Reality (?) Check - Walstad setup, sort of... - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 423
Reality (?) Check - Walstad setup, sort of...

I've decided to turn my newly created 10 gallon as a low maintenance, low light tank, and see if I can depend on white clouds, platies and a betta to add what's needed, with a minor addition once weekly per Tom Barr's idea on a modified regimen, incorporating Ms. Walstad's ideas.

I'd appreciate a check, to see if what I've got going seems reasonable. I also have tried to use my existing equipment as much as possible, as I've sunk $$ into my 20H, and that is it, for now. This includes a simple colorquartz substrate, no "nutrient grabbing" soil, etc.

10 gallon tank. Black colorquartz substrate. Planted as much as I can fit in with anubias, fern, rhizome-based plants, and perhaps others as I amend going forward. My reasoning on this is that the substrate will retain nothing in the way of nutrients, and if I understand it correctly, though plants are opportunistic and will grab nutrition from wherever it comes, figured I'd go with rhizomes, grabbing water column nutrition easily.

A kit 15W flourescent that came with my 20H. HOB whisper filter.

Right now, 11 white clouds, from my 20H, a male betta, and, eventually, 3 platies - 2 are fry, right now, growing out in a fry tank, and I will add another to make at least a triad.

That's a lot of white clouds and I don't want to overload the tank, so I will likely amend this load - unless members think this is a reasonable load in a 10, planted as much as I can fit in.

I do not want to do any water changes.

I plan on adding Excel 1 ml daily, 1/8 tsp. Flourish comprehensive, 1/16 tsp KNO3, 1/32 KH2P04, all 1X weekly.

That's it, other than top-off water. Feed every other day with a mix of Garlic Guard-soaked Hikari micropellets, spirulina flakes, treats 1x weekly (Cyclopeeze, blood worm, etc.).

Thoughts?
hokuryu is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 02:30 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Craigthor's Avatar
 
PTrader: (188/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Hiawatha, IA
Posts: 9,774
As far as I know what makes the Walstad method work is the Soil Substrate.

Color Quartz is Inert and probably won't retain any nutrients at all. It way work but you may have to dose more to accomplish your needs.

Craig

Fluval Spec III Shelf!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdwill View Post
"C'mon, they're just plants, man, no big deal -- try some"
Craigthor is offline  
post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craigthor View Post
As far as I know what makes the Walstad method work is the Soil Substrate.

Color Quartz is Inert and probably won't retain any nutrients at all. It way work but you may have to dose more to accomplish your needs.

Craig
Hi Craig, thanks - yep, I assume this as well. I'm drawing something from Tom Barr on this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Barr
Soil substrates are popular with non CO2 users and they work well but peter out after about 6-12 months. They help the plants get established initailly abnd supply nutrients that are other wise lacking in the beginning before many fish are added and the tank has had a chance to accumulate waste.
So, making a couple of assumptions (and I might be completely off - so all thoughts appreciated):

1. Plants derive nutrition from anywhere it's supplied. Different plants "prefer" nutrition from different places - e.g., crypts tend to be deep root feeders, so will more easily draw nutrient needs from enriched substrate than from strict water column dosing.

2. That said, all plants thrive so long as they receive proper nutrition, whether from water column, soil, or both. They will grab up what they need.

3. Since I am using no soil, and only quartz substrate, going with mostly rhizome-based plants makes sense, on a presumption they will require less energy to draw nutrition into their roots (their rhizomes exposed to the water column).

4. I am not depending solely on fish load for ferts, but dosing according to what I can derive from Tom Barr's recommendations for a non-CO2, low light system, adding back in some carbon with a daily Excel dosing of 1ml/10 gallons.

These are my (newbie) presumptions - and I freely admit I may be totally off base. Hoping just to create a very low maintenance tank, in distinction to my other tank, for now.

