Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody, I've been having a lot of fun with my small 25L tank and I wanted to share a bit of it's story.
I started it with two vals, two crypts, Limnobium, Lemmna minor, and some stems of Stuckenia pectinata, Myriophyllum aquaticum and Hydrocotile I got from a city pond. Later I bought some rotalas, bacopa, java moss and got a small piece of a carpeting plant I can't identify (maybe montecarlo?). The ligting is provided by 3 5w dicroic led lights that give a very nice focused light. Two of them are white and one is warm white. I keep them on for about 10hs a day.
The tank was set up in August with about 2 cm of vermicompost and 4cm of 2-4mm sand, with no filter, heater or any kind of water circulation. It's located right next to a north-facing window (I live in the south hemisphere), so until late September the tank would get 2 or 3 hours of direct sunlight every day. Things were a bit rough at the begining, with permanently hazy water with a touch of green-water-algae. But things were kind of under control, so I decided not to start messing with light and just kept on performing daily 30% water changes during the second month after setting up the tank, because I wanted to prevent the algae from suffocating the plants. It was interesting that, at first, floaters would barely grow, though it might have to do with temperature, because until late september the water would be under 20ºC most of the time.

This is a time laps of one day, the Myriophyllum grows insanely fast and moves a lot!
https://photos.app.goo.gl/9wuwksiEs2M6aeH89

At the beginning, this plant was very eager to break the surface, nowadays it refuses to do that even though I'd really like it to. Maybe it's a seasonal thing, I don't know, will find it out next winter.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/HQox9CFucfbWgrfp8

This was a particularly green day, it was usually more white-ish. You can also see the lighting system made from discarded wooden fruit crates, and I really like the scraggy look.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/AtVKCcLynFbD6iiZ6

The tank is on top of a table that has a hole in the middle, so I took the chance to check on root growth. The Myriophyllum wasn't just growing wildly above the surface, it was also developing a very large root system!
https://photos.app.goo.gl/yJczZJHWuEKuLnqx5

A few weeks ago, this was the root status
https://photos.app.goo.gl/bF4nHGbWqwfHBPiW7

Not long after setting up the tank I found a very nice piece of wood that was dry but needed some treatment before putting it into the tank. Since the piece of wood was too big to boil it or anything, and I didn't want it to go through the first phases of decomposition in my tank, I kept it moist inside a plastic bag which I opened every day for aeration and moisturization, for a month and a half until the first wave of white fungi was over. It was quite a successful treatment in this case, so perhaps it is a viable way of dealing with large pieces of wood.

The two Vallisnerias did really well and spread a lot, I've already removed about 5 adult plants and every week I remove one or two new plants. The crypts, instead, are still struggling, I trust that eventually they will star growing better, because every week the show new leaves; but their growth was severely delayed by the local ramshorn snails which would just devour new leaves.

Everything was completely unplanned, for once in my life I wanted to start something having absolutely no idea of how it would evolve. I didn't know which plants would grow, or how they would grow, so even if I wanted to I couldn't have planned a scape. Little by little things are coming together and I adapt the scape according to how the plants decide to grow. For example, the carpeting plant is taking off just now.

Nowadays this is my tank, I am still surprised that the bacopa is carpeting! whenever I trim a stem that is too high, the new stems grow horizontally, I am loving it. The water is amber-clear and I have reduced the water changes to 40% a week.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/EHAJaLrZtsmKvNmH6

I am very happy with it, I got some land mosses growing on the wood above the water
https://photos.app.goo.gl/CeBYbc7Te86dRQ8K8

The hydrocotile is showing clear signs of potassium or magnesium defficiencies, but it's still growing a lot, so I don't worry about it, and I try to feed my tank banana peels quite often.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Sdg5z5mRAFEgFzPT9

The small carpeting plant is going to do great in the future, I can see it gaining more and more strength every day, but I am not sure which plant it is
https://photos.app.goo.gl/NEiFQJXGnMeoKX2Z8

The rotalas had a very rough start, and only now they seem to show that they will be just fine.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/rHaxMZAkB8W9aw4AA

Recently I got some Egeria densa, another local plant that I just love and is known to be an amazing algae controlling plant. The java moss is also doing great attached to the wood, and I did the first moss-trimming a week ago.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/gSkqxHPXPLHQphhu7
https://photos.app.goo.gl/sVaZyy4fhvhCNxSb8

There are, and there will be, no fish in this tank, instead I got cherry shrimp that are breeding and feeding happily. None of the 10 adults I bought 3 months ago seem to have died.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/zKpx7sNfPDtTLxYo8

I do get some thread algae growth that keeps me entertained every other day. It doesn't really bother me and perhaps it will go away with time. Also, since the rotalas, the limnobium and the hydrocotile were showing potassium/magnessium defficiency signs, I use vermicompost to fertilize. I have a bucket with water that I just leave there over the week for it to get dechlorinated naturally, and I dropped a fist full of the same vermicompost I used as substrate in it. I haven't really studied the dosing, but since the tank is doing good enough I don't feel the need to optimize anything.

