19L new tank, first try of Walstad method - El Natural - Aquatic Plant Central

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El Natural Diana Walstad's low-maintenance, soil-based 'El Natural' method for keeping plants and fish.

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Old 04-03-2019, 04:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question 19L new tank, first try of Walstad method

Hi all,

So I actually learnt the method from a youtuber--Foo the Flowerhorn. all credit to him that introduced the method to me. and accidentally i found this place! Amazing. Therefore, I supposed I should try to get in touch with educated hobbyists.

Currently, I am running a 19L (5 Gal) tank with a mid-planted setting, it is only 1 week in. The tank will be an apisto tank, no more than 1 pair. As apisto needs black water environment, I wonder if the 13W CFL light will be dial down because the water is black-ish?


Secondly, I was not too sure about the plants' selection, pic as attached. I see the Glossostigma and others are doing fine. Although the rotala started to melt from the bottom, there is new growth on the top which confuses me a lot.
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Old 04-03-2019, 04:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 19L new tank, first try of Walstad method

I forgot to mention that the filter. so tank is desired to be "true silence" tank, therefore there is no filter. But as Walstad suggested the water movement is beneficial. Could I use a skimmer instead of a full-on filter?
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Old 04-03-2019, 05:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: 19L new tank, first try of Walstad method

Congratulations for giving a try for this.

To me your tank setup looks good. There is enough plants and you mentioned you are already seeing some new growth which is crucial for success .

I have a 15 liter NPT shrimp only tank with no water circulation whatsoever. All is absolutely fine. Plants are growing, shrimps are healthy and no algae. In this small size its not that easy to circulate the water slow enough so that CO2 is not driven off if there is more than the equilibrium. By the way, if you have a look at the "foo the flowerhorn" video, I think there is also no filter in that setup.

Your 19 liter is somewhat small for fish, if you put in a pair, make sure they are really tiny fish so that this small volume of water is enough for a happy (fish) life. I don't know much about Apistos.

Do you plan to put some shrimp in? They are also fun and they do not need huge tanks.
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Old 04-03-2019, 06:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: 19L new tank, first try of Walstad method

Welcome to APC, Nelsonfeelscool!

What substrate are you using? And, are you following the instructions in the Walstad book, without changes? I know it is best to use rooted plants instead of stem plants, and it looks like you have mostly stem plants. I don't use her method, but I'm planning to do so for my next set-up, after I re-read her book.
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Old 04-03-2019, 06:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: 19L new tank, first try of Walstad method

Quote:
Congratulations for giving a try for this.

To me your tank setup looks good. There is enough plants and you mentioned you are already seeing some new growth which is crucial for success .

I have a 15 liter NPT shrimp only tank with no water circulation whatsoever. All is absolutely fine. Plants are growing, shrimps are healthy and no algae. In this small size its not that easy to circulate the water slow enough so that CO2 is not driven off if there is more than the equilibrium. By the way, if you have a look at the "foo the flowerhorn" video, I think there is also no filter in that setup.

Your 19 liter is somewhat small for fish, if you put in a pair, make sure they are really tiny fish so that this small volume of water is enough for a happy (fish) life. I don't know much about Apistos.

Do you plan to put some shrimp in? They are also fun and they do not need huge tanks.
I will add some shrimps just for the cleaning team! Also not too sure about the apisto, but I am sooooooo addicted to them as I would read the cichlids' species book every day. So I will try to get one small kind.
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Old 04-03-2019, 06:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: 19L new tank, first try of Walstad method

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Originally Posted by hoppycalif View Post
Welcome to APC, Nelsonfeelscool!

What substrate are you using? And, are you following the instructions in the Walstad book, without changes? I know it is best to use rooted plants instead of stem plants, and it looks like you have mostly stem plants. I don't use her method, but I'm planning to do so for my next set-up, after I re-read her book.
I noticed that too, but the video I saw also has plenty stem plants which got me into those. I will keep trying out.
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Old 04-03-2019, 07:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: 19L new tank, first try of Walstad method

Everything looks pretty good at this point. As Hoppy mentions, you may need some more strong rooted plants. Any of the smaller cryptocoryne would work well.

19L is pretty small for a pair of apistos, mainly because they can become aggressive when breeding. There isn't enough space for the loser to escape. I had my Apistograma boreleyi in a 20 gallon, and would not have risked putting them in anything smaller.
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: 19L new tank, first try of Walstad method

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Everything looks pretty good at this point. As Hoppy mentions, you may need some more strong rooted plants. Any of the smaller cryptocoryne would work well.

19L is pretty small for a pair of apistos, mainly because they can become aggressive when breeding. There isn't enough space for the loser to escape. I had my Apistograma boreleyi in a 20 gallon, and would not have risked putting them in anything smaller.

thank you for the advice, I will start with 1 apisto to try out.
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Old 04-04-2019, 12:13 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: 19L new tank, first try of Walstad method

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Everything looks pretty good at this point. As Hoppy mentions, you may need some more strong rooted plants. Any of the smaller cryptocoryne would work well.

19L is pretty small for a pair of apistos, mainly because they can become aggressive when breeding. There isn't enough space for the loser to escape. I had my Apistograma boreleyi in a 20 gallon, and would not have risked putting them in anything smaller.
Got time to look through some of the posts in the forum, I find there is a common topic about the gravel layer, as I am using fine sand like the ADA colorado sand, I wonder if that was a bad move, although I am seeing many air bubbles in the sand layer (guess mostly are CO2...). At the same time, since I have some the stem slow growers, the tank starts to have some grey-ish little spots on the glass, I suppose they are algae (?)...Should I introduce a nerite and few cleaning shrimps? or Should I simply scrape them off the glass?
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Old 04-04-2019, 09:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: 19L new tank, first try of Walstad method

How deep are the layers, soil and sand? From the photo they don't look excessive. Gently poke the substrate with a chop stick (or similar) to release the bubbles. If they do not smell, they are just CO2. If they smell foul like rotten eggs, that is a problem.

Two things that will help long term are strong rooted plants and Malayan trumpet snails. Many people dislike the snails because they breed so fast, but they burrow in the substrate and help to keep it aerated.

Just scrape the glass. It is better to wait a few weeks before adding shrimp.
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