Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody!
So I am starting a new project. So far this is my "plan". Havn't bought anything yet, so first i would like some opinions. This is my first time exploring into a self-sustaining aquarium, and i don't understand it fully yet.
Tank: 20 gal
Substrate: Eco-Complete Plant Substrate (25 lbs, enough for 2 sq ft? would it be better to use topsoil?)
Lighting: 2 T5 fluoresents: ZooMed Florasun and a ZooMed Ultrasun, each of which is 24 watts.
Plants: Micro Sword, Anacharis, Java Fern, Anubias Nana, Water Sprite, Cabomba, and cryptocoryne. (Are floater plants needed, and if so, how do you "plant them"?
Fish: Thinking about starting with some sort of guppy or Endlers, and have bettas in case i need something to take care of the fry.
Filter: Not sure whether or not to use one, what are the pros/cons to a filter?
Decomposers?: Not sure about this. Snails?

So as for fish food, do guppies just need the algae, or some other product?

Wow, i have a lot of questions. :confused:
Thanks!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,001 Posts
Welcome to APC! See below.

Hello everybody!

Substrate: Eco-Complete Plant Substrate (25 lbs, enough for 2 sq ft? would it be better to use topsoil?) Soil is an integral part of the Walstad method, and you need it. Eco-Complete is fine to mix with the soil and as a cap. You can read lots about this in the sticky "Suitable Soils".

Lighting: 2 T5 fluoresents: ZooMed Florasun and a ZooMed Ultrasun, each of which is 24 watts. I'm not familiar with those particular tubes; you might ask about them in the lighting forum. Two T5 tubes should be enough light as long as they produce light in the right spectrum for plant growth. Some don't--Coralife ColorMax tubes are almost worthless for example.

Plants: Micro Sword, Anacharis, Java Fern, Anubias Nana, Water Sprite, Cabomba, and cryptocoryne. (Are floater plants needed, and if so, how do you "plant them"? These sound fine, a good mix of fast and slow growers. Floaters are useful in new tanks to absorb excess nutrients and light which can cause algae. Just throw them in.

Fish: Thinking about starting with some sort of guppy or Endlers, and have bettas in case i need something to take care of the fry.

Filter: Not sure whether or not to use one, what are the pros/cons to a filter? Walstad tanks need water circulation. You can provide this with power heads or filters. I recommend a filter with lots of biomedia and no carbon. This gives you extra biofiltration in case something goes wrong, and water circulation at the same time.

Decomposers?: Not sure about this. Snails? Opinions will vary, but I think snails are great! My favorites are ramshorns, Malayan trumpet snails, and mystery snails. If you get too many, you can always take some out, or get some assassin snails.

So as for fish food, do guppies just need the algae, or some other product? You need to feed the fish. Fish really can't be expected to survive in a tank this small without some supplemental food. And by feeding the fish you are also feeding the plants. The fish and snails break the food down into waste that is used by plants.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks a ton!
What I'm wondering is how i read about other El Natural's and they can leave them alone for weeks or months. How is this done if you have to feed your fish synthesized products? I could use Daphnia, but someone told my they like cooler temperatures.

Do tetras have an overpopulation problem? If they don't then I will get those instead of guppies.

What's the best way to get the tank cycle going before adding fish? Ive read it's best to be patient with your tank in the beginning.

Thanks.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,001 Posts
Most people who say that they leave their tanks alone for months mean that they do not clean filters or do water changes. They do add make-up water and feed the fish. It is nearly impossible to have a completely maintenance-free, self-sustaining tank. Such tanks need to be large with few fish and lots of microorganisms and invertebrates.

There are hundred of species of "tetras". Some are likely to breed in the home aquarium, some are not.

Patience is a virtue. With Walstad tanks, the soil in a new tank provides the ammonia necessary for the growth of beneficial bacteria in the tank and filter. Set the tank up, run the filter, test the water regularly (once a week is enough), and when the ammonia and nitrite readings are zero and stay there, the tank is cycled and safe for fish.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,001 Posts
Daphnia are great fish food, but I doubt that you can raise any significant numbers.

How many nerites depends on how much algae you have, and how much you like nerites. Start out with 4 or 5 and add more if you want.

I like Aquaclear filters because you can put any kind of media you like in them and you don't have to use any expensive cartridges. Mine are full of lava rock, with a little space at the top for filter floss if I need some mechanical filtration. I'm sure there are other brands that would work as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Lighting: 2 T5 fluoresents: ZooMed Florasun and a ZooMed Ultrasun, each of which is 24 watts
I have these two bulbs in the same size and Im using the the ZooMed t5ho fixture. Mine is suspended
10 inches above the water over a 36x18 area though. If you use this same setup over your 20 gallon it might be very high light unless you raise it up some.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Is there any other organism besides daphnia that would be beneficial to my fish?

also, if daphnia can eat algae, could it be possible to raise them inside a fish tank, and somehow prevent them from all being eaten?
-Andrew

EDIT: Can you freeze daphnia at home after raising them? This way you could preserve them and keep the nutrients.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So circumstances show that I'll be gone for a week, right when i plan on starting my tank. Would it be fine to leave my tank cycling with plants, substrate, lighting, filter, and some fish food? Would it do more harm than good?
Thanks
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,001 Posts
It will be fine to leave the tank for a week after it is planted but before you put in the fish.

Some of your earlier questions:

I think that snails and shrimp are great in Walstad tanks. I usually have anywhere from two to five species of snails in my tanks, even the 1 gallon planted bowls. The common cherry shrimp are very easy to keep and breed. If you establish a good breeding population before you put in the fish, they will normally survive and reproduce despite moderate predation by the fish. Don't try this with expensive or delicate color varieties and species of shrimp.

Yes, you can make slopes. Keep the soil layer the same in all parts of the tank and put more cap material in the areas that you want to be higher. This works for gentle slopes. If you want something more dramatic, you will need to build terraces of stone or wood to hold the steeper slope. DO NOT make your soil layer or cap too deep! You can build up parts of the substrate by putting stone or tile on the bottom of the tank to take up room, then cover those with soil and cap. This way it is less likely for soil portion of the substrate to become anaerobic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
thanks for the advice! I'm trying to be sure i do this right the first time :) Is their a circumstance that helps cherry shrimp survive better? I believe hiding places like grass will help. Are they hardy enough to survive fluctuations?
-Andrew
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,001 Posts
Yes, lots of hiding places in fine-leaved plants will help. They especially like moss. My other suggestion is to start with common cherry shrimp Neocaridina heteropoda. The very colorful (expensive) strains are highly inbred and not nearly as vigorous.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Would ghost shrimp be alright? I cant find any cherry at any LFS, i would have to go to a breeder. Would my platies, neon tetras, and cory catfish be compatible/eat the fry?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So the 29 gallon tank im using only can use 1 florescent, which would be around 20 watts. If i placed the tank next to a window, facing North, would it receive adequate light?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Would a Ph of around 7.8 be fine for my fish? I'm planning on having platies, neon tetras, and cory's. I would like for the platies to breed, and changing ph is usually not worth it.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top