5.5G Walstad Method - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Post 5.5G Walstad Method

Scrapped my 1G Hex tank (remember those - pushed for bettas and the like) in favor of of 5.5G rectangular glass tank. Here is what I plan to do:

Tank and Equipment:
Substrate:
  • 2.5 cups pure clay kitty litter
  • 4.5 cups organic potting soil (along with some used potting soil that has earthworm castings)
  • ~2.5 cups of soil from the hex tank.
  • 0.5" cap of gravel (may add more, depends once I can see through the water!)

Flora & Fauna:
  • 1 Lucky Bamboo shoot
  • Anubias bartleti
  • Anubias petit nana
  • Various Crypts (currently have red wendtii)
  • Mosses
  • Planned fauna:
    • 1 Betta
    • Shrimp - lots of multi colored shrimp
I'm open to suggestions for this tank.



Currently, substrate is in, the bamboo is in, and everything is assembled. Just waiting for the soil to settle down to the gravel, and skimmed the top of the water to remove the perlite crap.

"Personally, I would be delighted if there was a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out." ~Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"I can't tell you how many people say they were turned off from science because of a science teacher that completely sucked out all the inspiration and enthusiasm they had for the course." ~Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Last edited by TheGreenWizard; 07-08-2016 at 02:52 AM. Reason: Adding future lighting
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 10:03 PM
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Been a while since my last walstad tank so subscribed to this tread to enjoy through your updates

Sound pretty well planned. It sounds like a lot of cups for such a small tank volume , but I do not know the exact volume of the cup. Crypts are great for walstad. I would put max 2 species of small size.

The subject of Betta and shrimps is open. It can be a coin toss if the Betta will go after every living shrimp, eat only the young or be indifferent. Depending on your main goal for fauna, add the Betta first and add a few shrimp to see the result, or add shrimps and wait for a decent colony with plenty of hiding places and then add the Betta. Also, be aware shrimps of the same species will interbreed and create brown shrimps for neo and taibees for caridina

All the best,
duky

On hiatus till later this year
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-09-2016, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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Soil has settled down, and now filter is running to help speed up the clearing process. Went over to Pacific Aquarium on the Lower East Side, and bought and planted a few of the following: Corkscrew Vals; Ludwigia repens (broadleaf); Ludwigia repens (narrowleaf); Cryptocoryne spiralis; Anubias barteri; and Cryptocoryne wendtii.

They're planted now (spread out through the 5g and the 20gHigh) - will post a picture in the morning once the water has calmed down a bit again after planting. Will be adding java moss and fern to the 5g from the 20g high soon.

I do need thoughts on lighting: I did a bit more research, and I think the LED lights I mentioned above will be overkill for this tank. From the surface of the water to the substrate surface, the water is only ~7" deep. So, instead of those above, I'm debating amongst these:The only problem I foresee is the lack of red light - maybe I'm doing too much nit picking - can someone lend me their thoughts on the matter?

"Personally, I would be delighted if there was a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out." ~Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"I can't tell you how many people say they were turned off from science because of a science teacher that completely sucked out all the inspiration and enthusiasm they had for the course." ~Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Last edited by TheGreenWizard; 07-09-2016 at 04:05 AM. Reason: HTML coding from memory is a PITA
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-09-2016, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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Here's what my tank looks like now.



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"Personally, I would be delighted if there was a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out." ~Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"I can't tell you how many people say they were turned off from science because of a science teacher that completely sucked out all the inspiration and enthusiasm they had for the course." ~Neil deGrasse Tyson.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-17-2016, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Been about 8 days since my last post - everything looks fine and is adapting quickly.

Currently, there is no media in the filter - simply using it as a water mover at this point. Hoping to add more plants into the tank as I get them from a few members that reached out through my WTB thread.

"Personally, I would be delighted if there was a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out." ~Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"I can't tell you how many people say they were turned off from science because of a science teacher that completely sucked out all the inspiration and enthusiasm they had for the course." ~Neil deGrasse Tyson.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2016, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Well, this is unfortunate- some of the Ludwigia repens (broadleaf) & Ludwigia repens (narrowleaf) that I planted has started to melt. I talked with a friend of mine and he suggested I acclimate the plants next time using the same procedure you would with fish... Never thought of doing that but will do so now that I'm getting a lot of plants from a few people on teh boards.

Still deciding on whether to replace that Galaxy II lamp with a LED option - I want to keep this low tech(ish), and I am considering the Finnex Stingray 16" - Thoughts appreciated!

"Personally, I would be delighted if there was a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out." ~Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"I can't tell you how many people say they were turned off from science because of a science teacher that completely sucked out all the inspiration and enthusiasm they had for the course." ~Neil deGrasse Tyson.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-20-2016, 06:00 AM
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Unless you want to start a light collection, why not use what you got already? Give it some time and see how the tank does with it.

If you feel it's too much light, I would add floating plants like Salvinia minima, water, lettuce, frog bit, water sprite, or even a water hyacinth. You can use these plants to serve multiple duties: cutting the light that reaches the tank, keep the tank more stable by consuming extra nutrients and undesirable substances, get a more "wild" natural look with their long trailing roots, provide home for microorganisms and hiding places for fry. Very much Walstad-like approach, imho. By controlling how much of you surface is covered with plants, you can somewhat adjust all of the above.

