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  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-02-2013 10:52 PM
Flear as i read this, skipping so very much of it.

the salesman from the LFS the OP was talking about, ...

ammonia released from decay, ... ya, this is true, unfortunately plants don't have a preference for ammonia, and thankfully there is beneficial bacteria that do, and they have a tendency to convert to nitrites, and the next stage in the (overly simplified cycle) is bacteria that convert nitrites to nitrates, ... and this the plants accept eagerly.

it's about the easiest source of nitrogen in our tanks for plants to consume

i don't remember for sure, but i think ammonium is the preferred choice for plants for a source of nitrogen, followed by nitrates. ... i could be wrong about the order, it's been awhile.
08-02-2013 10:36 PM
CrypticLifeStyle There's flaws in everything. Anything specific?
08-02-2013 02:37 PM
Misti ahh right the one I was originally at that recommended the Walstad style tanks that led me here. Back to Google. Thank you.
08-02-2013 02:33 PM
ok I can see no help here

ok thanks for the link and Im no hijacker, others have asked their questions regarding this in the same posting as well.
08-02-2013 01:09 AM
Originally Posted by Misti View Post
Im looking to run filter-less in my 2.5 gal tank here at work. Any advise would be helpful.
You should start your on thread on this so as to not hijack the thread.

Here are some filter-less tanks.
08-01-2013 05:47 PM

Im looking to run filter-less in my 2.5 gal tank here at work. There is plenty of light and I have a white fluorescent cfl bulb in the hood. Right now I have about an inch and a half of black sand and some water wisteria and a marimo ball. I have a Marble Gene Betta and 2 Dwarf African frogs. I know I would need other plants but not sure about the soil. I don't use potting soil at home. I use Peat moss with vermiculite and compost added. Really don't want to go buy a fancy soil from the store, but Im afraid of adding general potting soil to the tank whether it has fertilizers added or not. Any advise would be helpful.
07-18-2013 05:43 PM
Originally Posted by driftwoodhunter View Post
Tom, may I ask a few questions on your comments? Very newbie-basic questions, but I only came over from the dark side (aquarium gravel and plastic plants) since finding this site. I added plants thinking it would make life more pleasant for the fish, but without knowing why. So on the first comment; A good fish load can suffice as water column dosing also in a non CO2 soil tank.
I have non CO2 dirt tanks, low/medium light (par). One of the things that always gets me confused when I read about ferts is the macro/micro difference, and what wouldn't be supplied by the soil, fish, or the osmocote tabs I use for my crypts and swords. So unless my plants show obvious nutrient deficiencies, I don't need to do water column ferts? (which I don't now). I pair my plant selections to match my lighting, so I don't have to fight that battle. But how do I determine when I've found the right fish load?
You do not need to add ferts with a dirt style tank, but doing so in small amounts poses no issues I've seen in a well run non CO2 tank. NO3 will run low after about 1-2 years and then more fish feeding will help offset that.
Some dose GH booster once in awhile or Traces.
Not required, but can make the plants a bit nicer.

Fish load: I tend to suggest an overabundance of algae eaters which will also eat left over food. I use common sense here and experience.

I'd not add 6 Discus to a 40 Gallon tank, I'd maybe add 20 nice tetras or 10 rainbows etc. Then a bunch of shrimp, algae eaters etc.

Which leads into; Then you could do water changes or not as long as the fish load/feeding was moderately low relative to total tank volume/plant biomass. How does one know when they hit that magical balance?
There's no magic.

You simply use common sense and error on the lower side and then progressively add more fish/food and see. Plants will tell you. Yellowing leaves on emergent pennywort for example, time to add more N.
Nice green color= things are doing well.

Gardening is common sense based really. Watch. Observe.

Will it be because the water tests will show no accumulating ammonia/nitrites and the nitrate readings stabilize?
Pretty much, assuming your N testing methods are correct.
N can be anywhere from the single digits to 40 ppm etc without any issues.
Main thing is that they do not have large swings.
Most times, in non CO2 systems, they run low, not high, but if you over load the fish and under load the plants.......well.............

Common sense, set things up so you have to add more N, not remove it.

I still have a heavy fish ratio to plants, but I am adding plants as I can. In the meantime it just means more frequent water changes. However the last few times I've done water changes in my 125, the readings have been identical both before and after the w/c. (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 40 nitrate.) Some tell me the nitrate is too high - so I keep doing water changes - some tell me it's ok because of my pH. (6.8) I should add that I also have a Hamburg Mattenfilter as well as a Marineland Emperor 400 HOB in the tank, and behind the HMF I have bundles of Matrix bio media. I'm sure that adds to my nitrification bacteria, helping to compensate for my current light plant-to-fish ratio. The 125 tank also has 1/3 surface coverage due to floating Brazilian Pennywort.
Sounds like you have too many fish frankly, if you have 1/3 area coverage with a floating pennywort, you likely need to change things if the NO3 is in fact 40 ppm. You can use that plant as a good indicator of plant health and N.

