So I went to see a Juju man - 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 06-30-2020, 04:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default So I went to see a Juju man

So I am in Cairns at the moment and went to see Paul at Aquarium world, a small shop in Cairns, Australia. He has been doing planted tanks and breeding shrimp since 1982 (well he showed me his first co2 tank and that was from 1982) and knows a thing or two. I used to live in Cairns and I remember seeing his shrimp tanks around 10 years ago, all planted and running co2 and it blew my mind. I have managed to keep my obsession under wraps until the wife decided to get herself a small tank for mothers day - now the genie is out of the bottle!!

Anyway as I am in Cairns for a few days I thought I would drop by and ask Paul about my tank build. 900x400x200 mm, eheim ecco 130 filter, ONF flat one + 60 cm pendant light, ADA powersand and ADA amazonia substrate. My main question was, "Can I do this without CO2?" That is can I have moderate to high light and grow some cool plants like H'ra or Wallichii.

So anyway Paul goes all Voodoo and sells me some laterite and a packet of rotting leaves. He tells me to put this against the glass under all of the substrate and then the laterite, and then he gives me some hardwood aquarium sticks and says to put these in as well. Finally when I get home I am to find some really hard wood - I have some ironbark that the fencers left over when they did our house fence, burn it and put in some of the charcoal. Then the powersand and ADA amazonia over the top. According to the Voodoo incantation this will incubate a source of carbon dioxide for a long time to come and in such a shallow tank will allow me to go pretty high light and grow some cool plants!

So what do you think? I am going to make some youtube vids of the set up - will be interesting to see what happens either way!!

Really interested in your thoughts!! Have a great day

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Old 06-30-2020, 05:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: So I went to see a Juju man

Welcome to APC, this will be interesting!

The leaves and wood will produce CO2 while they decompose. Laterite has high cation exchange capacity so will help keep nutrients in the substrate. I'm not sure what role the charcoal will play. My guess is that CO2 production will decrease over time and the high light may become a problem at that point.

A siesta schedule for the lighting will help you manage the natural CO2. Looking forward to updates.
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Old 07-01-2020, 01:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: So I went to see a Juju man

very interesting! I think I will add a layer of leaves when I relaunch the 55g.
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Old Yesterday, 09:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: So I went to see a Juju man

How interesting. My blackworms would love the leaves and the wood. I'm a complete newbie to a NPT, but for what it's worth, snails and blackworms don't have a problem with a tank that's cycling. They seem to also take care of any algae that pops up, as long as I don't overfeed them with easy food. I don't have any fish in the tank to eat them, so they are happily out and about helping the tank cycle.
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Old Today, 12:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: So I went to see a Juju man

My first aquarium was given to me when I was about 12. It was a 15 gallon Metaframe tank, stocked with stem plants and snails. Lighting was (probably) with a 40 watt incandescent bulb in a table lamp.
The snails multiplied and the plants grew profusely.

There were about 5 kinds of snails: I remember a physa and 2 colors of ramshorns. I kept detailed records, counting snails and egg masses on the glass.

I also siphoned material from the substrate and viewed them through a toy microscope. I was amazed at the different kinds of life that I found.

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