2.5 gallon walstad bowl setup - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-21-2020, 11:32 PM
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Do you think I could add an electrical timer so that the air pump is only running at night or perhaps during part of the siesta period?

EDIT: I have some plant ideas for this bowl...how do these sound?
- Hygrophila difformis
- Cryptocoryne wendtii
- Christmas moss
- Riccia fluitans (floating...can this plant be dry started?)

Are there any plants (perhaps to replace the hygro) that would turn at least somewhat red in a walstad setup? Also, during the dry start, should I mist the christmas moss (which, of course, would have no roots) with a weak nutrient solution instead of the RODI water I would mist the other plants with in the morning?
I would only use the pump at night. Sometimes it is needed for the first 6-8 weeks until the plants can establish themselves. After that, you most likely won't need it. I've only started using a siesta period for a short time so I can't help you there but since the lights would only be off for a few hours, I don't think the pump would be needed.

I looked up the dry start method because to be honest, I didn't know anything about it. Lol When I set up a tank, once the substrate is set, I add the plants and then fill up the tank. Aside from the moss, I've had all of these plants at some point and they grow well but the crypt may get a bit big for your tank size. Ludwigia reopens may get some red colour. The stems always stayed reddish for me.

I know you didn't ask me about the substrate but what works for me is 1" of soil with 0.5" of gravel.
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post #17 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2020, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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I would only use the pump at night. Sometimes it is needed for the first 6-8 weeks until the plants can establish themselves. After that, you most likely won't need it. I've only started using a siesta period for a short time so I can't help you there but since the lights would only be off for a few hours, I don't think the pump would be needed.

I looked up the dry start method because to be honest, I didn't know anything about it. Lol When I set up a tank, once the substrate is set, I add the plants and then fill up the tank. Aside from the moss, I've had all of these plants at some point and they grow well but the crypt may get a bit big for your tank size. Ludwigia reopens may get some red colour. The stems always stayed reddish for me.

I know you didn't ask me about the substrate but what works for me is 1" of soil with 0.5" of gravel.
Good to know. Maybe I can use the repens in place of the crypts? (I have H. difformis growing like a weed in one of my 5 gallon yeast powered tank, so I can easily take some cuttings from there to use in this tank) I think I may do 1 inch soil under 1 inch of turface. My idea is that the dry start for 1-2 months would allow me to thoroughly fill the tank out with the plants and get them thoroughly established before flooding the tank, thus making the transition to submersed growth less stressful (it would also allow the plants to eat much of the ammonia that would inevitably be released by the substrate if it was flooded immediately).

By the way...thanks for all the help so far, everyone
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post #18 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2020, 02:34 PM
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Good to know. Maybe I can use the repens in place of the crypts? (I have H. difformis growing like a weed in one of my 5 gallon yeast powered tank, so I can easily take some cuttings from there to use in this tank) I think I may do 1 inch soil under 1 inch of turface. My idea is that the dry start for 1-2 months would allow me to thoroughly fill the tank out with the plants and get them thoroughly established before flooding the tank, thus making the transition to submersed growth less stressful (it would also allow the plants to eat much of the ammonia that would inevitably be released by the substrate if it was flooded immediately).

By the way...thanks for all the help so far, everyone
You certainly could. H. Difformis is a nice, fast growing plant which will help use up excess nutrients. If you would still like to have a crypt in there though, you can plant c. parva, if you can find it. It is slow growing but it stays small. Here's a thread listing some crypts that stay on the smaller size.

So that's why people do dry start. It makes sense. I'm assuming this is mainly for aquatic plants that were grown emersed.

Good luck!
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post #19 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2020, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Do you think that Rotala rotundifolia (or its variants, such as 'red' and 'h'ra') would work well?
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post #20 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2020, 09:31 PM
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It could. From what I've read, it needs moderate to high lighting. Low Tech tanks tend to use low to moderate light so it could work. The thing is I don't know if you would get the red colour that you want. I've heard different things about getting red plants to show more red from needing to dose more iron, that starving plants of nitrogen to bring out the reds, to growing them in high light.
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post #21 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2020, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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It could. From what I've read, it needs moderate to high lighting. Low Tech tanks tend to use low to moderate light so it could work. The thing is I don't know if you would get the red colour that you want. I've heard different things about getting red plants to show more red from needing to dose more iron, that starving plants of nitrogen to bring out the reds, to growing them in high light.
Iron won't turn a plant red unless it was so deficient it was at death's door to begin with. Lean nitrogen levels (which are likely in a walstad setup anyway) are a major criterion to getting any Rotundifolia variant to turn red/pink/etc. I'm wondering whether any plants would turn acceptably red in a low tech setup...I'm struggling enough to get decent reds in my CO2 driven tanks (though granted, these are relatively dimly lit).
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post #22 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-23-2020, 01:35 AM
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Iron won't turn a plant red unless it was so deficient it was at death's door to begin with. Lean nitrogen levels (which are likely in a walstad setup anyway) are a major criterion to getting any Rotundifolia variant to turn red/pink/etc. I'm wondering whether any plants would turn acceptably red in a low tech setup...I'm struggling enough to get decent reds in my CO2 driven tanks (though granted, these are relatively dimly lit).
I'm just telling you what I've read. I find the iron one rather odd but the lighting is what makes the most sense. Oddly enough, I've always heard that high tech setups is the way to go if you want red plants whereas low tech like Walstad isn't good for it. Lol I did find this post about a Walstad bowl with Ludwigia repens. It has some really good colour to it so it's obviously possible.

