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Old 04-16-2019, 05:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
David_L's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Plano, TX
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Default I know just enough to know I know nothing at all!

Hello all,
Iíve been lurking the forums for the past couple months and finally made an account and decided to post. Iíve been reading up on NPT, intending to make a Walstad tank. Full credit to Foo the Flowerhornís multiple tank series on YouTube for introducing me to the concept. I have answered some of my questions just by perusing the forums here but I still have some that are looming before I feel confident enough to get started. Wall of text incoming! Iíve been bargain-hunting for used gear on the usual sites (5miles, FB Marketplace, Craigslist, etc) and have acquired Stuffô!

The list so far: 20 gallon long (coated in algae and in sore need of a good scrub) with a lid and a nice little stand, Black Diamond Blasting Sand substrate ďwith fertilizer in it alreadyĒ, an ďaquarium plant packageĒ whatever that entails, and a Finnex 24/7 SE LED 30Ē light bar. So, on to the questions!

1) Black Diamond Blasting Sand! I like the look of it, as well as how nicely it fills around new plants when planting, but my concern using it as a cap for the soil (I plan on mixing sifted top soil with Safe-T-Sorb, about 60/40) is that it might be too fine grain and wonít easily allow for nutrients (Fish poo, food, etc) to make it to the soil layer. I understand thereís different gauges/grit sizes to this stuff but without a frame of reference, Iím not sure what I have. If there IS a grit size that would work in a Walstad set-up, what is it and Iíll go buy a bag. Best case scenario I can discover that what Iíve got is the right size and worst case I will already have something to replace it with.

2) Aquarium Plant Package! Is there any way to go about identifying what all this is? It came with the bundle, so Iím accepting it, but if itís sketchy/not worth it then itís not skin off my nose to huck it in the bin. I already plan on having E. Amazonicus(Amazon Sword), H Difformis(Wisteria), M. pteropus(Java Fern), C. caroliniana(Cabomba), and maybe V. Americana(Corkscrew Val), and foreground carpeting with H. callitrichoides(Cuba/Dwarf baby tears). All of this is subject to availability, of course, though I REALLY like how Amazon Swords and Cabomba look so Iím more willing to stretch for such things. Probably at opposite ends of the tank though. Aquascaping aside, is there a resource to help determine contents of a plant package?

3) Back on the subject of aquascaping, actually, Iím mildly interested in creating a slope on the floor of the tank. My concern is that I donít think I can just have more dirt, nor substrate, on one side without that affecting tank balance? The depth of both the dirt and substrate is fairly specific per what Iíve been reading and I assume thereís sound science behind this. If I put something on the bottom of the tank before laying down dirt to accomplish this, what parameters/stipulations are there to try this kind of thing? Nonporous? NPT topography recommendations VERY welcome here.

4) Lighting! Iíve read through the subforum a bit on this topic and feel like I need to back track because there are terms and measurements that are full-on Greek to me. If thereís a good Barney-style break down kind of link someone could toss my way, that would be great. Especially as I understand this LED bar that Iíve stumbled into seems to be pretty high tech, and I am a total beginner on this aspect of the hobby and itís certainly a major factor in getting my plants going while NOT encouraging massive algae growth. Iíve discerned enough to know that much, just turning the light on full blast is asking for algae! I also think I understand that half of what Iíve been reading is talking about fluorescent bulbs and that LEDs are a whole other ball of wax? Is this accurate?

5) Filter! So as I mentioned before, Foo is how I got turned on to this whole thing and I really fell in love with the idea of a silent tank with no filter running. As I have read here, of course, it seems that Diana Walstad herself now recommends a filter. Iím not really clear on WHY, per se, so a link to a discussion or reference about that would be appreciated. Does this mean that a silent tank is not really viable anymore? Especially since a 20 gallon isnít in the realm of ďnano tankĒ like the ones Foo has made. I also, on a related note, have been waffling on using a heater and a powerhead/pump. I am pretty certain that, since my tankís centerpiece will be a betta, a powerhead is a bad plan. I understand that they get worn out having to swim constantly? But I think SOME kind of water movement is prudent, and seeing the plants wave in the current is cool! Thoughts? Links to discussions Iíve missed?

I know this is a massive first post, so thank you to those of you who have read this far. Thank you as well to any and all of this wonderful community for the questions you have already answered in the archives here, as well as answers for these questions now ^_^ Iím so pleased to have found such a cool group of folks!
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