I've had my starter for over a year now (I got it from breadtopia.com) and while I don't think it's dead, it's always been rather weak when it comes to the rise. I live in a colder enviroment (San Francisco) so I'm set up a ghetto incubator that is basically a cooler with a lamp connected to a dimmer and a thermometer. I try to keep the temperature around 78-82 degrees F.
I've neglected it and it's even weaker, developing a layer of hooch within 24 hours of feeding (I tend to stir it back in). Am I to assume that if it was completely did I wouldn't even get any hooch?
The container I feed it in I leave ajar, but the cooler is completely closed (it's a rather large cooler, the kind that takes two hands to carry). If the cooler is getting opened once a day for the feeding, is that enough air for the starter or does it need more air?