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Walstad-Type Natural Planted Tanks

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#21 Aquaholicman


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Posted 11 June 2009 - 12:36 PM

Once again all I can say is WOW Betty. You definetely have a wet green thumb.

#22 earlblewett


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Posted 11 June 2009 - 02:03 PM

Dear FishFolk,

There's also a book giving you lots of information. I have a copy.

Ecology of the Planted Aquarium: A Practical Manual and Scientific Treatise for the Home Aquarist by Diana L. Walstad

I used to keep planted tanks, 20 gallons with 130 watts of light, CO2, few or no fish.

I would highly recommend this book if you are going to keep planted tanks.

Aquarium Plants (Hardcover) by Christel Kasselmann (Author)

Best wishes,


#23 copper


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Posted 11 June 2009 - 06:33 PM

Betty your an artist,as much as I try my planted tanks never look that nice.

#24 Aquaholicman


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Posted 11 June 2009 - 09:33 PM

Well I decided to try my hand at this Walstad-Type method with some crypts. Instead of doing a whole tank though I just potted them. I used a mixture of mainly soil with laterite and some crushed coral. I then topped it off with a layer of gravel to keep the dirt from getting disturbed.

#25 Guest_Betty_*

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 12:20 AM

Pete: I wish! LOL I'm not really geeked up on aquascaping other than tall plants go in the back and short in the front.

Michael: How much laterite did you use?
I had some vague memories of iron being an issue with that, so I did a quick search on APC.


Diana had problems with algae when she enriched her soil with laterite (p. 132: "strong acidity and high humus content of the potting soil solubilized massive amounts of iron from the laterite causing iron toxicity to plants").

from diana

I would not mix laterite with any soil. The manufacturer recommends mixing it with gravel, and I would not divert from that recommendation. Laterite works fine for high-tech tanks, but not for El Naturale tanks.

It's the laterite/potting soil and laterite/peat that I strongly advise against (because of the copious iron release).

If you use a mineral topsoil with very little organic matter (less than 5%), the laterite might not cause problems. But then you don't really need the laterite. Ordinary mineral soils have plenty of iron for plants.

I would urge caution in reusing the laterite. It is unnecessary and may cause problems.

#26 Aquaholicman


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Posted 12 June 2009 - 10:17 AM

Dam*#t, I did not mix a lot with it so hopefully it will not be a problem. One of these days I will get this plant thing right.

#27 Oldman


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Posted 13 June 2009 - 12:48 AM

You have fallen into the same trap that I sometimes find myself in Michael. I read up on techniques in several places and then put it all together into a picture of what to do. Right after I do it, I read that the El Natural method and the high tech EI dosing and the PMMD approaches do not mix well because they use entirely different ways of looking at things and you need to stick to one method per tank.
I gave up on most of the higher tech approaches and bought Diana's book. Now I use a single method and have much better, more reliable, results. I can't get the growth rate of a high tech tank but who wants to trim plants every 2 weeks. This is a hobby for me, not an agricultural job.

#28 Guest_Betty_*

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 04:12 PM

I picked this plant up at an auction several months ago from Joe. It's an Apogeton Boiviaianus. I moved it into the 120 earlier this month and WOW it's grown!
[img width=640]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y130/DataGuru/Plants/Apogeton090609a.jpg[/img]

It decided to throw up a runner and I couldn't bring myself to pinch it, so I thought I'd document the bloom.

The runner is about 8 foot long now. I think it's that long because it kept looking for a way to get above water (there's not much room between the waterline and the glass top in that tank).
The bud was a couple of inches long.
The flower is now almost 5 inches tall.

Sunday when I was doing water changes, it started poking its head above water.
[img width=640]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y130/DataGuru/Plants/ABoiviaianus090628a.jpg[/img]

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#29 sockfish


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Posted 04 January 2012 - 07:09 PM

New here, having found this forum from a post in The Planted Tank Forum. I'm all about planted tanks and have several Walstad bowls set up for shrimp and Betta [separately, of course!].

Dataguru, it looks like you've got a series of clamp lights for your lighting source--I've got this same setup over a 20 gal long, using the new compact fluorescent bulbs [6500K] for my plant nursery. I can get to a very decent PAR using fairly low wattage in this 12 inch tall tank. I find it's a great way to have versatile lighting at the wattage I need [and can switch when I need to just by swapping bulbs] for a lot less money than expensive, dedicated lighting. A single bulb in a desktop light suffices for my Walstad bowls.


#30 gtbrox


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Posted 06 January 2012 - 10:20 AM

I'm kind of confused as to how these walstad, with certain exceptions, can be cycled so quick; I've heard stories of it being as quick as a day. And I read that they need no CO2 supplementation, but does that CO2 come from the same denitrifying bacteria present in the filters of most fish tanks?

#31 Thriftyfisher


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Posted 06 January 2012 - 03:33 PM

There are two reasons you can cycle so quickly in a Walstad type set up.

First, when you add a bunch of plants into the tank you have a massive supply of the bacteria that you need to handle the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates (it’s all over the surface area of the plants). The plants also use these as well. I often temporarily put Najas grass into a tank to remove spikes in ammonia while the other plants establish themselves. Floating plants like duckweed or tank grown water lettuce can also help when a tank is first set up.

Second, Walstad style tanks often use low stocking levels for fish. Because of the low stocking levels and high number of plants, you can add the small number of fish right away.

When I am setting up a tank, I do not cycle, except I might wait a day for the water temperature to come up to the temperature that I want. But, you need to remember I am happy with 3, 4” fish in a 90 gallon tank.

CO2 is not part of a low-tech type set up but can really help plant growth. Just be careful as there is a thing as too much CO2 in a tank.

#32 Guest_Betty_*

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 10:39 PM

I'm going to be a guest on Aqua Botanic Radio- Using soil in the aquarium Saturday 1/28/12 12:00 PM central time


Robert says there will be a chat room and you can call in if you want to ask questions or give me a hard time. :)


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