I hope this isn't a thread hijack - I thought it might help others if they have the same questions! Now I'm off to check out the Barrreport link

Thank you for your time ~
The article I did on non CO2 is specific to not having soil as the basis, rather, water column ferts. Same general approach, but dosing once a week with a small dose of ferts, basically 1/10 to 1/20th EI.

This way, folks can use plain sand etc, but a mix of both sediment and water column yields the best results IME. Which is also true for land plants.
07-18-2013 05:29 PM
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post

You mean plants actually live in nature without Aquasoil and someone changing the CO2 tank once a month.
Sandy loam clay is what rice paddies grow on, so there is ADA soil laying there in nature, darn near the same stuff, but it's processed and rolled into grains and fired slightly to make a nice crust to prevent cloudiness.
CO2 can/comes from underground caves/springs etc, and we find the best nicest looking plant growth in such locations. CO2 is still there even if not enriched with a gas tank.......and is often limiting for denser plant beds in natural systems.
07-18-2013 04:48 PM
PaulG The only thing I've changed about Walstad's method is more frequent water changes. It's not flawed, it's just different.

I know it's an old thread but still.
07-17-2013 04:10 AM
idleivey Im running 5 NPT/Walstad tanks, most are under 5 gallons. I get great growth and have 1 tank with very prolific WCMs. If your really worried you could start with a small bowl I guess.
07-16-2013 05:39 PM
my dirt tank

my first attempt ever

i dirted it with 1" dirt topped with gravel (because it said instant cycle and thats just not true, it really helped though, and it is good gravel for plants)

i did a water change a day for a week then added fish then did small water changes for another week or so and now i do one a week and top it up often. no co2 low lighting and i am in love with the results ! i do add root tabs now and im in month 4-5 i think.
07-16-2013 05:35 PM
musicmarn1 just adding my thoughts since i too found a lot of resistance before going dirt, a thin layer is great about 1" no more, or even 3/4 capped with gravel, i used activ flora gravel just as an extra pop.

if you mineralize the soil first you do get over that initial bloom where the organic material is broken down, or if you just plant super heavily as i did the first time you get over it that way i never had any algae issues beyond the smallest amount, which the bristlenose loved.

mineralize the top soil by putting it on a tarp outside or in a greenhouse if you can, water it let it really dry then water it again, this activates the process of break down and improves the quality very significantly according to people who use this a lot, its my first time doing it this time for the 90g and i can see why it will make a lot of difference.

but i think you will LOVE the results with dirt, save a tonne of money and never look back ! i was able to run very low lights and extremely heavy planted tank with a lot of fish in there and everyone looks super happy and healthy, i waited a week before adding fish. lots of water changes if you dont mineralize the soil, because there will be excess nutrients and while the plants are settling in you need to get rid of that algae fodder ! but again i had never ever gotten a plant to live before going dirt, and i will never go back now !
01-12-2013 11:14 PM
Originally Posted by Baadboy11 View Post
If the salesman was correct then how are there plants growing in nature?? I don't think someone is coming along and filling lakes and streams with ecocomplete then dosing every day!

You mean plants actually live in nature without Aquasoil and someone changing the CO2 tank once a month.
01-12-2013 08:54 PM
Originally Posted by EntoCraig View Post
In my opinion their really is no 'BEST' method. Some tanks and plant respond better to certain methods.

No need to fix what isn't broken right?
1 had 3 tanks together with 1 light over them. The tank in the middle had BBA. All 3 were set up the same with nutrients dosed.

1 thing I have done, which was told is in her book, is have a siesta period (4hrs off)with my lights. This helps control algae for allows Co2 to build up.

Also you have to consider what plants you have. Some require a rich substrate. Also substrate peeters out in a year at the most.

It it works don't fix it.
01-12-2013 08:10 PM
Originally Posted by slb View Post
Is it possible to have a low maintenance tank with a commercial substrate, with out the decaying matter, simply by occasionally adding nutrients to the soil (something like Seachem Flourish tabs)
Yes. There's a website dedicated to this. It's called Natural Aquariums. Some use soil, some use plain gravel. Most don't use filters. Some use plain gravel, no filter, and just sunlight for lighting.

I used to have a 29 gallon tank that got several hours of afternoon sunlight, plain gravel, old full spectrum lights, no filter and it was pretty. Clearest water I ever had. There's a pic of it in the Luscious Low Tech thread if you search my name. It was jungle-like because I liked it that way, but I suspect you could neaten one up easily enough.

Oops, I just saw the previous post about the age of this thread. Sorry too!
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