Walstad-Type Natural Planted Tanks
Posted 11 June 2009 - 02:03 PM
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)
Posted 11 June 2009 - 09:33 PM
Posted 12 June 2009 - 12:20 AM
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").
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.
Posted 13 June 2009 - 12:48 AM
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.
Posted 03 July 2009 - 04:12 PM
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.
Posted 04 January 2012 - 07:09 PM
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.
Posted 06 January 2012 - 10:20 AM
Posted 06 January 2012 - 03:33 PM
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.
Posted 19 January 2012 - 10:39 PM
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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