Edited to add: Given my inert substrate, maybe a higher dose regime for several months, then pull it back - presuming this will help plants establish their root systems, etc.?
hokuryu is offline  
 
post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 02:56 PM
Guest
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,785
Arrow

I know this is not directly related to your post, but since it relates to the Walstad method, I couldn't resist but to throw my 2 cents worth.

I don't profess to be an expert on the Walstad and have personally been unsuccessful with the method, but that is not to suggest that the method cannot work or is no good, considering so many have had success with it. I believe that there are likely two main ingredients that could lead to success or failure with the method.

(1) Too Deep A Layer. From what, I have read it seems that most that have issues when they create a layer of soil greater than 1/2", so best to keep to 1/2" or even a 1/4"

(2) Not all soil is created equal and not all soil will work with the method. Get a soil that is too rich in organics or fertilizers and you will likely fail right off the bat. The problem is that the bags you purchase do not always list ingredients on the bag. You either have to use the same exact soil as those who have been successful with the method and if you cannot find the right type of soil, you are best to go with the mineralized topsoil method where mineralization will rid the soil of extra organics o and any lingering fertilizers. Wal-Mart "PlantSmart" brand soil is supposed to work really well for the Walstad method and it is dirt cheap.
Homer_Simpson is offline  
post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Homer_Simpson View Post
I know this is not directly related to your post, but since it relates to the Walstad method, I couldn't resist but to throw my 2 cents worth.

I don't profess to be an expert on the Walstad and have personally been unsuccessful with the method, but that is not to suggest that the method cannot work or is no good, considering so many have had success with it. I believe that there are likely two main ingredients that could lead to success or failure with the method.

(1) Too Deep A Layer. From what, I have read it seems that most that have issues when they create a layer of soil greater than 1/2", so best to keep to 1/2" or even a 1/4"

(2) Not all soil is created equal and not all soil will work with the method. Get a soil that is too rich in organics or fertilizers and you will likely fail right off the bat. The problem is that the bags you purchase do not always list ingredients on the bag. You either have to use the same exact soil as those who have been successful with the method and if you cannot find the right type of soil, you are best to go with the mineralized topsoil method where mineralization will rid the soil of extra organics o and any lingering fertilizers. Wal-Mart "PlantSmart" brand soil is supposed to work really well for the Walstad method and it is dirt cheap.
Hmm - sounds like I overshot my hopes to be able to do this, knowing I was using quartz?

Homer, that PlantSmart soil - you're saying this is a good soil to use as the topsoil, used to make the mineralized substrate, or it's good to go, as is, as a Walstad substrate (mineralized, low OM (?)) soil?
hokuryu is offline  
post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 05:46 PM
Guest
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,785
Quote:
Originally Posted by hokuryu View Post
Homer, that PlantSmart soil - you're saying this is a good soil to use as the topsoil, used to make the mineralized substrate, or it's good to go, as is, as a Walstad substrate (mineralized, low OM (?)) soil?
There is a guy in my city's local forum who set up a tank using this "PlantSmart" brand. No mineralization as he went Natural Planted Tank, right off the bat. The interesting thing is that he put in swordtail fry and cherry shrimp right off the bat with no casualities. The tank was not cycled. He just heavily planted it and went by the book with the Walstad Method.

You can read more about his progress here. Keep in mind that we both used the exact same tap water and I also heavily planted my tank from the start when I tried the method. He had excellent plant growth. I had poor plant growth. I had endless fish deaths. He had no fish deaths. The only real difference between both our tanks was the brand of soil used.
http://www.winnipegfishforum.info/fo...?topic=21968.0
Homer_Simpson is offline  
post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Homer_Simpson View Post
There is a guy in my city's local forum who set up a tank using this "PlantSmart" brand. No mineralization as he went Natural Planted Tank, right off the bat. The interesting thing is that he put in swordtail fry and cherry shrimp right off the bat with no casualities. The tank was not cycled. He just heavily planted it and went by the book with the Walstad Method.

