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Walstad-Type Natural Planted Tanks


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#1 Guest_Betty_*

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:30 PM

I keep most of my tropical fish (to include livebearers) in Walstad-Type Natural Planted Tanks (NPTs). I really love this set up because it's so low maintenence.

Here's my 125 gallon NPT that's been set up for four+ years now. You can't really see them that well, but there's a herd of Endlers in it. Posted Image

I'll try and get some pics of the other two NPTs with livebearers in them.



#2 Aquaholicman

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 05:58 AM

Very nice tank you ahve there dataguru.

#3 shadowhyrst

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 02:58 AM

While I appreciate planted tanks, both my original interest in Cichlids, and the fact that I feed a lot of food [5-7 x a day, live and flake] have made my breeding arrangement mostly bare tank setups; usually with duckweed for cover and lots of loose plastic plants. Gravel is optional, usually, and water changes frequent when breeding [2-3 x per week]. And catsfish. Lots of catfish. Goodeids get more rounded rocks, and other livebearers get 'streambed' looks, or bare.

#4 melauriga

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 11:08 PM

Gorgeous tank! I actually set up my first Walstad-style tank just yesterday. I see you have had good luck with them. My other tanks have DIY yeast CO2 and Excel dosing. I am really looking forward to not having to fuss with that on this tank. Do you run filters on your tanks?

#5 Guest_Betty_*

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 11:36 PM

NPTs are the bomb. Low maintenence. There's not enough hours in the day for me to tinker around constantly with a high tech set up. With these I pull plants as needed, typically monthly, top them off for evaporation and do good-sized water changes 2-3 times a year or when they act like they need one.

here's a better pic of the 125 from 2/2009
[img width=640]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y130/DataGuru/Walstad125/125NPT090208.jpg[/img]

Some I do run a powerhead in and some I don't. If I don't have the powerheads running in the 125 NPT, based on critter behavior CO2 gets a bit high at nite and/or O2 gets too low. I have multiple other smaller tanks that appear perfectly happy without water movement happening.

This 20 tall only has a heater and 20 watts of 6500K light. It sits in front of a south window.
[img width=640]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y130/DataGuru/Pleco/20GallonNPT090208.jpg[/img]

#6 Oldman

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 11:45 PM

I have one tank that I run as almost an NPT. It is a 40 breeder with 110 watts of light on it. The only concession I make to traditional methods is that I run a sponge filter with a power head to circulate the water. It gets about 3 water changes a year and is producing plants in profusion plus producing a nice colony of Xenotaenia resolanae who mostly ignore their fry and let them increase their numbers quickly. There are a couple of odds and ends of other fish in the tank because I was unwilling to break it down to remove all of the sparkling gouramis and ghost shrimp that were keeping the tank fish ready before I got the resolanaes.

#7 shadowhyrst

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 01:20 AM

I once new a guy who followed that precept, and he only had a 20 gallon tank with Crypts and some Tetras of various species. He fed minimally and only added distilled water to cover evaporation. I couldn't get away with that at all; my feeding loads up the nitrates/nitrites/waste quickly, that's why I change lots of water.
But I do appreciate a nicely planted and managed tank. More power to if you can manage all that.


#8 Guest_Betty_*

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 04:44 AM

In my 125, I have 6 big featherfin catfish, a foot long common pleco, a dozen or so corys, couple of skirt tetras, a dojo loach, several bristlenose plecos, 3 angels, couple of wild bettas, and several hundred endlers, not to mention bunches of snails. So it's not lightly stocked by any means. I feed 2 ~1" cubes of homemade gel food twice daily.

The cool thing about a NPTs is that ammonia gets converted mainly to plant mass, not to nitrAte because the plants are doing the filtering instead of biofilter bacteria.

#9 Guest_Betty_*

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 04:50 AM

Forgot to mention... my webcam is currently pointed at the 125
http://dataguru.org/...ium/webcam.html

#10 shadowhyrst

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 02:27 AM

That looks like a nice part of a river bottom. Looks nice. My tanks come no where close to looking that good, even when I try!

#11 Aquaholicman

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 02:49 AM

I know what you mean shadow, I can never get my tanks to look that good either. I have always had better luck when I individually pot each plant in soil and gravel. I have found that I have better luck growing them when I dont "try". But I must say Betty you have some very nice tanks. Do you add any type of fertilizer or do you just let the breakdown of the soil supply the nutrients?

