I am happy to join this forum and very excited that soon I will also start my own Walstad’s method aquarium!
Beautiful tanks from all over the World posted here, “Ecology of the planted aquarium” by D. Walstad, after all, many videos on YouTube (especially Foo the Flowerhorn’s), assures me, that everything gonna be all right.
But some beginner’s questions appear here and there, despite the fact I am not totally new to the hobby and had set up 70L tank for my parents and it is 5 years old already. It is simple low-tech tank with slow-growth plant such as microsoriums, anubias and some stem plants.
But I decided to set up NPT with the soil according to D.Walstad method.
1. First of all I had choosen a place where I can afford to place the tank. As I don’t have too much free space the decision was made in favor of northern windowsill. I studied the Sun behavior during the day at the place and find out, that the tank will be receiving direct sunlight only during sunrise and early morning at maximum for 2-3 hours in July (from 5:30 am till 8:00 am approx.). In winter it will hardly be more than 30 minutes of direct sunlight.
And here are the first questions: Is northern window good decision for placing the tank? How should I manage my LED-light daylength – should I sum sunlight and LED-light times or I simply put LEDs to regimen 5 on, 4 off, 5 on with the start at 8 am?
2. Then I choose the tank I can surely place to the surface of windowsill. It will be 30L cube 30*30cm and with 35cm depth. No more to say here.
3. Third thing is light. And here starts my headache! So much options now available. I will definitely buy LED-light. But which one? I would simply go for 35-40 lumens per liter (as recommended in numerous articles about LED in aquariums) if there wasn’t sunlight. Plus, I think non-direct light during the day will also inflict the tank more or less. Thus, it’s very tough questions for me. I have few options and want to know your thoughts on which one will better fit my set up?
- Ptero Ray Mini 25 (850 lm/ 6500K)
- AquaLighter Slim (1010lm/ 5000-6500K)
- Chihiros C251 (1150 lm/ 8000K)
- Chihiros A2 301 (1400 lm)
- Ptero Ray (1700lm/6500K)
I am struggling with the choice for more than a month…
I understand, that it’s hard to answer the questions without clarity about the plants that will be planted to the tank, so here they are!
4. Plants selected for start:
Ammania sp. «Bonsai»
Limnophila aquatica "Ambulia"
Rotala macrandra "Green"
Eriocaulon sp Vietnam
Cryptocoryne wendtii «Tropica»
Echinodorus ozelot mini
Echinodorus parviflorus tropica
I hope there are enough rooted plants to prevent too anaerobic substrate.
5. Our local brands of potting soil seems always have some chemical fertilizers and as for me the numbers are too high for aquarium. And as I live 200 meters from the forest I decided to dig some topsoil there.
Have some photos of the process and want to share them with you.
You can see the place I gathered the topsoil and the sooil itself
My buddy watching me
After I had removed roots and large debris, the soil is light and airy with a lot of sand in it, I am also sure it has some organics to decompose. Maybe I should add some clay to it or any source of Ca to slowly rise the water hardness? What do you think?
6. Some words about water. My tap water is: Ph8.5, Gh 9, Kh 3.
So, this is it by now. As soon as I will pick up the light, I will slowly start my journey to the NPT world. Greetings from Ukraine to everyone who had read this long post and I am sorry for my English. I’ve tried my best! Thank you!