Established Walstad Soil Tank Suffering - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Established Walstad Soil Tank Suffering

Hi, just over 3.5 years ago I setup a 125g tank using the Walstad method and for the first 1.5 years I had a showroom tank with zero effort but slowly growth slowed down and the tank was overtaken by black beard algae. It took a couple months to fix that problem although it still slowly grows. I've been turning down the LED lights which obviously hasn't helped growth. Now I almost have no plants left and they are barely growing.

I'm thinking this is happening because the soil is depleted, at it's peak the tank was packed full of plants which probably used more nutrients then the system could produce but now I don't know what to do and hoping to get suggestions.

When I setup the tank it was a long process because I had to soak the soil for ages so I don't think it's possible to replace it at least using MGOPS. I found these fertilizer tabs, do they work good or is there something better?

https://www.chewy.com/seachem-flouri...SABEgKlQ_D_BwE


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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2018, 01:06 AM
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3.5 years is a respectable run, mostly due to slower plant growth with Walstad. ADA recommends replacing their AquaSoil every 1 - 2 years.

With a 125g, you are stuck between two choices: either replace it or treat it as an innert substrate. With an innert substrate we are back to basics: a) appropriate plant choices b) consistent on-going fertilization. With my sand based, low light tanks I use root tabs for plants like swords and crypts (every 2 - 3 months) and water column fertilization for stems and floaters.

You can do much better then Flourish or API root tabs as they are mostly micros. DYI or forum purchased Osmocote+ based tabs are much cheaper and more nutrient comprehensive.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2018, 03:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, I agree I had a good run, I would say I got 2 good years out of it. I should have done something long ago but now I'm basically forced to if I want a decent looking tank.

All these fertilizers confuse me, I don't really want to spend $$$ on overpriced product, I briefly looked around for DIY liquid ferts but quickly got lost. That or tabs are favorable as they sound easy to manage.

Do you have any recommendations for DIY liquid or a source of info that's easy to understand? I don't think I want to go down the road of changing the substrate... I am thinking about getting something to lay overtop though as I've had quite a few carpets of algae in the last 6 months so it doesn't look as good now.

Here's 3 pics for reference, 1st is when I planted, 2nd was basically the peak and 3rd is today.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2018, 06:57 AM
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The jungle look is my favorite also. Yours was a rather nice looking tank at its peak and I am positive you can bring it back.

Using DIY dry mix is the most economical and practical approach on the tank your size. You can get the 4 individual chemicals from Dry Fertilizer | Aquarium Fertilizer (or a similar website with shipping to Canada) and mix them yourself using this https://rotalabutterfly.com/nutrient-calculator.php. It walks you through the proportions and dosage. Or you can buy them already pre-mixed for slightly more $. Shoot for 1/3 dosage recommended for EI and adjust as you go based on the plant mass and light.
About 25$USD in dry fertilizers will last you a year++.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2018, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robsworld78 View Post

Do you have any recommendations for DIY liquid or a source of info that's easy to understand? I don't think I want to go down the road of changing the substrate... I am thinking about getting something to lay overtop though as I've had quite a few carpets of algae in the last 6 months so it doesn't look as good now.
I found this overwhelming too. I decided to start with NiclocG Thrive (Thrive 500ml | Premium Liquid Fertilizer | NilocG Aquatics) because it contains everything you need aside from carbon (which you can dose using CO2 or Flourish Excel as an alternative if you don't want to do CO2). NiclocG does offer several other options including DIY fertilizer packs in both liquid form and non-liquid (Liquid Fertilizer | Aquarium Fertilizer) but I started off with the pre-made stuff to take the guesswork out of it at first. I will eventually switch to their DIY offerings because they're more cost effective.

When I asked about Thrive no one had anything bad to say and my tank is looking fantastic so I'd recommend it too. If you have shrimp there is a shrimp-specific version of Thrive too.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2018, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by OVT View Post
The jungle look is my favorite also. Yours was a rather nice looking tank at its peak and I am positive you can bring it back.

Using DIY dry mix is the most economical and practical approach on the tank your size. You can get the 4 individual chemicals from Dry Fertilizer | Aquarium Fertilizer (or a similar website with shipping to Canada) and mix them yourself using this https://rotalabutterfly.com/nutrient-calculator.php. It walks you through the proportions and dosage. Or you can buy them already pre-mixed for slightly more $. Shoot for 1/3 dosage recommended for EI and adjust as you go based on the plant mass and light.
About 25$USD in dry fertilizers will last you a year++.
Thanks, this is perfect! I would love to bring to the tank back where it was, now it's at a point where I want to cover it when people come over haha...

I assume I would premix 4 containers? Are these the 4 chemicals, kno3, kh2po4, k2so4 and CSM+B?

That calculator is nice, do I select EI Daily? Would I dose all 4 everyday or 3x per week on alternating days between micros and macros?

Quote:
Originally Posted by babystarz View Post
I found this overwhelming too. I decided to start with NiclocG Thrive (Thrive 500ml | Premium Liquid Fertilizer | NilocG Aquatics) because it contains everything you need aside from carbon (which you can dose using CO2 or Flourish Excel as an alternative if you don't want to do CO2). NiclocG does offer several other options including DIY fertilizer packs in both liquid form and non-liquid (Liquid Fertilizer | Aquarium Fertilizer) but I started off with the pre-made stuff to take the guesswork out of it at first. I will eventually switch to their DIY offerings because they're more cost effective.

When I asked about Thrive no one had anything bad to say and my tank is looking fantastic so I'd recommend it too. If you have shrimp there is a shrimp-specific version of Thrive too.
Thanks for your suggestion, I think I'm going to start with the DIY and trust the calculator but nice to have something to fall back on. Mixing it myself will save a lot of shipping costs and my plants can't get much worse if I screw up.


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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2018, 11:21 PM
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Mix kno3, kh2po4, k2so4 in one container as per EI daily and then dose the tank from that container x3 per week. Dose CSM+B on the other 3 days. That should keep it simple. I don't use weighting scales but the measuring spoons. No need to agonize over 0.038 grams. Spoons are close enough.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-28-2018, 06:04 AM
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One of the benefits for not mixing them is more flexibility. For example, one day if there are already plenty of nitrates available in tank then you can readjust the doasage or skip the N

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-28-2018, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, just discovered kno3 is a restricted item in Canada making it harder to find. I found a site in the US but they say be prepared to explain to customs why you are getting kno3, sounds like getting this will put me in a database somewhere lol...


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