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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 08-27-2019, 03:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default El natural tub cycling

Dear APCers,

I have set up a 37 liter tub with several aquatic potted plants (Hygrophila corymbosa, Hygrophila salicifolia, Hygrophila difformis, Ceratopteris, Nymphaea rubra, Echinodorus argentiniensis, Limnophila sessiflora, Ludwigia palustris, Sagittaria subulata, etc.) and floating ones (Salvinia, Pistia, red root floater, Limnobium, etc.)

I've had it for roughly a week and new leaves are coming out of most of the plants..

I intend to have some endler's livebearers in there. Problem is, I'll be getting them tomorrow. Ideally i would have waited for two more weeks before adding them.. but I still wonder:

Do you think they could still do well in there? I've heard somewhere that there is a lesser need of lengthy cycling in a walstad set-up. Also, I've added old water from other mini walstad tanks I own, so I imagine that would speed up the process of bacterial colonization.

If it's risky, are there measures to minimize the risk, such as daily water changes for a while?

Thank you in advance and I apologize for the long text.

Wish you all a beautiful day,

Juan

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Old 08-27-2019, 04:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: El natural tub cycling

The Endler's will probably be fine. If you want to be cautious, do a large water change before the fish arrive, and acclimatize the fish by slowly adding tub water to their container.
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Old 08-27-2019, 04:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The Endler's will probably be fine. If you want to be cautious, do a large water change before the fish arrive, and acclimatize the fish by slowly adding tub water to their container.
Thank you so much! That is reassuring. Yes, I will do the drip acclimation and the water change.

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Old 08-27-2019, 08:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Dear APCers,
I intend to have some endler's livebearers in there. Problem is, I'll be getting them tomorrow. Ideally i would have waited for two more weeks before adding them.. but I still wonder:

Do you think they could still do well in there? I've heard somewhere that there is a lesser need of lengthy cycling in a walstad set-up. Also, I've added old water from other mini walstad tanks I own, so I imagine that would speed up the process of bacterial colonization.
It somewhat depends on the soil you used. For example if the soil contains inorganic fertilizers then there may or may not be an issue.
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Do you have an ammonia test kit? It can't hurt to test for that.
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Old 08-27-2019, 02:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: El natural tub cycling

With all those healthy plants, I think you'll be fine with such a small fish load. Plants are like ammonia sponges.
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Old 08-28-2019, 04:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for your advice!

The big water change is done (which was also good for getting rid of some tannins) and the fish will arrive soon.

I will keep you posted.

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Old 08-29-2019, 08:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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In my tanks floating plants take care of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate beautifully, but if you have an emergency and get high ammonia levels and you've got Seachem Prime you can always overdose it to detoxify ammonia. Among other things like removing chlorine, Prime converts ammonia to ammonium, which isn't nearly as toxic. I think there might even be instructions on the bottle for using it to treat ammonia. They also have Amguard, which does the same thing.

PS: Cool looking set-up. Ive wanted to do an all pots sort of thing like this. They always look so nice and tidy, haha. Is that a "sensitive plant" growing up above the water line near the bottom of your picture?
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Old 08-31-2019, 12:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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In my tanks floating plants take care of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate beautifully, but if you have an emergency and get high ammonia levels and you've got Seachem Prime you can always overdose it to detoxify ammonia. Among other things like removing chlorine, Prime converts ammonia to ammonium, which isn't nearly as toxic. I think there might even be instructions on the bottle for using it to treat ammonia. They also have Amguard, which does the same thing.

PS: Cool looking set-up. Ive wanted to do an all pots sort of thing like this. They always look so nice and tidy, haha. Is that a "sensitive plant" growing up above the water line near the bottom of your picture?
Thank you for your advice! I'll try to get some seachem prime.

Glad you like the set-up! Been wanting to do it for a while, I'm waiting for it to fill up so it gets a little bit more of a pond look. I also figured it was a "modular" way of keeping my favourite plants and moving them easily when the time comes.

You saw correctly, that is a small cutting of a water sensitive plant (Aeschynomene fluitans). I really hope it will adapt and spread nicely.
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Neat! I hope you post pictures of its progress.
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