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10 gallon Walstad Tank in the Kitchen :)

1507 Views 1 Reply 1 Participant Last post by  ermpickle
I just started a Walstad tank last night when my plants arrived!
This is how I did it,

-Let Miracle Grow Organic potting soil sit in a bucket for the last few days. The first day I poured off the top and refilled, I only did that twice just to get out most floating matter. This dirt smells soo bad!!
-Bought all natural fragrance & dye free clay cat litter.
-Then I did a 50/50 mix of potting soil and cat litter to help prevent the soil from becoming anaerobic.
-I placed a border of sand around the front and sides of the tank to that the dirt would not be visible
-Added dirt! I used my dogs food scoop to do this so he got very excited thinking I was going to feed him the whole time, just to be let down with smelly dirt :icon_roll
-Then I used some rocks that I broke up with a sledgehammer to create a small hardscape
-I added enough water that the substrate was covered plus one inch of water
-Then ... I planted!! So many plants! This felt like it took forever but that's a great thing because it means I had looots of plants!! Don't laugh but I actually used eyebrow tweezers to plant the stems (just kidding you can laugh!) This did help a lot with getting them into the substrate and not stirring up tons of dirt. When I got to the rooted plants things got messy. I have a little bit of dirt and clay (which you can see in the pics) sitting on top. I'm going to take some sand out of my 29 gallon to cover it up (that tank has way more sand than it really needs).
-Once everything was planted I placed a shallow tupperware container to sort of deflect the water as I filled it up so everything wouldn't get swooshed around. Luckily my kitchen faucet hose thing is long enough I just put in the tank and let it fill.
-While it filled I replanted anything that floated up. I got so caught up with that I almost overflowed the tank all over the counters!
-Set up heater, lights and filter and plugged it all in :D I put poly-fill (pillow stuffing) in the filter just to get the tank clear and let it run overnight. I am using two 15 watt CFLs in the hood that came with the tank
-Once its all clear I'll only use the the filter for water flow and eventually get a powerhead for movement.

That's all for now! I plan on getting a Pea Puffer for this tank in the next month or so. I am very excited about that! I'm hoping with their high bioload that just one will be enough to feed the plants. At that point I might need mechanical filtration .
For now I will be quarantining Zebra Danios in the tank and breeding snails and shrimp :)


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The tank is going wonderfully so far, I have had no problems from the dirt. I would recommend using less than 50/50 dirt and cat litter though, I think maybe 60/40 or 70/30. I only say this because any time I move something the dirt will settle back quickly and you can't see it against the sand but the clay litter floats up and it's very obvious so now I'll either end up putting in more sand or picking out tiny pieces of mushy clay lol. I have been turning on the HOB filter at night only because I am worried about oxygen in the water when the plants slow down photosynthesis but I think this might be pointless since the nights I have forgotten to turn it on the Danios seem totally fine. So I am thinking I'm not going to do that anymore and not use the filter at all. The Danios are so little right now they love swimming through all of the plants and the Ghost shrimp are great for cleaning up any dead snails. It's working great right now as its own little self sufficient place.
Anyway here is my tank the first pic is a few days after I first set it up and the second is from a few days ago. The plants are booming! Most of the stems have rooted and I have already trimmed the anacharis. I added duckweed a few days ago also.

PS I know there are tons of snails in there but that is intentional. I am letting them breed and get established for when I move the Danios and put the Pea Puffers in.


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