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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
...thanks to D. Walstad who kind of brought me here.

Hi all!


I already had 2 phases in my life in which I had several "high tech" aquariums (teenager, and mid-20s)... But sooner or later I got sick of the work you have put into it to keep everything "alive", so I dropped out.
2 weeks ago I accidentially stumbled across a YT video about a Walstad tank, googled Walstad Method, bought the book, read it twice, bought some stuff, bob's your uncle....

Last 3 days I slowly arranged everything and today set up a nano Walstad tank. It's a small cube 25x25x30cm.
I used potting soil, sifted, few cm high, and topped of in two colored sand. The black one is 2-4mm, the white one simple play sand. The big stone is glued to acrylic glas - no soil inbetween the stone and glas.
Plant-wise it will be an experiment.

I am really not a fan of the LED lights, it's bright white with few blue LEDs. I guess fish details would pop nicely, not so much the plants I suppose...

Water Plant Houseplant Light Green
Water Plant Vertebrate Pet supply Organism


Anyways, wanted to drop by, say thanks to the lady who kind of opened this hobby again once more.

C U

Regards from germany

Daniel
 

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Welcome to APC!

Diana's book brought me back into the hobby about ten years ago. It's wonderful, isn't it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks!

I will hold back how wonderful it is - if all things work out half decently, it surely will be. :) This time it's all different...

I use rainwater to start the tank which previously I avoided like hell, same applies for EDTA-based stabilizers, which I use now (even though heave metals / chloride shouldn't be there at all). My tank water now has ~4°D, ph is around 6.5. Surely something I never saw before, even when flooding with CO2. (The tap water in my area is kind of hard, it's 15°D - this is ~270ppm). :)

Looking forward whether the plants and maybe shrimp dig it - ph and conductivity (180ms) seem not to bad.

What do you guys think about using rainwater?

Regards,
Daniel
 

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I use rainwater to start the tank which previously I avoided like hell, same applies for EDTA-based stabilizers, which I use now (even though heave metals / chloride shouldn't be there at all). My tank water now has ~4°D, ph is around 6.5. Surely something I never saw before, even when flooding with CO2. (The tap water in my area is kind of hard, it's 15°D - this is ~270ppm). :)

Looking forward whether the plants and maybe shrimp dig it - ph and conductivity (180ms) seem not to bad.

What do you guys think about using rainwater?
I would not use rainwater. It's like distilled water, R.O. water, or super-soft water (GH less than 2). No hardwater nutrients at all. Some plants (e.g., Echinodorus) will die without calcium in the water.
Unless there is something wrong with your tapwater (chloramines from municipal water treatment?), I would use it. Hard water is good for plants.
I'm a little confused by your post: Is °D the same as GH? Are you injecting CO2 into this new tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm a little confused by your post: Is °D the same as GH? Are you injecting CO2 into this new tank?
Hello Diana,

sorry for confusion, it's GH. I do not inject CO2, not planning to eiter.
I will switch to our tap water then, it is at 17° GH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's coming along quite nicely, some plants flourish, some... don't... :)
Esp. the alternanthera reineckii mini are done I think. That's life.

What worries me a little is that big bubbles come once in a while from the valsneri on the left hand side - which grows nicely. It might be some rot from the soil, or sth...

Regards!

73517
 

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Cute tank! You always could buy a cheap (submersible) RGB LED light as an accent light to make plants or fish pop more. I programmed a dual timer for the accent light to come on half an hour before the main light is switched on as well as for two hours in the evening after the main light is off. It's dimmable, and it's fun to watch the fish and plants like that.
 

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Quote: "It's coming along quite nicely, some plants flourish, some... don't... :)

What worries me a little is that big bubbles come once in a while from the valsneri on the left hand side - which grows nicely. It might be some rot from the soil, or sth..."



Just poke the soil with a sharp object (e.g., long thin wire, etc) to release gas bubbles from the substrate. This will keep the substrate from going severely anaerobic during the tricky setup phase. Brings oxygenated water into the substrate to protect plants and prevent a substrate meltdown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, today it was time for the first "hair cut" :) In the meantime the swimming plants quadrupled in amount, so I am throwing them out regulalry, so at least little light can break through.
However - I accidentially pulled one plant out today, and when re-planting it, gas bubbles came out on half of the soil.
Looked like some underwater volcano erupting, and the smell was sour and bubbles forming at the top.
So definitely a good amount of rot and accidity. Did change 50% of the water as well and turned the filter on to clear the debry - but not sure what this will do with the water as such...

Do you guys think pocking it regularly to release gas is sufficient or leave it alone completely?
Or redo with different soil...

