First time with diy substrate walstad style.... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-20-2014, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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First time with diy substrate walstad style....

I saw this link: http://www.theaquariumwiki.com/Walstad_method

And descided to go for it for the first time ever... im planning to test it in a 2ft tank, then if im sucessful, ill go for a 150g (currently my turtle tank). Here are the steps im planning on....

1) organic potting soil with no chemical ferts or manure 1" deep
2) laterite clay or powder sprincle on potting soil.
3) fine river sand/soil on the top...

Please let me know if im correct... what about cycling etc...
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-21-2014, 03:09 PM
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It'll work, but I'd prefer the laterite at the bottom though. Anyway iron becomes available at lower redox levels, which generally means deeper soil away from the water column. Oh I saw your thread on the substrate page. There is really no need for crushed coral in the substrate. Calcium deficiency is extremely rare in aquariums unless you use RO water exclusively or something

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-21-2014, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, then I wont use crushed coral... jus read smwhere to use dolomite for cal amd mag... so was planning to use crushed coral... sorry had to repost there, coz no1 was replying here...
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-21-2014, 03:57 PM
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Crushed coral would get you cal, but not MG. You can add crushed coral into your filter if you want, this also gives you the option to remove it, if you want a lower gH depending on what fish/plants you keep.

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-21-2014, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Iv never added it in my planted tanks ever though since I have used ada everytime... so if its not necessary, I wont use it...
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-21-2014, 05:07 PM
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Dolomite has a strong action.
I dusted perhaps a tablespoon of dolomite sand on the bottom of a 29 gallon tank, and used Soil Master Select (a montmorillonite clay) substrate that removes the carbonate from the water.
Well, the dolomite is adding minerals to the water. GH is higher than the tap, KH is stable (not dropping- I think the SMS is taking it from the water and the dolomite is giving it to the water). TDS is higher in this tank than any of the others.

Next time: Add it to the filter in a nylon stocking, dose or remove as needed!
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-21-2014, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Kool... here in india, its difficult to get things u use there as things like potting soil etc are all un branded...
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-21-2014, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Hey guys, this is what available for me in india, please let me know should I buy or no? <br />
http://www.ankurnursery.com/product-...l+Conditioners<br/>
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-21-2014, 09:02 PM
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I do not like any of those for aquarium use.
The perlite and vermiculite will float and be a nuisance.

Perhaps you need to make your own with compost and fine sand?
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2014, 04:34 AM Thread Starter
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Ok... what exactly is compost?
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2014, 04:11 PM
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My wife and I both chose the "Walstad Method" when we set up our tanks. We both like it.

A few things to note:

You want to avoid fish that will tear up the substrate. I ended up with a hyperactive goldfish in my tank that tried to re-landscape the whole bottom of the tank. I was amazed how much gravel that one fish moved in a few weeks. Fish that excavate deep craters in the substrate will break through the top layer of gravel/sand and expose the dirt underneath. Then things can get messy.

Also, I thought Walstad didn't recommend fine sand as the top layer because the permeability is too low?

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2014, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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What do u mean by permeability? I love HC so I need tiny gravel for it or they tend to float....
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2014, 06:52 PM
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Permeability is a measure of how easily a fluid (in this case water) can flow through a material. It is measured in darcys.

Coarse gravel has a higher permeability than fine gravel which has a higher permeability than fine sand.

If the permeability of the sand/gravel overlayer is too low, not enough fluids and gasses can be exchanged between the aquarium water and the decomposing dirt. This leads to the soil layer becoming too anoxic and can cause plant roots to degrade as well as a host of other problems.

Diana Walstad wrote an excellent book on aquarium chemistry. In it she explains all these issues in great detail. I highly recommend buying her book and reading it cover to cover before you start your tank.

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2014, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Kool... thanks for the info so is 2mm ok? As im going for planted with thin roots like HC
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2014, 10:07 PM
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Yes it'll work. If you're doing HC I guess you're also using CO2 ? Don't over think the soil; sand cap above, laterite/fertilizer/peat at the bottom and it'll grow anything you want. The rest is water column management, light and CO2. Which may require even more attention.

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