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?