Originally Posted by sdmcallister
I think what Winchester was trying to ask is, if they only use fluval stratum as their entire substrate with no base layer of organic potting soil, does this exclude their tank from using the Walstad Method? I would personally like to know if there are strict rules regarding soils, caps and in general substrates that dictate whether or not a tank uses the method.
Thank you for the insight on fluval stratum!
The short (and cautious) answer is: no, using "stratum" would not exclude a person from employing the Walstad methods; nor are there any "rules", per se, that dictate whether a tank m,
may operate as "el natural" or via the "Walstad Method".
HOWEVER, it MIGHT hinder success and yield certain problems.
Example: Let's say you use a non-soil substrate, but you have tons of variety of plants, lots of floaters/emersed, a decent fish load, and some decaying plant matter (older plants, roots where you trimmed stems but left the roots behind, etc.) and other "natural" things going on. Let's say further that you have little surface water agitation and somehow you either got lucky or you purposefully started off with ample nutrients in your set up. So, now you've got a good cycle going. It's very possible to treat that tank as "el natural" and be successful. ("Successful" meaning your tank brings you joy and relaxation and you don't have to stress much over it.)
So, can you use "stratum" and still have a "Walstad" type set-up and rely on those methods? Sure. It's going to take some doing (and TIME) to get you there, but it's possible.
But if you want to be able to read a book or a set of step-by-step guidelines and such, it'll be MUCH easier if you are using the same components (including type of substrate), because that's what the guidelines are based on. Changing the soil changes how things are going to act, and react...and you'll have to play as you go.