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Category: DIY equipment & Teks

Bottle-tek or how to grow mushrooms in plastic bottles

Bottle-tek or how to grow mushrooms in plastic bottles
Bottle-tek guide by Shroomok

Easy guide for growing mushrooms in a bottle

This guide are going to show you simple and cheap technique for growing mushrooms at home. This method is newbie-friendly and minimum stuff required here.

Bottle-tek as easy method for mushroom cultivation at home
Bottle-tek: cheap and easy method for mushroom cultivation at home
Bottle-tek, mushroom yield and cat by Slipkote - Shroomok Growers Community
Bottle-tek, GT mushrooms growing

What is bottle-tek?

Bottle-tek is a technique of mushroom cultivation, when we use large volume plastic bottles (5-7 liters or even 15-20 liters) as a fruiting chamber for mushroom fruiting period. This is an alternative option for Grow Box or MonoTub in amateur home cultivation

Growing APE mushrooms in bottle
APE mushrooms, bottle-tek

πŸ”΄ Check out other teks:

DIY GrowBox for mushrooms

DIY MonoTub for mushrooms

Pros and cons of bottle-tek

Bottle-tek: advantages and disadvantages. Photo by Slipkote - Shroomok growers community
Bottle-tek: pros and cons
The main advantages of growing mushrooms in plastic bottle

βœ… Cheap method. You don't need to buy a large plastic container for a Grow Box or Monotub and additional accessories like: hygrometer, light, aquarium compressor or small fan. This means you can save a good deal at the start. In fact, the bottle is both a tray for mushroom cake and Grow Box at the same time.

βœ… Available. In any supermarket you can buy a 5-7-liter (1,5-2 gallons) bucket of drinking water.

βœ… Easy and simple. Bottle-tek doesn't require special additional equipment. You don't need to plug anything in. Bottle-tek requires only one-time adjustment to ensure full growth conditions for mushrooms inside. Additional devices for air exchange and humidification are not required (you can provide everything manually). The process of preparing the bottle is clear to any beginner who has never grown mushrooms.

βœ… Rehydration and preparation for a new flush of fruiting can be done directly in the bottle tank.

βœ… Compact and stealth method. Doesn't take up much space. Such bottle tank can be easily hidden in a small cupboard or inconspicuous corner from the prying eyes of visitors to your home.

Bottle-tek is a stealth method for mushroom cultivation
Bottle-tek is a stealth method for mushroom cultivation at home. Easy to hide it
The main disadvantages of growing mushrooms in plastic bottle

βž– Beginners face with the problem of maintaining the correct microclimate in the bottle tank. Sometimes mushrooms receive too little oxygen or cover layer dries out.

βž– Monitoring the microclimate in the tank is done "by eye", without any gauges. But a basic compact thermometer and hygrometer are easy to place in the bottle.

βž– It is not convenient to take out the mushroom cake if you have to pick mushrooms from the sides.

What equipment do you need for bottle-tek

List of needed stuff for mushroom cultivation in plastic bottle
What equipment do you need for bottle-tek

For the bottle tank as a fruiting chamber you need to prepare:

1. Plastic bottle of 5-7 liters (1.5-2 gallons)

2. Sharp knife or scissors.

3. Soldering iron or heat gun.

4. Aluminum foil or thick black film (for example, black garbage bags).

5. Scotch tape or masking tape.

6. Breathable synthetic patch (omnipore, micropore) or synthetic foam.

7. Cotton pads - 1-2 pcs.

8. Ethyl alcohol 70% or any disinfectant.

9. Ready for spawn to bulk spawn jars.

10. Sterilized or pasterized secondary substrate (coconut mix).

For making mushroom cake in bottle you need:

βœ… 700 ml-1 liter of grain spawn or ~24-34 oz. (grain spawn is a fully colonized grain with mycelium).

βœ… 1 liter (~34 oz.) of pausterized or sterilized bulk substrate (based on coco coir, vermiculite, gypsum).

βœ… Casing layer is optional (sphagnum, vermiculite, hydrated lime).

What ratio of spawn to bulk is the best?

πŸ”΄ Shroomok recommendation is 1:1 ratio of spawn to bulk for beginners. Why? The more spawn with strong mycelium, the faster the secondary substrate (coco peat soil mix) will be colonized. This reduces the chances for molds and increases the chances of successful harvest. But this is only recommendation!

You can proceed with 1:2 or even 1:3 ratio of spawn to bulk substrate (coco peat soil mix). But in this case it takes more time for colonization and increases the risk of contamination.

What is the optimal volume of substrate for bottle-tek?

πŸ”΄ The optimal volume of substrate in a 5-7 liter (1.5-2 gallons) bottle tank is about 1.3-2 liters or 44-68 oz. (or no more than 1/3 of the total bottle volume). Why? The mycelium will need a free volume to breathe and for air exchange. It makes no sense to build a tower in a tank more than 12 cm (or 4.7β€³), because only the top of this cake will produce mushrooms.

