3 Gallon Walstad Bowl - 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 03-10-2020, 01:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 3 Gallon Walstad Bowl



Hello!

First time poster- I am a little unnerved by the ferocity with which I've quickly developed an obsession with this hobby

I am one week in and hoping I can receive some guidance, feedback, and information.

Water parameters-
Nitrate 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Ammonia(um) 1ppm
PH- 6.6
GH- 30ppm (I've begun to supplement Cal and Mag)
temp- appx 70F

Plants-
Anubias Nana
Java Fern
Ludwigia Arcuata
Ludwigia Super Red
Bacopa Caroliniana
Moneywart
a few tufts of Dwarf Sag
FROGBIT ON THE WAY!

Soil- Miracle Grow Performance Organics

Light- 7W 5000k LED 4-4-6

A few questions:

I have seen absolutely no growth yet- maybe pictures of weekly updates on forums have skewed my perception of normality. Aside from some algae that came in with plants I bought from a local hobbyist- Is this normal?

Are my parameters within an expected range at 1 week?

Are there any type of fish I can stock that wouldn't be too high of a bioload for 3 gallons? (planning on stocking shrimp for sure) Also, what should my parameters look like before adding shrimp or fish?

The PH of my tap water is 7.6 while my aquarium water consistently reads 6.6. Should I be concerned? Should I address this?

I've seen SO much conflicting information around water changes- what seems appropriate at this point given my parameters?

I know that was a lot. Thank you for bearing with me and let me know if I need to provide more info! Hoping to eventually build a larger tank with the plants I grow here!

Photo: https://ibb.co/JmC2Fvc

Last edited by EvanC; 03-10-2020 at 03:23 PM.. Reason: too add photo
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Old 03-10-2020, 02:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3 Gallon Walstad Bowl

Sorry im having trouble adding a photo

Here's a link: https://ibb.co/JmC2Fvc
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Old 03-10-2020, 04:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3 Gallon Walstad Bowl

Hi Evan, and welcome to APC! See my replies below. Short version, I don't think you have anything to worry about.

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Originally Posted by EvanC View Post


Hello!

First time poster- I am a little unnerved by the ferocity with which I've quickly developed an obsession with this hobby
Ha!
I am one week in and hoping I can receive some guidance, feedback, and information.

Water parameters-
Nitrate 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Ammonia(um) 1ppm
PH- 6.6
GH- 30ppm (I've begun to supplement Cal and Mag) This is low, but it is too soon for it to cause problems. Is your tap water the same? If so, you may need to supplement Ca and Mg, as you are already doing.
temp- appx 70F

Plants-
Anubias Nana
Java Fern
Ludwigia Arcuata
Ludwigia Super Red
Bacopa Caroliniana
Moneywart
a few tufts of Dwarf Sag
FROGBIT ON THE WAY!

Soil- Miracle Grow Performance Organics

Light- 7W 5000k LED 4-4-6

A few questions:

I have seen absolutely no growth yet- maybe pictures of weekly updates on forums have skewed my perception of normality. Aside from some algae that came in with plants I bought from a local hobbyist- Is this normal?
For one week, yes.
Are my parameters within an expected range at 1 week?
Yes expect GH as noted above.
Are there any type of fish I can stock that wouldn't be too high of a bioload for 3 gallons? (planning on stocking shrimp for sure) Also, what should my parameters look like before adding shrimp or fish?
Yes, a few male guppies or Endler's would work, males only to prevent over population. A single betta would be OK, but is likely to eat your shrimp.

The PH of my tap water is 7.6 while my aquarium water consistently reads 6.6. Should I be concerned? Should I address this?
This is probably an effect of peat in the soil. It's not a problem, and will probably go away after several months. Guppies and Endler's do not care for low pH long term.
I've seen SO much conflicting information around water changes- what seems appropriate at this point given my parameters?
Water chemistry looks good, so I don't think any are necessary, unless you want to raise pH a little for fish and/or shrimp. High ammonia would be a reason to do water changes.
I know that was a lot. Thank you for bearing with me and let me know if I need to provide more info! Hoping to eventually build a larger tank with the plants I grow here!

Photo: https://ibb.co/JmC2Fvc
The bowl looks good. I think you can relax and just keep an eye on things.
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Old 03-10-2020, 04:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3 Gallon Walstad Bowl

Picture and description show a highly commendable start. I don't know how you could do it better!

Possibly, your plants are still adapting. The first couple weeks are probably the hardest for them--sending out roots, repairing bruised and injured tissue from original planting, etc. Only when they take hold, can they take off. If they were disintegrating or turning yellow, then I would be concerned. But the picture shows very healthy looking plants.

I looked at the soil brand you used. It probably is 100% organic. I would gently poke the soil with an opened paper clip or similarly long thin object. I would do a 50-80% water change to get rid of some of that cloudiness. Then, I would sit tight and let nature take its course.

There are many small fish that would love this tank--Killifish, guppies, White Clouds, dwarf S. American cichlids. Shrimp are a lot of fun.

I look forward to hearing and seeing how this tank develops. It will be instructive for all of us. Thanks for posting.
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Old 03-11-2020, 05:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3 Gallon Walstad Bowl

Diana and Micheal,

Thank you for your thorough feedback. I'm happy to know that things are moving along as they should and that I can stock some fish in the coming months!

Michael, I have not tested the GH of the tap water but I will do so when I get another testing kit. The liquid kit I ordered didn't come with GH KH testing, and I was using strips before that.

I did an 80% water change this morning and the water is still a bit cloudy from the particulate on the bottom being disturbed, but I imagine it will settle down quickly. Now I can sit back and let nature run its course for awhile!

I'll keep you updated on its progress.

Evan
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Old 03-13-2020, 08:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3 Gallon Walstad Bowl

I am a little unnerved by the ferocity with which I've quickly developed an obsession with this hobby

I hear you. I have been reading and researching and even participating in forums for about a year now! I was going to start out with a $20 bowl. Then I found out I could get a ten gallon tank from Petco for $10! So now I have done the learning and have the stuff, but I'm afraid to actually do it because I might fail. Pretty silly, but there it is. I'm hooked on this hobby and I haven't even planted a single plant. I probably need some kind of therapy!
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Old 03-14-2020, 07:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3 Gallon Walstad Bowl

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlatfishTanker1 View Post
I am a little unnerved by the ferocity with which I've quickly developed an obsession with this hobby

I hear you. I have been reading and researching and even participating in forums for about a year now! I was going to start out with a $20 bowl. Then I found out I could get a ten gallon tank from Petco for $10! So now I have done the learning and have the stuff, but I'm afraid to actually do it because I might fail. Pretty silly, but there it is. I'm hooked on this hobby and I haven't even planted a single plant. I probably need some kind of therapy!
Don't let fear off failing stop you from enjoying this hobby. Most, if not all of us have had many failures as we learn more and more. It is fun to set up a tank, so look at a failure as a good reason to enjoy setting up the tank again.
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Old 03-14-2020, 12:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3 Gallon Walstad Bowl

I agree with you, Hoppy. Gonna do it real soon.
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Old 03-17-2020, 04:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3 Gallon Walstad Bowl

Flatfish- go for it! I look forward to hearing about your progress!
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Old 03-17-2020, 04:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3 Gallon Walstad Bowl

I have another question-

My API is reading around 1.5 ppm ammonia while my SafeAlert button registers 0 "free" ammonia. Do y'all think I'm ok to begin stocking or should I wait until I have 0 detectible levels of either?
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