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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a beginner when it comes to the aquarium keeping hobby.

I have a 10 gallon tank currently (hopping to start a 5 gal bowl). I tried the walstad method on the 10 gal but had to redo because after the plants went crazy and did big trim closer down to the bottom but the plants melted away.
I have redone the tank and now it has a filter and fewer plants but am hoping to bring it back to life. I think it needs brighter lighting, so if any of you know of a cheapish aquarium light that is mid to high lighting that would be great so i could get more plant growth and possibly stop using the filter.
I am considering buying this.

For the 5 gal that I want to start soon I want to try the walstad method and have some shrimp and maybe some celestial pearl danios ( is that to much for a 5 gal.?)
I need some help with overall setup so it is sucsefull. For substrate I am wondering if I should use organic potting soil and cap with gravel or go for aquarium soil like fluval with no cap?
For the lighting on the 5 gal I am planning to reuse one of the lamps I have for my 10 gallon rn. I am wondering if the light will be enough sense it is a 5 gallon bowl or if I need to get a brighter.


The stock in my 10 gallon: Once the tank balences and plant growth is good
3 neon tetras. I hope to add 3 more tetras and some sparkling gouramis and maybe some
5-7 Amano shrimp. Blue shrimp
1 nerite


The filter
Nature Natural environment World Font Adaptation



How the 10 gallon looked before
Plant Light Green Nature Grass



The 10 gallon now
Plant Nature Green Rectangle Window
 

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I don't understand what happened with the first tank. What was the bio-load? How long a period did you have it? The lighting seemed okay enough that your stem plants needed trimming. How long did you leave the lights on and was there a "siesta" period? I'd analyze what went wrong the first time since it appeared to be a nice looking tank at some point.
 

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...the plants went crazy and did big trim closer down to the bottom but the plants melted away...
One thing to consider is that you may have removed too much too quickly.
i.e. much of the plant matter that was removed was beneficial to the aquatic system - removing that could have upset the balance it found.

If you do want to make big moves in terms of trimming, I've found it best to do little bits over time - monitoring the system along the way.

Good luck with the new setup :D
 

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The old 10 gal setup looked healthy and beautiful to me. (Clear water, healthy plants, substrate completely covered with plants). I would have just left it alone. If you removed too much plant biomass during your trimming you may have ruined this beauty.

The new 10 gal tank setup with more rocks and driftwood, very few plants, cloudy water, and the HOB suggests that you are going backwards not forwards.

I would rethink what you are doing and try to duplicate that first successful tank. And use caution with plant "trimming." You need enough plant biomass to keep substrate aerated/healthy and to compete with algae.
 

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Keep it simple. One inch of organic soil, one inch gravel cap, plant heavy. You don't need a HOB filter because your plants will take care of filtration. You already had great success in the past so build on that experience, minus the clear-cutting of your underwater forest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't understand what happened with the first tank. What was the bio-load? How long a period did you have it? The lighting seemed okay enough that your stem plants needed trimming. How long did you leave the lights on and was there a "siesta" period? I'd analyze what went wrong the first time since it appeared to be a nice looking tank at some point.
In the past tank I had 5 neon tetras, 1 Betta and some amano shrimp. I had it for like 5-8 months and the lights were on for 10 ish hours a day. What happened was I accidentally let the plants grow too much and so the bottom leaves started to die giving it a leggy look, I then and accidentally cut to far down and the planet just died instead of growing plants. It was my fault that it died so I am trying to redo the tank and decided to actually add some rocks and the wood. Now my plants are not growing as fast as I would like them too and so I am considering brighter lights to help them out and plant more.

Thank you for the reply it helps a lot since I am just a beginner
Birb256
I don't understand what happened with the first tank. What was the bio-load? How long a period did you have it? The lighting seemed okay enough that your stem plants needed trimming. How long did you leave the lights on and was there a "siesta" period? I'd analyze what went wrong the first time since it appeared to be a nice looking tank at some point.
 

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10 gal
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
One thing to consider is that you may have removed too much too quickly.
i.e. much of the plant matter that was removed was beneficial to the aquatic system - removing that could have upset the balance it found.

If you do want to make big moves in terms of trimming, I've found it best to do little bits over time - monitoring the system along the way.