πŸ”΄ Check out how to prepare bulk substrate: Making mushroom cakes, Spawn to Bulk and Casing

Scheme and process of preparing plastic bottle for mushroom cultivation

Bottle-tek scheme for mushroom growing
Bottle-tek scheme for mushroom cultivation
Bottle-tek scheme for mushroom growing
How to prepare bottle for mushroom cultivation

1. Take a clean plastic bottle with a capacity of 5-7 liters (6-liter bottle pictured) or 1.5-2 gallons. Mark the cut line and air vents with a marker (red).

List of needed stuff for mushroom cultivation in plastic bottle
What equipment do you need for bottle-tek

2. The substrate level with the casing layer (black line) will be within 8-11 cm.

Bottle preparation for mushroom cultivation
Make marks with a marker according to scheme and indicate the level of the substrate

3. Cut the bottle along the red cutting line that divides the bottle in half.

Bottle tek and how to prepare plastic bottle for mushroom cultivation
Cut the bottle in the middle

Leave one edge intact to make it easy to open/close the "cap" of the tank. You can cut it off completely if that seems more convenient to you. It's a matter of convenience and not a matter of principle at all.

Bottle tek in mushroom growing
Ready bottle for further steps

4. Make ventilation holes (~1cm in diameter) on each side of the bottle with a soldering iron or heat gun. The first level of air vents should be 1-2 cm above the top level of mushroom substrate. The second, third and fourth levels of ventilation holes are placed above the cut line of the tank. Level 2-3 are optional, but I recommend them for normal air exchange and natural draft. If there is too much air and the substrate dries out, they can be closed at any time.

Make air ventilation holes in the bottle
Make air vents with heat gun according to the scheme

Shroomok recommendation on Amazon:

Soldering Iron Kit, Ceramic Thermostatic Design - $19.99

Adjustable Temperature Solder Gun Kit - $37.95

Professional Soldering Gun Kit, Three Tips, Solder in Carrying Case - $39.49

Another example of bottle-tek for mushroom cultivation by Shroomok growers community

Magic mushroom cultivation in plastic bottle
One more example of bottle-tek. Photo: mrzimm on Discord

A variation of rectangular air vents from 2 sides. You can also place a compact thermometer and hygrometer inside the bottle.

Version of bottle tek for mushroom cultivation at home
Another version of bottle-tek for mushroom cultivation

Shroomok recommendation on Amazon:

Govee Bluetooth Digital Hygrometer, Thermometer with Remote App $12.99

Mini Thermometer Hygrometer, Data Storage Export 13.99

AcuRite Digital Hygrometer with Thermometer $14.99

2-in-1: Professional Digital Hygrometer, Thermometer - $17.99

5. Wrap the bottom of the bottle (substrate level) with thick black film (like black garbage bags) or aluminium foil. If you don't do this mushrooms will follow the light and grow on the sides. Such fruit bodies turn out crooked, aesthetically unattractive and inconvenient to pick them.

Bottle tek guide. Wrap bottle from the sides to hide from the light
Wrap bottle from the sides with black plastic bag or aluminium foil to hide from the light

6. Treat the bottle inside with ethyl alcohol (70%) or any disinfectant.

Bottle tek guide step by step
Treat bottle with ethyl alcohol 70% or any disinfectant

Just wipe it with a cotton pad soaked in ethyl alcohol or any disinfectant.

Bottle-tek guide for mushroom cultivation. Treat bottle inside with ethyl alcohol 70% or any kind of disinfectant
Wipe the bottle inside with cotton pad soaked in ethyl alcohol 70% or any kind of disinfectant

7. Fill the bottle with spawn and bulk substrate (coco mix) in 1:1 ratio. Mix it carefully. The mushroom cake should be ~7-11 cm.

Make spawn to bulk in the bottle
Fill the bottle with mushroom spawn and bulk substrate (pausterized or sterilized coconut mix)

Cover this mushroom block with a top casing layer of bulk substrate no more than 1 cm. Thus, you'll get a mushroom block in bottle about ~8-12 cm.

Cover mushroom cake with top casing layer ~1 cm
Cover mushroom cake with top casing layer ~1 cm

9. Close all air vents with airtight tape or Duct Tape for colonization period. Close and tape the cut line of the bottle as well.

Bottle-tek guide or mushroom growing technique in plastic bottle
Close air ventilation holes with airtight patch or scotch tape

Shroomok recommendation on Amazon:

Transparent Duct Tape, Ultra High Performance Weather Resistant Tape - $12.88

10. Place the prepared bottle with the substrate in a dark and warm place (+21Β°...+25Β° C).


Colonization period in bottle

Wait till mycelium colonized top layer by 50-80%. It takes 3 to 7 days.

Such substrate is ready to start fruiting period

Pinhead initiation and start of fruiting period
Pinhead initiation and start of fruiting period

One more example. Ready for fruiting period as well

Mushroom cultivation technique in plastic bottle. Mushroom cake ready for fruiting period
Mushroom cake ready for introducing fresh air and start of fruiting period

Now open the air vents and seal them with a breathable synthetic bactericidal tape (omnipore, micropore tape).

