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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys - I'm debating starting a 20 gallon with no heater. I'm looking at doing a Walstad type (maybe), but I'm also debating what type of stock could go into a cool water aquarium. I've been trying to research what can go in one without a heater, and I get a lot of fish recommendations, but I also want to know what type of shrimp, or other types would fit. Even if it's a single creature.

I'm looking to make this it's own mini-ecosystem, plants, creature(s) (I know 1 creature does not an ecosystem make..), etc. I get overwhelmed with the info online - both the amount and lack of! I appreciate any advice!

- Gwen
 

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1 creature isn’t a ecosystem. You could do a lot of fish, most fish except for a few like wild discus or rams need a serious amount of heat. if your room is above 70 you can keep basically anything you want. Good fish could be apistogramma borelli corydoryas species aspidoras species lots of tetras can work psudomugil work killis work other dwarf chiclids danios rasboras
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, I know 1 isn't an ecosystem, but I'm trying to get my mental image out on here and it isn't translating well LOL! That and 20 gallons isn't huge, so I don't want to overdo it livestock wise. In my 125, I have different tetra species, cory species, yoyo and kuhli loaches, plecos, shrimp, etc. I barely have to touch it save to feed them. So I am hoping to mimic something similar but on a smaller scale without much tech if any.

Thank you for the fish recommendations! I appreciate it. I'm used to tropical species, so wasn't sure. Our house is usually around 66 (we like it on the cool side). So I want to be sure to choose suitable inhabitants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I just saw the thread you started about it...oh my. I'm not opposed to a powerhead. I've seen videos on the Walstad method with no filter, no heater - not sure I'm prepared to go no filter, but I find the idea intriguing. I was debating on making something that looked locally natural (I'm in New Brunswick). Sunlit is definitely something in the plan (much to my husband's chagrin - he thinks I have enough tanks...pfft). My thing is I don't want just fish, I want to have inverts, snails, etc. Pond snails reproduce so fast...I had an invasion before, not sure I want to risk that again without something to keep their numbers in check (my 125 has MTS and Ramshorn - they feed the yoyos).

One can never have enough aquariums...
 

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White cloud minnows, american flagfish, many species of danio, most snails, american crawfish, silver sliders, mosquitofish, there's a lot of them out there. Look up sub tropical and temperate fish. I warn against keeping temperate fish in small aquariums in the summer without a chiller, though if you live where it will seldom be above 85° you can get by with a fan across the water's surface. As far as plants go you are going to want to stick with low light and low maintenance plants. Once you have your scape set you are not going to want to change it as dirt bottomed tanks do not take well to being rescaped. I have a long history with ntp/ walstad and the biggest part of these types of tanks as the research. Is there a specific style you're going for (specific river or ecosystem) or is it more just the experience of a ntp/ walstad you're looking for?

I just saw the thread you started about it...oh my. I'm not opposed to a powerhead. I've seen videos on the Walstad method with no filter, no heater - not sure I'm prepared to go no filter, but I find the idea intriguing. I was debating on making something that looked locally natural (I'm in New Brunswick). Sunlit is definitely something in the plan (much to my husband's chagrin - he thinks I have enough tanks...pfft). My thing is I don't want just fish, I want to have inverts, snails, etc. Pond snails reproduce so fast...I had an invasion before, not sure I want to risk that again without something to keep their numbers in check (my 125 has MTS and Ramshorn - they feed the yoyos).

One can never have enough aquariums...
Just saw this comment 😁👍 my strong suggestion is to set up a spot on a riverbank or at a pond near you and observe. Check with your local wildlife center to see what you can collect and what you can't and work from there. Usually they can give you a ton of good information on the native flora and fauna and also what you can and cannot do a far as native tanks are concerned. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
It's a bit of both actually - I'm looking for a river type system and the experience. I've stayed away from CO2 and all that. I have a 5 gallon my betta is in (my profile pic) and the plants have flourished in it - no idea why. They were cuttings from my big tank, just the light the tank came with, a few snails and gravel substrate. My 125 has soil/sand mix under a small gravel. The plants in it are doing well, but I've tried adding others and no luck.

The temperatures here can vary wildly - summer gets blistering hot - 40s C so about 110 F, and well below zero. That being said, I have health issues that cause a heat intolerance...so we have a heat pump that keeps the house nice and cool (about 19 C).