You can read more about his progress here. Keep in mind that we both used the exact same tap water and I also heavily planted my tank from the start when I tried the method. He had excellent plant growth. I had poor plant growth. I had endless fish deaths. He had no fish deaths. The only real difference between both our tanks was the brand of soil used.
http://www.winnipegfishforum.info/fo...?topic=21968.0
That's really interesting, Homer - thanks, I'll check it out.
hokuryu is offline  
post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 07:40 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Robert H's Avatar
 
PTrader: (31/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Salem Oregon
Posts: 2,328
I won't get into the arguement about soils, but if you are going to use an inert gravel, it might as well be clay so it provides an endless supply of iron and minerals, and not epoxy coated so it is porus, which means it would have high cation exchange capacity, (the ability to attract positive ions, nutrients from the water and hold them like a sponge for plant uptake)

Robert Paul Hudson

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Kindness like love is unconditional
Robert H is offline  
post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 07:46 PM
Children Boogie
 
mistergreen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (13/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 16,743
I think most people are mineralizing their soil first or some process similar... It's just a process to remove any chemicals that would lead to bad cases of algae.

And the soil is pretty important in providing macros & micros. You can't leave it out without adding ferts into the water column daily.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
mistergreen is offline  
post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 08:00 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Robert H's Avatar
 
PTrader: (31/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Salem Oregon
Posts: 2,328
Quote:
And the soil is pretty important in providing macros & micros. You can't leave it out without adding ferts into the water column daily.
I agree. Clay gravels like Flourite, provide the micros, but not the macros. Quartz gravel provides nothing but shiny rocks! At least clay gravel is also high in CEC

Robert Paul Hudson

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Kindness like love is unconditional
Robert H is offline  
post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 423
Thanks, both. On the issue of nutrient retention, duh, gotcha - hadn't thought that that's part of it, that some kind of cation capacity would allow something like an intermittent dosing regime, storage for later use.

Well, second tank, second time - breaking down, starting over with a real substrate. By the time I get to my 120, I will probably, actually, uh, plan.
hokuryu is offline  
post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 08:04 PM
Children Boogie
 
mistergreen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (13/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 16,743
I think I've been doing this long enough to think that it'll make your life easier to have nutrients in the substrate AND the water column.

With a low-tech situation, the quantity of ferts should be pretty low. I think you'll be fine with the plants you're going to keep.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
mistergreen is offline  
post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 423
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
I think I've been doing this long enough to think that it'll make your life easier to have nutrients in the substrate AND the water column.

With a low-tech situation, the quantity of ferts should be pretty low. I think you'll be fine with the plants you're going to keep.
Presuming mineralized soil, or Flourite, or...Aquasoil....etc. - the regime above seems good, "daily 1 ml Excel, 1/8 tsp. Flourish comprehensive, 1/16 tsp KNO3, 1/32 KH2P04, all 1X weekly," with no water changes, monitoring the water every once in a while to see how well the system self-sustains?
hokuryu is offline  
post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 08:20 PM
Children Boogie
 
mistergreen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (13/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 16,743
With mineralize soil & aquasoil, you probably won't need to add any ferts. The ferts from the soil will leach into the water column. With flourite, yes..

The idea with walstad is the soil will provide the nutrients at first and then the foods you add into the tank & fish poop will replenish the soil of macros & micros.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
mistergreen is offline  
post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 423
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
With mineralize soil & aquasoil, you probably won't need to add any ferts. The ferts from the soil will leach into the water column. With flourite, yes..

The idea with walstad is the soil will provide the nutrients at first and then the foods you add into the tank & fish poop will replenish the soil of macros & micros.
To be honest, I've only just gotten her book and am keyed about the notion, without any of the knowledge yet - yes, a recipe for disaster. I am keyed about the idea of doing a totally natural, self-sustaining environment, a contrast to my 20H.

I will tear through her book. Better be quick, as I have quite a few plants coming, and an established school of fish who are going to be moved yet again while their keeper gets his act together.
hokuryu is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome