Anyone read "Ecology of the Planted Tank" by Diane Walstad? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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Anyone read "Ecology of the Planted Tank" by Diane Walstad?

This book has been recommended to me and if you look at Amazon or GoodReads it gets fantastic reviews.

However, it seems geared to a specific type of low tech set up with a dirt bottom and few water changes. I have already gone down a more high tech route with stronger lights and semi DIY CO2 and I don't see myself starting all over again with a different method.

If you have checked out this book, can you tell me if someone who has already committed to a higher tech set up will benefit by reading it?

And if you've read any other great books on planted tanks, what are they?

Thanks!!

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 03:23 AM
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I just read the book a few weeks ago. It is, as you said, primarily a book about how to have a planted tank with little, to no routine maintenance, with low light, a soil substrate, and no fertilizing, let alone using CO2. That is the Walstad method for a planted tank. But, most of the book is a technical explanation of how an aquarium works, the substrate, the plants, the fish, the feeding, etc. Ms Walstad has some probably incorrect understanding of how plants fight algae (by emitting chemicals that harm algae), and some of her understanding of fertilizing is only good for low light tanks, not for faster growing tanks with more light. That technical explanation I found to be very interesting, and it may explain some of the things I have seen occur in my tanks. It is worthwhile trying to understand all of it, even if it is never applicable to your tank.

I don't know of any similar book aimed at high light tanks. Plantbrain has talked about possibly writing such a book, but, as far as I know he hasn't started to do so yet. Instead he posts technical stuff in his own forum, The Barr Report.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 03:33 AM
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This is a great book to read if you're interested in any kind of planted tanks. To be honest, I read this book because at the beginning of my "fish keeping career" because I did not want to spend all the money on the high tech set up. Plus I did not have the time to take care of a high tech tank. Therefore, after reading this book I set up my first planted tank ever with no problems at all, following the walstad method. And to this day, my low tech "walstad" dirt tank is the most successful tank I've.

I think this is a great book if you're just starting out with you first planted tank, be it high or low tech. It is also a quick read. Some parts are very techincal and species specific, and I just quickly browsed over those parts. This book did teach me the fundamental of plant vs algae balancing and what fertilizers plants need and why. Also, I believe one of the chapter even contained a table to help diagnose plant nutrition deficiencies.

As far as CO2 and High light, the book does mention it in some places but nothing very in depth. However by reading this book you'll be able to understand more "scientifically" how to balance fertilizers, co2, and light. Which in my experience is the most important part of keeping a successful high tech tank.

Another note, this book was also writing a long time ago so some information is a bit outdated. And you might find some ideas that are no longer accepted or practiced
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 04:09 AM
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It's important to note this is not a how to book. It is basically a research thesis on her findings about plant balance/growth substrate health and algae and how they together and against each other.

This was under taken more on a large water body scale replicated in a lab setting for the sake of variables reduction. Some of her conclusions and methodology measure up very very well with real world observations by myself of plants she studied that I am familiar with, the myriophyllium in particular.

It's a good read, a bit dry, but again it's basically a scientific paper, though if science and biology is not your strong suit, a bunch of it may be lost on you.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 04:56 AM Thread Starter
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No, science and biology are not my strong suits, but I am considering it because I am a year into my tank and despite regular maintenance, I struggled all year with nasty algae and then cyanobacteria.

I have now managed to clear my tank of both (fingers crossed) and I've been working really hard on getting my water quality into prime condition...I've upgraded to a canister filter, I'm adding a circulation pump, I've added true Siamese Algae Eaters, plus I'm watching phosphates, nitrates, and now I'm watching KH and pH.

Ironically, I had almost given up on my tank, decided for one last push to see if I could get it in order and it's turned out to completely re-ignite my interest. So now I want to know a bit more, but I'm not likely at this point to tear down my tank and start all over again with the full Walstad method.

For example, is it coincidence that the colours on my blue rams absolutely popped when I added a bit of crushed coral into my filter? I have raised KH and therefore pH. Is it all related?

Also, thanks for the tip re. the Barr Report - I just checked it out. I am new to the concept of fertilizing regimes - I just use Flourish. Does anyone do the paid subscription?

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 08-03-2015 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenelle View Post
Also, thanks for the tip re. the Barr Report - I just checked it out. I am new to the concept of fertilizing regimes - I just use Flourish. Does anyone do the paid subscription?
I subbed, his articles there are pretty deep science wise. It's the kind of thing I love to read in tropical fish hobby rags, but better.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 02:01 PM
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Diana Walstad's book has a lot of great information about aquatic plants.
Well worth getting.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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I think I'm going to get the Kindle version of the book - it's a steal. Sounds like I can't go wrong even if I don't go down the Walstad/low tech road.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2015, 08:34 PM
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I agree with all of the posters above great general primer. Read it a couple weeks ago myself. Although it focuses on low tech. I'm happy with the information gained but an starting my first truly hightech setup.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2015, 09:06 PM
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The articles at Barr report are far superior, especially for those considering a high-tech CO2 approach. 90% of the questions in this forum wouldn't be asked if the posters had thoroughly read through all the articles there (tedious work though).

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2015, 10:20 PM
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I have the book, and while there's some interesting material in there, I wouldn't say that it's helped me very much as a beginner in the hobby.

I kept waiting for 'take home' points that I could put to practice but found few. Much of it is too technical for me to absorb/make use of. I imagine that those with a firm handle of basic chemistry are the ones who find it most beneficial. I'm probably in the minority in not possessing that requisite skill set, but figured I'd throw in my opinion. I have found the posts and articles on this site and Barr Report to be much more helpful and applicable.
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