My First Aquarium - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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My attempt at a natural planted tank courtesy of my limited understanding of Walstads instructions.

The tanks is a 20g long, I have a heater and a UV powerhead. I used miracle grow and a gravel cap. The light is a cheap nicrew, I didn’t want anything too powerful. I’m prepared to replace it, though I hope I don’t have to.

The plants are from the big chains nearby and a local pond. I’m hoping the moss glued to the clay pots will cover them. I plan to try a red plant in the back left corner and add floating plants. There are 3 Amano shrimp, a Nerite snail and I’ve seen a 1 random snail from plantings. I plan to add fish soon but I’ve just setup over the last couple of days.

I’m open to advice but be gentle I’m new to all of this. I babysat 3 cichlid tanks for a month during a friends move and finally understood the appeal of aquariums.
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Last edited by day10; 06-05-2019 at 11:20 PM. Reason: Re-Uploaded photo after forum move.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 05:45 PM
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I like the way your tank looks. Its fun with the pots and moss. Good job. You have taken on quite the challenge- Walstad set-ups can be tricky. I would take the time to get familiar with this type of setup, keep reading and getting familiar with your plants, lighting, etc...
And only then add fish to the equation.

Do you understand the nitrogen cycle?
Cycling a tank can be variable- for some, it can take a week, for others it can take several weeks. It depends. Looks like you are just starting to show an ammonia spike. Be patient before you add fish, you want to be able to see nitrates with zero ammonia or nitrites before ready to add fish.
Then, when add fish, I would recommend at least 25% water change on 3rd and 6th day as a precaution to ammonia spike as bio-filter adjusts to match the new bio-load. Do water changes as a matter of course through this first week; the benefits are multiple: lower chances of ammonia/nitrite spike, lowers bacterial/parasitic load in water column that could have been introduced with fish, helps rebuild immune system of fish stressed by transport and acclimation.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 06:00 PM
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Great looking tank - really like the way you've used plant pots here.

+1 on what @Discusluv has already said. The tank isn't currently ready for fish and Walstad tanks are much harder. Make sure to do LOTS of reading, and always keep the tank much lower stocked than "typical" tanks.

If you're not 100% set on Walstad's method, it would probably be much easier to go with a more typical set up. Looking forwards to updates either way

Journal
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the thoughtful and encouraging replies.

I’ve done a lot of reading, between her book and forums. I’m thankful for the latter and her Q&A’s because much of “The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium” is above my head. My research is far from complete and I plan on continuing it for a lifetime if I find enjoyment in the hobby.

I understand this could go south quickly but I like the challenge of creating a balanced home for the plants and fish. I’m a little fearful my hardscape is taking up valuable planting room but I enjoy the caves and what I hope will appear as hills.

I don’t plan to add fish for a couple of months. I understand the book says you could stock immediately but I don’t think I have the knowledge yet to deal with emergencies.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 07:27 PM
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Welcome to the forum!

Let me know (feel free to PM) if you want me to move this thread to the Tank Journals section of the forum. Because it seems like you've got the beginnings of a really great journal on your hands.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 08:51 PM
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When I moved your thread over, the system somehow ate your photo. I'm sorry!


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 09:16 PM
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I was wondering why I couldnít see anything.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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I’ve edited the original post to include the photo again.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 11:51 PM
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Embrace the style you are choosing for this tank. Let it be a bit dirty and messy. Try for just water top-offs rather than water changes. Keep all those nutrients in the tank. Use your flow and your lights to balance your fish and your plants.

I like this philosophy: “Simplify, then add lightness”

https://www.lotuscars.com/lotus-philosophy/

Cheers

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 09:54 AM
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Water changes are essential. They remove toxins, excess nutrients, and fish hormones. They replenish minerals necessary for the nitrite cycle and ensure a stable pH.

What a marketing campaign for a brand of car has to do with this is beyond me.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 01:12 PM
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It was just a riff on minimalism. I only pull out enough water to rinse my sponges, and then top off. I'm not dosing or anything, and I probably have a deeper soil and sand bed than some folks.

There is a store in SF where they don't do water changes on any of their tanks, and some are 20-30 years old.


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