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Why did my SCOBY sink?

Is it bad if your kombucha SCOBY sank? And should you do something to fix it? Answering this common kombucha question here!

It’s a question I get all the time. “My kombucha SCOBY sank! Is it dead / broken / moldy / still working?” I’m here today to tell you that it is perfectly okay if your SCOBY sinks!

And while a SCOBY may sink or float around the kombucha, a new baby SCOBY will likely form on top. This is also okay! A SCOBY forming on top of kombucha indicates healthy kombucha, but a sunk SCOBY doesn’t necessarily indicate unhealthy kombucha.

The SCOBY will continue powering the kombucha reaction, regardless of where it decides to hangout in the jar.

kombucha scoby in a jar

Why your SCOBY sank

There are a few reasons why your kombucha SCOBY may have sunk. The most obvious is physics! When you drop in your SCOBY, it will initially sink but then slowly float back up to the surface. As carbonation develops in the brew, it will lift the SCOBY back to the top.

If the natural carbonation of your first fermentation kombucha is slowed, this could cause the SCOBY to sink. Carbonation, which is a bi-product of the yeast, could be slowed down by a drop in temperature or inactivity of the yeast.

With that said, not all SCOBYs are created equally! Your SCOBY may be more dense and heavy, which could cause it to perpetually sink.

Signs of an unhealthy SCOBY

While a sunken SCOBY does not indicate an unhealthy SCOBY, there are a few signs you should look out for:

  • Dry or fuzzy (circular) patches, which would indicate mold
  • White, gray, green, or black areas, which would also indicate mold
  • A completely black or shriveled SCOBY, which could mean a dead SCOBY (this is rare)

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