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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy! I'm brand new to this forum and the Walstad scene. PetCo had their $1/gallon aquarium sale the other day and I couldn't resist picking up a 20 long as I've wanted to do a Walstad forever now.

I'm in the planning phase still and I'm trying to understand how to balance the light needs of substrate vs surface plants, which I've never kept before. The Nicrews I have ordered are adjustable and they can hit up to 62 PAR at 12", which I'm reading is on the high side for a Walstad. I definitely want a Red Tiger Lotus and I'm wondering if the surface leaves would help balance out the light intensity of my LEDs to prevent algae growth.

But wouldn't floating plants shade the other plants too much? That's the part I don't understand. I see all of these Walstads with Red Root Floaters and other dense surface growth and I'm wondering how the other plants aren't struggling. Clearly, my question has already been answered by the photos - but I'd like some words to back up the visual evidence :p

So far, I intend on growing a carpet of Broad and Narrow Leaf Chain Swords with some Aponogeton boivinianus, some Brazilian Pennywort, and the Red Tiger Lotus. Using the Siesta lighting schedule. Once the fast growers get established, I may add some Crypts because I love them.

If I let the surface lily pads expand, would they work just as well as Red Root Floaters? Is it best then to leave the lighting intense if you have surface growth or should I use lower lighting without surface plants? And how does this play out in the initial phase where your substrate plants are still getting established? The Lotus is currently a bulb :confused: Thanks!
 

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You'll have to find the balance on how much light is blocked to the substrate. You'll need to cut or scoop out floaters.

Do you know if the $1/g sale is still on? I'm looking to buy a bunch of 10G tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, I suspected it was more of a "feel it out as you go" sort of thing. The sale was still going as of yesterday.... ;)
 

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I think the plants used in Walstads typically don't require much light. I've had more issues with too much light from my LED fixture than too little. As mistergreen said, I scoop out floaters when they crowd the surface, but that's mostly so I have a good place to throw the fish food :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Here's what I have so far! This piece of driftwood has been itching for a new home. And the base doesn't cover much soil so it should keep things from going too anaerobic. I'm thinking I'm going to have Mosses, Anubias, Hygrophila pinnatifida, Java Fern, and other epiphytes growing in and out of it. I'd like some Fissidens fontanus but I've only gotten it to grow in my CO2 tank. Any thoughts as to what I could stick to the top of the driftwood that would send emersed growth up and out of the tank?

All of the ground is going to be covered in a carpet of Pygmy Chain Swords, with Aponogeton, the Red Tiger Lotus, and scattered Crypts filling the open space. Maybe a Red Ocelot Sword as well...

Black Blasting Sand for a soil cap. I'm itching to stick my nano CO2 setup on this but I'm willing to give the Walstad a solid try!

 

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Welcome to APC!

I think you will have too much light if you use your LED directly on top of a shallow 20L. The red tiger lotus will grow floating leaves that effectively reduce the light, but it may not grow them fast enough to prevent algae problems in the beginning. So you could use very fast growing floating plants as temporary shade at first, or one of the other methods for reducing light.

There are a lot of epiphytes you could put on top of the wood for emersed growth--mosses, anubias, java ferns, bucephalandra, etc. The main limitation is humidity. You could also use one of the terrestrial house plants that will tolerate having its roots submerged: pothos, spathiphyllum, or syngonium. These will not be limited by humidity, but will also grow very large.
 

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You can throw in regular stem plants as floaters until the lily or actual floating plants fill in.
You can also cover your tank with a glass lid. That'll reduce the PAR down by maybe 10 PAR.

btw. I ran out to Petco and grabbed 3 10G tank. Will go back for 2 more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@Michael: Thanks a lot for your advice and plant suggestions! I'll get some floating plants to aid the process and provide shade. And who knows, I might end up keeping them.

@mistergreen: That's a good idea. Maybe some Hornwort then! The light has a dimmer but I'll remember the lid. I had no idea it cut the light down by that much.

Glad you managed to get in on the sale! I was super tempted by a 40g breeder going for $50 but I managed to restrain myself.
 
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