Another, mid-road, approach would be to let plants like your Ludwidgia grow taller then the tank and start trailing over the surface.

Bump: one type that I left out are lillies. Plants lake dwarf water Lilly (N. stellata) are naturally red, do not require any special care, and their floating leaves do provide shade to the plants below. One choice not to be overlooked.

You get yet another benefit with a light that is a bit above the tank, like providing light to emergent plants. One "green" approach is to plant your HOB (search TPT for pictures and plant selection). That's another way to bring a tank closer to a self-sustaining, self-regulated ecosystem.

In short, I say invest your money into more / other plants before you start changing the equipment you already have. What you got is functional enough.

One side recommendation: put some carboard, paper, plastic mat etc on the outside of the back wall: it will hide the wires and equipment, make your plants stand out more, and let you experiment with different background colors. Try a mirror, black, grey, yellow, blue, orange backgrounds - each one will transform the look of the tank.

Have fun!

Courtesy * Integrity * Perseverance * Indominable Spirit * and Self Control
Tenets of TKD

Last edited by OVT; 07-20-2016 at 06:54 AM. Reason: Lillies
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-20-2016, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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@OVT - thank you for the response. It is one bad habit of mine to not wait things out. Need to work on it. That said, I'll wait a bit before changing things up - I am curious though about the lilies you mention. Might have to go looking for those at the LFS.

The Planted HOB is somethign I want to do but need to figure out how to do it correctly - I've tried on other tanks and have had mixed results...

"Personally, I would be delighted if there was a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out." ~Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"I can't tell you how many people say they were turned off from science because of a science teacher that completely sucked out all the inspiration and enthusiasm they had for the course." ~Neil deGrasse Tyson.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-29-2016, 04:37 AM Thread Starter
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Tested the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates for the first time ever (shocker, I know!) using the test kit I use for my tank at school.

Ammonia: 0.25-0.50 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm

Decided to add a bit of ammonia from a fishless cycle kit I had at school as well, and will wait a day before I test again to see what the parameters are. In addition, I'm also dosing very lightly with Flourish (5-7 drops if that) - so far, so good.

In the mean time, here is an update of what is growing in the tank (bold face = new plants from members here!):
  • Ludwigia repens "narrow leaf"
  • Crypt. wendtii
  • Ludwigia repens "broad leaf"
  • Staurogyne repens
  • Rotala rotundolia
  • Staurogyne bihar
  • Crypt retrospiralis
  • Anubias barteri
  • Anubias petit nana
  • Vallisneria nana
  • Lucky Bamboo shoot

A friend of mine sent me a HUGE shipment of plants after taking down his 20 gallon high. In it, he included Pygmy Chain sword, hair grass (which I might add), Bolbitis heudelotii, Crypt. spiralis, Cyperus helferi, Crypt sp (can't remember the name), and a few other surprises.... Need to get my better light from school in the AM and build up a support for it so that these plants get enough light!

"Personally, I would be delighted if there was a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out." ~Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"I can't tell you how many people say they were turned off from science because of a science teacher that completely sucked out all the inspiration and enthusiasm they had for the course." ~Neil deGrasse Tyson.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Long overdue update!

Tested the parameters-

Ammonia, and nitrite are 0 ppm
Nitrate was between 10 and 20 ppm. I'll do a water change soon (family is in town still).

I have noticed most of my Ludwigia, all of the Rotola, and the Staurogyne bihar melted. Surprisingly, none of the crypts or other plants have melted.

Any ideas why the stem plants melted? It was done in reverse order, I.e., the older leaves went first with the newest leaves staying on the stems. I have been dosing with Flourish Nourish (or was it Flourish Excel? - need to look at the bottle) at 1 mL per week. I honestly don't know what to do.

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"Personally, I would be delighted if there was a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out." ~Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"I can't tell you how many people say they were turned off from science because of a science teacher that completely sucked out all the inspiration and enthusiasm they had for the course." ~Neil deGrasse Tyson.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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Holy Goddess. Time flew!

Still no big critters in this tank. The Pygmy Chain sword, Anubias sp. And the crypts are growing well. My stem plants haven't come back but I have transplanted into it Brazilian pennywort into the filter with some Spiderwort and it's going well. I also transplanted some rotala indica in there hoping it will take.

Oh and light was updated to a Stingray. Plants are LOVING it!!

I'm considering putting in Badis sp. In here however I did read they need some shelter. So looking now to see if I can make a small hide for them...

Suggestions on fauna would be great!

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"Personally, I would be delighted if there was a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out." ~Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"I can't tell you how many people say they were turned off from science because of a science teacher that completely sucked out all the inspiration and enthusiasm they had for the course." ~Neil deGrasse Tyson.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 02:56 AM Thread Starter
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Finally had a free moment to take pictures:

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"Personally, I would be delighted if there was a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out." ~Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"I can't tell you how many people say they were turned off from science because of a science teacher that completely sucked out all the inspiration and enthusiasm they had for the course." ~Neil deGrasse Tyson.
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