Good luck with the new setup :D
Thank you I will probably do update if you guys would like to show progress and yes I cut too much too quickly because they started looking leggy at the bottom and I panicked
birb257
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The old 10 gal setup looked healthy and beautiful to me. (Clear water, healthy plants, substrate completely covered with plants). I would have just left it alone. If you removed too much plant biomass during your trimming you may have ruined this beauty.

The new 10 gal tank setup with more rocks and driftwood, very few plants, cloudy water, and the HOB suggests that you are going backwards not forwards.

I would rethink what you are doing and try to duplicate that first successful tank. And use caution with plant "trimming." You need enough plant biomass to keep substrate aerated/healthy and to compete with algae.
Yes I did remove to much on accident and the tank fell out of balance so I had to redo it since all of the plants died. Since I am redoing it now i want to make a thick carpet in the foreground but I think my micro sword does not have enough light to grow fast.In the background I want to add some fast growing plants to help keep everything in balance.

I will probably buy more plants because when I redid tank I could only buy a few (so expensive cause I am a minor with no job). That is why it looks so sad lol

Thank you for replying dwalstad and I can post updates in future to show how I can hopefully bring back the tank.

birb257
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Keep it simple. One inch of organic soil, one inch gravel cap, plant heavy. You don't need a HOB filter because your plants will take care of filtration. You already had great success in the past so build on that experience, minus the clear-cutting of your underwater forest.
Thank you for the help and yup I was so mad at my self when I cut it down. Hopefully I can bring the tank back lol

birb257
 

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Short answer:
Get a dimmable led light and decrease its intensity unitl you achieve balance. Start from about 20 lumen/litre and adjust accordingly. Try a light schedule of 5-4-5 (on-off-on) and adjust accordingly.
Use some of the stem plants you previously had, it is important to have fast growers as well as plants that grow an extensive root system.
Try to balance light and food, too much of one is bad, too much of both is bad.

Long answer:

Principles discussed:
i) roles of different types of plants
ii) balance among types of nutrients
iii) input vs output

The way I see it, we want to achieve a balance in every tank, so that plants grow and serve two purposes: a) purify the water column, b) oxygenate the substrate.
That is achieved by introducting different types of plants to the ecosystem. Stem plants, floaters and fast growing plants purify the water column. The initial setup (as shown with the betta) hosted fast growing stem plants and floating plants. That was a success for your tank, so keep them in mind. Not all plants will behave the same with your water and the substrate you provide. You know what plants grow fast, so you know a species that will be successful purifying your water column. Try to find 2-3 more for variety. I have been successful with limnophilla sessiliflora and Bacopa caroliniana. By pruning too much stem plants, you removed the water purifiers. Regarding substrate oxygenation, you need plants that grow an extensive root system. They grow slower than stems, but eventually get the job done. I have been sucessful with marsilea hirsuta and saggitaria subulata. Another choice are cryptocorynes, but they are very invasive and will pop up in every place of the tank after 10 months or so.

People add three types of nutrients to their freshwater tanks which need to be in balance:
a) fish food (and perhaps fertilizers),
b) CO2,
c) light.
Too much or too little of one of the above causes problems. The three together should be in balance. According to the Walstad method, fertilizers are almost redundant if you provide the necessary amount of fish food. Additionally the injection of CO2 is also out of the game, because CO2 is regulated by photosynthesis, hence the photoperiod. Light is controlled by the aquarium lights (intensity, duration and schedule). The key here is CO2. Since it is low most NPT, that means that light and fish food should also be proportionally low. The amount of food that works for me is as much as the population of snails does not increase. The amount of light that works for me, is as much as I don't see algae on the fast growers or on the glass. It is not measurable, but I achieved it by decreasing the intensity on my lights from 70% to 60%. That's why I strongly suggest dimmable led lights. The ability to dim gives you control over intensity, your timer gives you control over duration and schedule. Try a light schedule of 5-4-5 (on-off-on) and adjust accordingly. Therefore for a balanced tank we regulate light and fishfood, because we cannot (will not) regulate the concentration of CO2 via other means. On the other hand, hobbyists with high tech tanks add ferts+co2+strong light. This way they achieve a different balance, but with other side-effects. So here comes the last part.

Last but not least, input vs output. Input is fishfood and fertilizers. Output is water removed during a waterchange and pruned plant matter. Since a person with a high tech tank adds a lot of fertilizers, that means large input, so eventually that person will need to have a large output, either as frequent water changes, or by pruning excessive growth, or quite possibly both. The idea behind a low maintenance tank is small input therefore small output.