Well, thank you for reading! I am happy to share this.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,861 Posts
Great photos and it looks like a fun tank! I especially like the photo of the roots through the bottom glass. We like to see strong root growth in the soil layer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I thought it'd be time for a short update, this tank has been running for 7 months already. The Cherry shrimp population is quite large at the moment, and most of the micro-fauna is scarce by now. I've had 7 fresh water clams (Corbicula sp.) for 2 months already, and they seem to be doing fine, probably because the water is always slightly green. I've got rid of the vallisnerias because I wanted the room for other plants, and the crypts have been growing well for some time now, perhaps they didn't like the vallisnerias. The bacopa has been doing a lovely job carpeting, and the "small bacopa" (I think it's montecarlo) is growing slower but steadily. I've replaced the limnobium with salvinia because I wasn't really enjoying the size of the limnobium roots for this small tank (25L). I still get quite more thread algae growth than I'd like to (have to remove some every few days), but I guess that is the price to pay if I want my light this strong, although it still manages to grow in the shadier parts of the tank. The Myriophyllum never attempted to grow emerged again, although in other jars I have it keeps doing it's best to break the surface, so I am guessing it has to do with CO2 availability, which I assume is decent in the tank because any injured plant will bubble heavily all day long.

The light is strong because the tank is next to a very bright window and has 15w (1200 lumen) led lights that are on 10 continuous hours a day. Water changes are 50% a week, and I dechlorinate the water using a bucket with a bunch of Najas guadalupensis that just sits there for a week. To fertilize the tank I use the same vermicompost I used as substrate, adding a spoon of it to the dechlorination bucket every month. The shrimp get fed everyday with boiled leaves of chard, broccoli or beet, which are a good source of Mg and K, plus an ocasional piece of banana peel. The Hydrocotile seems to be the one most sensitive to Mg or K shortage, but it still thrives even if the leaves don't look perfect.

This tank will soon experience two big changes, I will be moving and I still don't know what kind of window light it will be receiving (but it will surely be different) and the temperatures are getting progressively lower as we get closer to winter, if at some point I see plant growth halting I may get a small heater to keep the temperature above 20ºC (otherwise it will drop to 18ºC during winter).

 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,788 Posts
What a beautiful, fun tank! Your post should inspire us all.

Good luck with your move. With your in-depth aquarium knowledge and experience, I'm sure the new setup(s) will be just fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Beautiful tank. Is that water depth pretty standard for a walstad set up? I can see the advantage where you have a lot of emergent plants.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's about time for an update I think. This little piece of joy just keeps working! and has been running for almost a year. This was the tank with no trimming for about 15 days.


And then after the trimming
73709


The montecarlo keeps slowly taking over the front of the tank (and I am letting it) and the Crypts just keep getting healthier. I have reduced the light intensity from 2400 lumen to 1600 lumen, but the thread algae is not going to go away and I don't want to keep putting pressure on my sun-loving plant setup, so I'll just stick to the weekly algae harvest. The water change/fertilization is still the same: 50% water change a week, from a bucket that I use to dechlorinate the water for a week, adding one spoon of vermicompost to it every month so as to keep the nutrient inflow to the tank steady. The tank is populated by shrimp, clams and snails of all kinds (I have to keep the ramshorns under check otherwise they start nibbling on the crypts and other plants sprouts), and I feed them all with boiled chard and fish food, adding some boiled banana peels here and there for extra potassium (though the bioled chard and the vermicompost seem to be doing a good job).
The coldest part of the winter has passed already, and I was a bit worried about my cherry shrimps when the tank temperature dropped under 15º for a bit more than one week, but I didn't notice them particularly lethargic and in fact I got a lot of saddled females during that cold week. So these little guys have already survived the hottest months of the year (with temperature constantly above 28º and often over 32º) and the coldest months.
I am just so happy with this tank with no filter or heater. Sooner or later I will want to set up one with lower light requirements.
This last pic puts into perspective how small the tank is, considering that I am quite a small guy
73710
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,788 Posts
Wonderful! Here's an example of a tank that's fun to have. I might add that it's small size does not diminish an ounce/gram of its pleasure.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top