Anyone Use Diane Walstad Method for Low Tech Tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-18-2015, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone Use Diane Walstad Method for Low Tech Tank?

Setting up my first fish tank with the idea of low maintenance in mind. Done a lot of research and see that every fish tank is as individual as we human beings are.

Proposed Setup:
20 gallon long tank with glass top, Aqueon 30 Filter, Aqueon Pro Heater 100W, 2 medium pieces driftwood, 4 pounds of rocks, 1/2 to 3/5 of the tank planted.

1" layer of Miracle Gro Potting Soil, 1-2" layer of aquarium gravel.

Using 1 fish per gallon rule w/ schooling fish 3 to 1 ratio and algae eaters not counting:
No fish bigger than 2.5 inches, goal for 15 schooling fish, 10 livebearers, 2-3 ottos, 3 ghost shrimp

Planning on buying Finnex Planted+ 24/7 LED when it comes out and running 24/7 cycle.

Maintenance Plan:
No/very little water changes, top off water as needed
No Ferts
Monthly filter change and cleaning of glass
Monthly testing of water once tank is establish and when adding new fish
Trim plants as needed, no rearranging of plants.
Add Nutrients/Trace elements every two weeks (still trying to get handle on this)
Daily feeding of fish, of course

Looking to see if anyone has use Diane's method for their tank and the pros and cons that they experienced. Will likely be incorporating Tom Barr's non-CO2 ideas in the setup also.

Thank you for any replies
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-18-2015, 05:23 PM
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I don't understand. Isn't the whole walstad approach more directed to low tech than anything? If so, yes, a lot of people use the walstad method with good results, I'll sure someone will chime in. I haven't personally tried it yet.

I see you want to add nutrients every week two weeks but very little water changes. Unless you somehow mange to dial in the ferts to exactly what the plants use at all given times, or under dose which we all know isn't the best, nutrients will likely build up over time.

Bump: wait, you wrote both "No Ferts" and "Add nutrients/trace elements". I'm sorry, might be just me but I am confused :P


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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-19-2015, 01:53 AM
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My 4 tanks are walstad.

Comparing your maintenace plan to mine:
No/very little water changes, top off water as needed
-- I never change water.
No Ferts
-- I add K2SO4 and iron chelate.
Monthly filter change and cleaning of glass.
--Clean filter when flow gets very low. Glass cleaning???
Monthly testing of water once tank is establish and when adding new fish
--When adding fish.
Trim plants as needed, no rearranging of plants.
--almost weekly
Add Nutrients/Trace elements every two weeks (still trying to get handle on this)
--as per above
Daily feeding of fish, of course
--of course.


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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-19-2015, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malakian View Post
snip

I see you want to add nutrients every week two weeks but very little water changes. Unless you somehow mange to dial in the ferts to exactly what the plants use at all given times, or under dose which we all know isn't the best, nutrients will likely build up over time.

Bump: wait, you wrote both "No Ferts" and "Add nutrients/trace elements". I'm sorry, might be just me but I am confused :P
Still learning. Just figured out things like Flourish are ferts. So I would have to see how the tank is doing and maybe add a little if needed. The two weeks idea come from different source as they felt with the Walstad method, nutrients would get out of balance over the long run, so you add small doses over the mentioned time period, then take a break roughly every two months with the dosing to allow to get used up.



Bump: Thanks Mariostg. I'll need to look up what K2SO4 is.

So no algae build up on the glass that you need to clean it?

So plants grow well enough to have to trim weekly? Wasn't expecting that since I keep reading slow growth for plants. One article mentioned it as a down side for the method.

Last edited by DHElder; 04-19-2015 at 03:47 AM. Reason: Adjusted reply
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-19-2015, 03:46 AM
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I just started a Walstad 10 gallon. about 1 - 1.25 inches of dirt with about 1/4 inch of gravel cap. I plan on adding more gravel later on. Been going about 2-3 weeks and just finished a water change. No fish yet. I planted it with some free floating Downoi from another tank and it seems to be doing well. One thing I noticed: there are a bunch of tiny white worms about 2 mm long and very skinny. I hope they are still there when i add fish...free fish food.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-19-2015, 02:28 PM
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Low Maintenance Tanks

Hello DH...

Research the use of land plants, specifically Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen) in freshwater tanks, to reduce or even eliminate the need for water changes. it can be done as long as you prepare the land plants and set up the tank correctly. The process is a little time consuming, but pretty easy to do.