Hope this helps :)


Regarding light intensity, you can have a look at:
 

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Registered
10 gal
Joined
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Short answer:
Get a dimmable led light and decrease its intensity unitl you achieve balance. Start from about 20 lumen/litre and adjust accordingly. Try a light schedule of 5-4-5 (on-off-on) and adjust accordingly.
Use some of the stem plants you previously had, it is important to have fast growers as well as plants that grow an extensive root system.
Try to balance light and food, too much of one is bad, too much of both is bad.

Long answer:

Principles discussed:
i) roles of different types of plants
ii) balance among types of nutrients
iii) input vs output

The way I see it, we want to achieve a balance in every tank, so that plants grow and serve two purposes: a) purify the water column, b) oxygenate the substrate.
That is achieved by introducting different types of plants to the ecosystem. Stem plants, floaters and fast growing plants purify the water column. The initial setup (as shown with the betta) hosted fast growing stem plants and floating plants. That was a success for your tank, so keep them in mind. Not all plants will behave the same with your water and the substrate you provide. You know what plants grow fast, so you know a species that will be successful purifying your water column. Try to find 2-3 more for variety. I have been successful with limnophilla sessiliflora and Bacopa caroliniana. By pruning too much stem plants, you removed the water purifiers. Regarding substrate oxygenation, you need plants that grow an extensive root system. They grow slower than stems, but eventually get the job done. I have been sucessful with marsilea hirsuta and saggitaria subulata. Another choice are cryptocorynes, but they are very invasive and will pop up in every place of the tank after 10 months or so.

People add three types of nutrients to their freshwater tanks which need to be in balance:
a) fish food (and perhaps fertilizers),
b) CO2,
c) light.
Too much or too little of one of the above causes problems. The three together should be in balance. According to the Walstad method, fertilizers are almost redundant if you provide the necessary amount of fish food. Additionally the injection of CO2 is also out of the game, because CO2 is regulated by photosynthesis, hence the photoperiod. Light is controlled by the aquarium lights (intensity, duration and schedule). The key here is CO2. Since it is low most NPT, that means that light and fish food should also be proportionally low. The amount of food that works for me is as much as the population of snails does not increase. The amount of light that works for me, is as much as I don't see algae on the fast growers or on the glass. It is not measurable, but I achieved it by decreasing the intensity on my lights from 70% to 60%. That's why I strongly suggest dimmable led lights. The ability to dim gives you control over intensity, your timer gives you control over duration and schedule. Try a light schedule of 5-4-5 (on-off-on) and adjust accordingly. Therefore for a balanced tank we regulate light and fishfood, because we cannot (will not) regulate the concentration of CO2 via other means. On the other hand, hobbyists with high tech tanks add ferts+co2+strong light. This way they achieve a different balance, but with other side-effects. So here comes the last part.

Last but not least, input vs output. Input is fishfood and fertilizers. Output is water removed during a waterchange and pruned plant matter. Since a person with a high tech tank adds a lot of fertilizers, that means large input, so eventually that person will need to have a large output, either as frequent water changes, or by pruning excessive growth, or quite possibly both. The idea behind a low maintenance tank is small input therefore small output.

Hope this helps :)


Regarding light intensity, you can have a look at:
Wow thank you for the information it is very helpful to me! The light I was looking at getting seems to have the dimmable feature, I didn’t know about the siesta part so I will look more into that. In the old set up there was no siesta and barely any algae due to the amanos i had.

for the plants I am looking at getting and That I have are:
  • anubius nana petite
  • micro sword (getting more)
  • baca copa Carolina ( getting more)
  • ludwiga sp red (getting more)
  • amazon sword
  • getting hornwort
  • Prosapinca palustris
I think it as good mix of plants with some fast growing and the the slower growing.

thanks again,
birb257
 

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you are welcome, glad I could be of help :)

The mix you are thinking of sounds good indeed. The last plant, Prosapinca palustris, is characterized by Tropica as a demanding/advanced plant (as in requiring added CO2). So it might adapt or not adapt to your ecosystem. That is expected in a NPT, not all plants will adapt. I have ended up thinking that we only make suggestions to our aquarium and it approves or rejects them. So, the way I see it, the game is finding a balance with plants that grow well, while being diverse in shape, tint of green, growth rate etc. That can eventually give a very good looking aquarium.

good luck and post some pics after you plant them!
 
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