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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a 5 gallon tank for my new betta fish Poppy, and I want to do the Walstad method. The tank will be in a room with natural light, but there's no direct sunlight. Here are the specs of the tank:
  • High-output 7000K LED with all-aluminum, waterproof casing for enhanced plant growth and fish colors
  • LED also features convenient touch-start day and night illumination
  • Powerful 3-stage filtration for superior water quality
  • Oversized mechanical (foam), chemical (carbon) and biological (Biomax) media included
  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 11.6 x 7.5"
I'm going to modify the filter so it's not as strong because it's for a betta. I'll have a 50W heater that I'll keep around 80 degrees.

Will this tank work for the Walstad method?

I'm also wondering if I'll need aquascaping tools for a 5 gallon tank?

And if I can use this gravel, or if I should get something different: CaribSea Super Natural Snowy River Aquarium Gravel | fish Gravel, Sand & Stones | PetSmart

I have a wonderful local fish store here in Seattle with beautiful all natural tanks, where I'm sure I can buy the soil and plants I need. Hopefully they can also test the water for me before I put my fish in.

Thanks in advance for the advice!
 

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For a Walstad tank you do not need chemical or biological filtration, so take those media out. The gravel will work, but the particles are a little larger than ideal. This makes planting more difficult. IMO the only essential"aquascaping" tool is long forceps--I can't imagine planting without them. Any long stainless steel forceps will work, I got my first ones from a hardware store.

Good luck and have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
For a Walstad tank you do not need chemical or biological filtration, so take those media out. The gravel will work, but the particles are a little larger than ideal. This makes planting more difficult. IMO the only essential"aquascaping" tool is long forceps--I can't imagine planting without them. Any long stainless steel forceps will work, I got my first ones from a hardware store.

Good luck and have fun!
Thank you! I'll get finer gravel, I can see large gravel would be harder to manage. Good to know I don't need all the chemicals, I'll remove those. And I'll get some forceps! Can't wait to get the tank in the mail and get started.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
50 watts is going to boil that water if it shuts down. I’d be concerned about that. Also you gotta remember that warmer water causes faster fish metabolism and algae growth. Which means that you will have a crazy fight with algae. I’d get like a 10 watt (or 1000 lumens) floodlight and dim it and get it in a lower kelvin (3000-5000 looks nice) then you can grow any plant you want and the betta will be less stressed. In my opinion, in most tanks you should try to keep the lighting dim because it’s healthier for the fish.
Thanks! What do you mean it will boil the water? I'm not familiar with that risk!

Normally my home is 61 degrees at night, so I thought I'd need a stronger heater to keep the water at the right temp.
 

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Thanks! What do you mean it will boil the water? I'm not familiar with that risk!

Normally my home is 61 degrees at night, so I thought I'd need a stronger heater to keep the water at the right temp.
You'll be just fine! No need to be concerned with the hyperbole and immaturity that has inundated the forum lately!

I have the below 10w heater in a little 1.5 gallon snail tank, my house gets down to the low 60s at night and it does struggle to keep the tank above even 70 so I think a 50w heater would be appropriate. shrug

 

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I would leave the sponge in the filter - it might not be 'walstad' but it won't cause any harm. Also the sponge will hold far more bacteria than 'biomax' media.
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For substrate i would recommend caribsea torpedo beach, peace river or crystal river. Do not use moonlight or sunset gold.
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If you want details on the size of the grains of the various substrate you can go here:

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If the substrate is too fine (moonlight and sunset gold) there is a tendency to build up anorabic activity which can cause other problems - this can be avoided by having a decent current which you probably would not have in your tank.
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If you want a black substrate i have found estes stoney river to be excellent - with a fairly fine grain that won't compact and will readily 'breath'.
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The original substrate you chose was 4-5mm in size - the ones i mentioned range from .5 to 2mm - the ones i suggested you avoid are around 0.25-0.5mm
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would leave the sponge in the filter - it might not be 'walstad' but it won't cause any harm. Also the sponge will hold far more bacteria than 'biomax' media.
--
For substrate i would recommend caribsea torpedo beach, peace river or crystal river. Do not use moonlight or sunset gold.
-
If you want details on the size of the grains of the various substrate you can go here:

-
If the substrate is too fine (moonlight and sunset gold) there is a tendency to build up anorabic activity which can cause other problems - this can be avoided by having a decent current which you probably would not have in your tank.
-
If you want a black substrate i have found estes stoney river to be excellent - with a fairly fine grain that won't compact and will readily 'breath'.
--
The original substrate you chose was 4-5mm in size - the ones i mentioned range from .5 to 2mm - the ones i suggested you avoid are around 0.25-0.5mm
Thanks! Yesterday the aquarium store sold me Tropical River Sand by Aqua Design to put on top of the gravel. I'm not sure what size it is, but it's pretty fine. That's what they recommended for a Walstad fish tank:

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
They are probably trying To get money, have you used it? Because 20$ for sand (not very good for a walstad tank) is way overpriced. I could get 50lbs of that stuff for 5$ at home depot . Most likely you can return it and save your money for plants imo
Thanks! It's actually small gravel/very coarse sand. I wouldn't call it sand, like you see at the beach...
 

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If you put sand over gravel, the sand will eventually work its way down into the gravel. Not a good situation. For a Walstad tank you want organic potting soil and a layer of fine gravel on top. I used the Caribsea Peace River gravel and it's perfect.
 