Just noticed your other message come in - that is a fantastic idea. We have a few good spots, and I actually work for Natural Resources (the Geology section tho, lol). I could ask someone in the branch about it! Thanks for that brain bump lol - oie (I have MS, brain fog is a thing).
 

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I would do a tank where there is only riparian native plants watercress and stuff and terrestrial moss underwater and encrusting algae then native fish. Use unwashed River substrate and wild caught fish (it’s really easy to do) and then you will have a perfect ecosystem no filter no heater. A powerhead isn’t needed but it is wanted because of the Oxygen rich waters most native fish in North America have (not talking about the southern Usa and Mexico)
 

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This sounds really cool, please keep us updated and show some pictures!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Finally spoke with someone from DNR. I can collect rocks, and certain plants (mindful of invasive ones and endangered ones), but absolutely no livestock as per federal law. That doesn't surprise me. So, I'm going to collect what I can and stock with what I can find in shops. Should still be interesting. Will be a while before I can get it all going though, just list my grandmother and I plan on building shelves and adding space for a built in tank.
 

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You might still be able to order or purchase through an ag retailer some sunfish, hornpout and potentially bass. I'm not certain of NB laws on this as I'm state side but I know in my state we can't collect but we can order. Geographically we have similar native fish species as I'm in Maine and I know I've seen some of our native species for sale through inland fisheries... I don't know if you have any scientific background and I'm not sure how hard it is in Canada but I got my wildlife permit about 7 years ago, maybe that's an option? In any case I'm sure you could find other temperate/ subtropical fish that would work perfect!! Congrats!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ooh that's a good idea! Yes, it is similar here, I'd have to look into the permitting process. Honestly though, I don't know if I'd want to go through the rigamarole of it all lol. Either way, I can do natural local look and I'll find the stock after it's all up and running 😊
 

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Can completely understand. It entailed a bunch of paperwork and a bunch of volunteer/ educational hours here, I was already a step ahead having my degree in ecology so I bypassed a bunch of it but it is an unnecessary headache. I needed mine because I kept native ponds. I'm looking forward to seeing what you create. I'm definitely going to be living vicariously through your experience lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I've done training as a wildlife emergency rescuer (have only been called on a couple of times), but that's it. I'm holding off for now as I'm going to be building some shelves with a window seat in my living room - I'm thinking of incorporating a tank in the shelving so it looks built-in, but it's just an idea for now. I just lost my grandmother, so I've been preoccupied with family for the last week (she was 102, had a wonderful VERY long life). Once I get the logistics of where it will go figured out, and the weather warms up (you being in Maine would know what I mean about the weather LOL) then I'll be able to get more into the finer details. I've debated what to use as substrate. I partly want to use natural soil from a river area but the person I spoke with did bring up a good point on avoiding possible harmful bacteria/substances (very valid). I'll probably go with something far more sterile and include the river stone, etc. Who knows?! lol
 

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So sorry for your loss, she did live an impressively long life, though. It's a blur going through it but eventually the happy memories will make you smile again. It's very little consolation, I know, but these words have helped me through some periods of grief.

I don't blame you for taking it slow, and it definitely understand the weather 😂 I've been attempting to do a bin outside for floaters and cuttings but they weather has been in the 70s one day and snowing the next.

I've baked questionable soils to sterilize, but it's super messy and a lot of extra steps lol. I'd go with more sterile soil too, I've had some bad luck with getting insect larva and weird fungus' in my time of using dirt. I was all in on experimenting at the time and was in my own period of grieving at the time so the distractions were more than welcome. This doesn't sound like your situation. You could do the standard organic potting soil (I'd suggest a little research into the different brands available to you and what's added to them). I've heard organic garden soil is pretty good but requires more sifting for wood chips but it doesn't have perlite or fertilizer pellets like a lot of potting soils. I'm not 100% on this as I stuck with making my own... With widely varied results. I can't wait to see what you come up with!! I hope things get less chaotic for you soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you <3 I appreciate the kind words. I've been in a bit of a fog. I'm 47 and she was my last grandparent.

I used potting soil in my 125 and had a mess of perlite (wasn't thinking and was rushing), definitely won't do that again! I'd like to avoid the larvae and fungi LOL! Oh geez, same here weather wise - one minute it's like a nice summer day, next it's a blizzard. I have pumpkin plants just dying to get in the ground, but there's still frost!

I'll be sure to update the process, maybe I'll start a separate thread once I get it going.
 
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