I say give it a try!
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post #23 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-23-2020, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! A very practical issue with this bowl was bothering me last night...what on earth would I stock the bowl with?

EDIT: On giving it more thought...I don't think I am going to turn this bowl into a walstad setup. There's no easily accessible spot in my room I can place it due to its shape, and it is really too small to keep much of anything in it. I will probably give it away to someone who will be happier with it, and then come up with another setup with a 5 gallon (which would fit on my dresser...the bowl is too wide to fit there with what is already on it). Thanks for all your help, though...I think all of this will help me in my future planted tank endeavors.
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Last edited by Grah the great; 08-23-2020 at 05:18 PM. Reason: Change in plans
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post #24 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-23-2020, 06:31 PM
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Thanks! A very practical issue with this bowl was bothering me last night...what on earth would I stock the bowl with?

EDIT: On giving it more thought...I don't think I am going to turn this bowl into a walstad setup. There's no easily accessible spot in my room I can place it due to its shape, and it is really too small to keep much of anything in it. I will probably give it away to someone who will be happier with it, and then come up with another setup with a 5 gallon (which would fit on my dresser...the bowl is too wide to fit there with what is already on it). Thanks for all your help, though...I think all of this will help me in my future planted tank endeavors.
You're welcome!

It's too bad that you're not going through with it but I understand your reasons. The bowls look nice but the only thing you could possibly keep in them are tiny snails or some shrimp.
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post #25 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-24-2020, 12:01 AM
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Thumbs up Dont give up just yet!

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You're welcome!

It's too bad that you're not going through with it but I understand your reasons. The bowls look nice but the only thing you could possibly keep in them are tiny snails or some shrimp.
Dont give up! Thats a perfect little bowl to bring a lot of nature into your setting! I signed up just to reply to this thread. I have a 3 gallon "Walstad" bowl and have had amazing results with it. It is a jungle! I am running a 40 watt/260 lumen GE Reveal bulb in a desk lamp and i get pearling all the time from my Monte Carlo carpet. I currently have 2 Clown Killi fish in there and could have more if i wanted. I put a single Ram's Horn snail in there and now have the original who is dime sized, plus about 30 babies to teens lol whoops. I have Fissidens or Peacock moss and spikey moss, crypts, MC, bacopa in it and i've had other things such as moss balls, etc.

I have potting soil(non-organic = Diana Walstad cringing) capped with eco-complete. I put way too much so it takes up a lot of real estate, like you mentioned. I have 2 inches in the front combined and nearly 3 in the rear. I have also kept a Sparkling Guarami in it but i got rid of him prematurely as i thought he was killing my shrimp... turned out to be my water parameters.

Just do you research on fish that can handle stagnant water. I have no heater, no pumps, no filter, no nada. Just a bowl beneath a lamp and it THRIVES! I do occasionally add a root tab but not many, and not often. I highly advise you try it as it may alter your thoughts on how you approach your next BIG tank. Sooooooooo easy!

I'd post pics but have no idea how to do so. Lemme know if you have any questions as i'd be more than happy to help out.

I hope this helps!
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post #26 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-24-2020, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Dont give up! Thats a perfect little bowl to bring a lot of nature into your setting! I signed up just to reply to this thread. I have a 3 gallon "Walstad" bowl and have had amazing results with it. It is a jungle! I am running a 40 watt/260 lumen GE Reveal bulb in a desk lamp and i get pearling all the time from my Monte Carlo carpet. I currently have 2 Clown Killi fish in there and could have more if i wanted. I put a single Ram's Horn snail in there and now have the original who is dime sized, plus about 30 babies to teens lol whoops. I have Fissidens or Peacock moss and spikey moss, crypts, MC, bacopa in it and i've had other things such as moss balls, etc.

I have potting soil(non-organic = Diana Walstad cringing) capped with eco-complete. I put way too much so it takes up a lot of real estate, like you mentioned. I have 2 inches in the front combined and nearly 3 in the rear. I have also kept a Sparkling Guarami in it but i got rid of him prematurely as i thought he was killing my shrimp... turned out to be my water parameters.

