Diane Walstad going Dutch style? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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Question Diane Walstad going Dutch style?

My 29g was first set up in Summer of 2007. I happened to read Diane Walstad's book at thetime and decided to go that style since I am too lazy to maintain the tank. Following the book, I put one layer of potting soil from Home Depot topped by a layer of regular gravel as the substrate. The plants include 2 Amazon swords and a few others. Fish include angel, guppy, neon tetra, platy, etc. Lighting = 20 W stock light, no CO2 injection, no fertilization.

After a couple months the swords took over and almost covers the whole surface. Algae is minimal.

Well, after more than a year I got tired looking at the 2 big swords and decided to rescape. Early January 2009 I bought a whole bunch of plants and put them in the tank. I also raised the light intensity to 72 W T5. I guess that's very high light level. I also started dosing ferts including N/P/K/S. And I also dose Excel and added a pleco to control algae.

Well after a bit more than a month, I already had to prune the plants 3 times. Currently it looks like a jungle and the plants almost press the fish against the glass. The 4th pruning is coming this weekend. Algae is still under control. The fish are happy, spawning happens almost daily.

This is surprising since I thought the whole idea of Diane Walstad style is to keep maintenance to a minimal. Is the high growth due to the high light level even without CO2 injection? However if I cut teh light the tank will look too dark since the plants are blocking a lot of the light. Or could it be the fertilizers?

Therefore I am facing a dilemma here: I prefer high light, but want low growth. Is that ever possible?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 02:28 AM
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You like cars with lots of HP but don't like to drive over 60mph?

I have the same issue. I like the selection of plants I can use under high light setups but I hate re-scaping my tank every few months. Just 2 nights ago I had to toss about 3/4 of a 5 gallon bucket full of plants. Then I had to spend 2 hours reaching over into my 90 gallon tank replanting the remaining stems etc... PITA

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 02:33 AM
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For what it's worth, the tank looks great.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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You like cars with lots of HP but don't like to drive over 60mph?

I have the same issue. I like the selection of plants I can use under high light setups but I hate re-scaping my tank every few months. Just 2 nights ago I had to toss about 3/4 of a 5 gallon bucket full of plants. Then I had to spend 2 hours reaching over into my 90 gallon tank replanting the remaining stems etc... PITA
Are you also from the Triangle area? Next time you are ready to throw away some 4 gallons of plants please let me know. I am thinking of getting rid of most of the fast growing ones and replace them with slow growers. One man's trash could be another man's treasure.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 04:37 PM
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Would you post a front view of the tank, please.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 05:00 PM
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nice tank, just wondering what's the water parameter are like in your area. I came pretty close to buying a house in the Apex/Holly Springs area last August and might still be relocating in the near future.

thanks

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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nice tank, just wondering what's the water parameter are like in your area. I came pretty close to buying a house in the Apex/Holly Springs area last August and might still be relocating in the near future.

thanks
Here you go:

http://www.townofcary.org/depts/pwdept/labsummary.htm

I am not sure if I understand the report. Could you do me a favor and tell me is our tap water hard or soft, after reading the report? Thanks!
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 07:35 PM
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Hardness, Total, as CaCO3 (ppm) 2007 30.9 24.7 – 36.3 Classified as “moderately soft”
I found this in the report
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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I found this in the report
Oops I missed that. Thanks!
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 10:55 PM
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wow from the looks of it.. tank looks goood.. need more pics
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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Here's the front. The plants are a mess.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 02:38 AM
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Here's the front. The plants are a mess.
That's a nice looking mess. Is the potting soil any special type (organic or non- fertilized?)


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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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That's a nice looking mess. Is the potting soil any special type (organic or non- fertilized?)
Sorry I don't remember now, since it's been 1.5 years. I probably just grabbed the cheapest one that says "Garden soil" or "Potting soil".
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 12:11 PM
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Therefore I am facing a dilemma here: I prefer high light, but want low growth. Is that ever possible?
Could you keep the 72W light and cut the photoperiod back to about 3-4 hours a day? One of my tanks is low tech with 3.6 wpg of light, so i only run the lights for 3-4 hours and I manually turn them on if we have friends coming over who may want to see the tank during the usual "off" period.

The plants grow considerably slower than my other tank and I have not noted any plant deficiencies or problems with algae yet, but other people may know of a long term problem with such a short photoperiod that I'm unaware of.

I really like the variety of plants you have and I think it looks great so dense and untrimmed. I'm surprised I've not seen more people using the potting soil method since it's so simple. I've seen the mineralized topsoil threads but none that sound as simple as what you did. I think I'll have to go get the book!


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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fastfreddie View Post
Could you keep the 72W light and cut the photoperiod back to about 3-4 hours a day? One of my tanks is low tech with 3.6 wpg of light, so i only run the lights for 3-4 hours and I manually turn them on if we have friends coming over who may want to see the tank during the usual "off" period.

The plants grow considerably slower than my other tank and I have not noted any plant deficiencies or problems with algae yet, but other people may know of a long term problem with such a short photoperiod that I'm unaware of.

I really like the variety of plants you have and I think it looks great so dense and untrimmed. I'm surprised I've not seen more people using the potting soil method since it's so simple. I've seen the mineralized topsoil threads but none that sound as simple as what you did. I think I'll have to go get the book!

Thanks for the tip! I sure will try that. As a scientist, I love experimenting!

As for the soil method, I think it takes a little bit of gut and leapfrog in faith to do that. But once you do that, there's no way back. You will simply be hooked by the simplicity of it.
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