Diana Walstad's Methods Discussion
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Old 10-27-2003, 05:10 PM   #1
hubbahubbahehe
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Hi, I thought it would be interesting to have a discussion on Diana Walstad's approaches, review them, and talk about our experiences using them.

For example,

(1) Using a soil substrate
(2) Placing a tank near a window and using sunlight
(3) Doing less water changes, some of her tanks go for 6 months without a single water change
(4) Using fish food as the primary fertilizer for plants.
etc.........


She has a lot more methods than that. You could address some or all of them and also add other methods of hers.

(This is from her book Ecology of the Planted Aquarium)
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Old 10-28-2003, 05:04 PM   #2
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Are you talking about the first edition or the second edition? I'm hoping some corrections were made between the two.
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Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

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That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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Old 10-28-2003, 05:06 PM   #3
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there's different editions? yikes. I don't know which one i have.

Anyway, do you notice something strange about the first one or something?
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Old 10-28-2003, 05:12 PM   #4
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I don't have my copy of the book handy to give you any specifics. But I do know I have the first edition and my wife was getting tired of my rantings about the content.
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Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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Old 10-28-2003, 05:15 PM   #5
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Okay hi again, I just checked my book , and mine is the second edition. What don't you like about the first edition?

I'm thinking that not much has changed.

Have you tried any of her methods?
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Old 10-28-2003, 05:26 PM   #6
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Her methods? I've been using soil substrates for 15 years or so, I have my own methods. That avatar is a pic I took last week of a flower from my 8 year old lace plant.

My major complaints were the inconsistencies between the recommendations and the science. I was disappointed by the lack of application of the science.
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Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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Old 10-28-2003, 05:29 PM   #7
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Yea Sean, you are right. Sometimes, what she says in one page contradicts what she says in previous pages. It confuses me sometimes because I study it like I study a textbook , but unfortunately I can't ask her.

Perhaps, you could share your methods with us. You have so much experience, everyone on this website can benefit from your wisdom. =)

Joe
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Old 10-31-2003, 07:58 AM   #8
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The main draw back to her method is you are light limited, and C02 limited and growth using her method is slow. The choice of suitable plants are limited.

Roger Miller pointed out in the same conversation in my forum that low light/low tech tanks have slow growth, so when you prune plants or have damaged plants, it takes much longer for them to recover than they do in moderate to bright light tanks with elevated C02 levels.

You will not find any light demanding plants in her set ups, or lush carpet foregrounds. No Riccia covered bottoms, or intricate designed landscapes. No brightly colored red plants either. Her own pictures are good examples of how poorly a low tech tank aquascape can look. Even the health of the plants in her picture looks marginal. Her book is an interesting read and theory, but I believe somewhat misleading to beginners. At least misleading to the segment of the hobby who are attracted by the shear beauty of Amano like or Dutch like planted aquariums with rich colors and contrast.
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Old 10-31-2003, 04:10 PM   #9
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Mr. Robert,

You bring up many good points. And in fact, it is misleading because people think they can grow Amano tanks using her methods. (Heck, I thought I could). I'm starting to understand that dosing, and added CO2 really, really help. Perhaps Mrs. Walstad could have put up some pictures so we could see the full potential of one of her tanks and decide whether we want them or not.

I must admit that I do like the soil method though. Fluorite works too. And Eco-complete. But it just seems more natural.

a comparison of kitty litter vs. soil, kitty litter worked OK, but with soil, my plants shot up HUGE leaves, almost to the point that it looks like a different plant. Really, the bottom part of my plants (grown in kitty litter) are so much smaller than the new growth. It's really interesting to me how big of a difference it truly is.

But then again, I 'm thinking maybe I didn't dose correctly with the kitty litter, that the soil had some more nutrients which allowed the plants to take off. So I guess that if you dose correctly with kitty litter, then you could have the same results, but my dosing skills are nil.
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Old 11-03-2003, 07:59 AM   #10
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I have never seen her participate in any public forum except APD, and that was several years ago. And somehow I do not think she would be too interested in trying to prove her practices! Soil based tanks can work, do work, but can also be supplimented with higher light levels and elavated C02.

She comes from a segment of the hobby that is most interested in plant biology and the science of the hobby, rather than the asthetics. I know someone who grows his plants in bare bottom tanks in pots with no fish. He simply likes to watch his plants grow.

There are elements of her practices that have been in use for a long time. The traditional dutch tank has lower light levels than we may use, and a very low fish count. Plant growth is slow and maticulous, and it is generally expected that a dutch tank takes several years to mature. But the advances in technology and what we have learned in the last ten years has changed even that tradition to blend with C02 use and fertilization methods for faster and more vibrant growth.

I equate aquarium gardening to outdoor gardening. If you want to plant a garden outside, you can go about it basically in one of two ways: you can go "low tech" by simply putting the plants in the ground, and water them and hope they grow, or you can learn what conditions the plants need to flourish and give it to them. That may mean changing the soil, knowing what to feed them, and learning what special care they need. You can get high tech by how you arrange the plants and what you do to get larger growth, richer colors and so forth. You manipulate the conditions, but its still nature at work.
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