Just do you research on fish that can handle stagnant water. I have no heater, no pumps, no filter, no nada. Just a bowl beneath a lamp and it THRIVES! I do occasionally add a root tab but not many, and not often. I highly advise you try it as it may alter your thoughts on how you approach your next BIG tank. Sooooooooo easy!

I'd post pics but have no idea how to do so. Lemme know if you have any questions as i'd be more than happy to help out.

I hope this helps!
j
WOW...didn't realize the tank needed that little light (I was considering a light in the 350-500 lumen range...which is probably considerably more PAR than that even considering the fact that lumens are not a great reflection of how good a light is for plants). What is your photoperiod on this bowl like? And how did you set it up?
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post #27 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-24-2020, 03:48 PM
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I agree, you'd likely see crazy algae growth with that light. That being said idk how LED vs OG bulb compare but it seems like a lot of light for that size of bowl.

I made mistakes and learned yet still got great results. I have Diana Walstad's book Ecology of the Planted Aquarium (highly recommend yet not necessary) and had been reading up. After work one night i was doing laundry and came across my girlfriends old betta bowl in the top of a cabinet and asked if i could use it. I scaped it that night right then and there with what i had on hand as i was so excited to find a bowl lol

I dumped regular potting soil in the bottom, topped it w Eco-Complete, which is just crushed lava rock. When the EC is new it has a liquid in it with beneficial bacteria that help start a new tank... cant remember if this had the liquid or was rinsed but it should work either way. I should have soaked the soil once placing it inside. When i went to plant in it, the dry soil would float up as i poked plants down into it. Soak the soil and stir it up to get bubbles out and ensure this doesn't happen before capping it. Potting soil does have tiny chunks of Styrofoam in it to keep it from compacting so organic topsoil that is filtered to get the big stuff out may be a better option. I'm considering this for next time.

After the substrate was in, I threw in a chunk of dragon stone then planted as much as i could based on what i had in my tupperware grow out containers next to the window and what i could spare from my main tank. Monte Carlo sprigs across the bottom. Crypt in back. Stuffed the Dragon Stone with moss and Anubias.

Ooooh yeah, floating plants are a MUST as well. I have used Amazon Frogbit with great success however at one point the roots took over and filled the bowl. I had roots that were over a foot long winding their way throughout the bowl and filled it. Lots of it reached down and took root in the soil and pulled a bunch of the substrate that it had attached to up. So now i use less of it and trim the longer roots as they approach the substrate. I have also used Red Root Floaters and currently am using what I believe to be Duck Weed, which came in accidentally on some plants from my LFS… cleaned it out of the big tank and transferred it. More messy but I don’t have to worry about the roots.

I have also experimented with dropping cuttings from my big tank in as floaters such as Rotala Rotundafolia, which I have in there now. Water sprite and Guppy Grass work well.

There are plants specific to this type of setup that you'll get the best results out of but you can always experiment. I certainly have considering this bowl is now over two years old. I have also replinished the soil with root tabs a time or two. Not sure if it is needed but I think over time it may be helpful. The organic soil should continue to break down the things inside it and continue to produce more nutrients and CO2 (yes CO2 from the soil! - I have never done a siesta on this tank but might be worth experiementing with).

Plant heavily as possible from the beginning for best results. Hopefully this helps but let me know if you have more for me!
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post #28 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-24-2020, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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I was going to stock the bowl with mosses (for a carpet), various stem plants, and Riccia (as a floating plant). Also, after doing some research, I think I would also dose excel daily to make it easier for the plants to get enough CO2.
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post #29 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-25-2020, 08:06 PM
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Plant choices should be acceptable but experimenting with different types will likely be needed to see what your setup likes. I try new stuff all the time. Keep in mind that there isnt much room for height in a bowl for something like stems. That being said, they should be slow growing so in this case that's a plus. I do have bacopa doing great in mine.

Excel - skip it. CO2 is created naturally overnight and from the soil(*over time as organics are broken down). Is it the same as pressurized? No way. But i have never used Excel and i have pearling, daily!

Just some more food for plant thoughts.

*edit

Last edited by jjShibbycray; 08-30-2020 at 06:40 PM. Reason: clarification on time frame - reset expectations
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post #30 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-07-2020, 05:15 AM
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I have soft water like you, and only add kH occasionally. I am very lean with my fertilization, though, so that may help. I have never had any issues with a tank crash, except one time when just starting, and it had not been due to pH issues (I put in too much dechlorinator when I switched brands and Bad Things happened). I usually try to choose things that work with my water. Admittedly, my current tank is a 20 gallon, and has been for years, so the larger format may buffer the tank better. I live in a city that publishes DEP water reports yearly, if you live in a city, you may want to check to see if yours does, too. They can give you some in-depth info that you may miss out on if you just have the API and Seachem tests.
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