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Old 06-16-2011, 08:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default An alternative way to start a planted tank! True Natural Aquarium.

Ok, this is more for amusement but I know you will appreciate the experience.

Some years ago, after a move to a new house, I setup a tank with old substrate. The tank was drained maybe 2-3 days before the I set it up again. I just put the old gravel, water and a filter. No lights, no fish, no plants, nothing else.

So the tank circulates quietly pristinely clean. For about 4 months. I just add some water to compensate for evaporation.

One morning I look and I see something very, very cool. Tiny, 1/16 of an inch sprouts of some plant are all over. I could not understand how they got there. Or why they decided to pop up now and not earlier. The next day I noticed something important - the morning sun hit this tank for 30 min. I guess that was not happening some months ago but now it is.

What I had on my hands was truly Nature unfolding. Some kind of plant seeds, natural light stimulating their growth. Everything evolving as it happens in Nature. When the season is right. Amazing!

The plants turned out to be a kind of Hygrophila. I think H. angustifolia. I may have had flowers I guess and didn't remember or know it. The plants grew so much that when I finally decided to prune them I collected 7 one gallon bags of them. And he plants left in the tank filled it very well too. No CO2 mind you. I hadn't hooked it up yet.

Now for the practical side of that tank:
This setup, allowed to develop by itself, has been completely stable ever since. I've had it evaporate 1/2 way. I had the CO2 stop running for weeks before I notice it was out, I had too many plants in it, too little plants, uprooting, neglect, underfeed the fish for weeks or overfeed with hamburger meat... Never, not a single time since 2007 I've had trouble with it.

The canister filter is a Jebo and has some severe issue - it accumulates air and is full only 25%. The rest is air. Runs since 2007, no issues. But one can say that the external filtration is very much non-existent.

This is it. A note for people that have come to the point to believe that gradual establishment of a planted tank is the best way to go about it.

--Nikolay
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: An alternative way to start a planted tank! True Natural Aquarium.

Several months ago you sold me some used aqua soil and I got those same sprouts. They took forever to weed out ; )
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: An alternative way to start a planted tank! True Natural Aquarium.

You should have let them grow. They turn into large sprawling plants with many many leaves.

And each leaf is a $100 bill.

--Nikolay
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: An alternative way to start a planted tank! True Natural Aquarium.

There is no such thing as a truly natural aquarium or even a somewhat natural aquarium.


















How's that for stirring up the pot Niko?
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: An alternative way to start a planted tank! True Natural Aquarium.

Niko,

thanks for sharing the story. Sometimes it is just better to let nature do things for you - Phil might have a point that Aquaria are never truly natural - but at the end of the day you have the elements and living things interacting... they can find ways to thrive and surprise us if we just let them.

I don't know who is going to present the Walstad presentation at the next meeting but I read her "Ecology..." book and her approach de-emphasizes artificial filtering, leaving most of the biological filtration to be performed by in-tank bacteria and the plants. In fact, if I recall correctly she even claims that the bacteria on the filtering media is competing with the plants for nitrogenous compounds under normal conditions.

Looking forward to the next club meeting, guys!
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: An alternative way to start a planted tank! True Natural Aquarium.

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Originally Posted by marcio View Post
Niko,

thanks for sharing the story. Sometimes it is just better to let nature do things for you - Phil might have a point that Aquaria are never truly natural - but at the end of the day you have the elements and living things interacting... they can find ways to thrive and surprise us if we just let them.

I don't know who is going to present the Walstad presentation at the next meeting but I read her "Ecology..." book and her approach de-emphasizes artificial filtering, leaving most of the biological filtration to be performed by in-tank bacteria and the plants. In fact, if I recall correctly she even claims that the bacteria on the filtering media is competing with the plants for nitrogenous compounds under normal conditions.

Looking forward to the next club meeting, guys!
I think it will be mike as both his tanks are walstad set ups... meeting is 1:30 next sunday.. email the meeting email to get address.... can't wait for the meeting we haven't had one in a while... with some of the club went to san marcos, and others stayed it seemed like we haven't had a meeting in a few months...
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