Starting a Walstad bowl with DSM
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:47 PM   #1
HokieFish
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Starting a Walstad bowl with DSM


I've decided that I'm going to be taking on a new no-tech (aside from a desk lamp) bowl for my office cube. It's sort of a way to reward myself for getting a new job . The goal of the tank is to be a self contained biosphere for some shrimp (possibly microcrabs) and horned nerite snails. Currently not anticipating adding any fish.
I already have the bowl, looks like the other orbs that people have picked up from the craft stores. Planning to do a dwarf hair grass carpet on the front part so I'm going to go with the dry start method.
I got some good info from others in someone else's thread, but didn't want to hijack his post so decided to start my own thread to ask a few questions about the bowl set up.
First of all, those persons that have used driftwood in their DSM tanks, did you have to worry about it "Un-waterlogging" during the emersed grow out period? My piece of DW has been soaking for 2 weeks now. Tannins have cleared, and it has sunk. The DW will be partially buried in the soil bed so I don't want to disturb things by adding it after the DSM period unless it is going to present some major problems.
I have an 8 week training period before I get my assignment and permanent location, so I figured that would be a good amount of time to get the tank started at home and then flood it once I get my assignment and take it to work.
I want to get it planted over the next couple of days, time permitting, so i'll post pictures once I get to that point.
Thanks for your help and suggestions.
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Old 08-28-2014, 05:40 PM   #2
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Aside from my question about the drift wood, I'm also wondering what plants to go with.
I was originally thinking DHG, but now I'm thinking HC for the foreground (DHG would get too large for this application, since the LFS doesn't have belem). The driftwood will essentially separate the foreground from the back ground. In the back I would like some color, so I was thinking Ludwigia on one side and then a good sharp green of a dwarf Sag. Maybe a banana plant in the midground. My thought is to continue to let the Ludwigia grow beyond the water level and have it drape over the back of the bowl.
So, that being said, any comments or suggestions? Should I get everything to start with or do the DSM with just the HC and some of the smaller plant? What sort of light should I look into? I was thinking just a tall desk lamp, but what intensity of light should I be looking for? Thanks!
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:15 PM   #3
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I love the idea of a little no-tech tank on a desk! I agree with avoiding the hair-grass. I've found it essentially unchanged in my emmersed setup and it's been almost 2 months. Still just the same little patches I added. It hasn't died, just hasn't spread at all. The HC has about covered my foreground completely now in the same time. However, I don't think HC will survive in a no-tech environment once you flood it. My suggestion for you instead is hydrocotyle tripartita (sp. Japan). Emmersed it grows a lovely carpet of little leaves (maybe 1 cm across) and grows quite quickly. I can't speak on how it transitions to being submersed, but I do know it can be grown in low tech tanks. This should work well with the dwarf sag growing together. Both can be grown emmersed.

The ludwigia will grow great DSM! That stuff will grow like crazy, IME. I find that it doesn't have the strongest stems and tends to crawl across the substrate until it hits a wall and then changes directions, but if you manually support it until it's over the edge of the bowl, it should work out that it will survive above and below the water level.

As far as the driftwood...I'm not sure. You might actually see some heavy mold growth keeping it emmersed after it's been soaked...not sure. I've seen some on mine that wasn't soaked but it in a bowl like that, it comes and goes. I spray a dilute solution of Excel every so often to keep that at bay.

I just use a desk lamp. I don't have mine flooded, but the emmersed setups grow quite well using a 6500K CFL. I started with a 13w (60W equivalent) but then jumped up to the 100W equivalent instead. The plants are growing quite well. When you have it dry, you can blast the light, 12 - 14 hours a day is great.
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:52 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input Ethan. Hydrocotyle Tripartita isn't an option I had explored. I had thought of Glosso. My other thought was sandwiching some Riccia between some plastic mesh to anchor it and forming a carpet that way. So many options
I have seen a few other no tech's dirt bowls that have worked with HC, this is bowl. It's funny because I had this idea, and then found a thread where someone did almost the exact same thing.
I may need to dose a little bit more, but I would think that with the right conditions, HC can be done.

Last edited by HokieFish; 08-29-2014 at 01:07 PM.. Reason: added comment
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Old 08-29-2014, 07:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HokieFish View Post
Thanks for the input Ethan. Hydrocotyle Tripartita isn't an option I had explored. I had thought of Glosso. My other thought was sandwiching some Riccia between some plastic mesh to anchor it and forming a carpet that way. So many options
I have seen a few other no tech's dirt bowls that have worked with HC, this is bowl. It's funny because I had this idea, and then found a thread where someone did almost the exact same thing.
I may need to dose a little bit more, but I would think that with the right conditions, HC can be done.
Heh, well that's news to me about HC. I've had some die on me in a hi-tech setup before, haha. Best of luck then!

I love the hydro. Stuff grows like crazy above and below water. I like it a little more grown emmersed though, I must say. Darker green and slightly smaller leaves. Riccia could look nice too. Definitely lots of options!
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Old 09-03-2014, 04:45 PM   #6
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Working on ordering plants, and getting my prep work done.
New question... I'm planning on doing a DSM Walstad. I have picked up the Miracle Grow Organic soil that seems to be the popular choice. I also have black sand that I'm going to use to edge the bowl and cap the soil. Is there any benefit to adding a layer of Flourite? If so, should i add it either under the soil on or top of the soil (below the sand cap)?
Thanks guys!

Last edited by HokieFish; 09-03-2014 at 04:46 PM.. Reason: edit
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