Regards!
 

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Bad smell suggests an H2S problem and a severely anaerobic soil layer. I would gently poke soil once a day until gas release subsides and/or doesn't smell. Poking will release toxic H2S and/or encourage bacteria to oxygenate H2S to harmless sulfates (my book, Fig IX-5 on page 153). Apparently, your soil is rapidly decomposing right now, and thus, releasing lots of CO2 and possibly some H2S. H2S will surely kill plant roots and if they start decomposing, you'll get a "substrate meltdown."

The filter will also help by circulating the water and increasing oxygenation.

A temporarily overactive soil is not a big deal. All new tanks require a little tinkering until they get established. In this situation, a lack of oxygen in the system is the problem. Water circulation and poking will help more than water changes.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just wanted to let you guys know, did nothing to the tank and it's going great.
I put a few shrimp 2 months ago - now it's an invasion. But they are healthy, so are the snails unfortunately.
One thing which is little worrying is the green algae is build in carpets on the glas, and my lovely red-leaved swimming plants are dying. The anubias on the other hand is doing great...
Maybe something is missing in the plant diet - should I think about adding minerals / fertilizer?

Regards,
Daniel
 

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"....my lovely red-leaved swimming plants are dying. The anubias on the other hand is doing great..."

The swimming (i.e., floating) plants probably need iron fertilizer. Common problem and one that I've had for years. Rooted plants can get iron from the soil, but floating plants depend on iron in the water. Iron deficiency is common in El Natural tanks after a few months when the soil stops releasing iron into the water. I make a solution from a chelated iron powder (very inexpensive), but a micronutrient fertilizer that contains chelated iron will also work. Add the fertilizer just before lights go out as light degrades the chelator. It will take time for floating plant growth to start back up, so be patient.
 

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"....my lovely red-leaved swimming plants are dying. The anubias on the other hand is doing great..."

The swimming (i.e., floating) plants probably need iron fertilizer. Common problem and one that I've had for years. Rooted plants can get iron from the soil, but floating plants depend on iron in the water. Iron deficiency is common in El Natural tanks after a few months when the soil stops releasing iron into the water. I make a solution from a chelated iron powder (very inexpensive), but a micronutrient fertilizer that contains chelated iron will also work. Add the fertilizer just before lights go out as light degrades the chelator. It will take time for floating plant growth to start back up, so be patient.
Aha! About Chelated trace element having to be dosed at lights out. I didn’t realise that light degrades the chelator. I’ve not been able to keep floaters thriving beyond around week Ten of a soil tank start up despite adding chelated trace elements with Fe 8.2% once chaotic flooding of elements has declined. I should then be dosing at lights out for the night rather than just before lights on in the morning? In that case, will the floating plants uptake the iron overnight in the absence of light? Should I also dose macro nutrients at the same time of day (different day as they cancel each other out). The possibility of having healthy floaters again is a very happy prospect as they are very attractive!
 

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Please forget what I said about light affecting iron dosing. Light will degrade the chelator in a stock solution over a long time period, so it should be stored protected from light. No big deal. But what time of day you add it to tank should not matter. I was wrong.

It sounds like you've already tried iron fertilization--via micronutrient fertilizer preparation--and it hasn't worked out. So it has to be something other than a deficiency of iron and trace elements.

Not sure what to say. The August picture shows really terrific growth of your rooted plants. Beautiful. You may just have to settle for a really lovely tank. So sad.... ;)

Maybe, just keep and raise your floaters in a separate container.
 

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Please forget what I said about light affecting iron dosing. Light will degrade the chelator in a stock solution over a long time period, so it should be stored protected from light. No big deal. But what time of day you add it to tank should not matter. I was wrong.

It sounds like you've already tried iron fertilization--via micronutrient fertilizer preparation--and it hasn't worked out. So it has to be something other than a deficiency of iron and trace elements.

Not sure what to say. The August picture shows really terrific growth of your rooted plants. Beautiful. You may just have to settle for a really lovely tank. So sad.... ;)

Maybe, just keep and raise your floaters in a separate container.
Thanks Diana. I think you’re right and there aren’t enough nutrients left over in the water column after the rooted plants have used it up. Maybe next time I set a tank up I will try a different balance of hungry and less hungry rooted plants, as I did go overboard on Echinodorous, Saggitaria and Crypts. I have tried a larger dose but it makes no difference to the floaters. As you say, I’m very happy with what I’ve got and delighted that its still going strong, so not worried, although I might try a separate small tank as you suggest to see what happens, always glad to have an excuse to Start a new tank!
 
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