea how to eliminate the bad bacteria once it gets a hold on the culture.
Usually the kefir can naturally out compete any natural competition but if it gets weak due to bad nourishing it might collapse.

I heard some people will put them in plain water in the freezer and let them fight it out.
In theory this makes sense since if you give them nutrients the bad bacteria will always outcompete the good ones given the situation.

Good luck!
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Re: Water kefir grains slowing down

Postby pips on Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:09 pm

I'm worried about the effects of chlorine on my kombucha. I read recently that water companies now use ammonia in addition to chlorine in a process called chlorammination or some such thing. This is the kiss of death for ferments in the long run as no amount of standing or boiling will release the chlorine which is bonded by the ammonia in order to keep it 'clean' until it gets to our taps.
I have spoken to my water supplier and they could not be less interested in the trials of Fermentation enthusiasts!
Sad, but that's progress in public health.
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Re: Water kefir grains slowing down

Postby Christopher Weeks on Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:06 pm

I fill three-gallon glass carboys at a convenient spring. Maybe you can find one local to you...http://www.findaspring.com/
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