Bottle-tek guide. Mushroom growing in plastic bottle. Open air ventilation holes and use micropore tape for air vents
Open air vents and use micropore tape to avoid contamination from the air

You can use synthetic Filter discs or Polyester fill. This will provide oxygen access and fresh air exchange for mushrooms. The micropore tape or synthetic discs or poly fill protect against the entry of mold spores from the air through these air vents.

Shroomok recommendation on Amazon:

3M Micropore Tape 1530-1 (2 rolls) 1 x 10 yards - $4.39

Micropore Surgical Tape - 3m - 2" x 10 YD - 6 rolls - $8.80

Polyester Fiber, Premium Fiber Fill - 100/150/600/700/900g - $9.99

Fruiting conditions for mushroom development in the bottle

Bottle tek example from Shroomok growers community
Bottle tek and active mushroom fruiting inside the bottle

Since air vents opening the fruiting period starts. You should provide the necessary climate conditions for pinhead initiation and normal mushroom development.

βœ… Provide fresh air and spray the walls of the tank with clean chilled boiled water or clean drinking water.

βœ… Keep the temperature about +21Β°...+23Β°C (70-74Β°F).

βœ… Maintain a relative humidity ~92-99% by spraying the walls of the bottle. How to spray the bottle? You don't need to open it every time. You can spray by opening the top lid of the bottle. In this case small water drops fall on the mycelium, but it's not a problem. Make sure no puddles form on the mycelium!

βœ… If there is not enough air exchange the ΠΈΡ‰Π΅Π΅Π΄Ρƒ should be opened and ventilated additionally 2-3 times a day. But if all air vents are made properly, natural ventilation through the vents will be enough.

Be patient and wait for pins and primordia.

πŸ”΄ The first pins and primordia usually appear after 7-14 days. Don't terrorize fungus with your curiosity and impatience every 5 minutes. Leave them alone and nature will do the rest πŸ˜‰

Here are some examples of pinheads and fruit bodies formation at different stages of mushroom life cycle.

7 days after introducing fresh air. The start of pins development. Small white pinheads in a few days turn into small mushrooms.

Pinhead initiation for bottle tek. Bottle tek mushroom cultivation guide
Pinhead initiation and first pins in bottle

9 days after introducing FAE. White pinheads form the first rudiments of future mushrooms and their brown caps.

Bottle-tek and start of fruiting
First pins and primordia development

12 days after introducing FAE. Active phase of mushrooms development

How to grow mushrooms in plastic bottle
Start of mushroom fruiting

Quality check :)

Funny mushroom growing
Expert check!

13 days after introducing FAE. In 1-2 days such mushrooms are ready for harvesting.

Active phase of mushroom fruiting in bottle
Golden Teacher fruiting in bottle

Bottle-tek and mushroom cultivation examples

A few more examples of mushroom cultivation using the bottle-tek method.

Bottle-tek by Shroomok growers community
Golden Teachers

Mushroom fruiting in plastic bottle. Magic mushroom harvesting
Golden Teacher magic mushrooms fruiting in plastic bottle
APE mushroom growing
Bottle-tek for Albino Penis Envy cultivation
Mushroom harvest in bottle
Mushrooms ready for harvesting
Mushroom harvest from a bottle. Bottle-tek by shroomok growers community
Mushroom growing in a bottle
Magic mushroom giants and bottle tek by Shroomok growers community
Magic mushroom giants and bottle tek

If you find this guide helpful, please support and πŸ„ Buymeacoffee

Have a happy growing and magic bottles!

πŸ“Έ More photos in Bottle Tek photo gallery

Brian Harris AKA Psilocyborg

I had to laugh when I saw the bottle tek! For over a decade I've used 2 liter pop bottles cut in half about 1/3 up from the bottom, leveled the cut edges and made an inch high slice in the upper part so it will fold in enough to fit back into the bottom half. Then i put about 1 cup of perlite and enough hydrogen peroxide to saturate it and then add an inch layer of sterilized vermiculite. The vermiculite must be sterilized or it will autocontaminate with trichoderma mold. Baking in the over for dry heat sterilization is fine but I fill quart jars to almost the top and add water until there's about 1/2 inch in the bottom and pressure cook it. This acts as a casing layer, moisture reserve and it keeps fruitbodies from growing upside down as a photogenic response to light reflecting from the perlite layer which is just another moisture reserve. Then I pop either a half pint or a pint PF Tek cake in (or make a sandwich with 2 half pints and add a spoonful of the vermiculite on top of the cake as a second casing layer. I only use peroxide with these and at each harvest the cake gets a thorough spray down with peroxide. For air exchange I take the pop bottle cap off and stuff a cotton ball in there or use a coffee filter and twist tie to seal it off. Half ounce per 1/2 pint cake is the usual end dry weight with 7 gram first flushes.

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