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I just bought a 5 gallon tank for my new betta fish Poppy, and I want to do the Walstad method. The tank will be in a room with natural light, but there's no direct sunlight. Here are the specs of the tank:
  • High-output 7000K LED with all-aluminum, waterproof casing for enhanced plant growth and fish colors
  • LED also features convenient touch-start day and night illumination
  • Powerful 3-stage filtration for superior water quality
  • Oversized mechanical (foam), chemical (carbon) and biological (Biomax) media included
  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 11.6 x 7.5"
I'm going to modify the filter so it's not as strong because it's for a betta. I'll have a 50W heater that I'll keep around 80 degrees.

Will this tank work for the Walstad method?

I'm also wondering if I'll need aquascaping tools for a 5 gallon tank?

And if I can use this gravel, or if I should get something different: CaribSea Super Natural Snowy River Aquarium Gravel | fish Gravel, Sand & Stones | PetSmart

I have a wonderful local fish store here in Seattle with beautiful all natural tanks, where I'm sure I can buy the soil and plants I need. Hopefully they can also test the water for me before I put my fish in.

Thanks in advance for the advice!
Having a soil underlayer and enough water hardness is critical to getting good plant growth. I don't see any mention of either in your post. All this emphasis on gravel, LED touch-start, aquascaping tools is disconcerting. IMHO, inconsequential. Mother Nature has definitely been "side-lined" in this thread.

Gravel is just to hold the soil layer down. And while it might be great for some folk, I never found the need for a tool--other than my finger--to stick a plant in the substrate. I recommend 2-3 mm size gravel, but cheap "Play sand" or "Pool filter sand" from Home Depot will work just as well. Make it a thin layer so it doesn't suffocate bacteria in the soil layer. Have you read my book?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Having a soil underlayer and enough water hardness is critical to getting good plant growth. I don't see any mention of either in your post. All this emphasis on gravel, LED touch-start, aquascaping tools is disconcerting. IMHO, inconsequential. Mother Nature has definitely been "side-lined" in this thread.

Gravel is just to hold the soil layer down. And while it might be great for some folk, I never found the need for a tool--other than my finger--to stick a plant in the substrate. I recommend 2-3 mm size gravel, but cheap "Play sand" or "Pool filter sand" from Home Depot will work just as well. Make it a thin layer so it doesn't suffocate bacteria in the soil layer. Have you read my book?
No worries - I misspoke when I mentioned "Walstad." I think that term is commonly used when people say they want natural a fish tank.

I'm building a tank for my betta fish with soil, gravel, and plants so she can live in a natural environment instead of an artificial environment.

LED lights are preferable to me as they use less energy.
 

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My apologies for misunderstanding. I use LED lights in all my tanks. It was the "touch start" that threw me off.
 

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Well i would not stress the 'natural environment' part since the natural environment of a betta is actually quite different. Here is a sample read of the actual natural environment of a betta:

.

There is nothing wrong with what you are doing but I wouldn't get hung up on the natural part because it is an unnatural environment for a betta. Having said I'm one who dislike ornaments, plastic plants and neon coloured substrate - having said that I do not pretend my tank is the actual natural habitat of the fish. This is one of my low-tech tanks:
73392



And this is another that is a bit messier:

73393



The second is a 5 gallon tank so it is more relevant though I don't have a betta in it - it is also the tank i give the least attention to hence the rather messy look.


I'm building a tank for my betta fish with soil, gravel, and plants so she can live in a natural environment instead of an artificial environment.
 

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Well i would not stress the 'natural environment' part since the natural environment of a betta is actually quite different. Here is a sample read of the actual natural environment of a betta:

.

There is nothing wrong with what you are doing but I wouldn't get hung up on the natural part because it is an unnatural environment for a betta. Having said I'm one who dislike ornaments, plastic plants and neon coloured substrate - having said that I do not pretend my tank is the actual natural habitat of the fish. This is one of my low-tech tanks:
View attachment 73392


And this is another that is a bit messier:

View attachment 73393


The second is a 5 gallon tank so it is more relevant though I don't have a betta in it - it is also the tank i give the least attention to hence the rather messy look.
I really like the look of the messy tank. All the colors pop, it’s almost like a natural GloFish(TM) tank :D

How many Neons do you have in there? For how long have they been in there? I decided to go with Glowlight tetras in my 5.5. Not sure if it will be big enough for them long term, but for now they seem to be thriving.
73400
 

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Well, the term “natural” could lead to many philosophical discussions or heated debates. IMHO, there is nothing all natural about a glass or plastic box with plants “thrown” together that would not share the same habitat, likewise with fish, all relying on some maintenance (even Walstad tanks). The question is how bearable captivity becomes or if it can even excel the natural habitat for many species (superb water conditions, a well balanced diet, no natural predators, etc.).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, the term “natural” could lead to many philosophical discussions or heated debates. IMHO, there is nothing all natural about a glass or plastic box with plants “thrown” together that would not share the same habitat, likewise with fish, all relying on some maintenance (even Walstad tanks). The question is how bearable captivity becomes or if it can even excel the natural habitat for many species (superb water conditions, a well balanced diet, no natural predators, etc.).
So true! I should have gotten a rescue fish...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well i would not stress the 'natural environment' part since the natural environment of a betta is actually quite different. Here is a sample read of the actual natural environment of a betta:

.

There is nothing wrong with what you are doing but I wouldn't get hung up on the natural part because it is an unnatural environment for a betta. Having said I'm one who dislike ornaments, plastic plants and neon coloured substrate - having said that I do not pretend my tank is the actual natural habitat of the fish. This is one of my low-tech tanks:
View attachment 73392


And this is another that is a bit messier:

View attachment 73393


The second is a 5 gallon tank so it is more relevant though I don't have a betta in it - it is also the tank i give the least attention to hence the rather messy look.
Actually, your messy tank looks like a betta's real environment!
 
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