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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
An Italian hobbyist started a nice thread 'Moving from CO2 to Non-CO2' on Dec 7, 2022. Finally had time to respond. ;)

I need some advise on how to convert my aquarium from CO2 injected to a low tech tank.
First step I sold my CO2 injection system to a friend, big step !
Then I changed the lighting time including a siesta of 4 hours, so 5 hours in the morning + siesta + 6 hours in the afternoon. This allowed me to recover some CO2 , confirmed by the pH meter going down about 0.4 during the siesta.
Anyway plants are not growing so well and my doubt is the substrate.


You mentioned that your Hygrophila polysperma is not growing. I never could get this supposedly easy plant to grow.
Attached is my list of Easy Plants. They are the ones that I have now. The ones I've neglected and abused but keep hanging on over the years.
Some high-tech experts (always use CO2 injection) have commented that the plants I have in my tanks are quite different from those that they and other high techies have. Whatever, the truth is, this list will give people some ideas of a starting place.
Many folks think soil is the magic bullet, but let's not forget about the plants!
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I tried some Staurogyne 'Porto Velho' that died out on me back in 2007. Could be just me, cuz I didn't take care of it. Maybe the S. repens is better?
The only other plant I really want to try is Nymphaea micrantha. Christel Kasselmann recommended it in an Aquatic Gardener (vol 20, #4) article about back in 2007. Smaller version of Red Tiger Lotus. But I see it is expensive and still not readily available. Anyway, inspired by Johnwesley I'm nursing my Red Tiger Lotus back to health with some TLC. (I moved its pot to back of a tank where it is now getting some sun. It is starting to look pretty good. So I'm thinking I need to take care of what I have. No FOMO!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It would be great if this thread became a data base of plants for Walstad aquaria! Especially if we keep in mind that not all easy plants are easy for everyone all the time because of water chemistry and other different conditions. For example I find Hygrophila polysperma to be very easy (too easy?) in relatively new Walstad tanks with their higher levels of CO2 and nutrients. But as the tank ages H. polysperma becomes difficult to maintain. H. corymbosa 'Angustifolia' is much easier to keep long term.

For more easy plants, I would nominate two more Cryptocoryne: C. willisii and C. nurii 'Rosen Maiden'. For some reason the other C. nurii cultivars do not thrive for me.

Diana, I had Nymphaea micrantha 'Gerflect' for a long time and it was easy to grow as long as I gave it a little extra fertility in the soil. If you let it develop floating leaves it is ridiculously easy to propagate. It is vivparous with new plants forming where the petiole meets the leaf blade. Stupidly I let mine deteriorate thinking that I could always get more. Now I can't find it anywhere.
Terrific information! Great idea about having this as a thread devoted to plants for Low-tech tanks. One reason I started this thread is that at my aquarium club's last auction, when plants were up for bid, someone in crowd kept yelling, "And doesn't need CO2!"

Also, the nuances about H. polysperma are right on. Everyone says it's an invasive weed, but it didn't last long in my tanks.

I hesitated to start a thread like this because I didn't want to get a "pile on" of confusing information. It is so easy for a plant to do well when the soil is first submerged. And then whether you actually take care of the plant (e.g., Michael's experience with N. micrantha) can introduce other confounds and even more confusion.

Another story: When I started my guppy breeding tanks, I transitioned to Val, Sag, Bacopa, Hornwort, floating plants and pretty much neglected my Crypts. I just wanted industrial water purifiers. But a year later, I noticed that I had a tiny baby plant of brown C. wendtii and a tiny C. blassi (balansae?) still surviving in pots with Val. I recalled how nice these two Crypts had done for me over the years. And they are attractive. So I put each baby in its own pot. They've done well and now I have pots of thriving plant colonies of both species in several tanks.

So this new and very specific information on plants doing well over time is terrific. I will add Michael's suggestion to my list. And I might give Staurogyne repens another chance some day!
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Brought up yet another interesting point. People with deep tanks mistakenly use light-loving species for 'carpets' and 'foregrounds' at the bottom. They don't do well.
For deep tanks, I would use smaller plants that don't need much light (Subwassertang, Bolbitis, Java Fern, Java Moss, etc.) Recently, I got a dwarf variety of Bolbitis that I just love. A fellow club member who gave it to me said it was a poor grower, but that thing is doing just great in my tanks--lashed to small lava rocks.
 
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