B

"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-19-2015, 06:43 PM
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DHElder you've picked 2 great sources for info. walstad and tom barr. i purchased Diana Walstads book and it helped me figure out how to combat an algae issue i was dealing with in my 17 gallon. her book sits along side of my tank now.


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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHElder View Post
Bump: Thanks Mariostg. I'll need to look up what K2SO4 is.

So no algae build up on the glass that you need to clean it?

So plants grow well enough to have to trim weekly? Wasn't expecting that since I keep reading slow growth for plants. One article mentioned it as a down side for the method.
K2SO4 (potassium sulfate) is one of those "dry fert". Amongst other are potassium nitrate and potassium phosphate. It's much cheaper than any prepared solutions.

No algea build up. In normal conditions, there will be little algea as the plants eat up the elements before the algea can. Also, snails, Otocinclus are part of the cleaning crew in my tanks.

Indeed, fast growing plans must be trim weekly. You can have a very successful low tech planted tank. My angels love the Amazon sword and large anubias.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by pink4miss View Post
DHElder you've picked 2 great sources for info. walstad and tom barr. i purchased Diana Walstads book and it helped me figure out how to combat an algae issue i was dealing with in my 17 gallon. her book sits along side of my tank now.
Walstad book is a must. I have both electronic and paper copy.


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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 02:10 AM
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I run three Walstad tanks, no water changes, only topping off, no ferts. I trim the faster growing plants weekly for nutrient export. My oldest is a 10 gallon that's been running for a year with 15 small fish and several cherry shrimps. Nitrates never get over 20, and I haven't run into any algae. These tanks are a dream!
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHElder View Post
So plants grow well enough to have to trim weekly? Wasn't expecting that since I keep reading slow growth for plants. One article mentioned it as a down side for the method.
I see you are getting a lot of comments on the method so ill just butt out of that conversation with my limited experience regarding this

But my guess is the people referring to "slow growth" is probably comparing it to a high tech with Co2. This does not mean it will grow super slow by any means, just slower

PS: Both Tom and Diana are the matriarchs of there fields, and in my opinion some of the best "aquarists" (I may have invented a word here) out there. Great source to choose!


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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 09:39 AM
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By all means go ahead with the Walstad method. I have an outdoor walstad with native fish in it. Its the most neglected and best tank I've had, extremely low maintenance, very less algae, clear water, no electrical tech on it. The initial 2.5-3 months were not that smooth but after that the tank really settled well and now its 1+ years old. I (had to) use garden soil. After a year I do sometimes supplement with root tabs as the nutrients in the soil seem to be diminished. I have never vacuumed the substrate.

One downside maybe you have to be careful when wanting to rearrange plants. I think a water change after doing that helps settle things.


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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
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So plants grow well enough to have to trim weekly? Wasn't expecting that since I keep reading slow growth for plants.

depends how 'preened and pampered' your end result is going to be.. I have a rampant jungle and really like it this way.

it went from this on day 5:



to this on day 15:



I followed a lot of the 'Walstad' methodology with a large number of fast growing plants at the beginning. these keep the tank going until the slower growers catch up - put on enough 'mass' to take over and maintain the balance. I had to go in with a machete. but have since reduced the fast growing plants substantially and now any gardening is every other week. or when needs must.
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
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I followed a lot of the 'Walstad' methodology with a large number of fast growing plants at the beginning. these keep the tank going until the slower growers catch up - put on enough 'mass' to take over and maintain the balance.
It's actually a very good way to get the tank going... Your tank looks nice.


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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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I appreciate all the responses even if you haven't used the Walstad method as any information is helpful. Eutexian, really like how your tank turned out. Has me psyched to get my tank up and running.

Most of my equipment arrived today but my wife wants to redo the living room first before I get the tank running so for now, I will have to just look at tank with my driftwood and rocks and imagine what it will look like. :-) About a two month wait. Oh well, more time to research plants and fish though I think I have a pretty solid list with plants and fish to match the tank, water and lighting. Though I should get the water tested to see what it's make up is.

One side note: my wife is looking forward to the tank as she had 29 gallon tank for about 10 years before she meet me. She's baffed about the idea of water changes and how often some folks do them. She just cleaned the sand as needed, feed the fish and topped off the water. She had a filter, heater and air stone with hooded light. All decorations were plastic. She had little issues keeping fish. Think they had 1 disease in 10 years of running the tank. So it is going to be very interesting putting this all together and see how it all works!
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 11:20 PM
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I think the tank is awesome!


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