#12 shadowhyrst

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 01:41 PM

In the local club that I am attending there are two REALLY GOOOD plant people who bring in 15-20 plants per month; all luxurious, big, nice. One keeps rainbowfishes and other keeps nothing but plants. I'm envious when I see their 'Aquarium Beautiful' setups at show, as they have amazing setups. But being more interested in cichlids and breeding and NOT having enough time, my poor looking tanks just have to do, unfortunately. Sigh.

#13 Guest_Betty_*

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 04:51 PM

It's very low maintenence. no water ferts and no CO2. I pull plants monthly for the club auction and top it off. that's about it except for 3-4 water changes a year. Fish food, mulm and micronutrients from the soil feed the plants. Fish and bacteria produce carbon dioxide for the plants and the plants help produce oxygen for the fish. a little ecosystem. It's MUCH less hassle than my big normally filtered goldie tanks which take weekly maintenence.

It's a perfect setup for livebearers with all the plant cover for the young and all the little critters, etc for them to eat. and in this context with the snails and corys, there's no worry with the extra feedings the young would get in a grow out situation. Given how fast Endlers reproduce, I put the angels in as population control. and I feed the surplus of snails and hair algae from the sunny side of the tank to my goldies.

I have a couple of articles up on how to do it
Setting up a Walstad Natural Planted Tank.
http://thegab.org/Ar...alstadTank.html

Step by Step: Setting up a Walstad-Type Natural Planted Tank
http://thegab.org/Ar...adTankDemo.html

Diana runs the ENatural forum on APC, so she's readily available for questions there.

#14 Aquaholicman

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 07:05 PM

Well Betty you have inspired me to create a walstad natural planted tank. Beatufil and easy, how can I not.

#15 Guest_Betty_*

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 10:04 PM

exactly!! :EvilSmile

You may want to run a bottle test on your soil to make sure it's not going to get all pissy about being submerged.

I've used two different topsoils so far. With one, the tank was instantly cycled. The other (in the 125) took months to settle down. leeching tannins, bubbling up gasses. It was a PITA.

#16 Aquaholicman

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 10:20 PM

What were the soils you used?

#17 Guest_Betty_*

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 12:46 AM

The well behaved topsoil for me was earthgrow from home depot. However, a friend of mine in NM tried it and it turned into a nasty mess (too much organics in it). So I don't think you can count on the same brand being the same soil in different areas of the country. The topsoil that took a long time to settle down for me was the cheapest topsoil from lowes. a search of the ENatural forum on APC should turn up some other soils people have used. you want soil with low organic content and no extra ferts or vermiculite added.

#18 Alex

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 12:47 AM

Tell me how to make a tank look like that!



PLEASE?

#19 Guest_Betty_*

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 01:08 AM

It's really not that hard. :lol

Setting up a Walstad Natural Planted Tank.
http://thegab.org/Ar...alstadTank.html

Step by Step: Setting up a Walstad-Type Natural Planted Tank
http://thegab.org/Ar...adTankDemo.html

e tenellus is a good foreground plant. Hairgrass may work, but it likes more light. I'm having a little bit of luck with 4 leaf clover, however, I think it too would be happier with more light.

crypts are great for NPTs because they don't require high light and have good root systems, plus you can get some reds without having to have high light. Same with most of the sword plants. kleiner bar swords are nice because they don't get as large as amazon swords and the new leaves are nice and red.

The sagittaria subulata I have grows like a weed. doesn't stay short tho.

Jungle vals do well.

Any number of stem plants will do fine and are good in the beginning.

Also need fast growing floating plants at first like najas grass, hornwort, duckweed, water lettuce, frogbit, etc.

#20 Guest_Betty_*

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 11:33 PM

some pics of the 125 I took today

[img width=640]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y130/DataGuru/Walstad125/125NPT090609a.jpg[/img]

[img width=640]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y130/DataGuru/Walstad125/125NPT090609b.jpg[/img]

[img width=640]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y130/DataGuru/Walstad125/125NPT090609c.jpg[/img]

[img width=640]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y130/DataGuru/Walstad125/125NPT090609d.jpg[/img]




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